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Dual role of extranet portals in buyer-supplier information exchange

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Purpose ‐ The paper aims to examine the role of extranet portals ‐ one-to-many web-portals extending a company towards its suppliers or customers ‐ in relation to system-to-system (S2S) links in facilitating information exchange between suppliers and buyers. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A case study approach is used to analyze empirical data collected from 16 Finnish companies concerning the use of inter-organizational information systems in information exchange with supply chain partners. Findings ‐ For the use of extranet portals in relation to S2S links in information exchange between supplier and buyer, two concepts ‐ partner-extending role and information-expanding role ‐ emerged from the case studies. Research limitations/implications ‐ The Finnish context and the research methodology chosen have to be taken into consideration when generalizing on the findings. As for future research, the findings indicate that, when studying the use of technological solutions for information exchange in supply chains, the interplay between the different types of solutions used should be acknowledged instead of studying the solutions separately. Practical implications ‐ S2S links and extranet portals can be used as complementary solutions in facilitating supply chain co-operation and the related information exchange. Hence, practitioners should not only acknowledge the fundamental differences between these two types of information systems but also leverage these differences to achieve more synergy in the use of inter-organizational information systems. Further, a conceptual tool is provided for assessing the use of extranet portals in relation to S2S links with supply chain partners. Originality/value ‐ The study contributes to the limited prior research on extranet portals and develops concepts that can be utilized both in future research and in practice.
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Keywords: Information exchange; Internet; Supply chain management

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 31, 2007

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