Finding e-Service Offerings by Computer-Supported Customer Need Reasoning
Ziv Baida (Free University Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Jaap Gordijn (Free University Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Hans Akkermans (Free University Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Hanne Saele (SINTEF Energy Research, Norway) and Andrei Z. Morch (SINTEF Energy Research, Norway)
Copyright: © 2008
We outline a rigorous approach that models how companies can electronically offer packages of independent services (service bundles). Its objective is to support prospective Website visitors in defining and buying service bundles that fit their specific needs and demands. The various services in the bundle may be offered by different suppliers. To enable this scenario, it is necessary that software can reason about customer needs and available service offerings. Our approach for tackling this issue is based on recent advances in computer and information science, where information about a domain at hand is conceptualized and formalized using ontologies and subsequently represented in machine-interpretable form. The substantive part from our ontology derives from broadly accepted service management and marketing concepts from business studies literature. In earlier work, we concentrated on the service bundling process itself. In the present chapter, we discuss how to ensure that the created bundles indeed meet customer demands. Experience of Norwegian energy utilities shows that severe financial losses can be caused when companies offer service bundles without a solid foundation for the bundle-creation process and without an in-depth understanding of customer needs and demands. We use a running case example from the Norwegian energy sector to demonstrate how we put theory into practice.