Impact of Cloud Computing on Business Process Outsourcing - Case: Accounting in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

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School of Business | Doctoral thesis (article-based)
Degree programme
96 + app. 66
Aalto University publication series DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS, 154/2016
Cloud computing is a model for providing on-demand access to a shared pool of computational resources in a cost-efficient and convenient manner, involving minimal interaction with the cloud provider. Within the last eight years cloud computing has evolved from a promising, emerging technology to a credible alternative for fulfilling organizations' IT needs. Previous research has addressed a variety of issues including cloud sourcing and implementation in organizations. However, there is a gap in our understanding when it comes to the implications of cloud-based information systems on business process outsourcing (BPO). The objective of this dissertation is to contribute to the understanding of how the introduction of cloud-based-information systems affects BPO arrangements. The context of this research is professional business-to-business (B2B) services outsourcing by small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). This setting is depicted as an outsourcing triangle, which includes a client company, a professional service provider, and a cloud-based information system. The four essays included in this dissertation investigate the implications of cloud computing from the perspective of the three sides of the triangle. The first essay seeks to understand factors behind cloud computing adoption in organizations. The second and third essays investigate the outsourcing patterns of client companies and BPO decision-making in the context of cloud-based information systems. Finally, the fourth essay addresses changes in the organization of professional service providers. The main theoretical contributions of the dissertation include (1) a revised cloud computing adoption framework, (2) a conceptualization of the outsourcing continuum, (3) an enhanced understanding of transaction costs in the cloud context, and (4) a framework of virtual organization for professional B2B service providers. For practitioners, this dissertation offers a set of guidelines for the implementation of cloud-based information systems in BPO arrangements, and the reorganization of work to suit the technology.
Thesis advisor
Penttinen, Esko, Prof., Aalto University, Department of Information and Service Economy, Finland
cloud computing, business process outsourcing, adoption, transaction costs, virtual work, professional services, SME, accounting, information systems, decision making
Other note
  • [Essay 1]: Asatiani, A. (2015). Why Cloud? - A Review of Cloud Adoption Determinants in Organizations. In Proceedings of the 23rd European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Münster, Germany, (pp. 1-17). The full text of the essay is incuded in the pdf file of the dissertation.
  • [Essay 2]: Asatiani, A. & Penttinen, E. (2016). Profiling Outsourcers of Professional Services – An Exploratory Study on SMEs. In Proceedings of the 24th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Istanbul, Turkey, (pp. 1-16). The full text of the essay is incuded in the pdf file of the dissertation.
  • [Essay 3]: Asatiani, A., Apte, U., Penttinen, E., Rönkkö, M., & Saarinen, T. (Unpublished). Cloud Users Outsourcing Professional B2B Services: An Empirical Study on SMEs.
  • [Essay 4]: Asatiani, A. & Penttinen, E. (Unpublished). Organizing for Virtual Work – Strategies for Coping Without Physical Space.