Building a service business model for a manufacturing SME

By Jukka Hemilä

We published a journal article aiming to increase the understanding of service business development for manufacturing SMEs by further developing previous conceptual frameworks for service supply chain management, based on the current scientific literature and empirical cases. The main result of the study is a simple, but comprehensive step-by-step model for the development of the service business and service supply chain.

The previous literature includes many New Service Development (NSD) programs and models, but the methods are not described in such detail that SMEs can strictly follow them. A formalized process from strategy to implementation, with the usage of the best available resources, can ensure the success of the NSD program. The development models described in literature include typically four main phases: 1. strategic targets, 2. corporate environment, 3. service offering design and development, and 4. Implementation.

Based on empirical SME cases we noticed a need for a more detailed and simple, but comprehensive step-by-step model for the development of the service business and service supply chain. We created a step-by-step model with service development phases (SDPs), to define the required steps in the service business development:

SDP1 – Company present state and strategy

SDP2 – Products and their features

SDP3 – Customers, segments, needs

SDP4 – Product life-cycle

SDP5 – Services along product life-cycle

SDP6 – Service offering, service modules

SDP7 – Service organization, service processes

SDP8 – Earning logic, service pricing models, service value

SDP9 – Service sales and marketing models

SDP10 – Service launch to markets

SDP11 – Follow-up and improvements

For successful NSD in SME, project managers should involve all business functions and competent resources from the organization. When setting up a development project, sales, ICT, and R&D functions should be heavily involved. These functions have core knowledge and ideas required in the development of service business in manufacturing firms. The process should start with a strategic discussion of whether the firm’s future is based only on the product offerings, or whether there should be a services offering and what is its role. The most challenging part of the development turned out to be technology and the product itself, which is quite surprising. There were many people involved in product development, because they introduced new sensors, ICT, and structures to the final product. We had two empirical case studies in which we tested and validated our developed step-by-step model (see Table below). Case 1 was Chiller Oy, a cooling and heating equipment manufacturer. Case 2 was Oy M. Haloila Ab, a manufacturer of automatic wrapping machines.

Product offerings Turnover Employees Workshops Involved employees Involved positions
CASE 1 cooling and heating equipment 20 M€ 50 26 11 CEO, CFO, CTO, ICT and Logistics Director, Sales Director, employees from IT, Production and Service departments
CASE 2 wrapping machines 30 M€ 55 27 14 CEO, CTO, CFO, Production and Logistics Director, Sales Director, employees from R&D, IT, Production and Service departments

The implications of the study are beneficial from both the scientific and practical perspectives, which help to understand better the process and related factors in multi-actor service business development. The practical findings of the study give insights from manufacturing firms’ new service developments, and from the roles and resources required in the process. It was valuable for case companies to have a structured and formal process for the development. Companies with limited resources need external expertise, consultants or researchers, to support the development process.

The digitalisation brings entire new opportunities for the service businesses. Our SDP model can be used for the digitalisation of service business as well. Just contact us and let’s make your business even more competitive with the service offerings and digitalisation.


Hemilä, J. & Vilko, J. (2015): The Development of the Service Supply Chain for a Manufacturing SME. International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 26 Iss: 3.

Entire article can be found from here:

IoT is first and foremost about service!

by Taru Hakanen

‘IoT’ and ‘industrial internet’ are major hype words in the current business world. IoT-solutions are already abundant in the market, but the main buzzing seems to circulate around the question: How to make money with IoT? How to build successful IoT business models?

What are services?

We argue that the most important prerequisite for building successful IoT business models is the realization that IoT and industrial internet are foremost about service!

And what services are, then? What are they about?

Services are highly context-dependent resulting in increased need for understanding customers’ business and behaviour. Services are about interaction. They are about relationships between companies and company representatives. They are about customer participation in service co-production. Services are about mutual value co-creation, in which both the suppliers and customers have their own role. They are NOT products that are ‘pushed’ to the markets through logistic chains in containers or truck trailers with a hope that a customer would purchase them.

We embrace reversing the whole mindset in business model building, aiming rather for a ‘pull’ than for ‘push’ mode in IoT business model creation. IoT is not about developing and applying IoT-solutions and ‘pushing’ them to the markets, but about customer- and service-focus. After all, IoT is primarily used for creating new kinds of services and supporting the existing ones. This notion has an outstanding impact on IoT business model generation and also on creating new service innovations!

Five keys for successful IoT business models

The message of creating successful service-oriented IoT business models (Hakanen et al., 2015) is now condensed in five key points:

  • Ensure value creation for all the service ecosystem actors: Customer value is the reason for buying any services. A service provider’s task, then, is to identify customers’ expectations for value or discover totally new value that IoT brings and build an attractive business model accordingly. However, with IoT business models – not only customer value – but also reciprocal value creation between all the service ecosystem actors is pivotal (Jaakkola & Hakanen, 2013).
  • Design cost-effective and customer-focused service processes: IoT-solutions may change the way services are co-produced with the customer. IoT enables even new service innovations in terms of remote services but also in terms of closer cooperation with the customer due to increased knowledge exchange. Suppliers need to design channels and touchpoints of interaction with the customer and make a distinction between back-office and front-office service operations. A salient issue in developing successful IoT business models is, then, to plan the role of customer in the service process and include knowledge flows of the whole service ecosystem in service process mapping.
  • Ensure positive customer experience: IoT may have both positive and negative effects on customer experience. It may decrease face-to-face interaction because of knowledge exchange via various IT-tools and platforms. On the other hand, an IoT service supplier may grab a chance of increasing customer interaction with IoT. Some companies may even start building a new IoT business model from an innovative way of interacting with the customer and managing customer relationships!
  • Design global service networks: IoT is not only about integrating technology and IT-systems and applications but also integrating organizations in service co-production. Especially in the global setting, providing services locally – remedying the customer’s problem on-site on the other side of the globe – is expensive. Then, finding partners that take responsibility of local service co-production in different markets is pivotal in order to build cost-effective business models. And although there would be several service partners operating on the customer interface, they should be able to offer a coherent customer experience for the customer (Hakanen & Jaakkola, 2012).
  • Discover the most profitable earning logic: Earning logic and the way an IoT business model creates revenue for the suppliers are at the very core of a successful business model. The financial income largely relates to benefits that can be accrued for the customer. As IoT-services are complex in nature with multiple actors within a service ecosystem, one way of proceeding with totally new IoT business models is sharing risks and benefits in terms of revenue, if the business model proves to be successful.


‘Service-oriented IoT business model canvas’ in Hakanen, Taru; Antikainen, Maria; Pussinen, Pasi & Muikku, Matti (2015). Boosting service export – a roadmap for IoT enabled business models. To be published in The ISPIM Innovation Summit, Brisbane, Australia on 6-9 December 2015.

Jaakkola, Elina & Hakanen, Taru (2013). Value co-creation in solution networks. Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 42, No. 1, pp. 47–58.

Hakanen, Taru & Jaakkola, Elina (2012). Co-creating customer-focused solutions within business networks: A service perspective. Journal of Service Management, Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 593–611.

Betting on the new horse in Finnish metals and engineering industry: user experience as a business driver

By Hannamaija Määttä, Maaria Nuutinen and Maarit Halttunen

How to get the entire organisation on board with UX? Lessons learned from the FIMECC UXUS programme.

Five years ago, some of Finland’s metals and engineering industry companies decided bravely to bet on the new horse and embarked on an expedition towards user experience driven differentiation in the FIMECC UXUS programme. This post aims at illuminating one of the main conclusions of the programme: in order for companies to truly benefit from user experience (UX), a cultural transformation is needed throughout the organisation. All units have to adopt a user experience -based innovation and business logic, a UX-mindset. This hidden part of organisational culture exists within organisational structures, management styles and daily practices as well as in the attitudes towards renewals. Adopting a UX-mindset enables the transition from a strongly technology and product-oriented company towards a more customer and user value-oriented company, which is also needed when aiming to fully utilize UX-based competitiveness potentials.

In the beginning of the FIMECC UXUS -project, getting the UX message across to the entire organization was considered as a great challenge by the participating companies. Many times, UX was seen as the responsibility of a design team or an R&D team. In other words, UX was understood to be something extra to be included in physical products, not a shared philosophy or mindset guiding the organization’s business operations. One of the greatest challenges was to get sales people on board, as they were distant from R&D and did not participate in the development of UX-products. Connecting UX goals to an organisation’s larger goals is important when aiming to make all employee groups participate in adopting a UX-mindset. When UX is visible in the organisation’s brand or strategy, it is also acknowledged inside the organisation, and its meaning is easier to understand and its benefits are more clearly seen by all. Having UX on the management’s agenda is thus crucial. Special attention should be given both to the actors involved in product development and to those collaborating closely with customers.

One of the key prerequisites for adopting a shared UX-mindset is that all employees in the organisation should understand how they can provide good experiences through their own work. It is crucial to get people talking about UX by building experiential forums that enable stronger collaboration with customers and users, and within the organisation between different units. During the Fimecc UXUS programme, the participating companies discovered that various different means can be utilized to strengthen the UX-mindset:

  • KONE’s People Flow Day, an experiential training event for employees:
    • An event organized every year to help all employees better understand what the UX –based strategy of KONE means. The event is designed to bring the employees normally not connected to UX-issues closer to the users and customers by acting as researchers, talking to customers, interviewing the public, making on-site observations and filling in questionnaires. Through this event, KONE supports the mindset transformation from product-centric thinking to experience-based thinking within the organization.
  • Konecranes’ field study methods:
    • Field studies are utilized as a method to support the holistic understanding of the customers and users and of the contexts they operate in. The field studies are conducted by R&D people, who interview and observe customers and users at customer organizations. Disseminating the knowledge gained increases the awareness of what UX means in the context of various customers and markets.
  • Rocla’s internal collaboration between R&D and marketing and communications:
    • The interaction and collaboration of R&D and marketing has been strengthened by integrating the two units. They work closely together and through the collaboration ensure that marketing people understand the technology behind product features and that the R&D people’s thinking is based on user-benefits, not only technical features. Through co-creation, specific messages and tools for different touchpoints can be created (for example in sales situations) that bring out the UX features essential to products.
  • Metso Automation’s visualisation and storifying:
    • To spark discussion and enthusiasm towards UX, Metso Automation utilizes visualisation and storifying: stories from users, videos from user environments, illustrated concepts and prototypes of future tools are efficient ways to arouse discussion around UX. The prototypes and visualizations build an innovation environment where the whole organization, developers, customers and users, can discuss the present and future products.

Now, at the end of the FIMECC UXUS programme, the time has come to claim the prizes. If you wish to learn more about how the participating companies have succeeded in making UX a competitive factor in their business, browse through the presentations at the final seminar, see the videos and booklets – and familiarise yourself with the final publication that will be published November 17th 2015.

If you also wish to learn more about the results from other Fimecc –programmes, register to the 8th annual Fimecc seminar held November 17-18, 2015 at Oulu:


Määttä, H., Nuutinen, M: & Halttunen, M. Adopting a UX-mindset – means for getting the entire organisation on board with UX. In: User experience and usability in complex systems 2010-2015. Final Report 1/2015, Fimecc publications series 8, Tampere, 2015.

Heikkinen, M. and Määttä, H. (2013): “Design-driven product innovation in enhancing user experience oriented organizational culture in b-to-b organisations”, presented in Tsinghua International Design Management –conference 1.-2.12.2013

Nuutinen, M., Heikkinen, M. and Määttä, H. (2013): “Evaluating the levels of design management in user experience-oriented companies –experiences from Finnish metals and engineering industry”, presented in the 2nd Cambridge Academic Design Management Conference, 4.-5.9.2013

Nuutinen, M., Seppänen, M., Mäkinen, S. J. & Keinonen, T. (2011). ”User experience in complex systems: crafting a conceptual framework”. The 1st Cambridge Academic Design Management Conference, University of Cambridge, 7 – 8 September 2011, Institute for Manufacturing (IfM).

Lost in Network? Network picturing as a tool in dynamic network management

By Tiina Valjakka and Katri Valkokari

This post illustrates how picturing networks from different actors’ perspectives affects the network management and facilitates the building of new connections. It is based on a paper we presented last month in the IMP 2015 Conference in Kolding, Denmark. The aim of the paper is to extend understanding of strategic management in dynamic business networks, especially from the viewpoint of SMEs operating in a B2B context.


Firms are simultaneously acting in various networks in different roles (see picture above).  Each of the actors has its own perception of the network and its position within it. Managers’ understanding of perceptions across boundaries is a key to a firm’s success in networked business ecosystem, where knowledge and resources are dispersed and value co-creation requires integration of resources. Drawing from the management point of view, our preliminary research question was: How to picture and combine the different network perspectives in order to better manage the business network?

Network pictures can be seen, and utilized as:

  • Business actors’ subjective mental frameworks of their surroundings, and thus as sense-making tools that underlie decision-making in networks
  • a tool used by researchers and practitioners to grasp actors’ understanding of their surrounding business network(s)
  • boundary-spanning mechanisms which serve as an interface between different organizations

In our case study, we utilized network picturing as a tool for strategic management in a SME. We first draw two focal company perspectives; factory and sales, identified their most important connections, and described the roles and content of interaction with these first-level partners. The other network perspectives depicted were end-users’ network pictures from different customer segments. These network pictures, snapshots from different network actors’ perspectives, were then utilized for drawing the network management perspective. Network picturing resulted in the identification of new relevant network actors and needs for building connections to them.

The managerial challenge is to guide the development within business networks. Often, companies anchor themselves to a single vision of their customer needs and network structures, which may preclude considering the viewpoints of other network actors. Many businesses have a complex nature, and network picturing gives a possibility to see beyond the most obvious and traditionally closest actors. Our study highlighted that in order to act as a change driver in their business environment, a SME must have broader connections than the relationships with the direct customers and suppliers.


Valjakka, Tiina; Valkokari, Katri; Kettunen, Outi. 2015. Utilizing network picturing in the management of dynamic networks. IMP Group. 31th Annual IMP Conference and Doctoral Colloquium 2015 “Organizing Sustainable BtoB Relationships – Designing in Changing Networks”, 25 – 29 August 2015, Kolding, Denmark.

The rules of the game: How to survive and thrive in Business, Innovation, and Knowledge Ecosystems

by Katri Valkokari

“How dreadful… to be caught up in a game and have no idea of the rules.” –Caroline Stevermer In Sorcery & Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot

The purpose of this blog post is to describe the rules of the game (i.e., the logic of action) in the three different ecosystem types: business, innovation, and knowledge ecosystems (see Figure below), while these three ecosystem types are interconnected from the viewpoint of the ecosystem actor. For practitioners, the aim is to shed more light on how the different types of ecosystems differ and demonstrates that different models are needed in order to operate in different ecosystems.


In business ecosystems as well as service or industrial ecosystems, the economic outcomes and business relationships between actors are highlighted. The approaches of innovation (eco)systems and regional clusters focus on mechanism and policies fostering the creation of innovative startups around so-called regional hubs or clusters. Finally, knowledge ecosystems have their main interest and outcome in creation of new knowledge through joint research work, collaboration, or the development of knowledge base. The table below clarifies how the ecosystem types differ in terms of their outcomes, interactions, logic of action, and actor roles.

Table: Characteristics of ecosystem types

Business ecosystems Innovation ecosystems Knowledge ecosystems
Baseline of ecosystem Resource exploitation for customer value Co-creation of innovation Knowledge exploration
Relationships and connectivity Global business relationships both competitive and co-operative Geographically clustered actors, different levels of collaboration and openness Decentralized and disturbed knowledge nodes, synergies through knowledge exchange
Actors and roles Suppliers, customers, and focal companies as a core, other actors more loosely involved Innovation policymakers, local intermediators, innovation brokers, and funding organizations Research institutes, innovators, and technology entrepreneurs serve as knowledge nodes
Logic of action A main actor that operates as a platform sharing resources, assets, and benefits or aggregates other actors together in the networked business operations Geographically proximate actors interacting around hubs facilitated by intermediating actors A large number of actors that are grouped around knowledge exchange or a central non-proprietary resource for the benefit of all actors

A primary motivation for utilising ecosystem concepts in management studies has been the desire to exploit self-organizing properties of natural ecosystems. Although formal authority is invisible in man-made ecosystems, they are not entirely self-organized: they are organizational designs that are held together on the condition that their members are in formal or informal agreement about shared purpose (baseline) and operation modes (logic of action). Previously, research has typically focused on only one of the ecosystems at a time, when in the real-world systems the interest of actors (i.e., organisations), who are the ecosystem inhabitants, come bundled together with multiple ecosystem parts. In an ecosystem, each actor has their own role to play and, in this way, they view the partially overlapping ecosystems from their own unique perspective. Thus, relationships and interactions between ecosystems types need to be analyzed at several levels in order to understand how connections flow between different ecosystems in the real business world.

All these ecosystems are dynamic, changing, and also changeable through ecosystem orchestration. Different organisms (i.e., species in natural ecosystems or actors with complementary roles in man-made ecosystems) are necessary to keep the ecosystem balanced, and removing one can cause a chain reaction felt throughout the entire ecosystem. Biological ecosystems are characterized by one or more equilibrium states, where a relatively stable set of conditions exist and maintain a population or nutrient exchange at particular levels. It is, however, important to note that the equilibrium of biological ecosystems is seldom optimal from the viewpoint of all species in the ecosystem. Thus, an ecosystem always induces both competition and cooperation, which leads to the selection and adaption of species. And, despite hitherto mainly positive approaches to man-made ecosystems, which have typically perceived ecosystems as positive and collaborative systems, that is also true within business, knowledge, and innovation ecosystems. In order to survive and thrive in an ecosystem, the essential point is to understand that different forms of interaction are required in different ecosystems.


Valkokari, K. Business, Innovation, and Knowledge Ecosystems: How They Differ and How to Survive and Thrive within Them. Technology Innovation Management Review; 5(8) pp.17-24.


business ecosystem, innovation ecosystem, knowledge ecosystem, ecosystems, platforms, communities

Menikö teollisen palveluliiketoiminnan juna jo?

Jukka Hemilä (

VTT:n yksi varhaisemmista teollisuuden palveluliiketoiminnan tutkimushankkeista oli vuonna 2002 käynnistynyt Bestserv-esiselvitys, jolloin tutkittiin suomalaisten yritysten erilaisia teollisuuden palveluihin liittyviä liiketoimintamalleja ja palvelukokonaisuuksia (Kalliokoski et al. 2003). Tekesillä oli vuosina 2006-2013 palveluinnovaatioiden kehittymistä suomalaisissa yrityksissä tukeva ”Serve – Palveluliiketoiminnan edelläkävijöille” –ohjelma, jonka tuella palveluajattelu vietiin joka niemen notkoon ja saarelmaan. Onko teollinen palveluliiketoiminta siis jo kulunut aihe ja kaikki kivet on sillä sektorilla käännetty?

Nyt on kaikkien huulilla Internet of Things (IoT). Digitaalisuudesta haetaan uusia liiketoimintamahdollisuuksia ja eri toimialoilla yritetään löytää uusia tapoja soveltaa muun muassa edullisia antureita, nopeaa tiedonsiirtoa ja valtavia tietomassoja. IoT:n soveltamisesta teollisuudessa on käsitteeksi muodostunut Teollinen Internet. Onko niin ettei teollinen yritys pärjää ilman IoT:ta ja nykyinen teollisuuden palveluliiketoiminta tulisi perustua Teollisen Internetin soveltamiseen? Nytkö pitäisi luoda jokaiselle yritykselle IoT-strategia ja jokaiseen laakeriin sekä komponenttiin pitäisi upottaa älykäs anturi keräämään dataa? Teollista Internetiä on toteutettu yrityksissä jo vuosikausia, onhan sulautettua älykkyyttä ollut laitteissa ja prosesseissa jo pitkään. Sulautettu älykkyys on esimerkiksi mahdollistanut etäoperoinnin ja kunnossapitotoimintoja internetin yli. Parhaillaan vellova IoT-hype on hyvä asia lisäämään yleistä teknologiatietämystä ja se saa yritykset miettimään omaa tapaa soveltaa uutta teknologiaa.

Uskon että suomalaisen teollisuuden palveluliiketoiminnassa on vielä paljon hyödyntämätöntä potentiaalia ilman että sovelletaan uusimpia IoT-teknologioita. Yritysten tulee ymmärtää asiakkaidensa liiketoimintaa ja luoda oma tuote-palvelutarjooma asiakastarpeita vastaavaksi. Toisin sanoen, pitää ymmärtää mistä asiakasarvo muodostuu. Käynnissä olevassa CUSTOR-tutkimushankkeessa on pureuduttu tuote- ja palveluverkostojen asiakasarvon muodostumiseen ja siihen liittyvään haavoittuvuuteen (katso myös Olemme havainneet että tuote- ja palvelutarjooman asiakasarvosta erittäin suuri osa muodostuu emotionaalisista ja kokemuksellisista asioista. Tietysti taustalla vaikuttaa tuotteiden ja prosessien toiminnallisuus (toiminnallinen arvo) sekä hinta- ja kustannusrakenne (taloudellinen arvo). Tuotteissa voi olla sulautettua älykkyyttä, mutta asiakkaalle tärkeintä on tuotteen soveltuvuus käyttöön. Moni asia kiteytyy kuitenkin ihmisten välisen vuorovaikutuksen toimivuuteen (emotionaalinen arvo). Toisaalta arvonmuodostumista haavoittaa samojen asioiden toimimattomuus.

asiakasarvon muodostumisen tekijöitä

Kuva 2. Asiakasarvon muodostumisen tekijöitä (muokattu Hemilä et al. 2014).

Erityisesti pienten ja keskisuurten teollisuusyritysten joukossa on lukuisia yrityksiä, jotka eivät ole vielä hyödyntäneet kaikkia palveluliiketoiminnan mahdollisuuksia. Laitevalmistajan verkkosivuilla esitellään ehkä huolto- ja varaosapalveluita, mutta tarjonnasta puuttuu muut laitteen elinkaaren vaiheiden palvelut: käyttöönotto, asennus ja koulutus, muutamia mainitakseni. Systemaattisesti määrittelemällä asiakastarpeen ja kehittämällä tarpeeseen vastaavia palvelukokonaisuuksia voi teollinen laitevalmistaja luoda asiakkaalle ihan uudenlaisen kokemuksen, luotettavuutta ja lisäarvoa. Määritelty palvelulupaus ja tehokkaasti toimivat palveluprosessit parantavat asiakkaan kokemusta. Tähän vielä lisättynä asiakaspalvelijan avoin ja yhteistyökykyinen mieli, niin asiakkaat voivat olla jopa valmiita maksamaan niistä lisäarvopalveluista! Aika monen asian voi luoda ilman IoT:tä ja muuta teknologiaa.

Pk-sektori on Suomen teollisuuden selkäranka mutta talouden alakulossa moni yritys on vaikeuksissa ja kovassa kilpailussa. Olemme VTT:llä havainneet pk-yritysten haasteet ja haluammekin aktivoida yritykset kehittämään toimintaansa kanssamme ns. pk-projektilähdöissä. Yksi projektilähdöistä on ”Kannattavaa kasvua laitetoimittajalle palveluliiketoiminnasta”, jonka tiimoilta järjestämme seminaarin tänään 21.5.2015 Satakunnassa Ulvilassa. Jos et ehtinyt Ulvilaan, niin ota rohkeasti yhteyttä ja sovitaan miten voisimme edetä teidän yrityksen kanssa palveluliiketoiminnan kehittämisessä. Palveluliiketoiminnan juna ei siis vielä mennyt, vaan mukaan ehtii ja kannattaa hypätä!

Lisää tietoa ”Kannattavaa kasvua laitetoimittajalle palveluliiketoiminnasta” pk-lähdöstä ja tapahtumasta”:


Hemilä, Jukka; Vilko, Jyri; Kallionpää, Erika and Rantala, Jarkko (2014): Value Creation in Product–Service Supply Networks. The proceedings of the 19th International Symposium on Logistics (ISL2014): Designing Responsible and Innovative Global Supply Chains. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 6-9th July 2014

Kalliokoski, Petri, Andersson, Göran, Salminen, Vesa & Hemilä, Jukka (2003): BestServ. Feasibility Study, Final Report. Teknologiateollisuus, Kerava: Savion Kirjapaino Oy.

Parvi pyrähtää uuteen lentoon

”Parvessa lentämisen taidossa keskeistä on suunta, liike ja tarkoitus, joita ohjaa toimijan positio ekosysteemissä” (professori Jukka Vesalainen, Vaasan yliopisto)

Parvi3- projektissa muodostettu reittikartta ekosysteemiseen liiketoimintaan jäsentää parvimallin hyödyntämistä verkostomaisen toiminnan kehittämisessä eri toimijoiden näkökulmista. Reittikartta on työkalu, jonka avulla luodaan uusia ajatuksia verkostojen hyödyntämisestä. Samalla se auttaa hahmottamaan verkostokumppaneiden odotuksia yhteisten tavoitteiden muodostamiseen.  Siten uusia näkökulmia ja mahdollisuuksia ekosysteemiseen liiketoimintaan voi parvikäyttäytymisen lisäksi löytää myös luonnon muiden yhteistyömallien avulla.


Erityisesti pk-sektorin toimijat voivat parvimallia hyödyntämällä saada uusia näkökulmia verkostojensa orkestrointiin. Keskeistä on avoin ja vuorovaikutteinen kommunikointi verkoston yhteisestä tulevaisuudesta, tavoitteista ja keinoista. Nopean verkostoitumisen avain on jatkuvasti valmiina oleva parven yhteisöllinen ydin. Näin jokin verkoston osa voi pyrähtää lentoon lyhyelläkin varoitusajalla. Tämä edellyttää toimijoilta uskallusta heittäytyä parven kehittämiseen ja keskinäistä luottamusta, joka mahdollistaa nopean reagoinnin avautuviin liiketoimintamahdollisuuksiin.

20141203_Parvi³_reittikartta_ekosysteemiseen liiketoimintaan_final


Projektiryhmän yhteinen julkaisu:



Customer value determinants

By Jukka Hemilä (

The ongoing “Determinants of value and vulnerability in customer-oriented service network” CUSTOR-project aims to identify customer value determinants and their vulnerabilities in a multi-actor service supply network. We expounded on this topic in our recent conference paper “Value Creation in Product–Service Supply Networks”.

Customer value propositions combine functional, economical, emotional, and symbolic customer value determinants (Rintamäki et al., 2007). Traditionally firms emphasized creating value through offering high quality product or services, and the value proposition was based on the features of product–service offerings, i.e. functional value. Product technical specification, capacity, performance, dimensions or other measurable determinants is this traditional way to argue value for the customers. Today functional value is still valid and cannot be forgotten, but it is in many cases no longer the competitive advantage.

Economic, emotional and symbolic value in B2B context

Economic value has been a hot topic since mass customization and is still so today in times of global economic crisis. Offering low prices is no longer the preferred means to attract new customers. In consumer business, there is always a need for both luxury and low-cost products and services. Also in the B2B context, customers are willing to pay more, if they can acquire a more valuable product or service. In that case, value is something other than economic value. More firms have begun competing against each other by building brand equity, but industrial brand equity is still quite a minor research topic (Leek and Christodoulides, 2012). Brand equity conveys a number of intangible benefits to buyers; it can increase both the buyer’s confidence in, and their satisfaction with, their purchase decision, and can also reduce the level of risk and uncertainty in the purchase decision (ibid). Emotional value is not only about the brand, it is also feelings, experiences, reputation, trust, etc. The B2B purchase process has been more rational than the B2C purchase process, and emotions and feelings have not been so relevant. Today, in high competitive markets, product and service measurable determinants can be quite similar, so buyers include emotional determinants in decision making. In the future, the importance of symbolic value will rise. Consumers prefer recyclable materials, organic food, human rights in production, and other symbolic values. Consumer brands are focusing on symbolic value creation. In a B2B context, symbolic values are becoming more important, and even now industries have focused on CO2 emissions and green technologies. It is clear that tangible elements are crucial in conveying value to buyers, but the role of emotional and symbolic value propositions is becoming more and more important in a B2B context (Rintamäki et al., 2007; Leek and Christodoulides, 2012).

CUSTOR research continues with a detailed case analysis, that is to say measurement and KPIs in value alignment, but also creating a management model for the value creation in product–service networks (picture).

custor focus

This posting is based on a published conference article:

Hemilä, Jukka; Vilko, Jyri; Kallionpää, Erika and Rantala, Jarkko (2014): Value Creation in Product–Service Supply Networks. The proceedings of the 19th International Symposium on Logistics (ISL2014): Designing Responsible and Innovative Global Supply Chains. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 6-9th July 2014

CUSTOR is financed by Tekes F€€lings –programme. Research partners are VTT, TUT and LUT. Six companies participate in CUSTOR project.


Leek S, Christodoulides G (2012), “A framework of brand value in B2B markets: The contributing role of functional and emotional components”, Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 41, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 106–114.

Rintamäki T, Kuusela H, Mitronen L (2007), “Identifying competitive customer value propositions in retailing”, Managing Service Quality, Vol. 17 No 6, pp. 621–634.

How SMEs Can Manage Their Networks – Lessons Learnt from Communication in Animal Swarms

By Katri Valkokari and Pasi Valkokari

Ants, wasps and bees are known and studied because of the amazing efficiency of their collective efforts. Therefore, the current debate on business ecosystems inspired us to question if network management could learn from the ‘swarm intelligence’-based activities of animals. The interaction between business organisations is at the heart of the network approach as well as interaction of individuals in animal swarms. The fundamental managerial issue in building and renewing business networks is how to operate as a network, i.e. how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can ensure that all network actors do their best for the network and not only for themselves.

SME cannot manage the network like the alpha male or the queen bee, which controls the swarm and expects other network members to follow their given roles. There is still an opportunity for the SME to manage the network as a swarm of equals and to communicate its visions of the common best in order to commit to the other network members. Our recent research suggests that different managerial tools – such as network mapping, business models, partner evaluation and LCC tools – can be utilised as communication means also by SMEs (Figure). In other words, these tools serve as boundary-spanning objects supporting shared sense-making between network members.


In line with the lessons learnt from the collective efforts in animal swarms, we suggest that SMEs can manage their business networks through communication, which is based on understanding of interests and expectations of other network actors. Anyhow, the question considering network level common evaluation still remains unsolved and we hope that our study will encourage further empirical research on applying new thinking to business networks and their management.


Valkokari, Katri & Valkokari, Pasi (2014) How SMEs Can Manage Their Networks: Lessons Learnt from Communication in Animal Swarms, The Journal of Inspiration Economy: An International Journal. Vol. 1, No: 1, pp. 111 – 128 Link: