Schlagwort-Archive: Business model

More agile with platforms

It is not sufficient to have a promising business idea. There are many hurdles to overcome before the actual work begins. In the days of Henry Ford it worked out well, as soon as you mastered the entire value chain. Meanwhile, the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction. Today, the one-hundred percent vertical integration is being replaced by a very low percentage – at the SMART plant in Hambach, France, it amounts to ten percent. Digitization will lead to even flatter vertical integration. These become possible, when the many tasks are spread across many shoulders. Platforms provide such shoulders.

It does not matter, whether we are talking about different platforms or one that contains all the necessary functions. With the following offers tomorrow’s entrepreneurs can focus on their actual business model.

  • Technology
    The fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, is driven by the opportunities of network-based ICT – cyber-physical systems, big data, cloud services, 3D manufacturing, embedded technologies, etc. The use of these offerings cannot be avoided. However, you do not have to take care of all aspects anymore. These tasks have been taken over by platforms that provide these services in a user-friendly way.
  • Operating system
    The term was created in the field of IT. The operating system combines different components into a functioning whole. Under the slogan XaaS (Everything as a Service), today platforms are being provided in an application-oriented way – from infrastructure, to production facilities, to special applications that are used when required and paid only then.
  • Area of ​​Expertise
    In 10 main occupational groups you will find the different professions, each responsible for specific areas. The specialization of the individual areas provides today a vast amount of practical experiences that can be used without the need that one has to familiarize oneself with the respective area. The fourth revolution will lead to more and more platforms, where experts offer their deliverables as a service.
  • Network
    The current networks are websites where producers and consumers meet on a platform provided by a broker in order to offer a certain service – UBER, AIRBnB, Paypal, Ebay etc. In the future, exclusive biztopes will emerge, where selected participants support each other in their business. The Henry Ford of today shares his means of production on a platform with his competitors and stands out in speed, good ideas and versatility.
  • Market
    The place to trade has always been determined by the goods and services that have been exchanged, as well as by geographical features. An overlap of markets rarely took place. Today’s markets are just a click away from every user. Therefore on the one hand one is quickly at the point of action, but on the other hand one is also exposed to all offers. The benefits of the classic marketplace, with its reference points and regulations, are already being exploited by platforms where sellers and buyers meet at auctions – eg. Covisint, SupplyOn.
  • Niche
    The little sister of a market is the niche that forms in the corners, where big markets do not expect much revenue. Through the Internet, this niche is as reachable as the big market. Depending on the success of the niche, it can quickly develop into a market and cover with its platform more and more areas.
  • Business model
    In a modular world, the actual business models use pods (i.e. small, autonomous units that develop value-add) that are needs-oriented created and eventually resolved when they fulfilled their purpose. The required resources are drawn from the various platforms (see above) on an expenditures basis (pay-per-use). The costs are created by integrating the technology, the operating system, the area of expertise, the network, the market and one’s own niche. If the results are correct, then over time the users will optimize the interaction with the platforms.

Bottom line: The start of a new business model no longer requires the immense preparation by building the necessary technology, a coherent operating system, the experience of a specialist area, the lengthy development of a network, the development of a market or its own niche. Platforms allow start-ups or new businesses to focus on designing their core competencies. Platforms make businesses more agile.

Fractal madness

The world in which we live has only the categorization that we apply to it. For this purpose, outlines are developed from all angles, which organize the various aspects. One problem thereby is the question, on what level we are and how many exist. In addition, the facts can be described with differently fine details. Interestingly, similar questions are asked on each level, e.g. what’s happening? How is everything connected? Who is involved? As soon as similar aspects appear again and again, this is called self-similarity or fractality. The triangle that consists of triangles, which consist of triangles, which consist of triangles and so forth. The fact that there is no end to the detailing has been proved by the mathematicians, for example, with the Mandelbrot set. The self-similarity is sometimes unsettling. This fractal madness is, however, better treated with a skillful classification by means of viewing levels.

Levels of detail always require a reference around which the levels are built. Let’s take our Milky Way as a reference point, then the surrounding universe is the macro, our Milky Way is the meso and our solar system is the micro level. The following bullet points describe these levels of detail, which are applicable for any magnitude.

  • Macro
    The macro level is always the coarsest view. It provides a general overview of the considered area. This level defines the entire scope of a system. At the same time it forms the basic structure for further refinements. Examples are the society as a whole, the earth with the continents, the value chain of a company with its essential functions and sequences. For further refinement, it is useful to completely describe the previously determined scope on this top level.
  • Meso
    The meso level successively spreads the elements of the macro plane across several levels, e.g. the continents into countries, landmarks, cities, quarters, streets, etc. On one level, the elements should be described with a similar degree of detail. The meso area consists of at least one level that is the bridge between the macro level and the micro level. Sometimes it may be necessary to build several levels. It should be kept in mind that the number of elements to be described multiplies with each level. Consider that each level consists of 5 elements; there are 5 elements on the first level, on the second level 5×5 = 25, on the third 5x5x5= 125 elements, etc. The purpose determines how deeply you detail. However, it is smart to resist the impulse to set up many levels, since the administrative effort increases exponentially – and ultimately kills any advantage.
  • Micro
    The micro level describes the lowest level of the model and offers the finest details. In addition, there are no further refinements. Thus, in a street, houses are found in which are apartments. In this case, there is no information about the number of rooms or the decoration or similar details of the apartments. Thus the micro level determines the barrier to further insights. If this granularity is determined beforehand, one can resist the pressure of further detailing. However, finer evaluations than those on the micro level are not possible.

Besides these levels of detail, there is a view from the outside. This abstract perspective of the whole describes all elements of the model, e.g. the micro, meso, and macro level as well as the properties, the relationships between the properties, and the logic for evaluation. The meta-layer floats above the content, which avoids self-reference and other model problems. The meta-level is always a part of the observation that facilitates the navigation in the system. Examples of meta-levels are standardized structures, e.g. society models (society, family, and individuals), economic models (markets, companies, and households) or business processes (value chain, processes, and activities).

Bottom line: Descriptions can be created in any granularity. In the interest of the processability of the content, the macro level provides an overview and outlines the overall system. The meso level arranges the large sub-areas and establishes the cohesion. On the micro level, the finest components are found. The starting point is freely selectable and is derived from the purpose of the observation. The fact that one can refine at any level, further and further, is sometimes confusing and leads to the pressure to describe an additional one, and another one – and just one other. However, this leads to frustration due to the ever-increasing effort for those, who have to create the further refinement. It is highly suggested to avoid the fractal madness of describing ever finer by resisting the impulse of the refinement and to simply perform the desired evaluations on the available levels.