Essays on Commercialization of Information Technology Products




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This dissertation addresses two important issues in software demonstrations — (i) the design of a feature-limited software demonstration, and (ii) the role of data demonstration when firms bargain over proprietary data. These aspects of software demonstrations are presented in three separate essays provided in chapters 2, 3, and 4 with an introduction in chapter 1.

In the first essay we focus on feature-limited demonstration versions where some of the features are provided free of charge while the remaining features are charged by the vendor. As the specific features included in the feature-limited version influence whether the full product is purchased or not, it is essential that the features included in the feature-limited version be selected judiciously. This study fills the gap in the literature by providing an objective approach to the design of demonstration software.

The second essay investigates the data monetization issue through a negotiation process between a seller and a buyer and also considers the role of a data demonstration by the seller to mitigate the buyer side uncertainty in valuation. Both data sellers and buyers are often unclear about the true potential of the proprietary data, which in turn affects their pricing decision. This raises a fundamental question — how should the price of a unique and proprietary data be decided and is there a way to mitigate the uncertainty in valuation of the data? We model the pricing decision as a Nash bargaining problem where price of the data is mutually decided. The seller has an outside option and will negotiate with the buyer if they expect to gain from the negotiation. The seller also has an option to offer a data demonstration before the negotiation process to reduce the buyer side uncertainty in the valuation. Our results show that the presence of a moderately high outside option can trigger a demonstration. Interestingly, the seller is better off providing a noisy demonstration even when they do not have an outside option but the chances of a high value data is relatively high.

There are several instances where proprietary data can be quite rich and complex and extracting meaningful insights could require considerable effort in such situations. Sometimes the buyer may not always have the ability to effectively analyze the data and is willing to hire a consultant for this task. The consultant acts as a gatekeeper and works with the buyer. Once a decision is made to purchase the data, the buyer pays the seller for the data and the consultant for their services. The prices are arrived at through a negotiation process involving all three parties. The third essay investigates the outcome of the negotiation in the presence of a consultant and observes that proposing a demonstration is not beneficial for the seller in a three-party negotiation. However, it is interesting to find that if the consultant or the seller is aware of the true value while the buyer remains unaware as before, this does not help the consultant or the seller.



Product demonstrations, Software architecture, Negotiation in business, Confidential business information, Technology consultants, Business consultants


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