Over the past decade, there has been an intensification of interest and focus on what “service” really is and what it means for modern industries and businesses. Michael Cusumano has nicely summarized strands of this thinking in some of his publications, most recently in the chapter “Services, Not Just Products (or Platforms” of the book Staying Power (2010).
A more recent article (in Strategy + Business, May 2011), covering an interview with Henry Chesbrough, provides additional insights into this important widespread business dilemma
“To escape the commodity trap — and to compete effectively in a knowledge-based economy — business leaders of all kinds need to reinvent themselves as innovators in services.”
The article can be accessed at: http://www.strategy-business.com/article/11210?gko=af24f&cid=TL20110616.