Business Case for Needs and Wants

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Customer Needs in e-Services 1

Running head: CUSTOMER NEEDS IN E-SERVICES

How e-Services Satisfy Customer Needs: a Software-aided Reasoning Ziv Baida1,2, Jaap Gordijn3, Hans Akkermans3, Hanne Sæle4 and Andrei Z. Morch4
1

Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Free University Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2 e-Rational, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 3 Faculty of Sciences, Free University Amsterdam, The Netherlands 4 SINTEF Energy Research, Norway

Customer Needs in e-Services 2

ABSTRACT
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.

KEYWORDS: electronic services, conceptual model, knowledge management,



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