Discussion Paper of the Institute for Organisational Economics 6/2020

The Advances of Community Cloud Computing in the Business-to-Business-Buying Process
Nicolas Henn/Todor S. Lohwasser
June 2020



In times of digitalization, new ways occur to integrate suppliers in the B2B buying process. Community cloud computing enhances the collaboration between B2B buyers and suppliers. However, so far, there is little empirical evidence on how B2B buyers can use community cloud computing to integrate suppliers in the B2B buying process. This study investigates the areas of application, motives, and risks of B2B buyers to use community cloud computing for supplier integration. We use an exploratory research design and conducted semi-structured interviews with 14 experts in the German market. Even though our results show that community cloud computing is not an established technology, we find that B2B buyers use cloud-based procurement systems to enhance supplier integration. Interestingly, cloud-based procurement systems appear in all steps of the B2B buying process. This study identifies four ideal types of B2B buying processes, whose manifestations depend on the buying situation and the importance of the product. The use of cloud-based procurement systems in B2B buying adds up to the three main outcomes cost reduction, time savings, and resource access. We provide recommendations to B2B buyers and suppliers facing the four types how to use cloud computing in order to establish long-term relationships. Finally, we open up new research areas to further explore this topic.