“Services have become the key to an enterprise’s success,” says Dushyant Sukhija, a former executive with Cisco Systems and author of “The Cisco Way: Leadership Lessons Learned from One of the World’s Greatest Technology Services Companies.” 

But it’s crucial for businesses to understand that a services economy is about people, he says, and the people who are key to making success happen are the managers and employees within the business itself. He suggests:

• Drive exceptional thought leadership. It’s critical to hire the right leaders because so much else can hinge on how they perform. Sukhija says companies should look for people with a command and understanding of the business’ mission; who have stellar reputations and ability to attract new talent; and who have the potential to grow to the next level of leadership.

“When products are a company’s focus, it’s important to invest in research and development, and product innovation,” Sukhija says. “But when it is services that drive a company’s success, then the investment should be in people. Get them inspired, because inspired people make the difference.”