Outsourcing and Transition




Guests Arriving/Welcome by Prof. Eric van Heck


Prof. KBC Saxena: Strategic Implications of Business Processes


Prof. Amrit Tiwana: Influence of Software Platform Modularity on Platform Abandonment


Coffee Break


Dr. Otto Koppius: Business Process Understanding Within and Between Organizations


Q&A with the panel of Speakers



1. Prof. KBC Saxena - Strategic Implications of Business Processes

Abstract: In the current high velocity hyper-competitive global business climate, businesses are under real pressure to avoid commoditisation and differentiate their firms’ offerings from those of the competition through continuous differentiation and innovation. Constant pressure is there to seek enhanced performance throughout the organisation, to make the firm easier to do business with and more agile, yet still ensure compliance and reduce operational risk. Consequently business process orientation is no more simply an operations management strategy but, like never before, beginning to perceive business processes as strategic intellectual assets. This presentation looks at business processes as an embodiment of organisational capabilities which are instrumental in implementing an organisation’s business strategy.

2. Prof. Amrit Tiwana - Influence of Software Platform Modularity on Platform Abandonment: An Empirical Study of Firefox Extension Developers

Abstract: With competition increasingly among rival software platforms, retaining third-party developers outside firm boundaries is increasingly important. Such “module” developers often provide critically-differentiating technical innovations and new ideas, thus are vital to a platform’s success. This study addresses the underexplored question of how and why platform modularity—both technical and organizational—influences platform abandonment by developers. We introduce the notion of systems integration costs—which comprise both cross-module integration and module-platform integration—as a key explanatory construct in our nomological network of super distributed projects. 

 We develop three ideas, building on modular systems theory. First, a decrease in systems integration costs decreases the likelihood of platform abandonment by module developers. Second, different facets of technical modularity differentially impact systems integration costs. Third, these relationships are moderated byorganizational modularity i.e., how authority over technical decisions is shared between a module developer and the platform owner. Tests using data from developers of 342 modules for Mozilla’s Firefox browser platform largely support the proposed ideas.

3. Dr. Otto Koppius - Business Process Understanding Within and Between Organizations

Abstract: ERP systems increasingly form the backbone of an organization. As more complex processes get embedded into ERP systems, process knowledge gets blackboxed as well, making it less accessible to end-users with potentially adverse consequences. To study this phenomenon, we introduce a concept called business process understanding (BPU), which we define as one’s ability to describe and predict (1) how own actions impact processes performed anywhere else in the organization and (2) how the actions of others impact their own processes while (3) understanding why these actions are interdependent in face of the total business processes. We use a novel conceptual mapping approach to measure BPU in a case study. Our findings show that the consequences of low BPU are felt throughout the organization, but also that high ERP usage and business process understanding are not mutually exclusive, provided that there is open communication between departments.

Contact information:
Vinay Tiwari