Business Innovation Engineering Center (BIEC)

A bridge between research and everyday business practices

In what way can medium-sized businesses benefit from the potential of digitalization? Which new technologies and organizational structures offer the best opportunities? The BIEC addresses these questions with the aim of helping SMEs in Baden-Württemberg to innovate in this age of digital transformation.

The Business Innovation Engineering Center (BIEC) is a development and transfer center that addresses the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Baden-Württemberg and is sponsored by the Baden-Württemberg State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour, and Housing. The mission of the researchers who work at the BIEC is to help SMEs develop their own digital transformation strategies and in this way create more innovations with shorter lead times. To do so, the BIEC research teams study business transformation processes, the development of new digital business models, products and services, and the requisite value creation systems.

The BIEC has developed its own methods and tools to enable SMEs to assimilate and rapidly implement the findings of these scientific studies. Based on six identified focal areas, the BIEC provides support to SMEs that will enable them to adopt a targeted and easily implemented approach to the digital transformation process by considering the following aspects:

Implementing innovative business models

  • What specific aspects constitute a good business model?
  • When is the right time to switch from an existing, more traditional business model to a digital business model?

Rethinking organization and management systems

  • Why are agile organization structures and management the key to success in the digital age? Are they suited to every type of company?
  • What can companies do to ensure a successful “internal transformation” and implement the necessary changes within their organization? Are there specific approaches adapted to SMEs?

Developing bundled products and services

  • What digitally supported products and services will tomorrow’s customers need?
  • How should companies proceed when embarking on the development of new, data-based services?

Making use of artificial intelligence (AI)

  • Which AI technologies are best suited to scenarios consisting of a small number of digitalized business processes and a limited volume of datasets?
  • What special skills are required to develop and operate AI solutions?
  • How can the trained workforce be integrated in support of the implementation of such technologies?

Deploying digital technologies

  • What concrete advantages can a company expect to gain by deploying new digital technologies?
  • How can this potential be exploited in a targeted and systematic manner?

Using networks to create added-value

  • What advantages can a company expect to gain through the active use of digital platforms and networks?
  • What factors determine how these are used successfully from the point of view of a small or medium-sized company?
  • What strategies can be derived from this for SMEs?

How the BIEC supports SMEs

The BIEC has developed numerous interaction and integration formats designed to meet the challenges currently facing small businesses, including solutions focusing on specific target groups within this sector. The aim is to enable all stakeholders to share in the results of research studies as early as possible. These formats range from potential analyses based on spot checks and technology demonstrators to innovative networking initiatives that encourage an exchange of ideas and experience and promote novel coaching services.

Wertschöpfung vernetzt gestalten

  • Research & development: Identification of key requirements in the SME sector and the development of concepts, methods and tools tailored to these companies
  • Lab experiments & demonstrators: Providing SMEs with a showcase of innovative digital solutions adapted to their needs and an experimental environment in which to test their own applications and developments
  • Coaching & training: Preparing the way for SMEs to develop their own transformation paths and supporting them with the training their employees need to realize these projects