Achieving Services Innovation

April 6, 2011

This week I stumbled across an interesting article in the Winter 2011 issue of the MIT Sloan Management Review titled Bringing Open Innovation to Services.  The piece begins by citing a conversation between the author and IBM’s Head of R&D – the executive cites his largest challenge as managing an organization that drives product innovation, while the company derives the majority of revenues from services.

It’s easy to dismiss these challenges as big company problems – the likes of which behemoths like IBM, HP and Accenture face.  But this is false.  According to the article, services comprise more than 70% of aggregate GDP and employment in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.  At Thomson Reuters, and in PORTIA in particular, these challenges are very real.

I like the way the article moves away from Michael Porter’s classic portrayal of a value chain and instead thinks about the utility of a product rather than the process.  Per Peter Drucker, “What the customer buys and considers value is never a product.  It is always utility – that is, what a product does for him”.   The article continues by proposing a new, services-based value chain below:

Image courtesy of MIT Sloan Management Review, Winter 2011

These lessons are not lost on Thomson Reuters PORTIA.  Given our mission to provide intelligent information to the world’s professionals, we have some of the most advanced R&D capabilities in the industry and partner with the most respected technology providers in the business.  But we’re equally focused on engaging with clients not only in the product development process, but also at every stage of a solution sale and throughout the client relationship.

To this point, PORTIA Implementation Services is developing a series of new offerings around the ‘health check’ concept – solutions designed to help clients determine exactly how we can provide maximum utility to their middle-to-back office before they make major investments in our platforms.  We are creating two types of health checks.  First, we will offer a data management health check, where our experienced consulting team reviews clients’ PORTIA data to ensure it is configured to provide optimum performance and efficiencies.  Second, we are developing an operations health check, so that clients can rest assured that their processes are minimizing operational risk.

We’re very proud of our Implementation Services team.  Based on deep experience with the industry and Thomson Reuters, they implement solutions using proven methodologies that ensure projects are timely and cost effective.  Our team has never failed to implement – our competitors simply cannot make the same claims.  Nobody knows PORTIA better than itself.

Stay tuned for more information about our health check offerings in the coming weeks.  And as a totally unbiased alumnus, I’d encourage everyone to pick up a copy of the MIT Sloan Management Review to read this and other fantastic articles on innovation, sustainability and other critical topics for modern businesses.

Are you observing these trends in services innovation?  Are you aware of other approaches or best practices for executing against innovation agendas?

-Matt Bellias, Director of Strategy and Marketing


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