Finding digital business models simply

digitale Geschäftsmodelle
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Fraunhofer method identifies new digital business models with a smart data approach

Digital Scout is a new instrument that Fraunhofer IAO has developed for monitoring digital business models emerging across the globe. To date, experts have identified 15,000 digital business model approaches. Most of these come from the United States and China, with Germany ranking in sixth place. Companies can use this method to develop a digital innovation strategy.

No. of approaches for digital business models from 2010 to 2016
© Fraunhofer IAO

No. of approaches for digital business models from 2010 to 2016

A recent data analysis conducted by Fraunhofer IAO shows that every year around 2000 new approaches for digital business models are published worldwide – and with them new forms of customer interaction and changes in customer experience. It now takes more than just a technically sophisticated product, a strong brand or a large production capacity to satisfy customers. The commercial success of products is, in fact, becoming increasingly dependent on the “game-changing business models” with which new players from other sectors, e.g. internet companies, are redefining the rules of the game.

Bringing perspective: Which business model is worth using?

Under these harsh conditions, it is crucial for companies to maintain an overview of new business models that are emerging and apply the right strategies. In the light of the sheer number and speed of development, that is no easy task.

15,000 new digital business models – but only 417 from Germany

To this end, Fraunhofer IAO has developed a new smart data approach called Digital Scout with which to monitor business models in the area of B2C and B2B. Through this method, Fraunhofer IAO has already identified some 15,000 digital business model approaches published in the last seven years worldwide – primarily in the United States and China. Germany ranks in sixth place in the statistics.

The digital business model data collected from companies across the globe involve new forms of customer interaction, new value creation architectures and new value propositions. These data allow companies to obtain information on current digital trends, scrutinize their business model and then develop their own digital innovation strategy. The most important questions that companies can obtain answers to are:

  • What new consumer experiences do customers want? And how can these demands be met?
  • What digital technologies can companies use?
  • Who will be the next digital players that we should cooperate with?
  • Do we have to change our entire value proposition?

“New customer experiences and benefits are two key elements in the development of digital business models. Companies from the U.S. and Asia are very dynamic in devising new business models. By intelligently linking information of various kinds, it is possible to identify new approaches from these regions at an early stage, before awareness of them becomes widespread. It is essential to master this challenge for a company΄s strategic development in the digital age,” explains Truong Le, who developed the Digital Scout method. The method is available for use now by interested companies.