Front-office, back-office designs have become popular over the last twenty years. Crucially, they have been ‘enabled’ by technology and thus, of course, are promoted by technology companies. These designs are central to the industrialisation of service and are based on the belief in economy of scale.
People in the front office see the customer, people in the back office work to procedures. It follows that the two get a different view, increasing the potential for things to be sub-optimised.
Often the front office will break down a service request into a number of separate tasks to be completed by the relevant back-office function.
Managers assume these tasks will arrive in the right places, be met by people with the right skills, will be done in the standard times and according to agreed service levels and then will return as one to the customer.
How often do you suppose that happens?