The future of extranets and the IEI framework

The scholarly contribution of this article, as discussed above and resulting in the B2B online value-creation model, is of no use if it does not also somehow add something to those running (or considering to start up) an extranet as a part of their own corporate I-E-I framework development. What practitioners can take from this study is that extranets can be developed to serve and create value at the (core) seller-buyer relationship in such B2B settings. It can also serve to enhance other relationships with suppliers, partners, investors, etc. Yet it must be kept in mind, value is a two-way street: You get out what you put in. This of course deserves future research. There are more value inputs and value outputs to be discovered, discussed and debated, as this article only got things started.

This look at the heart of the I-E-I framework, in this case the core industrial seller-buyer relationship, is but one example and is presented here as a starting point for future research. As all research should, it likely gives rise to more questions versus providing answers. Based on a qualitative, case study approach, limitations of course exist, the main one being the generalizabiltiy of the findings. Although the aim of qualitative research is rarely to generalize in any way, such research does allow us to go more in depth and uncover detailed clues and descriptions ofwhat is happening in an area of research that is itself dynamic and constantly changing. Keeping up with it means taking a continual look at other extranet applications as they pertain not only to industrial seller-buyer relationships, but to other channel relationships as well, regardless of whether such relationships exist on the innermost intranet level, the extranet level, or the outermost (public) internet level. Other examples of and uses for the extranet level are out there and must be shared in order to gain a continuing understanding of how the internet is used as a marketing (communication) tool to create value for all stakeholders in this ever-changing digital world we live in.

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