Business services are the various actions and activities that help maintain a business but don’t result in the production of a tangible product. They are a recognisable subset of economic services and make up a significant portion of the global economy. These include consulting, information technology, human resources and marketing.
Often, it’s more cost-effective to outsource business services than it is to hire and train in-house employees. This also frees a company’s internal staff to focus on more important duties, such as customer service and research and development. Some examples of business services include marketing, payroll and translations. Outsourcing business services is a growing industry. In the United States, it is estimated that there are more than 3.3 million workers employed in professional and business services.
The types of business services that are outsourced vary widely. For example, an architectural firm may outsource the task of creating a new office building to a construction company. This can save the firm time, money and the need to invest in the necessary equipment for such a project. Similarly, a law firm might outsource the preparation of legal documents to a paralegal.
Other common business services are administrative support, information technology and financial management. Outsourcing these services enables companies to focus on their core activities while avoiding noncore costs. These cost-saving measures also allow firms to improve efficiency and productivity, as well as increase their competitive edge.
Outsourcing can also reduce the risk of workplace accidents and injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 2.5 million non-agricultural work-related illnesses and injuries per year. In addition, there are more than 750,000 workplace fatalities each year, including more than 11,000 deaths in the professional and business services sector.
The key to a successful business service is an effective delivery model and proper planning. This includes establishing clear goals and objectives, identifying potential risks and developing a detailed plan to mitigate them. It is also important to listen to customer feedback and continuously improve the services offered.
Unlike goods, business services cannot be stored as inventory for future use. In contrast, a consumer can consume a service immediately upon demand, and this characteristic distinguishes them from products.
The process of identifying business services begins with mapping the digital means for engagement with a service — that is, how a customer interacts with it. It also involves identifying the services’ underlying dependencies and defining their corresponding service offerings. These offerings typically include capability, availability, and pricing options (customer-facing choices).
In addition to ensuring that business services are designed with the customer in mind, it is important to test them out before they go live. The best way to do this is to involve the customers of a service in the design process, so they can provide valuable feedback and help the company identify strong use cases. It is also helpful to monitor service performance and metrics regularly and decide when a service should be updated or retired.