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Rethinking Customer Solutions: From Product Bundles to Relational Processes | Part 1


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Whereas most suppliers think of solutions as customized and integrated product bundles, customers tend to think of them as comprised of four relational processes of (1) requirements definition, (2) customization and integration, (3) deployment, and (4) post-deployment support.

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Rethinking Customer Solutions: From Product Bundles to Relational Processes | Part 1

  1. 1. From: Tuli, Kohli, and Bharadwaj (2007) What are Solutions? Supplier View Marketing Manager, Fortune 500 “Solutions are combination of products and services that are integrated and customized to solve the specific business problems of customers.” Product 1 Product 2 Product 3 Product 4 Suppliers: A solution is a “product bundle” (Product = good or service)
  2. 2. From: Tuli, Kohli, and Bharadwaj (2007) What are Solutions? Customer View “A solution to me is when a supplier proposes bringing in value beyond the widgets. . . . it’s more about finding what I really need . . . making sure that the widgets meet my requirements and work well with each other, bringing these widgets into my business, and making sure that they are around to ensure that the widgets do what they were required to do. It’s simply soups to nuts for me.” Requirements Definition 1 Customization & Integration 2 Deployment3 Post-Deployment Support 4 Four Relational Processes % of Supplier Mentions % of Customer Mentions 8673 7 76 86 92 4 4
  3. 3. From: Tuli, Kohli, and Bharadwaj (2007) The disconnect … Suppliers Customers Want to sell customized and integrated Product Bundles Want to buy ongoing Relational Processes that help them succeed • Helps organize to better execute all four processes, (not just customization & integration) • Helps communicate value of ALL four processes => Better pricing and profits • Customers care about all four processes • A solution is only as good as the weakest link Better Pricing Better execution Better solution design How does the four processes view help suppliers? A Customer Centric Definition: A solution is a set of customer-supplier relational processes comprising (i) customer requirements definition, (ii) customization and integration of goods and/or services, (iii) their deployment, and (iv) post-deployment customer support, all aimed at meeting a customer's business needs