How can IT Contribute to Servitization in Manufacturing Firms? An investigation of the strategic role of the IT organization
This work adds to the vast body of literature on servitization in manufacturing firms by investigating the contribution of dynamic capabilities and the strategic role of the IT organization to servitization. Specifically, the study develops three strategic roles the IT organization can play, based on an extensive literature review, and designs indicators which enable the measurement of these roles together with dynamic capabilities. The theoretical foundations were built by performing an extensive literature research on servitization, with focus on dynamic capabilities and Information Technology in particular. Primary data was obtained by executing a web-based survey to collect data on the degree and importance of servitization, the current role of IT and the possession of dynamic capabilities in participating companies. Using cross tabulation and frequency analyses to examine the small sample (N=19), tendencies in the relationships could be found. Most survey respondents expect an increasing importance of Product-Service Systems (PSS) and service orientation for their firms in the future. Manufacturing firms with a strong current service orientation seem to employ dynamic sensing capabilities. A connection between a high service orientation and dynamic seizing or reconfiguring capabilities could not be confirmed. Regarding the role of IT, tendencies towards a positive relationship between a strong Innovation Enabler role of IT and a high importance of the IT organization for PSS development, respectively PSS delivery were discovered. Furthermore, the role of IT as a Solution Integrator appears to be positively related to the importance of IT for PSS delivery. The study concludes with managerial implications for the strategic role of the IT organization against the background of servitization and gives suggestions for the alignment between business and IT.