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Research focus: Service Procurement
Ending: December 2009
Project Leader/Contact: Peter Hottum
Research assistants: Andreas Neus

20.05.2008 IBM Faculty Award

20 May 2008 IBM Faculty Award

Prof. Dr. Christof Weinhardt has received the „IBM Faculty Award“ for this project. IBM Faculty Awards are competitive awards granted by IBM Research to support highly relevant research projects working on future trends.


In all non-trivial services, but especially so in complex, Knowledge-Intensive Business Services (KIBS), service procurement is a major challenge due to difficulties in formally specifying the value to be delivered by the service.

Despite the increasing importance of services, and the increasing trend to compose services by procuring them across different legal entities and geographical regions, the process of service procurement as practiced by companies today adopts many assumptions, metrics and processes originally developed for material or product procurement.

While these metrics may yield desirable results in a product value chain – e.g. identifying the lowest-price provider who can supply parts or products who match technical specifications – there are indications that the same measures may be ineffective or even counter-productive when procuring services where the client has to “co-create” the value by providing information, defining desired outcomes and collaborating as part of the service delivery.

In this project we investigate how procurement of different types of services works in practice today by examining experiences made with quality metrics in service procurement practices, and which options exist to improve them. Additionally we will examine how procurement can add value as a “catalyst” of innovation at the provider interface.

Project partners: IBM Global Business Services / IBM Research