MBA Service Transformation Enabled by Digital

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"Service transformation enabled by digital – smart machines - is emerging at multiple organizational levels in response to the growing need for greater business integration, flexibility, and agility. Technical and organizational change barriers frequently make higher levels of agility difficult. Service – the essential phenomena of value co-creation – in the innovation process entails new concepts and challenges. Transitioning to services with digital is underway for organizations, and it is a long journey. One thing is clear: There are no “one size fits all” answers. Instead, each journey needs to be customized to the organization’s strategy and culture." Haluk Demirkan

You are invited to benefit from a team of advanced Milgard School’s Evening MBA students working on an important actionable project for your organization.

We will need to have a brief proposal from you by December 15, 2017 for Service Operations Management course that starts in January 2018 if you would like to be considered. There is no cost to you… In the paragraphs that follow, we tell you more about this opportunity. Please e-mail this project proposal to Professor Demirkan ( A 1 to 2 page sample proposal is available in here.

“Service Transformation” is a required applied project that is part of ten weeks long Service Operations Management course offered as part of our Evening MBA Program. Under the direction of a Milgard faculty advisor, our second year three to six member student teams use strategic service thinking, operational excellence, complex problem solving, creativity, and teamwork skills and will perform a service audit by collecting, analyzing a service operation (we call this “service system”) and providing innovative solutions (e.g. improving customer experiences, out tasking none-value added activities, reengineering processes, removing bottlenecks, reducing waste, etc.) to resolve any service issues and/or improvement opportunities based on the organizations’ strategies.

How it works:

Beginning in January 2018 and concluding in early March 2018, the MBA student teams will work on a comprehensive service innovation & transformation assignment or project by dedicating approximately six hours per week (per consultant) for you using the skills developed in their specialized course work that is part of a course called “Service Operations Management.”

Primary goals of this project

  • To demonstrate competence in integrating, extending and applying strategic service innovation, management and  transformation knowledge and skills in a “live” business context that is dynamic, complex and relatively unstructured
  • To satisfy our clients’ needs, delight them and engender their loyalty
  • To develop an understanding of the application of the project management and process
  • To exhibit and enhance practical consultative skills

Sample list of tools, techniques, methodologies & frameworks for Strategic Service Audits

  • Brief industry and market analysis
  • Design thinking and service science for value co-creation
  • The role of customer experience and value drivers
  • Service package analysis
  • Challenges for service managers
  • Open systems view of service operations
  • The Strategic Service Vision
  • Service innovation triangle
  • Strategic analysis with Porter’s five forces
  • Service Blueprint
  • Service quality gap analysis
  • Servicescape of service
  • A swim lane flowchart of a service
  • Strategic location considerations of this service provider
  • Value modeling canvas
  • Value networks, shops & chains
  • Value Delivery Modeling Language (VDML) Activity Network diagrams of the service
  • Study the waiting experience for the customers of this service
  • Which forecasting model(s) (i.e. time series, casual, subjective) will apply to your service, and how?
  • Evaluate the demand for this service, and discuss about which demand management strategies apply for this service, and why
  • Evaluate the capacity for this service, and discuss about which capacity management strategies apply for this service, and why
  • Compute the load for each activity in the service based on the demand forecast and the estimates of flow time and labor content
  • Compare the loads to the capacities of resources for the activities of the service. What resources are the bottlenecks? Compute the excess capacity of non-bottleneck resources.
  • Yield management analysis
  • How is a service level determined for most inventory items?
  • Recommendations based on the analyses


Methodology used

Finding (problem and/or opportunity)

Possible solution (recommendation)





  • WHAT…Propose a solution project to address one or more of the above problems/opportunities (write goal statements for your project: 1-2 goals)
  • HOW…TACTICS: Discuss the roles of technologies in this service business. Processes and tasks that will have service transformation partially enabled by digital solutions (e.g. cognitive computing, cloud computing, big data, IoT, Mobile)
  • A list of operations/functional areas/departments etc. that might be impacted from proposed solutions and how (e.g. Human Resources because of …..; Marketing because of …..)
  • Understanding and transforming organization and employees for customer experience and outcome
  • Goals, objectives, metrics & measures for outcome
  • Strategic, tactical and operational metrics for service transformation
  • Challenges with implementing these solutions

TBUS 530 Service Operations Management

This course will focus on the various aspects involved in the management of service operations within the “pure” service sector (e.g. healthcare, financial, education, logistics, transportation, travel, tourism, government) and within the service functions of production/manufacturing (e.g. logistics, supply chain, accounting, financing, after-sales support).

The intent of the course is to provide students with the concepts and tools necessary to manage service operations effectively for existing and new services. The strategic focus also should provide entrepreneurially inclined students with the foundation to open their own service businesses. Emphasis is focused on preparing students to identify and apply appropriate management processes to ensure efficient, effective, and quality oriented service operations, while achieving operational excellence. The topics are organized around three modules: 1) Understanding Services, 2) Designing the Service Enterprise, 3 Managing Service Operations and 4) Quantitative Models for Service Management.

There are two key objectives of this course: 1) to provide students with an understanding of the concepts and tools necessary to manage a service operation effectively, and 2) to help students to improve creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, technology utilization and team work skills.


Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Synthesize the "state of the art" of service management thinking
  • Analyze organization’s service operations processes for improvements
  • Synthesize the unique nature of services and the management challenges this creates
  • Evaluate the organization’s strategic service vision to understand the interrelationships between the target market, service concept, operating strategy and the service delivery system in successful services.
  • Synthesize the drivers of quality in a services environment, the quality management tools and techniques, and statistical tools for services.
  • Evaluate classic operations management issues such as staffing, workload, facility location, waiting lines and inventory.
  • Analyze how to deploy and manage technology in the improvement of service, customer relationships and globalization.

Selection of an organization and a service operation

Students may consider a service within a manufacturing company, a service within a larger service company like a hospital or a financial firm, or a community service. Please keep the selected service organization to a relatively limited size and scope. Instead of a Hospital, think of the Pharmacy within it. Instead of Tacoma City Government, think of a department, or subsection of a department within the City government.

Service and Service System

Service, which can be defined as the application of competence and knowledge to create benefit (or value) for another, derives from the interactions of entities known as service systems.  Service systems at multiple scales of organizations, from individual people to businesses and nations, chain together into globally integrated service networks of multiple types: business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), consumer-to-consumer (C2C), business-to-government (B2G), government-to-consumer/citizen (G2C), as well as other permutations.

Service systems are dynamic value co-creation configurations of people, technology, organizations, and shared information (such as language, laws, measures, models, etc.), connected internally and externally by value propositions, with governance mechanisms for dispute resolution.”

If you are pleased with the final project deliverable, we would like for you to consider making a donation to the Center for Business Analytics on behalf of our activities with students.

Professor Haluk Demirkan will lead this course with the Center for Business Analytics Team. With his almost 20 years professional consulting experience, along with his interdisciplinary research and teaching background in analytics, service innovation and digital transformation with cognitive computing and service-oriented technology and management, he will be a great mentor for students.

For more information, please contact Professor Demirkan, Instructor and/or Jaime Core, Program Manager from Center for Business Analytics to express your preliminary interest regarding this opportunity. Email final project proposals to Professor Demirkan: and/or Jaime Core: