The Evolving Portfolio of Business-to-Business E-Services: Service and Channel Innovation

The Evolving Portfolio of Business-to-Business E-Services: Service and Channel Innovation

Christine Legner (European Business School (EBS), Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-964-9.ch012
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Abstract

E-services have been recognized for their contribution to strengthening customer relationships and fostering customer loyalty. While prior research has focused on the role of e-services in business-to-consumer interactions, this chapter studies e-services in the business-to-business domain. More specifically, it explores how the preferences for e-services and electronic channels change over time as a result of developing technology and evolving customer requirements. Based on the case study of ETA SA, a Swiss manufacturer of watch movements and components, three stages of increasing electronic interaction with customers have been identified. The company pioneered online ordering of watch spare parts based on a first generation e-commerce solution and subsequently introduced a comprehensive customer service portal. This research suggests that moving from the e-commerce solution to the customer process portal involved a significant extension of the e-service portfolio (service innovation), whereas the subsequent stage introduced an additional electronic channel (channel innovation). Every stage in this evolution path forces companies to substantially re-architect their interorganizational process and system linkages. From the experiences of ETA SA, we conclude that a well-designed B2B architecture is required to cope with the growing number of e-services and the complexity of serving multiple electronic channels.

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