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Providing a method for composing modular B2B services

Martin Böttcher (Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Computer Science, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany)
Stephan Klingner (Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Computer Science, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 14 June 2011

1759

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a method that allows the decollating of formerly monolithic services into separate modules. To provide a semantically equivalent decomposed model, structure and dependencies need to be defined. This fine‐grained image of the service allows an easier configuration and optimisation of single service modules and the service portfolio as a whole.

Design/methodology/approach

As an initial point of the work the authors conducted an extensive literature review, transferring insights from other domains that already make use of modularisation, such as industrial engineering and software engineering. The method developed on that basis was evaluated consecutively in use cases conducted with three companies.

Findings

As research in the fields of industrial and software engineering has shown, modularisation is a suitable approach for handling complexity. In this paper approaches and concepts of modularisation in industrial and software engineering were identified, adapted, and transferred into the field of service engineering, resulting in a method to modularise services. Additionally, potential positive effects of modularisation were compiled.

Research limitations/implications

The process of modularising in general requires three aspects: an architecture to describe the system's structure; interfaces to describe the interaction of modules; and standards for testing a module's conformity to the design rules. The method presented contributes primarily to the architecture. Further research efforts need to be conducted regarding aspects of interfaces and standards.

Practical implications

Nowadays, service providers are facing growing competition, which requires greater economical efficiency. Furthermore, customers increasingly demand individualised services, which can only be offered by applying the concepts of mass customisation. Both challenges can be met with the application of the concept of modularisation.

Originality/value

While service modularisation is increasingly discussed for the service domain, only little work has been done on presenting a method for a structured description. The provision of a method for describing the architecture of services and service portfolios can be used as the basis for further research regarding optimisation and configuration of service offers.

Keywords

Citation

Böttcher, M. and Klingner, S. (2011), "Providing a method for composing modular B2B services", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 320-331. https://doi.org/10.1108/08858621111144389

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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