Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore how information and communication technology (ICT) is affecting and driving changes in the service processes and customer interfaces of capital goods manufacturers. Design/methodology/approach – The research is focused on intra‐ and inter‐organizational relationships, i.e. between front office and back office and between provider and customer. Two market‐leading, international manufacturing firms were selected for in‐depth case studies. Findings – By means of ICT systems and applications, it is becoming increasingly possible to replace tasks through an integration of processes between organizational units, either between front office and back office or between front office and customer. Closer technical integration between provider and customer can be a basis for more advanced and extensive offerings. In bundled offerings, not only one but a number of service production process interfaces become important. Research limitations/implications – As the local service organizations in three Western European countries have been studied, the general applicability of the findings may be limited. Practical implications – The results of this study stress the importance of developing capabilities to manage several process interfaces simultaneously. Furthermore, an important message is that firms must balance the interplay between process automation and personal interactions when delivering industrial services. Originality/value – ICT systems are becoming more critical for the provision of industrial services. This paper provides an insight into how technology enables new service processes.
Management Research News – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 8, 2008
Keywords: Communication technologies; Service industries; Customer relations
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