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Exploring vendor capabilities in the cloud environment: A case study of Alibaba Cloud Computing

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-07-27, 10:22 authored by Gongtao Zhang, M.N. Ravishankar
Cloud computing is being viewed as an effective enabler for enhanced operational efficiency and flexibility in competitive business environments. Despite the increased knowledge on cloud computing, very few studies have been conducted to explore vendors' capabilities for service development and delivery. This gap prevents us from developing a full understanding of the service provision process and the actions through which vendors develop cloud services and create value for clients. In this paper, we present an in-depth qualitative case study of Alibaba Cloud Computing, China’s biggest Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) vendor, and identify five important capabilities, namely, cloud platform development, cloud platform deployment, IaaS imitation, IaaS commercialization, and IaaS improvement. We suggest that these capabilities and the associated actions are central to vendors’ adoption of cloud computing, acquisition of knowledge, and delivery and improvement of their cloud service provision. This paper contributes incrementally to the evolving scholarship on cloud computing and also offers useful guidelines for current and aspiring vendors.



  • Business and Economics


  • Business

Published in

Information and Management


ZHANG, G. and RAVISHANKAR, M.N., 2019. Exploring vendor capabilities in the cloud environment: A case study of Alibaba Cloud Computing. Information and Management, 56 (3), pp.343-355.


© Elsevier


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Information and Management and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.im.2018.07.008.

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