Making “as a Service” work

How product companies create and capture value with their ecosystems
More than ever, megatrends such as digitalization and servitization continuously challenge traditional value creation and capturing. Across industries, especially product-driven companies relying on conventional manufacturer-dealer-relations witness such disruptions and seek ways to augment or even replace product-based business models. Fighting for competitive advantages, annual recurring revenues, and sustainable growth, they are forced to investigate and implement innovative measures to create added value along the complete product life cycle. Moving from solely selling assets via dealers to delivering customer-centric product-service systems (PSS) offers promising paths to embrace digital servitization and enhance the overall user experience (UX).
Servitization and “as a Service” concepts offer many promises. Intrigued by the enormous growth benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT) enabled outcome-oriented service solutions, academic and practical discussions intensified immensely during the last century. However, how do companies successfully walk the talk? How can companies effectively make “as a Service” work? How can they scale servitized business models and bring their customer journey to the next level? 
Scope of the thesis:
We at the ITEM aim to close the gap between sophisticated academia and tangible practical insights. While building on profound research, your thesis should generate actionable insights with practical applicability. Based on desk research, reviewing scientific literature, and conducting hands-on case interviews, your task would be to identify, analyze and compare successful examples of servitized business models.
Specifically, your thesis project would revolve around questions such as:
  • Which collaboration archetypes serve to scale PSS?
  • How can manufacturers with dealer networks use their ecosystem while leveraging direct customer relations?
  • When transitioning towards hybrid service delivery, what are best practices? Which challenges occur?
  • Which impact do digitization and IoT have? 
Your profile: 
  • Strong interest in case-based research 
  • Strong interest in technology and strategy topics at the interface of theory and practice 
  • Organized, conscientious and result-oriented working attitude
  • Very good communication and writing skills in English
We offer: 
  • Qualitative research with a high practical relevance and impact
  • Methodological support
  • Working at the intersection of business and technology
  • A young, dynamic and interdisciplinary team
Whom to contact?
If you find the topic interesting, please do not hesitate to contact Johanna Knapp ( Please attach your CV and current grade transcript to your e-mail.
Johanna Knapp
Research Associate & PhD Candidate