Service Operations Management in Different Sector

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The Information Technology (IT) and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) sectors form an important part of the service industry. Today, many industries dealing in computer hardware, software, the Internet, semiconductors, electronics, e-commerce, telecom equipment and computer services are linked with IT.

The IT sector is mainly concerned with the identification, collection, storage, processing and retrieval of data, which can be further processed to generate meaningful information.

The ITES sector covers the widespread application of information technology in day-to-day tasks, ranging from business applications, which address an organisation’s needs, to individual needs. The ITES sector includes IT services, engineering design, R&D services and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

Service operations management in any IT organisation is concerned with network administration, software development and installation, and planning and management of the organisation’s technology life cycle.

How Service Operations Are Performed

In general, service operations management in any IT organisation deals with three major areas: network infrastructure, server and device management and computer operations and help desk. Let us discuss how service operations are performed in these areas:

Network Infrastructure

It covers service operations related to:

  • Infrastructure: It includes all networking functions used for internal and external IT communication [router, hubs, firewalls, Domain Name System (DNS) servers, file servers, load balancing, etc.].

  • Telecommunication: It involves the configuration and management of all internal and external communication lines so that customers, employees, vendors, etc. can access applications.

  • Port management: It involves the management of opening and closing ports on the firewall to allow the network to communicate with outside servers.

  • Security: It involves all major operations that ensure the security of the network and prevent/counter attacks from outside sources.

  • Remote access to the network for users: It involves allowing access from outside the network, using techniques like virtual private network (VPN), two-factor authentication, etc.

  • Internal telephone system management: It involves the management of internal or organisational phone systems.

  • Monitoring network: It involves monitoring and alerting network personnel in case of any problem with network resources (including storage, services such as email or file servers, application servers, communication, etc.).

Server and Device Management

It covers service operations related with server management for applications and infrastructure (including configuration, maintenance, upgrades, patching, repair, etc.). In addition, server and device management involves the following operations:

  • Network and individual storage management: It ensures that all applications have access to the storage that maybe needed for disk, memory, backup and archiving.

  • PC and mobile provisioning: It involves the acquisition, configuration, management, break/fix, application installation and configuration of desktop and laptop devices.

    In addition, the area covers operations related to the assignment and management of mobile phone contracts and phone numbers. Apart from this, desktop, laptop and mobile device software application licensing and management also come under this area.

Computer Operations and Help Desk

It covers service operations related with:

  • Data centre management: This involves operations associated with the management of physical locations including floor space where the equipment are kept. In addition, maintenance of electricity, cooling, battery backups, etc. also come under this area.

  • Help desk management: Help desk works as a point of contact for users to gain assistance in solving issues. It provides support to various IT operations with a responsibility to provide assistance in troubleshooting and resolving regular problems. A help desk generally manages its requests through software such as an issue tracking system.

  • User provisioning: It involves activities that help in the creation, modification and authorisation of user profiles on all systems.

  • Auditing: It involves activities used to conduct an official inspection of the network in front of outside entities, such as corporate auditors, government regulatory agencies, business partners, etc.

  • Communicating with network users: It refers to contacting network users or clients in case of any inconsistency occurring in network services.

  • Backup management: It involves operations used to establish and run daily, weekly, monthly and yearly backup to assure that data can be recovered at any time.

  • Computer operations: It involves activities performed to print and distribute reports, invoices, cheques and other output from a production system.

The sub-areas of service operations in IT present the way of organising and managing service operations in an IT organisation. However, it should be noted that different IT organisations organise and manage their service operations in different ways, depending on their own needs and resources.

Service Operations Management in the BPO Sector

BPO is a division of outsourcing that involves contracting specific business process operations and responsibilities to a third-party service provider (BPO organisation). In other words, a BPO organisation performs a process of another business organisation on certain terms and conditions and gets paid for it.

Usually, a BPO organisation deals with the application of software for carrying out many tasks that make the functioning of the client organisation easier. Service operations in such an organisation focus on managing relationships with clients through a formal agreement, called service-level agreement (SLA).

An SLA refers to a negotiated agreement between the customer and the service provider. It establishes performance expectations and operating parameters between the parties of the agreement for each level of services.

The SLA includes several negotiation points such as services, priorities, responsibilities, guarantees and warranties. Each point defines service level requirements. In simple words, an SLA can be defined as “If you provide this level of services, I will be able to do this and that will cost this much.”

SLA is a two-way process that requires both the parties to negotiate on the required service level and get agreed on certain points. The SLA can be in the form of a legal contract that is formal in nature or an informal contract that is usually made to maintain internal departmentarlelationships.

In the BPO sector, where more than 50 per cent of outsourcing contracts involve disputes, a clearly defined SLA is of much significance. Therefore, while preparing an SLA, the involved parties should think ahead of all possible dispute situations and clearly define all aspects ofservices and service levels. Service operations in any BPO organisation focus on regular and systematic review of the organisation’s performance against the SLA.

Apart from this,service operations also aim at organising the following services at the BPO organisation:

  • Back-office service: The term back-office is used to refer the area of a business organisation which generally remains hidden from the eyes of customers. Depending on the profile and requirements of various organisations, back-office tasks differ across organisations.

    For example, back-office tasks in the banking sector include keeping records of account details and transactions of customers by IT professionals, whereas in investment firms, back-office tasks include the handling of various administrative functions such as record keeping, trade settlement and regulatory compliance sales.

    Most back-office processes of an organisation, such as those related to human resources, finance and accounting, are not directly related to customers. However, these processes play a significant role in the overall functioning of an organisation. Therefore, it is necessary for every organisation to have efficient back-office support in place.

  • Front-office service: Front office refers to an area of a business organisation where customers arrive and encounter the staff. Usually, front-office staff deals with customers; thereby, affecting the organisation’s revenues directly.

    The front-office receives customer’s information and passes it to the relevant department within the organisation. It works as a face of the organisation. Therefore, the organisation requires to train and develop the skills of its front-office staff so that they can better deal with customers.

    The outsourced services of the front-office include customer-related services such as advertising and sales support.

Service Operations Management in the Banking and Finance Sector

The financial and banking sector involves institutions such as banks, mutual funds, insurance companies and credit unions that are in the business of money management either by investing money to earn profit or maintaining the security of customer’s money.

Service operations management in any financial institution aims at attracting and retaining customers by providing them new and innovative schemes and services. With an increase in the financial and banking services and number ofcustomers, it has become difficult for any organisation to manage its service operations manually.

Therefore, organisations have adopted various technologies in order to smoothly perform their financial and banking activities. Such technology-based financial and banking services are also called hi-tech services. Some hi-tech services are: Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT), Electronic Clearing Services (ECS) and Real Time Gross System (RTGS).

Service operations management in financial and banking organisations focuses more on electronic-based operations such as E-banking. E-banking refers to electronic banking or Internet banking in which customers can perform most essential banking functions through their bank accounts by connecting to the website of their banks.

In E-banking, the bank maintains a Web-enabled centralised database that holds records of all its customers. Customers can access any of the facilities provided by the bankon the website by selecting appropriate menu items.

Electronic transactions have changed the way both customers and service organisations perform their roles and functions. For example, today we have a new system to deliver cash instantly to customers by using Automated Teller Machine (ATM).

Basically, in any financial and banking organisation, service operations are performed at three levels, depending on access levels provided to customers. These three levels are:

General Information System

It provides a general purpose information, such as branch locations, interest rates provided by the bank, information regarding loans and fixed deposits and information about various products and services provided by the financial institution to its customers.

The communication between the financial institution and the customer is normally carried out through e-mail, as there is no direct interaction between customers and the application system of the bank. The general information system also provides information about recruitment processes within the financial institution.

A user can download various application forms, such as recruitment forms, depositing forms and withdrawal forms, from the institution’s website. Moreover, the information-only system does not require any type of authentication or authorisation of customers to provide the required information to them.

Electronic Information Transfer System

The electronic information transfer system enables customers to access account-related information such as their balance, fund transfer details, transaction details and bank statements. The retrieved information or data is in the read-only format.

To obtain the required information, customers have to log into their user accounts with their customer ID and passwords on the Website of their financial institution. After the customers have been authenticated, the requested information is retrieved from the application system in either batch mode or offline mode.

Fully Electronic Transactional System

It provides a bi-directional connectivity between customers and financial institutions, where customers cannot only retrieve the required information but can also do fund transactions. In addition, customers can update their personal information, such as e-mail address and mobile number, online on the financial institution’s website.

The fully electronic transactional system is based on various technologies such as interbank payment gateways and legal infrastructures. Some of the fully electronic transactional systems are:


ATM machines are one of the fully electronic transactional systems introduced bybanks forfacilitating easy and fast cash withdrawal by their customers from their bank accounts. To operate an ATM machine, a customer merely needs to carry an ATM card, which is a specialised plastic card.

The ATM card is issued to the customer along with a specific combination of digits that act as an authentication ID. The card when used with this combination of digits allows a customer to withdraw money from his/her bank account anytime and anywhere in the world.

ATM cards have minimised the requirement for cheque books, banking hour restrictions and paper-based verification to carry out a money withdrawal process. Apart from withdrawing money, customers can also obtain information regarding their account details from an ATM machine.

In other words, the ATM machine acts as a fund transfer terminal that can also handle cash deposit information, manage cash withdrawals, account transfers, pay bills and balance queries.

Credit Cards/Debit Cards

The evolution of the credit card is also an important development in the banking/financial sector. The person who owns a credit card can spend money, whenever or wherever required, within the fixed limits.

A credit card is similar to a post-paid card in which, after reaching the given limit or completion of the due duration, the customer has to pay the credited amount. Debit cards, on the other hand, are similar to prepaid cards that allow the holder to transfer money electronically from their bank account while buying anything.

Whenever the customer uses the debit card to purchase something; the exact bill amount is deducted from the customer’s bank account through Internet banking. When a customer applies for a debit card, a Personal Identification Number (PIN) is issued to him along with the debit card.

The customer is identified through the PIN whenever he or she makes a purchase. In this mode, customers can never overspend as the amount they can spend is equal to the amount they have in their account.

Smart Card

A smart card isa standard credit card-sized plastic card with an embedded microchip containing integrated circuits. Often called electronic wallet, it provides not only memory capacity but also computational capability for processing data.

Smart cards can hold a large amount of information, ranging from personal to professional, such as medical health information and information regarding any transactions made by the card owner. The magnetic stripe of a smart card can store several hundred times more data than a conventional card.

In addition, it is more reliable and secure than a credit or debit card. It can perform tasks such as authentication, identification, data storage and application processing.

Service Operations Management in Healthcare and Hospitality Sectors

The healthcare sector (medical sector) refers to the industry that offers goods and services for the treatment of patients with preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care. Today, the healthcare sector is one of the world’s largest growing sectors, consuming over 10 per cent ofgross domestic product (GDP) of most developed nations.

Service operations management in the healthcare sector aims at designing, planning, executing and improving healthcare systems within a facility to create and deliver healthcare services efficiently.

It transforms inputs such as personnel, information, technology, equipment, and capital into healthcare services (output). It also helps in improving the quality of services provided by the hospital.

Hospitals are facilities used for providing curative and preventive care to the patient irrespective of race, religion, economic and social status. They also provide educational programmes to medical students and professionals. Various operations at healthcare facilities can be broadly categorised into two groups.

Let us discuss these operations indetail.

Intramural Operations

These operations are performed by a healthcare facility within its premises or territory. Intramural operations include:

Therapeutic Services

These include:

Diagnostic functions that aim to find and diagnose a disease or the cause of the disease with the help of invasive or non-invasive procedures.

Curative functions that encompass any care provided to patients bythe hospital staff, such as doctors, nurses, physical therapists, dieticians and technicians, on an outpatient or inpatient basis. Health education to patients as well as the general public is also included in curative functions.

Rehabilitative functions such as physical therapy, counselling, occupational therapy, which involve supportive care given to patients after a major injury or operation.

Emergency services are one of the most important service operations of a hospital. A patient coming to a healthcare facility in a medical emergency, such as major or minor trauma, injury, illness, accident, burn, poisoning, cardiac arrest, etc. receives lifesaving medical help from the department performing these services.

Preventive Services

These include:

  • Child clinics and vaccination centres
  • Antenatal and postnatal services
  • Family planning and welfare centres
  • Health education
  • Control of communicable diseases
  • Diabetic clinics

Educational Services

These include:

  • Undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral medical education services

  • Undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral nursing education

  • Specialty education

  • Paramedical college

  • Community healthcare seminars

Research Services

These include:

  • Clinical medicine related research
  • Hospital administration related research projects

Extramural Operations

These service operations are performed by a healthcare facility in the community or surrounding areas outside its territory. Extramural operations include:

  • Homecare services for patients who require medical care at home by providing nursing services.

  • Health camps in schools, colleges, shopping malls and rural areas.

  • Day care centres for performing minor medical procedures and operations such as eye care camps, dental camps, orthopaedic camps, etc.

Service operations management at a healthcare facility identifies the most efficient and optimal steps to improve and support patient care services. It aims at performing all the functions in a systematic manner. For example, assigning the right task to the right person is an important aspect ofservice operations management at any hospital.

Help of Service Operations Management

Besides, service operations management helps in:

  • Producing the right kind of healthcare services: The quality of healthcare services depends on the needs of patients. This is because different patients require different levels of treatment. Therefore, services provided by health care centres should be responsive to individual patient preferences, needs and values.

  • Maintaining timeliness: Timeliness refers to the timely delivery of services to patients. It is one of the most important parameters in the healthcare industry to judge the effectiveness of a healthcare facility.

    Timely delivery is possible only when medical staff ensures the optimal utilisation of available resources. Therefore, services provided by the healthcare facility should help in reducing waiting time and delays in treatment.

  • Ensuring efficient performance: Service operations management is also needed for ensuring efficient operations at any healthcare facility. Healthcare facilities should avoid waste in equipment, supplies, ideas and energy. In other words, healthcare facilities should be efficient enough to provide quality services to their patients.

  • Minimising risk: Accepting risks and the extent to which efforts are taken for minimising risks affect the reliability of an organisation. Service operations management also aims to minimise risks involved in various functions.

  • Achieving steadily high quality: The process of achieving steadily high quality in the healthcare sector involves “doing the right thing correctly.” This requires physicians, nurses and all practitioners to make right decisions regarding healthcare services with the right amount of skills, judgment and timeliness of execution.

    Service operations management is also needed to ensure sustained high quality in all functions across a healthcare facility.

Service Operations Management in the Hospitality Sector

The hospitality sector is another major sector within the service industry. It includes lodging, restaurants, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruise lines and additional fields within the service industry. Today, the hospitality sector is a multi-billion dollar industry.

However, the growth of the hospitality sector depends largely on the availability ofleisure time and disposable income of people in general.

Service operations management in the hospitality sector is vital in ensuring the long-term sustainability of food and lodging facilities. This can be achieved through maximising revenue, providing high quality products and services and integrating technology.

In other words, service operations management in the hospitality sector involves consistent delivery of products and services according to expected standards.

As the hospitality sector is a people-oriented sector, service operations management in this sector aims at providing better services to customers to foster a long-term relationship with them. With ever-increasing competition, the need for managing customer expectations is also increasing.

Service operations management, therefore, focuses on quality dimensions to help the hospitality sector understand the needs and preferences of customers and maintain profitable relationships with them.

Service operations management in the hospitality sector typically consists of the following steps:

Developing Service Policies and Procedures

Service operations management in any hospitality organisation begins with the development of service policies and procedures. These policies and procedures should be in line with the desired image of the organisation and target customers.

For this, managers should have a clear idea about the service quality image they want to project in the market. In addition, they should have clear knowledge ofwhat services are needed bytheir target market and at what price.

For example, The Oberoi Group operates 28hotels across five countries, under the ‘Oberoi’ and ‘Trident’ brands. The Group also provides flight catering, airport restaurants, travel and tour services, car rentals, project management and corporate air charters.

A distinctive feature of service policies and procedures of the Oberoi Group’s hotels is their highly motivated and well-trained staff members who are competent enough to provide exceptionally attentive, customised and high quality services.

Heymann (1992) explained that customer-driven policies and procedures should be developed within the organisation by taking inputs from customers and from employees who have direct contact with customers.

The views and opinions of customers and employees should be incorporated in the policymaking process for generating strong and realistic policies and procedures.

However, the organisation should ensure that in order to achieve total service commitment, all policies and procedures should be consistent, effective and efficient throughout organisational operations and must address all the significant dimensions ofservice quality.

Attaining Strong Commitment From Service Employees

In addition to strong policies and procedures, a quality service requires commitment on several levels. Service quality should be designed holistically. In other words, the only way to achieve total service commitment is when an organisation adopts a team approach, where allemployees in each department makean effort to provide quality services.

For this, employees should not only fully comprehend the significance of providing quality services to customers but also understand and respect the roles that other departments play in delivering quality services. According to Kirwin (1992), “A commitment to service means everyone in the organisation must have the power to serve the needs and problems of the guests.”

Top management also plays an important role in managing service operations as it guides the organisation to achieve quality services. The role of management depends on the development of efficient employees. Managers hire, train, motivate and reward employees who, in turn, influence the organisation’s ability to produce quality work.

For example, KFC, a member of the Yum! Brands, is one of the most standard organisations in the world. At KFC, they follow an approach where all employees at various levels make their best effort to provide quality services.

Lets’ see employees at various levels in KFC and their roles in providing quality services:

  • Restaurant team members: These are the basic level employees, who are considered the face of KFC as they deal with customers directly and are responsible for providing quality experience to their customers.

  • Shift supervisors: They lead the restaurant team and meet customers’ expectations with competent management skills.

  • Assistant managers: These are management level employees, who are usually second-in-command and have a key responsibility of training and developing the restaurant team to provide excellent services to customers.

  • Restaurant General Managers (RGM): These are top level management employees who are responsible for building their team, serving customers and growing business.

Measuring the Effectiveness of the on-going Service Plan

Successful management ofservice operations at any hospitality organisation needs constant and regular assessment and measurement of on-going service plans and procedures. An effective performance measurement system should be developed to check service standards and ensure quality services.

Customer feedback is one important method of measuring service performance, yet only 2-3% of customers respond with genuine feedback. According to Heymann (1992), “Systems of assessment must be devised with intent to improve performance.”

Therefore, to ensure service performance improvement, the service measurement should focus on multiple dimensions of service quality.

Factors such as customers’ expectations and service standards influence customers’ perception of service quality and determine the significance of on-going performance measurement and service plans.

For example, Qantas Airways is the Australia’s largest domestic and international airline that is regarded as the world’s foremost long dis-tance airline. Qantas is considered to be one of the world’s most innovative airlines that keep improving its services.

Qantas relies heavily on measuring the effectiveness of on going services and improving the same by assessing customer feedback. For instance, after receiving huge positive feedback from customers, Qantas offers their customers ground in-flight WiFi entertainment technology that is the first of its kind by any airline.

Service Operations Management in the Telecommunications Sector

The telecommunications sector encompasses organisations that provide communication services through phone or the Internet. Telecom organisations create infrastructure that allows data to be sent anywhere in the world. The largest players in the sector are wireless operators, satellite companies, cable companies and Internet service providers.

Technically, telecommunications includes any communication over a distance, which could take place through telephone, television, radio, wireless network, computer network, telemetry or other means. However, traditionally, the term ‘telecommunication’ is used for telephone service.

Today, telecommunication is considered as a way of life. It affects everything that youdo – work, play, socialise, entertain, exercise, study, serve, teach, rest or protect. It has changed the way you use your money and time.

With technological advancement you can access the Internet, play videos or track your movements via the global positioning system (GPS) technology on your cell phones. This is merging the boundaries of telecommunications and other industries, such as computer hardware and consumer electronics.

Telecommunication is not only shaping culture and society but also transforming business and economics.It plays an important role in addressing the business needs of numerous sectors, including entertainment, healthcare, education and advertising by reducing operational costs, enhancing operational performance and speeding business processes.

A telecom organisation manages its service operations through an assortment of communication channels, which are:

  • Wired: When the electronic means of communication was first introduced, the only way to communicate was through the transmission of a signal over a wire.

    Telegraph and landline telephone communication are the two basic types of wired communication, used in the wired telecommunicationssector.

  • Wireless: With technological advancement, it has become possible to communicate via wireless communication channels. It involves communication through cell phones or over the Internet. Today, people need not plug in a cord to share their communication with others.

    Telecom organisations are working to enhance wireless telecommunication tools, including cell phones and computers, with wireless Internet capabilities. This branch ofthe telecommunications sector is becoming highly popular as with new advancement it is facilitating speedy services to customers.

  • Satellite: Satellite services are integral to contemporary telecommunications, as they facilitate everything from navigation systems to video broadcast and data transmission.

    Satelliteservices include fixed satellite services such as Intelsat; low earth orbit companies (LEOs), such as Globalstar and mega-LEO Teledesic; direct broadcastsatellite companies; and the global positioning system (GPS).

Apart from these channels, telecom organisations perform several research work for constant development of new systems that could revolutionise the way people communicate with each other.

Service operations, involved in research work at any telecom organisation, focus on developing new communication ideas and bringing these ideas to fruition. With the help of these operations, telecom organisations are today able to deliver high standards ofservices to their customers.

They are continuously investing and adopting new technologies, such as cloud and analytics, to increase and manage their service operations’ agility and efficiencies.

Today, telecom organisations are focusing more on connecting with customers to provide them better service experience and ensuring their loyalty towards the organisation and its products/services. Today, customers are ardent data users and Internet surfers.

This has resulted in making mobile services and communication service providers an integral part of the consumer’s life. In a market flooded with multiple players, ‘service experience’ is becoming an important determinant of brand loyalty.

Customers nowadays are becoming very particular about products/ services they opt for. They select a service provider having a proven track record of consistently delivering superior customer service. In addition, they want their concerns addressed promptly through their preferred interaction mode or touch-points, be it a phone call or a social media platform.

Managing service quality through various touchpoints is vital for creating a good brand image. It is constantly becoming a challenging factor for the telecom service provider to manage the quality of services provided through these touch-points.

With multiple telecom players offering almost similar products/services, creating a unified, linked and customised service experience could be an effective differentiating factor.

To deal with such challenges, telecom service providers are focusing their service operations on developing a comprehensive information management system powered by Big Data and advanced analytics.

This requires businesses to acquire or upgrade necessary skills, processes and technologies to ensure that customer information is easily accessible from all touch-points in real time.

This has led the telecom service providers to use Computer Telephony Integration (CTI), Interactive Voice Response (IVR), intelligent call routing and knowledge management systems to provide continuous service delivery as per the customer’s expectations.

The comprehensive use of information management system helps telecom service providers in managing their operations by:

  • Capturing and managing touch-point data effectively

  • Integrating with a comprehensive customer database to identify the customer’s requirements

  • Distributing necessary customer data acrossservice channels

  • Functioning efficiently in real time

  • Customising service experience to the most possible extent

Let us now understand with the help of an example how telecom service providers manage such service operations. Consider a scenario where a complaint or service request is registered through a service touch-point, which could be phone, online portal, in-store request, etc.

Now, with the help of advanced analytics, the service provider would:

  • Gather allspecifications of the request

  • Map the user identity with details present m the customer relationship management (CRM)system

  • Route the request to the most appropriate service channel for response

  • Update the commencing service channel with relevant information about the complaint/request, as it progresses

The abovementioned steps would ensure that the customer receives customised resolution to his/her complaint/request through the steadiest resolution point. The generated data can be further used to notify the customer regarding upcoming offers and probable solutions to related issues that might arise in the future.

This helps the telecom service provider to not only address the present issue but also ensure that the customer feels special by getting customised services. All this further strengthens the business-to-customer (B2C) relationship in the highly competitive and mature telecom market.

Service Operations Management in the Education Sector

The education sector in India is poised to witness major growth in the coming years. By the end of 2020, India will have the world’s largest tertiary-age population and the second largest graduate talent.

The education market is expected to reach US$116.4 billion in FY 2016-17. At present, higher education contributes 59.7 per cent of the market size, school education 38.1 per cent, pre-school segment 1.6 per cent and technology and multi-media the remaining 0.6 per cent.

Education is basically a process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at an educational institution like school or university. It helps an individual generalise their experience that can be used in different contexts. It also provides a shared knowledge that helps in generating innovative ideas.

Educational institutions perform different service operations to offer high-quality education to students. Service operations management at these institutions focuses on developing a framework and support for the successful management of day-to-day operations.

It helps educational institutions achieve their primary goal of creating a learning environment for the complete growth of a child. Though every institution has its own individual strategic plan to achieve its operational efficiencies, the focus of general service operations management lays in handling a few common operational aspects.

These aspects include facilities identification and renovation, financial consideration, board governance, marketing and public relations (PR), human resource, curriculum development, enrolment, assessment and personal and professional development. Overall, the main aim of service operations management at any educational institute is to achieve educational excellence.

Let us now discuss major service operations areas, which are typically managed by any educational institution:

Financial Services

Service operations management at an educational institution focuses on managing all financial systems to supportshort- and long-term objectives of the institute. It involves:

  • Developing and managing operating capital budgets
  • Establishing accounting system at the institution
  • Coordinating financial statements and recordkeeping
  • Handling purchase needs
  • Providing logistics support forfinancial audits
  • Managing financial and governmental reporting
  • Planning fund-raising efforts
  • Administrating financing, such as grant and loan applications
  • Managing risk and insurance

Marketing, PR and Communications

Service operations management at any educational institution focuses on developing and executing marketing, PR and communication plans to manage the institution efficiently. Service operations involved in these activities are designed to target customers through high-quality messages with widespread appeal.

Service operations involved in marketing, PR and communication focus on:

  • Enrolment plan development and implementation

  • Community outreach

  • Specialised branding

  • Marketing training modules and resources

  • Institute website

  • Special events and programmes

  • Templates for collateral materials such as parent letters, surveys, brochures and flyers

  • School communication support

Human Resources

Service operations management at any educational institution aims at constructing a comprehensive human resource strategy. It is required to manage all aspects of human resources, such as recruitment, certification compliance, payroll and benefits, school board services and regulatory issues. Human resource services include:

  • Schoolstaffing plans
  • Faculty and staff recruitment
  • Employee recordkeeping
  • State retirement reporting
  • School board and administrator services
  • School policies and handbooks
  • Government compliance and reporting
  • Payroll and benefits administration
  • Employment policies and manuals


Facilities development and management can be a complex aspect of any educational institute’s operations. Usually, service operations for this component involve:

  • Selecting site and its acquisition
  • Getting land-use approvals
  • Developing institute design
  • Managing the construction process
  • Managing capital project planning with bond financing
  • Supervising both routine and major maintenance services
  • Building security
  • Managing custodial contracts


With increasing competition, educational institutes need technological support in various areas ranging from infrastructure and network management to technical assistance to student systems administration.

Service operations that help in managing technical aspects of any educational institute involve the following tasks:

  • Installing classroom and office equipment, including hardware and software

  • Installing LAN/WAN and network connectivity

  • Ensuring site-level tech support and remote troubleshooting

  • Ensuring technology maintenance and security

  • Managing student information system

Educational Programming and Staff Development

Apart from financial considerations, human resources, facility management and technology, student achievement is another core component that affects the overall success of an educational institution.

Thus, in order to achieve the goal of creating a learning environment, various service operations at any educational institution also focus on managing educational programmes and staff development. It helps an institution fulfil its vision of strong faculties, strong students and strong future.

Service operations management helps in achieving this goal by:

  • Implementing curriculum planning and development
  • Administrating the learning management system
  • Managing accreditation oversight
  • Setting performance benchmarks
  • Making customised improvement plans
  • Implementing innovative professional development methodology

Service Operations Management in the Media and Entertainment Sector

The media and entertainment industry is vast. It encompasses activities and services as diverse as hip-hop to opera, theme parks to tall towers, and ballet to bird hides.

With continuous invention and innovation in external social, technological, economic, environmental, political, legal and ethical (STEEPLE) environment, the sector is transforming at a faster pace than ever before. However, the primary goal of the sector remains unchanged, i.e. to captivate audience and to be rewarded for doing so.

The media and entertainment sector involves a plethora of sub-sectors, such as music, bars and clubs, films, broadcast media, audio-visual media, the Internet, gaming, print media, commercial gambling, spectator sports, edutainment, and cultural and spiritual entertainment, which provide thousands of entertainment products and services.

In other words, the media and entertainment sector comprises a group of organisations and businesses that works towards the common purpose of providing entertainment.

Broadly, the media and entertainment sector can be divided into various sub-sectors, as shown in Table :

Art and Leisure EntertainmentMass Media EntertainmentRecreation EntertainmentInteractive EntertainmentCommunication Entertainment
TheatresFilmSportsCasino and gamblingPublishing and event planning
MusicBroadcasting (Television, radio)Travel and tourismVideo games
Theme parks
Media and Entertainment Sub-sectors

You can see that unlike other sectors, the media and entertainment sector is not limited to a defined number of segments. It has a number of sub-sectors and service operations. In each sub-sector, operations are performed and managed differently. For example, service operations performed in travel and tourism would be entirely different from service operations performed in films and music.

Let us discuss how service operations are performed in different entertainment sub-sectors:

Art and Leisure Entertainment

This sub-sector includes a wide range oforganisations that provide services to meet varied cultural, entertainment and recreational interests of the audience. This sector comprises organisations that are involved in producing or promoting live performance, events or exhibitions for public viewing.

Service operations of such organisations focus on controlling the distribution and manufacturing of mass media entertainment services. Organisations involved in art and leisure entertainment aim at preserving and exhibiting objects and sites of historical, cultural or educational importance.

In addition, they focus on involving the audience to participate in recreational activities, hobbies and leisure-time interests. Service operations involved in this sub-sector are designed and managed as per the skill-sets required for the work involved. Operations are designed to provide amusement and recreation services to customers.

Mass Media Entertainment

Suppose you want to hear your favourite song or watch your favourite show. Where do you go? Most likely you will turn onyour television, radio or computer. These are the sources that the majority of the general public uses to get entertained. Therefore, these are called mass media entertainment.

Mass media entertainment involves media technology, intended to reach mass audience. It basically involves film and broadcasting media that transmits information electronically through cinema, radio, recorded music or television.

Let us discuss how the film and broadcasting media manages its service operations through major communication mediums, which are used to transmit services to the audience:


Films are motion pictures produced by recording, individuals and objects with cameras, or by making them via animation techniques and/or special effects. Film-making involves several operational functions starting from theme conception, planning, execution, revision to distribution.

There are five major stages of film production, which are discussed as follows:

  • Development: Basic operations at this stage focus on idea creation and concept development. Apart from this, the financing solution for the proposed film is also sought out at this stage. The development stage also focuses on purchasing rights to books/plays and scripting the screenplay for the film.

  • Pre-production: Operations involved at this stage focus on making preparations for the shoot. At this stage, cast and film crew are hired, locations are selected, and sets are built.

  • Production: This stage involves shooting and recording the raw elements for the film.

  • Post-production: This stage focuses on inserting images, sound and visual effects to the recorded film. Editing of the film is also done at this stage.

  • Distribution: Service operations involved at this stage focus on the distribution and screening of the finished film 1n cinemas.

Asone of the most widely recognised mediums ofentertainment, films use these stages to produce the art (service), capable of simulating experiences in audience by communicating ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty or atmosphere.

Thus, a film, by the means of recorded or programmed moving images along with other sensory stimulations performs and manages its service operations.

Films are produced within the film industry or motion picture industry that comprises technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking. The film industry basically consists of large, multinational corporations, major studios and independent studios to produce films.

The major film companies include 21st Century Fox, Comcast Corporation, The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. and Viacom Inc.

The industry includes writers and authors, editors, photographers, graphic designers, translators, film and video editors and camera operators, broadcast and sound engineering technicians, announcers, producers and directors, and performers like actors, musicians and composers.

These people work on-screen and behind the screen to provide entertainment services to the audience. Apart from this, there are public relations people, talent agents and representatives, marketing managers, entertainment lawyers and distribution workers, who help the industry in managing its service operations efficiently.


Broadcasting has been the centre of the entertainment sector for a century and is still growing and changing beyond recognition. Broadcasting is a method of communication that provides various types of information to audience in the form of entertainment services.

Television and radio are two major broadcasting tools that use a television or radio station for transmitting programmes to home receivers. Radio broadcasting uses audio signals that are sent through the air as radio waves from a transmitter.

These waves are received by an antenna and sent to a receiver. Television broadcasting is another telecommunication medium that performs its service operations by transmitting moving images in monochrome or in colour and in two or three dimensions and sound.

Television is used as a mass medium for transmitting entertainment, education, news, politics and advertising services to the audience.

Radio and television broadcasters produce and/or obtain content for broadcasting, such as entertainment programmes, news, talk and other shows to provide services to the audience. Many television broadcasters are now using digital broadcasting to transmit pictures with higher resolution, known as high-definition television (HDTV).

This enables them to transmit a programme, such as music concert, from several different camera angles on the same channel. The audience then selects the view they like to see on their television set. Such technological advents have refined the wayof performing service operations for broadcasters.

Recreation Entertainment

Recreation entertainment involves fun activities performed for enjoyment, amusement or pleasure. Recreation is an essential element of human life and the services provided under this category are planned by taking into consideration of individual interests and surrounding social construction.

These activities can be communal or solitary, active or passive, outdoor or indoor, healthy or harmful and useful for society or detrimental. A list of typical recreational activities could be almost endless. A few examples of such activities are reading, listening to music, watching TV,gardening, hunting, sports, studies, travel, etc.

Public places like parks and beaches are essential venues for many recreational activities. Similarly tourism services are used to provide recreational offerings to visitors. Today, recreation-related business is a major component of any economy.

There are several public institutions, voluntary group-work agencies, private groups and commercial enterprises that organise various recreational activities for their patrons. For example, the National Park Service, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), the Kiwanis and Disney World.

Service operations at recreation-related business focus primarily on meeting recreational needs of a community or an assigned interest group.

Recreational service professionals plan and organise activities, explain the rules and regulations of games or play areas to the patrons, enforce safety regulations to prevent injuries, provide first aid in case of minor injuries, modify activities or recreation plans to suit the needs of the patrons and maintain equipment used for recreational activities.

Interactive Entertainment

Interactive entertainment refers to any type of video games or other multimedia entertainment activities which require direct intervention of the user. In other words, in interactive entertainment the user’s actions directly affect the game. Today, many video game experts see interactive entertainment as the future of the gaming industry.

Service operations in interactive entertainment focus more on user involvement in the computer world. Businesses involved in the interactive entertainment industry use software that record user movement, facial expression and actions through sensors to direct the motions and behaviour of a character on screen.

The focus remains on using the user’s physical abilities to direct actions. Thus, such games allow the user to rely more on his/her own personality and skills to direct the actions of the game.

Communication Entertainment

This type of entertainment basically involves a publishing activity, which is dissemination of literature, music or information. In other words, communication entertainment involves services of making information available to the general public through printed works, such as books, newspapers, magazines, periodicals, etc.

With the advent of digital information systems and the Internet, the scope of making information available to readers has expanded from print media to electronic media, such as the electronic versions of books and periodicals, as well as micropublishing, websites, blogs, video game publishers, etc.

The service operations of any entertainment providing organisation are designed to provoke desired emotional response in the audience. The emotional response of the audience is one major parameter to judge the success or failure of an entertainment service.

In other words, the degree to which the audience is emotionally affected by the entertainment service typically determines how good or bad the entertainment service is.

For example, after watching a movie that is ‘labelled’ a comedy, the audience is expected to show positive emotions, including happiness, joy and amusement. These emotions are then physically transformed into laughter and applause.

If the movie fails to invoke such emotional responses among the audience, the movie would be considered as a low-quality entertainment bythe audience. Therefore, the service operations of any entertainment providing organisation focuses on provoking a desired emotional response from the audience.

The service operations of an entertainment organisation also depend on the needs ofan audience. Without an audience, entertainment cannot exist.

For example, a football match could be an exciting experience and therefore quite entertaining. However, if nobody is watching the match, no entertainment takes place as no audience is entertained.

Service operations in the entertainment sector also focus on ‘novelty’. Novelty is the quality of being new, original and unusual. It is something that is not experienced commonly.

Thus, when a novel thing occurs, it instantly attracts attention and completely engrosses its audience. The service operations of the entertainment sector focus to present something to the audience that they find novel and get entertained by it.

Article Source
  • Fitzsimmons, J., & Fitzsimmons, M. (2008). Service management (1st ed.). Boston, MA:McGraw-Hill.

  • Parker, D. (2012). Service Operations Management (1st ed.). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.

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