Know your services

Know your services

Your organisation provides services. No matter what industry you are in. Whether you sell mortgage packages to customers, trainers that need to be shipped to consumers, elevators that need to be installed and maintained, or healthcare to patients. No matter what you sell, you are providing a service to individuals or companies.

Those services already exist although they may have not been thought through or consciously “designed.” They might be good or in need of improvement. There are a few things that service organisations should be able to do:

  1. Having a clear and shared view of what customers are trying to get done. Not just an internal view of what your organisation is trying to do, but a true representation of what customers outside of your organisation are trying to achieve. You should have a plain English list of the services your organisation provides and a clear map of how customers interact with those services and at what stage.
  2. Knowing how these services are performing for customers and for the business. That requires the ability to track service performance with real, selected, meaningful data. Data can be both qualitative and quantitative.
  3. Solving for customers’ whole journey. Not just for a slice of the journey owned by a specific department or team. That means that you understand where the journey begins and ends for customers and have cross functional teams working together to improve services for people outside the organisation. Those teams should not be arranged product by product, or technology by technology, but service by service.
  4. Talk about the customer outcomes you are trying to achieve. Those outcomes should be clearly articulated and measurable. You should have a list of a few metrics attached to those selected outcomes that you can track over time and that can signal whether you are achieving those outcomes, or not.
  5. Articulating how much it costs to run those services. And the value that those services bring to the firm. You should be able to show how work in your current portfolio relates to reducing costs or increasing revenue.

Can your organisation do that? I bet that some of these things you are already doing, for the rest you are still figuring out how to get there. Good news is that you are not alone. It is hard, it takes time, these are things that are counterintuitive to the way organisations have historically been set up. Design can help in this transition.

A few things you want to make sure to have in place

Map it out. You don’t need to map everything at once. Choose a slice, a line of business, a specific service, something people value and care about, start from there. Make sure to show the interconnections, the overlaps, it is usually mind blowing for people to see their role/work into context and how it affects the bigger picture.

This is an illustration of how we structure services at livework. The first layer - Journey Architecture - represents the higher level of abstraction. It’s a summary of all the services you offer as an organisation, written in plain english, from a client perspective. The more you drill down, the more granular the story gets. Adding a view of specific service experiences, how they are connected to business outcomes and what is needed to deliver from an organisational perspective. Finally, the metrics framework gives a snapshot of the outcomes you are going after, indicators that can signal whether you are achieving that outcome or not, and key data points that you can monitor for that purpose.


  • Define the client outcomes you are trying to achieve. Do it collaboratively, engage customers and employees in the process so that your key stakeholders are comfortable with that list.
  • Measure outcomes. Find meaningful metrics to connect to those selected outcomes. You’ll need partnerships in place for that, with data analytics for example. Mock it up, you don’t need a live feed straight away.
Mock up of an outcomes and metrics dashboard. It enables a view of what outcomes customers value and how well you are performing against them, connecting that performance to business and operational metrics, such as cost or efficiency. A consistent and transparent way of monitoring service performance, and therefore prioritise tactical and strategic efforts.


  • Show how that view can be used for different purposes. A good example is how to prioritise your investment portfolio.
  • Pick a key service in your portfolio and run a project for service improvement. Put together a cross functional team for it. Set up a minimum viable governance model to govern that service improvement over time.