From caterpillar to butterfly

Transforming into a solution provider

Increasingly, instead of just offering products or services, companies are integrating different products, services and technologies to provide solutions that are specifically designed to respond to customer demands and requirements. However, transforming from a product or service provider to a genuinely customer-centred solution provider implies re-aligning the entire organisation.

Vlerick Professors Marion Debruyne and Deva Rangarajan and Research Associate Caroline Baert have conducted a study of this transformative trend towards solutions, including an examination of how companies in Flanders are moving towards becoming solution providers.

Moving towards solutions in 10 steps

The move towards solutions differs for every company and is seldom linear. Because the company has to switch from a product-centred to a customer-centred approach, the transformation requires changing the company’s culture, values, structure, processes and competitive capabilities, as well as its incentives and measurements.

Companies considering this transformation must assess their readiness to change their entire business model fundamentally and to cope with the associated disruption. The authors outline a 10-step process to help companies (or individual business units) make this transformation successfully.

Worth the effort

Because they are a customer-centred integration of products, services and technologies, solutions provide high added value that is greater than the sum of the different parts. By combining value-added services with their offering, solution providers realise stronger customer ties, higher profit margins and a competitive advantage. Additional advantages include greater customer loyalty, winning new customers and rapid market adoption of complex technologies.

The rewards of providing solutions are significant. The 10-step plan will help keep your organisation flexible, open-minded and on track as you make the transformation.

Reinventing yourself as a solution provider requires a transformation from a product-centred approach to a genuine customer-centred one.


‘From caterpillar to butterfly. How to transform your business model to turn into a solution provider’ by the Flanders DC Knowledge Centre at Vlerick Business School. Research conducted by professors Marion Debruyne and Deva Rangarajan, and researcher Caroline Baert at Vlerick Business School.

Download the full article: 'From caterpillar to butterfly'

From caterpillar to butterfly

& Rankings

Equis Association of MBAs AACSB Financial Times