Effects of servitization in the marketing processes of Software-as-a-Service : With focus on intangible aspects of Software-as-a-Service
Abstract: During the past three decades vast advances in IT and computing have been made, which places a lot of pressure on the marketers. Cloud computing are now a widely used concept and are said to have servitized the whole IT-industry. A cloud-based solution that have received lot of attention recently are Software-as-a-service (SaaS). A SaaS can take several shapes and ranges from simple automations to more complex systems applications. SaaS are increasingly being used in order to make the daily operations and the business itself more efficient. Even though SaaS are more commonly used, there are no extensive literature on how to conduct the marketing effort for such a solution. The purpose of this research is to explore the marketing process of cloud-based services more in-depth; get a good sense of which factors that are interesting while purchasing a SaaS, but also which factors are interesting while choosing a supplier. The study is of an exploratory character have a qualitative inductive approach. In order to explore the subject area, eleven in-depth expert interviews have been conducted. The result provided valuable insights regarding the marketing process of SaaS, but also on how the relationship between the customer and supplier together with the service itself are affecting the marketing effort. The most important findings are considered to be: Core aspects of supplier relationship: Trust and Personal relationship, Understanding of the business and willingness to change, Communication along with Quality and Total cost of service. Core factors of SaaS: Saving of resources, Scalability, Daily operations are outsourced, High reliability and availability of the system along with Security This gives valuable clues to what the potential customer values. Meaning, what the supplier company should focus on in order to create an effective marketing and in the end create extensive value for the customer. Tough, if the security requirements are not meet the rest of the service is of little importance. Security can be considered the foundation for value creation in this context. In the future, there are many aspects that could be profitable to investigate further in the scope of marketing for cloud-based solutions such as SaaS. The first aspect that should be investigated are an exploration of specific marketing approaches for SaaS or other Cloud based services. But also, how such a marketing effort could be constructed in the future. The second aspect are how trust is affected by servitization and digitalization. But also, how to build trust in a more intangible and digital world. By focusing on these aspects many businesses can receive valuable clues on how to create extensive customer value through providing cloud-based solutions.
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