Customizing Standard Software as a Business Model in the IT Industry: The Role of the Inter-organizational Networks and Open Innovation

Karlheinz Kautz, Sameen M. Rab, Michael Sinnet

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This research studies a new business model in the IT industry, the customization of standard software as the sole foundation for a software company’s earnings. Based on a theoretical background which combines the concepts of inter-organizational networks and open innovation we provide an interpretive case study of a small software company which customizes a standard product. We
investigate the company’s interactions with a large global software company which is the producer of the original software product and with other companies which are involved in the software customization process. We find that the customizing company and software customizations depend not only on initiatives which are set off internally in the company, but on how the ustomizing
organization’s inter-organizational network and interaction with other organizations is built up. The case company has built its network primarily on complex, formal partnerships, in which also opportunistic behavior occurs and where informal relations are invaluable sources of knowledge. In addition, the original software producer’s view and treatment of these companies has a vital impact on the customizing company’s practice which is influenced by the open innovation initiatives which the producer of the original software instigates.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMCIS 2011 Proceedings
Number of pages10
Place of PublicationAtlanta, GA
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Publication date2011
ChapterPaper 20
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventThe 6th Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems. MCIS 2011 - , Cyprus
Duration: 3 Sept 20115 Sept 2011
Conference number: 6


ConferenceThe 6th Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems. MCIS 2011
Internet address

Cite this