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Integrating the customer as part of systems integration

Johanna Liinamaa (Laboratory of Industrial Management, Faculty of Technology, Åbo Akademi University, Åbo, Finland)
Magnus Gustafsson (PBI – Research Institute for Project‐Based Industry, Åbo, Finland)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 6 April 2010




It has been argued that systems integration plays a central role when a company supplies complex technical and engineering intensive industrial projects. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of customer integration as part of systems integration in industrial project business.


This paper develops the understanding of systems integration based on an empirical study, in two phases, of a global company providing large and complex solutions including demanding strategic and operational efforts, within the power and marine sectors. The paper analyzes the technical and social dimensions and describes how to systematically manage them.


The social dimension of integration can be achieved by making a direct change in policy towards the six supplier capabilities or integration mechanisms found critical: showing interest in the customer's needs and business requirements; promptly responding to and solving customer needs; having knowledge concerning the latest technical development; having the ability to listen to the customer and to reflect on what has been said; taking responsibility for the delivered installation after handing it over and having logistics competence to guarantee availability of parts.

Practical implications

The benefits of understanding and managing the social dimension, in terms of customer integration, of systems integration properly have a considerable financial impact on the project company's business.


Addressing the social dimension of systems integration is beneficial to a project company's business because the company can decrease its level of risk and uncertainty, and at the same time develop market opportunities by increasing the value of the offerings.



Liinamaa, J. and Gustafsson, M. (2010), "Integrating the customer as part of systems integration", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 197-215.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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