Service Systems Engineering (glossary)

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(1) Service systems engineering (SSE) is the application of systems engineering principles and concepts in the development, delivery, operation, and life cycle management of service systems. The key focus of SSE is on the transactions between a service provider and service consumers. The consumer can be an individual, an organization, or even an entire enterprise. (Created for SEBoK)

(2) A multidiscipline that addresses a service system from a life-cycle, cybernetic, and customer perspective. (Tien and Berg 2003)


(1) This definition was developed for the SEBoK.

(2) Tien, J.M and D. Berg. 2003. "A Case for Service Systems Engineering." Journal of Systems Science and Systems Engineering. 12(1) (March 2003): 13-38.


Though "service systems engineering" (SSE) is used commonly within the field of systems engineering, few formal definitions are provided within the literature. Tien and Berg (2003) provides definition (1), which includes the concepts that multiple disciplines must be utilized to manage customer needs and expectations of a service system throughout the systems life cycle. This aligns with the notion of a service as something akin to a support system for an additional system (e.g. a call center or information technology (IT) support system). The SEBoK authors, however, believe that a more holistic view of SSE is beneficial to the discussion and in understanding how it is addressed within the literature. The author team developed definition (1) to address these concerns.

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