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| a framework for improving the LAUNCH concept of new services|
Risto Silvola*, Elisa Oyj, Finland
email@example.com, *corresponding author
Juho Kauhanen, Elisa Oyj, Finland
Dr. Jari Collin, Elisa Oyj, Finland
Professor Harri Haapasalo, University of Oulu, Finland
Hanna Kropsu-Vehkapera, University of Oulu, Finland
The purpose of this study is to enhance the current understanding about the new service launch process within telecom service industry. Further, the study examines the process improvements that product data management could offer in this context. This research utilised literature and case studies. The case company was chosen to present telecom service industry where well controlled launches have not always been the convention. Data collection was carried out through workshops and interviews. Product process and product/service launch process cannot be separated from each other. To secure full benefits from the launch, the whole service lifecycle has to be taken into account. Service businesses frequently lack rigorous development processes with defined milestones and checklists. Structured design methods, for instance particular perspective emphasising "Design for X", would bring value to the new service development and hence to launch. This is an exploratory research where literature offers only scattered knowledge regarding new service development (NSD), data management and especially the studied industry lacks defined best practices. However, the results provide a good view of what these could be. Elements and best practices of product data management (PDM) for the new service launch process within the case industry are worth further studying. Finally, all these measures improve the customer experience, time to market and the efficiency of development efforts. This study suggests that there are benefits in linking PDM and NSD process. Further research in this field is needed as both academic and industry practitioners are still missing the general view in telecom services.
Keywords: Product data, product launch, service launch, new service development, telecom service
The deregulation of telecommunication services has altered competition and directed dissolving monopolies to develop and launch innovative services as they are exposed to increasing pressure from software and content industries. Due to their background and owing to the customs of the service sector, telecommunication service providers have been developing new services through quite ad hoc and free-floating procedures. The typical ease of new service development has frequently led to the proliferation of product variants and unnecessary changes to customers and internal functions. (Kelly and Storey, 2000; Magnusson et al., 2003; Gallouj and Weinstein, 1997; De Jong et al., 2003; Allee and Taug, 2006.)
The launch as the final phase of New Product or Service Development (NPD & NSD) pursues to maximise the success of new products by promoting market acceptance (Guiltinan, 1999). The studies on launch are minuscule compared with the front end of NPD (Di Benedetto, 1999). Formal processes over the back end of NPD have still been perceived to contribute to new service success (De Brentani, 2001).
Increasingly sophisticated customer requirements necessitate a wider variety of offering and hence more delicate NPD to battle the development complexity and avoid introducing outdated products. Managing development duration, cost and quality demands cooperation between numerous teams which create and utilise product knowledge in multiple distant locations. Such NPD calls for product lifecycle management (PLM) to integrate different processes and their agents through a shared body of knowledge. (Ameri and Dutta, 2005). The effective sharing and utilisation of product data are necessary for enabling rapid product launches (Ouertani, 2010; Huang et al., 2004; Sulaiman, 2000; Philpotts, 1996). Effectiveness within product data management (PDM) calls for a unified schema to be used in electric data transfer (Saaksvuori and Immonen, 2008).
Within the early new product development, there should be guidelines regarding how to ensure that unnecessary changes to the supporting applications are not made. In telecom service context, these applications are called operation and business support systems (OSS/BSS) and include, among others, service activation, billing and service assurance (Tyrvainen and Frank, 2008). It is vital to plan and understand well prior to launch the behaviour of the new service within the delivery supply chain. This allows IT tools capability to be analysed and scoped according to the delivery volumes and specialities. Key questions derive from the peculiarities of telecom service business such as the billing and delivery/provision volume forecasts; service item maturity, network capacity monitoring, and application upgrade complexity. Processes within the operator business are highly automated and require data form multiple sources. This implies that well managed and structured data is fundamentally required to deliver the value promised to the customer.
The purpose of this study is to identify the gap between current and ideal states in the product process for new services that proceed to be launched within the case company in telecom service business. Current literature and practice have several approaches on launch execution. Examples of these viewpoints include new product/service development, productization, design for X and product data (what information and when? How is it maintained?). Product launch and product data management are not linked in the current literature. Therefore we have compressed our target to following research questions:
RQ1. How to internally secure that new services are successfully launched?
RQ2. How does currently the case company manage its new service launches especially regarding the internal stakeholders?
RQ3. How should the case company ideally launch its new services?
The first question has theoretical content with practical relevance compiled in the end of literature review. Second question follows the problem setup in case company and thirdly, a framework for improved launch management utilising PDM will be conceptualised. More accurate development process has been presented in research process description.