Customer knowledge management (CKM) in the e-business environment: cases from Swedish banks

The advent of information technology has generated interest not only in how to acquire, store and ”mine” data, but also on how to manage knowledge. The ability to create knowledge and to continue learning from it can become a competitive advantage, as the innovative knowledge developed today will become the core knowledge of tomorrow. Therefore the organization’s success and growth become dependent on the successful generation, management, and deployment of its own, as well as, its customer knowledge across the business processes. In e-business environment there are many opportunities to collect data about the customers, the market, as well as, the industry. But in such a data-rich environment the challenge is to distinguish the relevant data, convert it into knowledge and integrate this knowledge into the business processes. The purpose of this study was to provide a better understanding of how companies manage customer knowledge in the e-business environment. For this purpose three research questions have been formulated, which focus on how customer data, aiming to create customer knowledge, can be acquired and processed, as well as, how this customer knowledge can be deployed in the e-business environment. Moreover, a qualitative approach was chosen and a deductive research was conducted based on two case studies from Swedish banks’ perspective that were selected as a non-probability and judgemental sample. The findings of this study show that successful implementation of CKM in the e-business environment depends on the active participation of the customer in the knowledge generation process, the knowledge culture of the organization and the deployment of customer knowledge that creates a two-way flow of value for both customers and companies. The examined organizations were shown not to fully exploit the opportunities for customer data acquisition that the Internet provides, but they are working towards this direction. Even though the two banks were similarly equipped with sophisticated infrastructures capable to support their CKM procedures, differences were observed in terms of their knowledge culture. Finally, in general terms, the examined banks were shown to work towards the co-creation of the product with the customer in order to generate value for both parties and with the purpose to achieve competitive advantage towards their rivals.

Author: Roy, Tapan Kumer; Stavropoulos, Christos

Source: Luleå University of Technology

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