Information technology, marketing and organizational factor in Corporate e-banking: a qualitative research
AbstractThe enterprise-customer relationships analysis is one of the most important themes in marketing literature (Dwyer, Schurr, Oh, 1987; Morgan, Hunt 1994; Gummesson, 1999), particularly referring to the role that these relationships have in obtaining a competitive advantage (Dyer, Sing, 1998; Morgan, Hunt, 1999; Vicari, Bertoli, Busacca, 2000). Among the various changes occurred the last decades, technological development was the one that, without doubt, determined, referring to the enterprise-customer relationships, the most significant modifications (Varaldo, 2004), showing to enterprises the importance of building competitive strategies focused on every single costumer (Peppers, Rogers 1999; Rust Zeithaml, Lemon, 2000; Vandenbosch, Dawar, 2002; Vandermerwe, 2004; Gulati, Oldroyd, 2005; Rogers, 2005). From such first considerations evidently appears that the evolutionary dynamics in progress lifts new questions in the conceptualization, in the analysis and in the management of the enterprise-costumer relationships (Pettinao, 2007), causing that the management of such relationships becomes a critical factor of success in hypercompetitives contexts (D’Aveni, 1994) as that actual, characterized by an ample variety and variability of problems and market demands as well as from a strong tension toward the innovation of the offering system. At the same time, the adoption of the IT technologies is one of the factors that determined the greatest changes with reference to the organizational relationships (Moss Kanter, 2001; Afuah, Tucci, Virili, 2001; Pontiggia 1997) making possible such kinds of interactions first unimaginable (Kelly, 1998). On the organizational point of view Boyton et al. (1993) noticed as the advent of mass personalization set the accent on the necessity to assume productive unities coordination models based on loosed coupled (Weick, 1976) that conferred to the structure a certain grade of flexibility and the possibility to quickly coordinate itself with the market demands assisting the generation of new forms of organizational learning (Albertini, 1990; Ferrero, 2000). Following these lines of reflection, clearly appears that the possibilities for an enterprise to survive and develop itself could be as greater as more profitable and intense are the relationships that it establishes both with the present remarkable other system in the environment (Golinelli, 2000) and with her subsystems (Usai, 2002). Considering these observations, with the present paper we propose ourselves to delineate a possible key reading in terms of expansion and evolution of the enterprise-costumer relationships. The goal is to explore the possibility of application of the sensemaking (Weick, 1969, 1995) studies to the analysis of the enterprise-costumer relationships and to verify the support that IT technologies can offer to the creation of a dialogue space with the client. The application of the sensemaking presuppositions requires, however, to attribute a particular importance not only to the IT technologies use but also to the existence of some important organizational requisite as the knowledge, the identification and the organizational integration. The analysis is conducted with reference to a specific sector and, specifically, to the financial intermediation one. Such choice is particularly important because, although many studies have been conducted regarding different aspects of the business banking, the close examination of the impact that IT technologies can have on this sector starts only at the end of 1990 (Devil, 1995; Buhl, Will, 1998; Yan, Paradi, 1998; Liao, Cheung, 2002; Scruggs, 2002; King, Liou, 2004; Yousafzadi, Pallister, Foxall, 2005). For a long time, in fact, the majority of the banks only made small adjustments of their own operational and managerial formalities without modifying them in a remarkable way (Dematté 1997). Nevertheless, currently the extreme competition, the glut of the financial markets and the increasing answer of products and services through the new technologies pushed the banks to quickly modify their own models of business (Methlie, Nysveen, 1999; Jun, Cai, 2001; Bradley, Stewart, 2003) and differentiate their own organization in function of the final costumer. With the creation of “markets” (corporate, retail, private banking) a lot of banks intended to give diversified solutions to diversified need, modifying the old strategy hinged on the product “omni-comprehensive”. This is coherent with the statement that the costumers don’t look for generics goods or services but for solutions that, resolving their problems, (Levitt 1983) allows them to create value (Gronroos 2002). The study of products designed to specific markets involves the management of a multiplicity of distributive channels and sets the banks in the condition to elaborate precise politics to assure the harmonious coexistence among the different structures preceded to the direct relationship with the costumers (De Marco, Sorrentino, 1999). This paper brings theory and practice together by synthesising the existing literature with real-life experience of an Italian bank. The aim is that to tie the indications that results from the marketing studies regarding the evolution assumed by the enterprise-client relationships with those inferred by the organizational studies regarding the inside relationships management and the increasing importance assumed by the human subjects in the organizational trials. Two principal questions motivate the search. In first place we try to verify the strength use of the IT technologies to the enterprise-costumer relationships support and consolidation in the financial intermediation sector. Hereafter, we want to investigate on the organizational factors that makes efficient and competitive the banking use of IT technologies. The investigation is conducted with specific reference to the Corporate segment, which the existing searches on are, without doubt, extremely inferior in comparison to those about the Retail segment, that constitutes the prevailing area of the national banking activity. A case study research approach was used (Yin, 1994; Dubois, Gadde 2002) to investigate marketing and organizational factor in Corporate e-banking. This methodology is particularly proper to develop the theory through the deep comprehension of the empirical phenomena and the context in which they take place.