The Service Automation Framework is an internationally recognized framework that companies are using to transition manual steps of their service delivery process into automated steps. The framework is widely adopted because it provides the detailed understanding of service automation, such as the underlying theory, the step-by-step processes, concepts and the practical techniques to design an automated self-service solution.
In the previous article, we have seen that the Service Automation Framework consists of 6 main capabilities. They can be subdivided into the focus on design (The User, Service Design and Technology) and the focus on delivery (Automated Deployment, Service Delivery Automation, Serendipity Management). In this article we will discuss about the ‘Service Design’ of the framework. The Service Design is one of the 3 foundational building clocks that are crucial to systematically design services. It solidifies service concepts into an actual design which includes the relevant support structures and technology interfaces.
Automation of services can vary in terms of complexity. But in the most basic form, every service can be broken down in a number of sequential steps that can be regarded as a process. A very common example would be the food delivery platform such as Grab and Foodpanda. Their service primarily consist of the following steps:
Search and order food > the restaurant prepares the food > the driver picks up and sends the food > rating of the service. Below is a simplified example of the process flow:
Figure 1: Service Process Flow
Similar to the example above, organizations can break down any services into their most basic steps. This can provide a better overview of the entire service process and all the sequential steps that are required to deliver the overall service to the customer. Once the key steps have been identified, we then proceed to the next step which is the design of the Service Automation Blueprint.
The Service Automation Blueprint is one of the 7 techniques of the Service Automation Framework. The SAF Blueprint is a tool that can be used to help us visualize how a service is delivered by a service provider. The blueprint provides a holistic view of the service flow, the necessary interfaces and interactions that are crucial for the successful delivery of the service.
Figure 2: The Service Automation Blueprint 
As can be seen in the figure above, the Service Automation Blueprint consists of 7 key design elements, each with a specific focus and function.
Demographics: Demographics characterize a User Group in terms of factual information that can be attributed to the whole group (for example an age category).
Psychographics: Psychographics characterizes a User Group in terms of preferences and perceptions that can be attributed to the whole group (for example graphic preferences).
User Actions: User Actions are all of the steps that users take as part of a service delivery process. For example, activating an online account.
Physical Evidence: Physical Evidence is a Service Provider action that has value for users and establishes a level of trust between a user and a service provider.
Technology Interface: The Technology Interface is the medium through which a service provider interacts (i.e. facilitates service encounters) with its users.
Support Processes: Support Processes are the (automated) sequential steps that service providers take in order to process User Actions.
Company Functions: The final layer in the Service Automation Blueprint, Company Functions are the organizational departments that exist in any company.
The Service Automation Blueprint is a great tool to facilitate collaboration and discussion for multiple stakeholders (IT team, Business team, Operation team, etc) to identify the business function and important elements (technology, support processes, etc) necessary to systematically build automated services. To learn more about the step-by-step approach to design a Service Automation Blueprint please visit Service Automation Blueprint. If you are interested to learn more about the Service Automation Framework please visit Service Automation Foundation Course or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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