A new model for service businesses in product‐centric firms

Anees Gopalani (Associate Partner at IBM, Englewood, Colorado, USA)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Publication date: 7 September 2010



Confronted by lower product sales prospects, increased margin pressures and customer demands for free service support, many firms are entering the service business. Yet most of these firms will be unable to scale their service operations to develop a viable stand‐alone services capability. In the rare cases where they are successful in establishing a services business it will often fail to deliver the expected profit margins. However, when properly planned and executed, a products to services business transformation generates impressive results. this paper aims to investigate this issue.


The paper defines how to scale services business. Key challenges and mitigation approaches as well as case studies are provided to effectively execute on services transformation. Various challenges and their effects are examined separately. Several tactics to overcome some of the key challenges identified.


When managed properly, new services businesses can deliver solid economic value to the top and bottom line. In order to capture this value, managers must look at services through a very different lens, understanding that this is a fundamentally different business model than their existing product business. It is recommended managing the entire services value chain to realize the full benefits of creating independent services revenue stream, increased product pull‐through, and deeper customer relationships.


By considering various obstacles a company faces in scaling services business, the paper provides insight into what strategies may be effective as established companies deal with balancing existing product‐centric business while scaling services business.



Gopalani, A. (2010), "A new model for service businesses in product‐centric firms", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 31 No. 6, pp. 4-11. https://doi.org/10.1108/02756661011089026

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