Date of Award

Spring 4-15-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Executive Doctorate in Business (EDB)

Department

Business

First Advisor

Lars Mathiassen

Second Advisor

Wesley Johnston

Third Advisor

Balasubramaniam Ramesh

Abstract

Fierce competition in the market is driving software vendors to rely on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) strategies and to continuously match new software versions with customers’ needs and competitors’ moves. Although release management as a recurrent activity related to SaaS arguably shapes how a vendor services its customers, the literature is surprisingly limited on how software releases are managed to support SaaS strategies. Against this backdrop, we present a collaborative action-research study with Software Inc., a large multi-national software provider, focused on improving the release cycle management process for a complex security software service. The study is part of a comprehensive intervention into Software Inc. that combines a perspective rooted in software process improvement and engineering practices with one rooted in service delivery and customer interactions. The part that is reported in this dissertation draws on the service-dominant logic framework to analyze how the release cycle management process was organized to improve Software Inc.’s ongoing value co-creation with its customers. As a result, the study contributed to improving release cycle management at Software Inc. and it expands industry knowledge about the challenges and opportunities for software vendors to manage releases and improve the value delivered to and co-created with their customers. This added knowledge is of interest to both practitioners and researchers as SaaS strategies increasingly shape the industry with important implications for how software is released.

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