The dynamics of a service business and innovative product business are dramatically different. Established product companies tend to emphasize the practices and culture they know best when they move into services. The tendency is to find synergies based on their products that become the recommended solutions for customers. Additionally, it can be more difficult for a product company who provides services to be the champion for the customer when there is a problem with the product being implemented.
Ideal Product Company Focus
I believe that product companies should always be striving to eliminate implementation and operations labor with improved and innovative automation technology. There is an inherent conflict by having a company that provides services and products.
I believe that companies who aspire to grow from services are in a sense making a statement that product innovation cannot be achieved to further automate. I think a major goal of product companies should be to use technology to compete with service providers. Consider the history of copiers where Xerox dominated the market and had a massive service organization. A group of Japanese companies changed this with copiers that could be installed and serviced by the user. In the automation industry, open network protocols have certainly enabled systems to be applied using best of breed sensors.
Is it possible?
Is it possible for an automation vendor to be effective at products and services? Maybe, but there have been a number of large computer companies that tried to offer services and products eventually becoming total service providers or went out of existence.
On balance, the use of a totally independent service provider may be in the best interest of the user.