An Integrated Methodology for the Evaluation of Electronic Port Services

An Integrated Methodology for the Evaluation of Electronic Port Services

Nikolaos Marianos (University of the Aegean, Greece) and Maria Lambrou (University of the Aegean, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/jssmet.2010070104
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This article introduces a formal evaluation methodology for IT investments specifically designed to cope with the needs of port industry. Port industry is a service-oriented industry and, as such, is characterised by the intangible nature of benefits. The goal of this paper is to develop a methodology for the evaluation of container terminal related electronic services that incorporates both strategic and analytic evaluation techniques for performing both ex-ante and ex-post evaluation. Port industry is an interesting case because, although it is characterised by intense competition and ports have to concentrate in satisfying the customers’ needs by proving value added services with the use of advanced information and communication technologies (ICT), it is also characterised by a lag in adopting new technologies and techniques compared to other industries. In this paper, the authors present an analysis of the industry’s specific needs and proposes a dynamic evaluation methodology specifically designed to satisfy them.
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Over the last twenty years, global markets are becoming increasingly service-based economies and employment growth is concentrated in the service-providing sectors of the global economy (Spohrer, 2007; IfM & IBM, 2008). Market based services, excluding those provided by the public sector (e.g., education, health care, and government) account for 50% of the total value added to OECD member countries, and have become the main driver of productivity and economic growth, especially as the use of Information Technology (IT) services has grown (Spohrer, 2005). In today’s rapidly changing business environment, agility and innovation are essential for survival. New regulations, rapidly changing technology, increasing competition and heightened customer expectations mean that organizations must become more responsive to changing demands (Demirkan & Spohrer, 2010). Service design, development and delivery all require methods to make service businesses more efficient and scalable. Practitioners need depth and breadth in combinations of technology, business, and organizational principles.

Service Science or Service Science, Management and Engineering (SSME) is a multi-disciplinary research and academic effort integrating a variety of disciplines, including engineering, social sciences and management (and more), that seeks to bring together knowledge from diverse areas to improve the service industry’s operations, performance, and innovation (Paulson, 2006). The goal of SSME is to increase the productivity of the service industry, promote innovation, and create greater validity and transparency when assessing the value of investments in services (Abe, 2005). SSME aims to understand how an organization can invest effectively to create service innovations and to realize more predictable outcomes (Chesbrough & Spohrer, 2006; Maglio et al., 2006; Spohrer et al., 2006). According to Abe (2005), both service providers and clients are highly dissatisfied with the current assessment and distribution of value that they feel should be attainable through investment in services. A very important element for maximising the value of IT investments in services is to properly evaluate these services prior and after the investment. It is very important to have a formal evaluation methodology specialized for IT services. Most of the traditional evaluation techniques are focused on the industrial sector, assigning more weight to tangibles than to intangibles.

The port industry is a service oriented industry characterised a volatile external environment with high external pressure and intense competition. The demand for transportation services is derivative and depends on the global industrial production and the need for transportation of goods. During the last decades, the port industry has experienced significant changes that had profound affects. The changes were technological (unitisation or containerisation, introduction of informatics), organisational (just-in-time manufacturing, logistics, multimodal transport operation), liberalisation of world markets (globalisation) and a shift of political attitudes in favour of less state intervention in the economy (Chlomoudis et al., 2003). Operating under the new era the container transportation and port service providers have to concentrate in satisfying the customers’ needs proving value added services with the use of advanced information and communication technologies (ICT). This is consistent with the situation in other industries were many in organizations in the manufacturing industry are repositioning themselves in the market as service providers, by offering value-added services wrapped around the core product. Their physical processes remain the same, but their relationships with customers change, and their management and planning processes must evolve to support this change (Dietrich & Harrison, 2006).

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