Research Paper

Business & Information Systems Engineering

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 19-31

First online:

Product Differentiation for Software-as-a-Service Providers

  • Arne KatzmarzikAffiliated withFIM Research Center Finance & Information Management, University of Augsburg Email author 

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The market for the new provisioning type Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has reached a significant size and still shows enormous growth rates. By varying size of SaaS products, providers can improve their market position and profits by successfully acting in the tension area of customer acquisition, pricing and costs. We first elaborate differences concerning product differentiation between classic software provisioning models and SaaS. Then, we introduce a micro-economic based decision model to maximize the return of a provider by finding an optimal granularity, i.e. by varying the size of services. This paper makes two contributions in this context: (1) it provides a conceptual foundation for product differentiation within the scope of SaaS and (2) it presents the first implementation of variable reproduction costs for web based software offers. The model is illustrated by a real world case with data from a SaaS provider.


Software-as-a-Service Product differentiation Service granularity Decision model