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Digitally enabled advanced services: a socio-technical perspective on the role of the internet of things (IoT)

Andreas Schroeder (The Advanced Services Group, Business School, Aston University , Birmingham, UK)
Parikshit Naik (The Advanced Services Group, Business School, Aston University , Birmingham, UK)
Ali Ziaee Bigdeli (The Advanced Services Group, Business School, Aston University , Birmingham, UK)
Tim Baines (The Advanced Services Group, Business School, Aston University , Birmingham, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 3 September 2020

Issue publication date: 20 November 2020

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate how the internet of things (IoT) contributes to manufacturers' advanced services development and delivery. To better understand the creation of these IoT contributions, the study adopts a socio-technical research perspective, which expands the scope of the investigation and integrates the technological, information and social factors that enable these IoT contributions.

Design/methodology/approach

A multiple-case research method was employed to investigate the IoT contribution scenarios of 15 manufacturers who offer advanced services and to examine their dependence on other non-IoT factors, using thematic analysis.

Findings

The analysis identified five advanced services value propositions, which are enabled by nine “IoT-enabled information systems (IS) artefacts” that specify the distinct interactions between the technological, information and social subsystems supporting the manufacturers' advanced services value propositions.

Originality/value

The study advances the servitisation research by demonstrating that IoT technology on its own is insufficient for the creation of the IoT contributions. It shows, instead, the need for close interactions with a diverse range of other factors, which are often not considered when developing an IoT strategy. The study also introduces the IS artefact notion as a unit of analysis that constitutes an alternative to the commonly adopted techno-centric perspective used to conceptualise IoT contributions. The study and its findings add to the development of a socio-technical perspective on the IoT in advanced services and thereby suggests a number of theoretical and practical implications.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Grant Ref ES/P010148/1: Pathways towards Servitization: A trans-national study of Organisational Transformation, EPSRC Grants Ref EP/K014064/1, EP/K014072/1, EP/K014080/1: ‘Transforming the adoption of Product-Service Systems through innovations in applied gaming technology’, and BBSRC Grant Ref BB/S020993/1: Next Generation Rice Processing.

Citation

Schroeder, A., Naik, P., Ziaee Bigdeli, A. and Baines, T. (2020), "Digitally enabled advanced services: a socio-technical perspective on the role of the internet of things (IoT)", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 40 No. 7/8, pp. 1243-1268. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-03-2020-0131

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited