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Combining Local and Global Expertise in Services

Combining Local and Global Expertise in Services
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Author(s): Hannu Salmela (Turku School of Economics and Business Administration, Finland) and Juha Pärnistö (Fujitsu Services, Finland)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 7
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch097

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Abstract

Since the 1990s, services characterized by a considerable geographical distance between the service person and the customer have become increasingly commonplace. Banks and insurance companies are introducing call centers or service centers to complement, or even replace, the old regional service organization. In the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, companies such as Fujitsu and IBM provide part of the end-user support for their clients from a few centralized call centers. Telecommunications operators have established call centers to serve their customers in conducting basic business transactions. To a large extent, the change in the 1990s can be attributed to ICT development. As call centers and local offices have equal access to all the information, many of the services that previously had to be provided locally can now come from a call center. Furthermore, this decade will bring new technologies that will further enhance capabilities to serve customers over long distances. They will, for instance, provide increasingly rich media for interaction between customers and remote service personnel. This article investigates factors that need to be considered when moving service production from regional offices to service centers. The empirical part of the study comprises a longitudinal analysis of the ways how Fujitsu Invia, a European IS company within Fujitsu Group, has transformed its service organization. The company has moved a long way from local, site-specific service units to national service centers, and ultimately to a few global centers that provide services to thousands of computer users worldwide. In retrospect, it can be said that the decision to centralize service production turned out to be very successful. However, the reasons why Fujitsu Invia decided to return part of the end-user support closer to customer sites illustrates the complexities associated with centralizing services that were previously produced locally.

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