The study described here is motivated by the challenges of system, service, and solution integration in a networked business environment [1, 2]. The call for more complete and complex solutions also requires changes in value networks' configuration. Accordingly, a service or solution integrator (SI) has an important and challenging role in the value network. The key challenge of the SI is centred on successfully combining the various pieces in the value network into an integrated and seamless solution. That is, the challenge lies in how to manage networked business operations [3, 4]. Network companies, both business-to-business (B2B) customers and suppliers, focus on their core competencies and acquire further expertise from their network partners . Simultaneously, the trend among customers and suppliers seems to be to engage in forward transfer in their value networks. Therefore, today's networked business environment, where knowledge is distributed, demands a collaborative approach to integration of knowledge, resources, and technologies into seamless solutions for B2B customers. In other words, willingness and ability to work together is one of the key success factors in solution co-creation and service business networks [6, 7]. This paper explores the challenges of service integrators within a networked business environment. We apply a multidisciplinary approach employing network, solution-integration, and service business analyses. Using qualitative case studies, this paper deepens knowledge about a service integrator's challenges and tasks. The aim is to contribute to the literature by bridging the gap between solution integration and network management. Accordingly, the changes in networked business environments and different roles in service networks are examined first. The results of the study, summarised in terms of service integrators' challenges and tasks, will form a baseline for network-management models and be incorporated into practical tools. The network-management models and tools are studied and developed further in the Service Network Integrator (SHINE) project, in order to support integration of seamless solutions in B2B networks and their delivery to customers in a value-creating way.
|Title of host publication||Highlights in service research|
|Place of Publication||Espoo|
|Publisher||VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|
|MoE publication type||Not Eligible|
|Series||VTT Research Highlights|
Valjakka, T., Valkokari, K., & Hakanen, T. (2013). Challenges of a service integrator in B2B networks. In Highlights in service research (pp. 49-54). VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. VTT Research Highlights, No. 6