Towards a framework for modular service design synthesis

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    This paper seeks to improve the understanding of how service-based companies can benefit from developing and delivering service offerings from a standardised core of service modules, which are organised through a service architecture. Research within the field is relatively sparse, and there is scope for an explicit definition of elements related to the development of modular service platforms and architectures. A study of the existing literature, combined with a comprehensive case study in a global engineering consultancy, has created the basis for development and evaluation of the conceptual model for modular service design synthesis presented in this paper. The case study is based on internal documentation and a high level of interview data. Inductive research methods have been used for the analysis. The presented conceptual model defines three suggested dimensions (Market Segmentation, Service Roadmap and Service Architecture Layout) to be included in development of modular service platforms and architectures. Testing indicates a significant standardisation potential for service configuration across service families. Our understanding is that the approach can increase strategic flexibility and adaptability to changes in a quick evolving service market. The empirical part of this paper is exploratory in nature and is limited to one provider of high-end engineering consultancy services. Thus, further research will be needed to verify the aspects of the presented methodology to allow a further generalisation of our findings. Nevertheless, this paper contributes to the emerging literature on service modularity by presenting a specific operational approach for description and utilisation of modular service platforms and architectures.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalResearch in Engineering Design
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)237–249
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Service design synthesis
    • Service modularity
    • Modular platforms and architectures
    • Strategic service development
    • Application of service platforms


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