The Service Organization

How to deliver and lead successful services, sustainably

by Kate Tarling

All organisations are becoming service organisations. But most weren’t built to deliver services successfully end-to-end, and the human, operational and financial impacts are abundantly clear. Given how rapidly services change, the stakes are even higher in the digital era. Yet default working practices (governance, planning, funding, leadership, reporting, programme and team structures) inside large organisations haven’t changed. Rather than modernising just one service at a time, the underlying organisational conditions must be transformed — anything less is futile.

“The Service Organization” results from years of research and consulting and dozens of interviews with executives. It explores significant challenges that leaders will recognise. It turns them into solvable puzzles by providing practical advice and tools that reimagine what the organisation does from the perspective of its customers — and it organises the activity needed to deliver the best outcomes.

This book is for everyone involved, from designers to technologists and operational staff to policymakers and leaders. It includes surprisingly simple and doable but non-obvious steps that don’t depend on seniority or pay band and are typically overlooked by even the most progressive professions, teams and companies.

Kate Tarling sets a bold, ambitious, practical agenda for all service organisations. Her book is full of behind-the-scenes examples from global companies, public sector bodies and non-profits that are now delivering and leading successful services. It shows how to reinvent organisations so they rely not just on ‘transforming technology’ but on putting the success of their services at the heart of how they operate.

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