منافع استراتژیک برای شرکتهای کوچک و متوسط از طریق خدمات وب سایت شخص ثالث: تجزیه و تحلیل پژوهش عملی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|16954||2006||19 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Volume 15, Issue 4, December 2006, Pages 273–291
Prior research provides evidence that large organizations can derive strategic benefits from developing new applications with web services. This research contributes to the literature by demonstrating that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can derive strategic benefits from using publicly available web services, and that SMEs may be best able to take advantage of the inexpensive, user friendly third party web services that are emerging. In this paper we describe how one small golf retailer used web services to achieve strategic benefits including higher profit margins and better competitive positioning relative to a large competitor. Specifically, action research methods were used to devise and implement an innovative strategy for applying the web services offered by eBay in tandem with web services offered by related third party companies. The business and IT strategies, first year results, and key success factors are described followed by a discussion of the generalizability of the strategies employed. In conclusion, possible directions for future research are discussed.
Many large e-businesses have begun offering web services that allow trading partners of all sizes to access various data sources and applications. For example, Amazon, Google, and eBay offer either free or inexpensive developer kits that include standard web service APIs, demonstration applications and code as well as complete instructions for connecting to general data sources or specific account information. In addition, a number of new third party web service companies have emerged, offering tools that work in conjunction with the web services of the larger e-businesses to support activities such as data mining and sales assistance. These offerings present a window of strategic opportunity for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Small budgets and limited technical expertise have historically been barriers to SMEs interested in IT-enabled business strategies, but emerging web service offerings provide inexpensive, user friendly access to information for all organizations, including SMEs. While prior research provides evidence that large organizations can derive strategic benefits from developing new applications with web services, this research contributes to the literature by demonstrating that SMEs can derive strategic benefits from simply using publicly available web services, and that SMEs may be best able to take advantage of the inexpensive, user friendly third party web services that are emerging. In this study, action research methods were used to devise and implement an innovative strategy for applying the web services offered by eBay in tandem with web services offered by related third party companies for a small golf retail and service company, Golf Masters. Golf Masters is a privately owned golf retail and service company and has operated since 2000 in its present location. It serves a local market with a variety of golf-related products and services. Annual revenues approximate $1 million, with retail sales generating 30% of the revenues and services such as golf lessons, repair, and maintenance of golf equipment, and operation of a private Golf Club and indoor golf facility generating the remaining 70% of revenues. In 2003, a major golf-specialty chain-store opened a 24,000 sq. ft. retail space within 1/2 mile of Golf Masters’ store. This competitor threatened to reduce Golf Masters’ retail revenues by drawing customers and repeat business away. How Golf Masters used the publicly available web services of eBay and related third parties to meet this competitive challenge is described in the remainder of the paper. Golf Masters’ innovative strategies, first year results, and key success factors are presented in this paper followed by a discussion of the generalizability of the strategies employed to other SMEs, including discussion of some reasons why these specific strategies may not work for large companies. We conclude with some possible directions for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study extends the literatures on the resource based view of the firm (Barney, 1991), on strategic use of web services and on the IT-enabled business strategies of SMEs by demonstrating that SMEs can use web services to effectively leverage other organizational resources such as agility and customer service. The flexibility of small business infrastructures like Golf Masters makes them ideally suited to adoption and use of available third party web services. Further, the accessibility of publicly available web services from large firms like eBay makes it possible for small companies like Golf Masters to ‘partner’ with those firms without needing to align and coordinate technological infrastructures. At the beginning of this research effort, Golf Masters had a very simple sales transaction information system as their only information technology investment. Since the technological infrastructure of Golf Masters is far less complex than that of a large firm, it was easier to isolate and measure the financial effects of systems enhancements than in studies involving larger, more complex organizations and serves to strengthen the validity of research findings. Golf Masters’ new business strategy of purchasing products from indirect sources such as eBay to supplement direct purchases from manufacturers is effective for several reasons. First, a relatively large volume of new golf clubs are available through auction sites, due in part to the nature of the golf industry and the large volume of golf products made available but never used through promotional activities. Also, the level of technology skills necessary to manage the process is low, so it is appropriate for an SME with few IT resources (Auger and Gallaugher, 1997 and Raymond, 1985). Prior to initiating the new acquisition process Golf Masters’ staff already had experience with online auctions and eBay in particular, so they understood general auction procedures and were familiar with the process of using sophisticated browser-based applications over the Internet. Extending the traditional consumer-focused auction model and developing a relatively high-volume product acquisition strategy, however, required familiarity and experimentation with more sophisticated analysis tools and third party web-services which Golf Masters staff did not possess. Consistent with prior research (Gribbins and King, 2002), obtaining technical expertise from outside the company proved fruitful in helping Golf Masters consider the strategic value of new information technology options within the context of their business goals. However, once the tool-set was identified and an overall process developed, minimal additional training was required to enable Golf Masters staff to perform data mining functions, create new product searches and transition seamlessly from one online application to another. The owner was able to strategically leverage these investments in numerous ways once he was aware of the opportunities. In fact, the owner’s leadership played a key role in the successful deployment of web services strategy. This finding is also consistent with research on successful integration of technology in large organizations (Armstrong and Sambamurthy, 1999 and Chatterjee et al., 2002). Research indicating that external pressures are often the source of a company’s decision to adopt an accelerated strategy for IT investment (Hackbarth and Kettinger, 2004) are also applicable here, as the competitive pressure caused by the large retailer moving into the same town was the primary impetus for Golf Masters’ decision to make the strategic investments in web services. All of these factors contributed to Golf Masters’ success in making the product acquisition process efficient and manageable and, therefore, sustainable. 8. Further research Research on possible uses of web services by companies of all size is in early stages. This research illustrates how some web service applications may be strategically used by SMEs in ways that are potentially generalizable to other SMEs but are probably not generalizable to large organizations. Other research into web services has revealed strategic uses of web services by large organizations that may not be easy for SMEs to employ. Yet while specific strategies may be more or less appropriate based on organizational size, it may be noted that companies of all sizes are finding web services to be an inexpensive tool to support closer collaboration and integration with multiple partners and suppliers across multiple systems. Additional theoretical research analyzing the relative benefits of large and small company use of web services is needed. Additional research is also needed to determine the extent to which the results obtained by Golf Masters are repeatable by other SME retailers. We suggest that the business model employed by Golf Masters may work well for other SME retailers that sell commodity or semi-commodity products, but only additional research could confirm this hypothesis. There are a number of reasons why consumers of golf clubs may prefer to purchase their clubs from Golf Masters rather than from the large retail chain or from the auction site directly, despite the fact that golf clubs are a commodity product. Firstly, the fact that Golf Masters can now offer a 5–10% discount over the large retailer on many items gives them a small local price advantage. Golf Masters also has in-house experts in club fitting and customization, so once the clubs are purchased, the clubs can be tailored to fit the individual. Such services are not usually offered by large retailers or by sellers at online auctions. Another reason why a customer may continue to prefer buying clubs from Golf Masters rather than going to the auction sites is that golf clubs, while commodity products, are relatively expensive, so many consumers may be reluctant to purchase their clubs from an auction site. Other consumers may be uninterested in investing the time to deal with the auction process while still others do not generally think of the Internet as a safe or viable option. However, further research would be necessary to consider the value derived by customers from SME use of web services. The continued rapid growth of physical eBay shops in Europe, Australia and the US is a testament to the number of people who still prefer buying and selling at a physical location to buying and selling items through an auction site. This leaves a number of opportunities for SMEs willing to invest in similar product acquisition processes as those employed by Golf Masters. Any related applied research may be useful to business owners as well as other applied research scholars. Golf Masters employed one possible business model. The potential for research related to development of other innovative business models employing web services for SMEs seems virtually limitless. In any case, a key to the company’s success was the alignment between the web services solutions selected and the strategic needs of the organization. There are several opportunities for more technical future research as well. Today, Golf Masters uses a simple rule-based approach in determining which items to bid on within a product line resulting in an average 30% of auctions being won. A more systematic understanding of the correlation between winning an auction, the auctions characteristics and product characteristics could increase the effectiveness of the bid process and result in lower average prices and better product qualification. The cost effectiveness of automated auction sniping also warrants further analysis as our experience indicates that their service is perhaps undervalued to organizations which use them to perform bulk bidding such as Golf Masters. The success experienced by Golf Masters is predicated on a strategy of technology adoption rather than development, favoring use of existing low-cost third-party tools available online. Today, the number and type of such third-party applications which can be adopted by SMEs is increasing as companies such as Salesforce.com, SAP, Microsoft and Oracle are providing web-based access to a variety of high-value hosted applications, allowing businesses of all sizes access to sophisticated business applications without the overhead of developing or managing the technical aspects of their deployment.