Exploring the value drivers of industrial consultancy services in the age of digitalization : A study conducted in association with Sweco Industry
Abstract: A number of studies have explored the drivers behind value creation, often referred to as value drivers. These studies point out that the generalizability of research on value creation to other contexts is difficult. One such context in which the value drivers remain unidentified is the context of industrial consultancy services. In the age of digitalization, where industries are becoming more complex and knowledge intensive, consultancy services have grown increasingly important for industrial customers. At the same time, globalization intensifies the competition on consultancy markets creating a high pressure on consultancy firms’ ability to continuously enhance value creation for their customers. Based on these challenges, the purpose of this thesis is to explore how value creation can be enhanced through the identification and utilization of value drivers in industrial consultancy services. Two research questions were formulated based on this purpose and addressed by means of a qualitative study conducted in the paper and pulp industry in Sweden. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six managers and decision makers from five multinational companies that use consultancy services. The thematic analysis of the interviews led to the identification of 13 value drivers that play key roles in value creation in industrial consultancy services: Individual competence, Organizational resources, Availability, Personal relationship, Communication, Personal attributes, Timeliness, Usage of time, Performance, Cost, Customer-organizational involvement, Documentation and Progress by feedback. Ten among these drivers were considered benefits, while three were considered sacrifices. Consultancy firms should strive towards minimizing the negative effects on value creation caused by sacrificial value drivers and maximize the positive effects on value creation caused by beneficial value drivers. In addition, the thesis contributes a model in which the 13 value drivers can be used by both industrial customers of consultancy services and consultancy firms for the purpose of evaluating and enhancing value creation. Specifically, the model offers a tool that (I) compares different consultancy firms or projects in terms of value creation, (II) evaluates and analyzes projects and collaborations with respect to value creation and (III) enhances value propositions and value creating processes.
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