Balancing specialized and generic capabilities in the provision of integrated solutions

F. Ceci, A. MASINI

Industrial and Corporate Change

February 2011, vol. 20, n°1, pp.91-131

Departments: Information Systems and Operations Management, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: Capabilities, Integrated Solutions, Cluster Analysis

Integrated bundles of products and services are gaining importance in various sectors and are reshaping the competitive landscape of many industries. They also pose new challenges to established firms, who need to reconfigure their capabilities. Drawing upon the resource-based view and contingency theory, we test a model of fit between environmental requirements and integrated solutions capabilities in the IT sector. We use the model to interpret the current industry structure and analyze its dynamics. The analysis suggests the existence of four different configurations and indicates that differences in fit between environmental variables and strategic choices partially account for performance differences among integrated solution providers. The results also suggest that, although the provision of bundled products and services confers some a priori advantages to IS providers over generic IT firms, these advantages are greater for firms that are able to align their capabilities to the characteristics of their operational environment