Servitization and its Effects on the Business Model : The Transition from Hardware Products to Software Services in Manufacturing

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Industriell ekonomi; Linköpings universitet/Industriell ekonomi

Abstract: Companies within the manufacturing industry is undergoing changes in their business models to adapt to changing external environments and trends – whereas one general trend is toward servitization, the transition from hardware products to software services. These software services have shown to have an increasingly impactful role for former productbased firms to ensure future reliable profits and revenues. This thesis aims to contribute to the academical field of servitization and business model literature, within the context of a non-disruptive industry with a slow technological development rate. This is done by addressing the following purpose: to understand how hardware manufacturing companies can integrate software services in their existing business model. In order to fulfill this thesis’ purpose, the research questions answered address how a hardware manufacturing company’s business model can be affected by servitization, but also how the process of business model innovation can be facilitated in the organization. This master’s thesis is anchored in a qualitative, interpretive case study – where the empirical data has been gathered from semi-structured interviews and internal case company documents. The findings from this thesis show that servitization can affect company business model in several ways. The first one is the shift towards customercentricity, both in terms of the design of the value proposition and the way of working with the customers. However, the findings show that companies in this context may experience difficulties with designing a value proposition that is desirable to the customer. Problems with demonstrating the benefits of the servitized value proposition might also arise. Furthermore, this thesis also concludes that there can be issues in translating a manufacturing company’s value proposition into concrete revenue streams and moving from traditional cost-based pricing methods to value-based pricing strategies. Also, manufacturing companies in this context might struggle to realize its value proposition if there is not a sufficient amount of dedicated resources, competences and activities dedicated to completing the transition. This thesis also concludes that in order to facilitate the process of business model innovation within the organization, there needs to be a supportive culture to the innovation, but also clear goals and strategies that fits the overall strategies of the company. These strategies also need to be appropriately communicated within the organization. Companies might experience difficulties in rooting the business model in the overall strategy, and failing to do so can affect the internal perception of the innovation in a negative manner. This thesis aims to contribute to the understanding of the concepts of the business model and innovation of the business model in the context of servitization. This study is performed as a context-specific study within a non-disruptive industry with a slow technological development, which differs the study from earlier research within this research field.

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