Developing integrated solutions: The importance of relationships within the network.
Firms that have traditionally focused on selling products, spare parts and services face difficulties with increasing competition and declining margins. They are therefore turning to new strategies where products and services are integrated into so-called integrated solutions. Research on the challenges this presents is sparse, but there is evidence that internal factors as well as external relationships play an important role. In this paper we investigate the relationships within the business network in order to uncover some of the complex issues related to integrated solutions, including how and to what extent these relationships facilitate or impede the development of integrated solutions. Two case studies of one more and one less successful initiative within the same firm are used to illustrate challenges and possible success factors for the development of integrated solutions in the capital goods industry.The paper identifies the following six factors as important when developing integrated solutions: the strength of the relationships between the different actors involved, the firm's position in the network, the firm's network horizon, the solution's impact on existing internal activities, the solution's impact on customers' core processes, and external determinants. It shows that inter- and intra-firm relationships can both enable and obstruct the development of integrated solutions. For the firms involved in the development of integrated solutions, it becomes crucial to manage this duality.
|Year of publication:||
|Authors:||Windahl, C ; Lakemond, N|
|Type of publication:||Article|
Industrial Marketing Management
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