Digital servitization : Organizing the firm and working with the ecosystem

Sammanfattning: Traditionally, equipment sales were the main source of revenues for manufacturing firms. The situation has changed, and such firms are undergoing servitization when revenues are increasingly derived from services. In parallel, the digitalization of industries brings novel technologies to the forefront of manufacturers’ agendas. With servitization and digitalization converging, many firms are now undergoing digital servitization. Both internal focus and external focus appear important for digital servitization; yet, the extant research remains scarce, explaining the need to further explore the phenomenon’s intra- and inter-organizational sides. To this end, the present thesis aims to describe and analyze how manufacturing firms manage digital servitization internally and externally.Building upon the academic literature in industrial marketing and related disciplines, this thesis leverages five appended papers as its empirical foundation. On the intra-organizational side, the empirical findings concern how firms can organize for digital servitization. Specifically, the findings point toward organizing the structure, where a particular emphasis lies on service and product units, especially alongside the spectrum of central/local and front-end/back-end roles and functions. Furthermore, the empirical evidence suggests that organizing the support for digital servitization requires an internal focus on data (together with relevant digital technologies and software), responsiveness, and agility.On the inter-organizational side, the findings concern how firms can work with their ecosystems. First, working with the vision for digital servitization involves different ecosystem actors, where digitalization-related factors and the timing of relevant initiatives are of importance. Second, working with customers is associated with digital infrastructure for efficient service provision, digital competences of customers, and novel sources and types of value propositions. Third, working with partners requires large-scale, extensive collaboration around digital servitization initiatives, where both commercial and non-commercial actors play an important role. Moreover, the empirical evidence on the inter-organizational side suggests relevant capabilities when working with ecosystems.In terms of theoretical implications, the present thesis contributes to business marketing research and cross-disciplinary servitization research, belonging to the growing stream of literature that studies intra- and inter-organizational sides of digital servitization. Finally, as managerial implications, this thesis offers suggestions for manufacturers on how to organize the structure and the support for digital servitization, as well as how to work with the external business environment.

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