Solution Planning from the Perspective of Customer Value

Marko Komssi

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles

Abstract

A long-range solution planning in turbulent business environments is a crucial challenge for software product companies. These companies have a tendency to invest in new technologies and the development of individual features to survive in those challenging environments. However, the investments often do not produce the desired results. To address the challenge, researchers have introduced a service logic in which customer value is created in customers' everyday activities and software solutions have no value until the customers perceive them to be beneficial. This logic of customer value enables companies to better understand how to develop and extend solutions through assisting customer activities relevant to their businesses. The goal of this dissertation was to study the role of customer value in solution planning in software product companies. The focus was to analyse the problems of solution planning from the viewpoint of customer value and to identify means that emphasise customer value in software companies. This thesis provides findings from two Finnish software product companies. The findings are based on longitudinal and qualitative research that utilised action research and case study research methods. The solution planning of software product companies suffered from a feature-driven mindset and a lack of holistic thinking. Furthermore, customer knowledge was fragmented and firefighting around short-term issues complicated long-term thinking in the companies. These customer value problems were cultural and difficult to change. This dissertation introduces practical means for software companies to describe and prioritise customer activities as part of solution roadmapping. As customer activities do not typically change that often, they provide a longer horizon for solution planning than do software features. In addition, the dissertation initiates hackathons as a means to validate customer value in an early phase of solution planning and development. The main findings of this thesis emphasise that the holistic and early analysis of customer activities increases the role of customer value in solution planning. The analysis of customer activities would have a stronger impact in solution planning if the strategic processes and culture of companies emphasised customer value.
Translated title of the contributionSolution Planning from the Perspective of Customer Value
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Kauppinen, Marjo, Supervisor
  • Männistö, Tomi, Advisor
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-952-60-3968-8
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-3969-5
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Keywords

  • customer value
  • requirements engineering
  • solution roadmapping
  • hackathon

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