Guest article from Madhavi Ayyagari (symposium co-chair)

Murdoch University Dubai hosted the 10th International Research Symposium in Service Management (IRSSM10) from October 6th – 9th, 2019.

IRSSM is an annual symposium, hosted successively by different universities around the world. It is a unique and dedicated platform that fosters research, publications and cross-country collaborations among service researchers. Since its inception in 2010 as part of the Service Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) Initiative, the symposium has been attracting researchers from all over the world. The popularity of the symposium is demonstrated by the fact that the lineup of host countries is already decided till 2024.

With the theme, “Service Imperatives in the Era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” the 10th symposium in the IRSSM series attempts to explore the latest developments in the field of service management. Spread over four days, the event started with a research workshop on Day 1, and continued with the 3-day symposium in which research papers were presented by the participants from 24 countries in two parallel tracks.

Symposium Research Workshop (October 6th)
The research workshop aimed at strengthening the research foundations. It was chaired by Dr. Kandampully and facilitated with experts from some of the top universities in the world (i.e. Drs. Choi, Ball, Alkire, Bove, van Riel, Beldona, Durvasula, Kunz, and Benoit).

Day 1 of Symposium (October 7th): Inauguration, keynote speeches, and research papers’ presentations

Then, Dr. James Trotter (Dean and Academic Vice President, Murdoch University) welcomed the participants to the symposium. Dr. Madhavi Ayyagari (Symposium co-chair) who shared the thought that went into the choice of the IRSSM10 Theme (Service Management in the Era of Industrial Revolution 4): The breakthroughs in the digital era through Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and the Internet of everything have made a significant difference to our work and daily lives.

The symposium started with two keynotes from practicing professionals. First, Mr. Arnaud Van Rietschoten (VP, IT Service Management & Digital workplace, Emirates Airlines) talked about  “How to keep Aviation Information Technology in the Air 24X7!” Arnaud traced the growth of Dubai from the 1950s till date and the envisaged future and the evolution of Emirates Airlines from its humble beginnings in 1985 to the present status of being the largest airline in the world by international revenue passenger kilometers.

Second, Air Commodore Dusty Amroliwala (OBE MA MBA FCIPD, COO, Attestation and Verification Services, VFS Global) talked about “Facing down the scourge of Education Technofraud – An inevitable yet unwelcome consequence of the era of IR4”. Like many of the revolutions that preceded it, the promise made by many of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is that it has the potential to transform mankind – to higher levels of income, to improve the quality of lives for billions and to completely reinvent the manner in which services and products are deployed to bring greater efficiency and enjoyment to our lives.

Eventually, Dr. Jay Kandampully (Symposium Chair) reiterated that the mission of IRSSM is to develop research competence amongst young researchers and to build collaborative multi-country research networks. He urged the participants to focus on relationship building and the young researchers to seek guidance from senior researchers.

Day 2 of Symposium (October 8th ): Keynote speeches, and research papers’ presentations
First, Mr. Sanjay Sharma (Head of Information Technology, Jumeirah Group) held a keynote called “Beyond Digital”. According to Sanjay, businesses today are competing for consumer’s time and attention, data is the foundation of digital business, every touchpoint, every click, and every digital exhaust is a relevant insight. Thereafter, the second keynote was held by Dr. Marie Ibrahim (Senior Research Executive, Dubai Health Care City Regulatory) on “Healthcare Regulation: Bridging the Gap between Research, Policy, and the Public”. The age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and AI gave rise to the terms Data-Driven Policy and Data-Centric Policy which are slowly but surely replacing Evidence-Based Policy formulated on the basis of available evidence and rational analysis thereof.

Day 3 of Symposium (October 9th): Panel discussion followed by research papers’ presentations
Dr. Kandampully chaired a panel discussion on “Publishing in Academic Journals” with the 8 panel members from the pre-symposium research workshop. The last day continued with presentations in six tracks:
• Artificial intelligence and Virtual Reality
• Methodology and measurement
• Review of research on smart tech in services
• Financial services
• Service time
• Service ecosystem

In the evening, a Gala Dinner was held on a cruise on the traditional boat known in Arabic as ‘Dhow’, and research awards were presented. Ten Young Service Research Awards were given to encourage young service researchers from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mauritius and UAE. The award included a cash prize and commendation. Further, a Best Paper Award and three Highly Commended Paper Awards were also conferred to recognize and promote high-quality research — sponsored by Journal of Service Management (and Emerald Publishing). The key objectives of these awards were:
– To motivate young researchers and enable them to participate on international research platforms
– To promote high impact research and also to nurture research collaborations between the award recipients and seasoned researchers from the sponsoring institutions. These awards were sponsored by the University of Queensland, Universiteit Hasselt, the Center for Service Research – Karlstad University, and Ajman University.

After all this research fun, post-symposium tours (a tradition of IRSSM) were organized: it included a city tour of major landmarks of Old and New Dubai and desert safari in which the participants have been given a glimpse of the culture and achievements of Dubai.

More information about IRSSM can be found here.

Official Photo collection can be found here

and here