Exploiting the Clash between Customer Needs and Service Offerings in Value Co-creation


The Web is transforming into a global market place: a Service Web. In this context, mechanisms for dynamic delivery and even co-creation of services (as opposed to products; hence not to be mis-understood by software-based services) face new challenges. As we show in our case study, the Web provides already a lot of public data that can be exploited in this regard; hence this may further encourage Linked Data initiatives too as their work proves highy useful value in the digitalization of transparant value co-creation.

Indeed, the adoption of Web 2.0 within electronic commerce resulted in a more personalised user experience. this customer experience is digitized through recommendations and reviews (e.g. Amazon.com), and product customisations (e.g. Quirky), etc. This provides benefit to other users, but also provides intangible value back to the enterprise. The co-creation of value arose from this personalised, unique consumer experience and represents a transition from simple transactional models of customers buying tangible goods or services, to purchases being only a small part of a long-term synergistic experience that also yields the creation and exchange of other forms of intangible value such as community, knowledge, etc.

Yet the scalability of these co-creation platforms  is limited as traditional approaches for developing co-creation opportunities, such as service bundling and community building have relied heavily on existing or opportunistic business relationships that are highly integrated instead of loosely coupled.

This article contributes another step in the dynamic bundling of services that exploits the clash between – and envisions the co-evolution of – customer needs and service offerings. The case is about automating the bundling of educational services in a multi-supplier setting. The experiments act on publicly available instance data about education-related needs and services we found on the Web. This also illustrates that the necessary data is indeed available for a Service Web to emerge and more data publication efforts are needed for a true Service Web to emerge.

We highlight the following mechanisms:

  • Laddering: is a marketing practice which uses a conceptual map to represent how a customer links desired product or service attributes to high-level values he/she desires . E.g., see Figure below: the need to  “improve programming skills” can be decomposed in specific functional consequences (which we were able to crawl from the Web). these can then be logically grouped in Wants. Wants may not yet be offered by concrete suppliers; they represent (based on the Wisdom of the Crowds) a certain combination of needs that is emerging on the market.

Laddering

  • Matching: Matching determines a matching pool of service suppliers that plausibly provide part of the desired Want. Due to the variability of customer needs, single suppliers rarely provide all the required value on their own. Providers may anticipate on Wants as they trigger trends.
  • Bundling: Bundling finds combinations of service suppliers (again crawled from real data) in the matching pool that collectively cover the required Want, hence deliver maximum value to the customer. Different principles or policies of interactions are key during bundling as they may constrain the possible collaboration between suppliers.

Bundling

The full article will be available soon with following citation:

Razo-Zapata, I.; De Leenheer, P.; Gordijn, J. (2011) Value-based Service Bundling: a Customer-Supplier Approach. In Proc.  of Service-oriented Enterprise Architecture for Enterprise Engineering (SoEA4EE) Scientific Workshop (EDOC 2011), Helsinki, Finland, IEEE

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