Networked service organisations are increasingly adopting a ‘smarter networking’ philosophy in their design of more agile and customer-focused supply models. Changing consumer behaviours and the emergence of transformative technologies—industry 4.0, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, the Internet of Things—are driving a series of innovations, in terms of ‘products’ and business models, with major implications for the industrial enterprise, in their design of more ‘digitalised’ supply chains. For B2B systems, emerging ‘product-service’ offerings are requiring greater visibility, alignment and integration across an increasingly complex network of multiple partners and collaborators, in order to deliver a better service and customer ‘experience’. To support the design and operation of these multi-organisational service networks, we outline a concept of operations architecture here, underpinned by the literature and network theory, and demonstrate application using a series of exemplar case studies. Focusing on relational elements and the processes key to network integration within service supply networks, the cases inform a set of operating principles and protocols—applicable to all stakeholders ‘cooperating’, within a ‘shared’ environment. Equally critical is to understand how digital technologies may influence future operating philosophies. This article extends our theoretical understanding of network organisations, from a traditional ‘product’ perspective to that of ‘services’, and presents the case for developing a common, unified approach to designing diverse forms of multi-partner service networks.
- Multi-organisational service networks
- Product-service systems
- Network and data integration
- Digital technologies
- Operating principles and protocols