Co-creation of value in the digital age: disruption management in B2B and B2G relationships
Internet of Things (IoT) research investigates the idea that a wide array of devices can be interconnected to enable these entities to be located, identified, and even operated without any human interference. This technology is universally seen as transforming the manufacturing and services sectors. Questions about whether—and, if yes, how—the IoT impacts on business networks in Business-to-Business (B2B) relationships have not yet been settled, due to a lack of empirical marketing-focused studies. Is “connectivity for anything” perceived as an additional, co-created value in manufacturer-buyer relationships? Based on research data from B2B and business-to-government (B2G) customers stemming from two manufacturers active in different business fields as well as several German plant operators and their suppliers, our study addresses the following questions: 1. Considering manufacturers and professional buying organizations, do the disruptive challenges of the digital age lead to relationship asymmetries in customer–supplier relationships? 2. With reference to disruption management -is there a difference in the acceptance of digital services between different B2B and B2G groups (e.g., manufacturing industry, process industry)? 3. In customer acceptance of IoT, does it make a difference in customer attitude towards IoT-related services if the product, plant or service is standardized or customized to requirements? 4. The goal is to communicate using the preferred channels of the customers. Considering that the volume of information has risen—how can commercial digital communication build trust? We finally propose a four-step approach to more successfully implement IoT-related projects.