How Information Systems Providers Develop and Manage Expertise and Leverage Their Client Relationships for Competitive Advantage

  • Robert Gregory
  • Michael Prifling
Part of the IFIP — The International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 267)


Information technology vendors are continuously growing into global service providers. To reap the benefits of the changing global economy and gain a competitive advantage, providers need to see their client relationships as strategic assets and leverage them for expertise development and knowledge integration. How do IS service providers absorb knowledge from client relationships over multiple projects at multiple levels? How do IS service providers transfer and disseminate knowledge internally at and across multiple levels and integrate it to generate value-creating competencies? These questions are investigated in a longitudinal qualitative study employing interpretive case-study methods. The case included in the analysis is a 4-year IS outsourcing project between a large European bank and one of the largest Asian service providers. Services were delivered through a global virtual team, including offshore and onshore locations, and a particular strategy was employed to transfer knowledge cross-functionally, integrate this knowledge internally within the organization, and utilize it effectively in the global service delivery system. However, our initial analysis of the first interviews reveals that there was a discrepancy between the expected and actual performance of the service provider. Accordingly, the knowledge transfer and management processes need to be analyzed in more detail. With this research study, we aim at contributing to the domain of IS offshore outsourcing and services science as well as to the theory on vendor capabilities and knowledge management.


Strategic client-vendor relationships IS outsourcing IS service providers expertise development knowledge integration knowledge transfer global delivery of services globalization of knowledge work global virtual teams organizational learning 


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Gregory
    • 1
  • Michael Prifling
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Information SystemsUniversity of Frankfurt, E-Finance LabFrankfurt am MainGermany

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