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How Agility and Customer Value Create Competitive Advantage

How Agility And Customer Value Create Competitive Advantage

Agility and customer value for competitive advantage

In the chart of buzzwords, "customer value" competes with "agility." Businesses need to understand, create, manage and retain it to remain competitive.

We already tried to explain the different views on agility in previous posts, e.g., dynamic capability.

Customer value is another complex term, which definitions vary depending on the context.

We will now try to understand the different dimensions of customer value. 

Moreover, we will build a complex view of the competitive advantage involving both agility and customer value.

The overview of customer value

Customer value is a complex term with many definitions, one of which is end-users ' opinion about a product or service based on their customer experience and compared with the competitive offerings.

Multiple dimensions of customer value   

There're two dominant logics of customer value: goods-centered and service-centered. 

The first one is the value of an exchange, the second - the value in use. Both types are reasonably objective, being defined on sensible criteria.

The customer-perceived value 

The customer perceived value is the utility (happiness, joy, satisfaction) associated with the goods minus its price or utility of possible alternatives.

This value isn't objective and is not defined by the producer. 

The process of perceiving value typically involves a tradeoff between perceived benefits and sacrifices (paying the price, saving money for the desired object, etc.) 

Experts underline the dynamic nature of the customer-perceived value.

Firstly, customers might perceive value differently in the process of buying and during or after use.

Secondly, it doesn't only vary across customers but also within customers over time. Consequently, companies need to understand each customer's values and the reasons behind changing perceptions of value over time.

Customer value from the firm's perspective

Firms strive for the creation and appropriation of the value to achieve a competitive advantage. 

In other words, their task is to make the customers willing to pay for the product and retain their payments by protecting it from the competition. 

Some firms may choose to compete for value creation by tirelessly developing and innovating their products.

Others may decide to defend their position in the market (to appropriate value) by extensive advertising or continuous improvement of customer service capabilities. Firms start seeking customer feedback to adapt their value proposition to changing perceptions. 

Most firms try to balance both the creation and appropriation of the value to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.

An integrated view on customer value

Let's look at the value with the eyes of a firm and a customer.

This view presents the following logical sequence: 
(a) a firm must be able to create value for its customers, i.e., stand out of the competition; 
(b) a firm isn't making a value, of the customer doesn't perceive it;
(c) if a firm creates value and the customer perceives it, the necessary next step is its appropriation of that created value. 

Exploration and exploitation

Earlier, we covered the notion of organizational ambidexterity - the ability to both explore and exploit.

Exploration assumes competing in mature technologies and markets where efficiency, control, and incremental improvement are valued. 

Exploitation means competing in new technologies and markets where flexibility, autonomy, and experimentation are needed.

Combining exploitation with strategic agility to stay responsive to a dynamically changing environment improves the firm's competitive advantage. 

A complex view on the competitive advantage

Our attempt to marry the customer value and ambidexterity creates a complex view of building a competitive advantage.

The customer value elements suggest the importance of exploration and exploration for the creation and appropriation of the customer value.

Exploration capabilities of a firm contribute to value creation. Exploitation capabilities help to appropriate value.

Strategic agility is the dynamic capability to rapidly change and rearrange the strategic orientation by adjusting quickly to shifting requirements, opportunities, and trends. 

It is precisely what's required to appropriate value by adapting to changing market conditions and, most importantly, customer perceptions.

Ideally, this view would give a logical presentation of agility and customer value as critical enablers of the firm's competitive advantage.

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This post first appeared on The Good Spending, please read the originial post: here

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How Agility and Customer Value Create Competitive Advantage