Processes and interfirm collaboration in delivering integrated solutions
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The complexity of the projects in the gas and energy sector is increasing and the public sector is increasingly privatizing these projects thus, the emergence of BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) projects. In BOT projects the contractor takes on additional responsibilities compared to an Engineer-Procure-Construct (EPC) project. However, acting as a solution provider requires a change in the business mindset of the company and need for additional capabilities such as: business consultation, systems integration, operational service and financial capabilities. The contractor needs to either incrementally develop these capabilities or collaborate with a project partner. Interfirm collaboration increases the complexity in the management of the project and therefore, increases the project risk. Companies need to develop collaborative practices to mitigate the risks in delivering these kinds of integrated solutions. The objective of this study to develop the understanding of the requirements and processes needed to deliver integrated solution projects. This study was conducted for a small firm, which delivers integrated solution projects through collaborating with project partners. The study was done through a constructive approach where the theoretical and empirical process models could be compared between each other. The empirical process model was constructed through gathering information from semi-structured interviews and from a workshop. This study resulted in the creation of new understanding of the processes and requirements for an SME (Small or medium-sized enterprise) to deliver integrated solutions by collaborating with other companies. The four main capabilities for delivering integrated solutions were found in the project network and spread between the project partners. The complementary capabilities were main reason for the partners to choose to collaborate with each other. In integrated solution deliveries, the pre-project phase is extended as found out in the case project thus a clearer clarification between the value proposition and systems integration phase was needed. Challenges in the interfirm collaboration process were described to be mainly due to communication practices and the lack of a collaborative management style. In the future, more case studies with similar settings or as a longitudinal study to study the whole integrated solution lifecycle would be needed. Additionally, studying the risks of collaboration and what causes design changes in IS projects would be beneficial.