Modeling and simulation of services
Trends and perspectives
Whereas a relatively large amount of work has been done in academic circles in relation to the definitions, characteristics and typologies of services, it is noticeable that the development of fundamental models for services has tended to be neglected. The creation of models is an important component in forming a theory as well as the basis for the professional management of services - for instance, it plays a major role in the standardization of services and quality assurance. Moreover, a large number of generic models, forms of presentation and modeling options are found in relation to products and software (e.g. in CAD or CASE tools), such approaches are widely absent in the field of services. Only recently some interesting work has been done in this area - for example, the development of description languages, new modeling approaches and simulation procedures for services can be observed. Moreover, tried and tested solutions from other disciplines such as the use of UML, the application of virtual reality or the adoption of theatre concepts are transferred to services. Discussing the options and limitations of model creation as well as the modeling and simulation of services was a central topic within the last expert study "International Monitoring of Activities and Research in Services" funded by the German Ministry of Research and Education. In this biannual examination, interviews with 24 international experts in North America, Europe and Asia have been conducted in summer and fall 2009. Besides an analysis of general trends, the study focused on the current impact and future need of generic models (like Gap Model and Service Profit Chain) in research and practice of services, adequate "modeling languages" for services and their integration of so-called soft factors (e.g. interactions, experience, emotions) and the potential of simulation approaches like process simulation (e.g. for service delivery processes), service theatre (e.g. for service encounters) and virtual reality (e.g. for service scapes). Based on the findings of the study, it becomes obvious that the creation of models as well as the modeling and simulation has clearly gained in importance within the last years and it could make a relevant contribution for theory building in service research and service science.