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Technologies for value creation an exploration of remote diagnostics systems in the manufacturing industry
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics.
2008 (English)In: Information Systems Journal, ISSN 1350-1917, E-ISSN 1365-2575, Vol. 18, no 3, 227-245 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

With firms increasingly relying on ubiquitous computing to implement major business initiatives, it is becoming ever more necessary to understand the technological aspects of business developments. This paper analyzes the use of remote diagnostics systems in the manufacturing industry and discusses the opportunities and challenges for the early adopters. It pays specific attention to the impact on business aspects such as the value creation process consisting of relationships, roles, and architecture and the value proposal consisting of a business offer and customer value. The study shows how ubiquitous computing allows manufacturers to become remote service providers while customers can either become co-creators of value or passive receivers of created value. Ubiquitous computing also creates possibilities for the manufacturing industry to design new kinds of business offers based on remote presence. Studying remote diagnostics systems shows that ubiquitous computing creates value when deployed in products, and not just in relation to individuals. Moreover, the design of the value-creation process should not be limited to the single supplier or customer organization, as ubiquitous computing applications take no notice of organizational boundaries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 18, no 3, 227-245 p.
Keyword [en]
business model, embedded systems, services, business design, value creation
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-9498DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2575.2007.00267.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-9498DiVA: diva2:149169
Available from: 2009-12-08 Created: 2008-04-10 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Digitalized industrial equipment: an investigation of remote diagnostics services
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Digitalized industrial equipment: an investigation of remote diagnostics services
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

With the ubiquity of digitalization, digital convergence of applications, devices, networks and artifacts presents both challenges and opportunities for individuals, organizations and society. Physical artifacts that were not digital in the recent past are now increasingly becoming intertwined with digital components, providing them with digital capabilities. As a consequence, vast amounts of information that used to be invisible can now be captured, digitized and used in new places and novel ways. Organizations thus seek to innovate IT-enabled services based upon the flows of information across both internal and external organizational boundaries. Because IT-enabled services support organizational actors in communicating and collaborating both inside and outside the organizations’ boundaries, they can also assimilate and diffuse knowledge across these boundaries.

The thesis is a collection of five papers and a cover paper reporting an exploration of the role of digitalized equipment in boundary-spanning practices as a contribution to the design and implementation of IT-enabled services. Three embedded case studies of Swedish industrial organizations provide an opportunity to address the research question. The findings are based on studies of remote diagnostics services for industrial equipment enabled by remote diagnostics systems, an application family within ubiquitous computing.

The thesis illustrates that remote diagnostics systems have a profound impact on how organizational boundaries that were drawn as ‘cross-overs’ are becoming less limited by constraints of time, space and the type of data shared. These systems permit workers at remote sites to gain access to information about external dispersed equipment and production processes. They also create new boundaries between entities that were not previously connected and across existing boundaries with new information and knowledge. This thesis gives insight into how such information sharing across boundaries may leverage multicontextual practices.

This thesis contributes to the existing literature with the development of a conceptual apparatus for understanding how embedded technology transforms boundary-spanning practices from a pure social activity to a boundary-spanning assemblage. Boundary spanning is an increasingly complex sociomaterial practice that fundamentally rests on technology as well as human competencies. The technology is deeply intertwined in the boundary-spanning activity as the sensors installed in the monitored equipment serve as the remote technicians’ eyes and ears. Together, the technology and the technicians form a boundary-spanning assemblage.

While information systems research has called for attention to the ‘IT artifact’, this thesis underscores the importance of the characteristics of the specific technology and the profound effects it has had on its surroundings. In contrast to predominant ubiquitous computing research that mainly explores mobile applications, this thesis also shows how the increased embeddedness of IT makes technology an invisible but ever-present part of everyday work practices. Digitalized equipment with embedded technology thus raises not only novel opportunities but also novel challenges for both users and researchers.

We can design IT solutions today where people close to the technology have no access to or awareness of it. People can be monitored without visual cues revealing the monitoring. Furthermore, developing or using an IT-enabled service is not merely about developing/using a technology or a system; it also involves issues about the technology’s value creation, its ownership, competencies and customer relationships. IT and services should thus not be considered as separate and subsequent processes: they are deeply intertwined and mutual. This thesis thus suggests that digitalized equipment with embedded technology deserves critical scrutiny.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Institutionen för informatik, Umeå universitet, 2010. 105 p.
Series
Research reports in informatics, ISSN 1401-4572 ; 02
Keyword
boundary-spanning practices, e-maintenance, industry, information technology, IT-enabled services, remote diagnostics systems, ubiquitous computing
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-33717 (URN)978-91-7459-003-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-06-04, MA 121, MIT huset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-05-12 Created: 2010-05-04 Last updated: 2010-05-12Bibliographically approved
2. Disentangling sociomateriality: an exploration of remote monitoring systems in interorganizational networks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Disentangling sociomateriality: an exploration of remote monitoring systems in interorganizational networks
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Att dekonstruera sociomaterialitet : En undersökning av fjärrdiagnostiksystem i interorganisatoriska nätverk
Abstract [en]

Firmly placed in an industrial setting, this research explored the introduction of remote monitoring technology into three different organizational contexts. By following these organizations over time, starting with their intention to invest in remote monitoring systems (RMS), there was a unique opportunity to witness their processes and to gain an insight into the intricacies of information technology (IT) and organizational transformation. The main question that this research sought to answer was thus: How is IT implicated in the remote monitoring of industrial equipment?

Previous information systems research has been accused of not paying enough attention to the material, that is, of not being specific about technology. This research adopted a sociomaterial perspective, thus recognizing the constitutive entanglement of the material and the social, and thereby acknowledging their mutual dependency. However, in order to provide specific insights about the material, an analytical disentanglement was performed, by extending the concept of agency from a focus on “the what” to include “the how”. Change was thus studied by not only asking what the nature of change is and who or what causes change to occur, but by also tracing how change is enacted, thus capturing both material and social agency as well as tracing their entanglement.

This research employed a broad approach, designed to provide a profound and extensive account of the studied phenomenon. Consequently, the thesis explored value creation, sourcing routines, partnership formation and innovative practices all related to remote diagnostics design and use. In addition, the research was qualitative and used interpretive case studies as the main methodology.

A composite finding of this research is that an RMS, with its ability to collect, transmit, store, and analyze specific contextual information across time and space, provides opportunities for boundary-spanning activities manifested as the formation of interorganizational networks. Furthermore, by tracing the information capabilities of the IT, and by being specific about the material, it has been possible to explore how RMSs have the potential to influence both organizational form and content. Through the examination of RMSs within interorganizational networks and as a part of value creation practices, this research has also shown how the organizational form and content have the potential to influence RMSs; their design, use, and material affordances. This research also placed focus on the importance of trust and has shown that trust in technology is established through trust in people.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Institutionen för informatik, Umeå Universitet, 2011. 113 p.
Series
Research reports in informatics, ISSN 1401-4572 ; RR-11.02
Keyword
Remote monitoring systems, interorganizational networks, value creation, trust, sociomateriality
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-43488 (URN)978-91-7459-221-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-06-01, MA 121, MIT-huset, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-05-09 Created: 2011-05-02 Last updated: 2011-05-04Bibliographically approved

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