A business model is a concept of entrepreneurial activity and describes the benefits and earnings of a company. Digitization in particular shows numerous opportunities for new business models. I would therefore like to present two studies in the following and thus underpin the current status somewhat. I examined these studies in the course of my research.

Study 1: Müller et al. 2016

The first study was by Müller et al. (2016) carried out. On the basis of a survey of over 60 companies, the authors found that new business models in particular with the help of technology require high investment costs and are therefore still rather hesitant to be implemented. According to the study participants, such investments in digital business models are much more difficult to approve, evaluate and justify compared to traditional investments and are generally considered to be riskier.

In addition to the costs (50%), the following aspects are cited as current obstacles for digital business models:

  • Lack of staff and knowledge (38%),
  • No need (31%) and
  • No management support (30%).

According to the study, companies in the SME sector in particular often have less need to introduce digital business models due to long supply contracts with customers. Other obstacles are legal framework conditions such as data protection and often patenting options.

Still, companies are currently trying to do this new business models implement. The goals to be emphasized are the creation of availability and the individuality of one’s own services with regard to the customers. Special drivers are:

  • Internal ideas (57%),
  • Profiling in the market (49%),
  • Subsidies (46%),
  • Partnerships (44%) and
  • Availability of skilled workers (43%).

Study 2: IHK 2019

Another study was carried out by the IHK (2019) in the Stuttgart area. Almost 300 companies with fewer than 500 employees, whose core activity is the production of material or physical products, were surveyed.

According to the participants, the most important objectives of new business models are:

  • Development of new products or services (41%),
  • Cost reduction (30%),
  • New sales channels (26%),
  • Quality improvements (23%) and
  • New business areas (24%).

Excursus: e-commerce as a sales channel

New sales channels in particular are widespread in the current business world. One example is your own online shop to sell products on the Internet and to enter the e-commerce sector. But what is e-commerce? E-Commerce is the English form for electronic commerce on the Internet.

For implementation, companies often resort to existing ones due to a lack of know-how E-commerce solutions back. An e-commerce consultancy or e-commerce agency can often help. Often these are from the secret capital of e-commerce Berlin.

The majority do not see the core business as being threatened

In general, over two thirds of the study participants currently see no threat in their core business digital business models of potential competitors and rate the current existing business model in the traditional market with 80% as the most important source of income. The use of new business models should, however, mainly be tested in the company’s traditional market. Only 20% of the participants aim to test a new business model in new markets. In particular, the technologies are to be used in the areas of business initiation, customer support and monitoring the quality of services / production (Figure).

Areas that are to be used to optimize existing business models with the help of technologies (own illustration according to IHK 2019)


As I said at the end, 2/3 of the participants currently see no threat in their core business from digital business models. A special focus is currently on the use of the traditional business model under new sales channels such as online shops and new customer service such as chats. Only 20% of the participants aim to test a new business model in new markets.


Simon C. Müller, Markus Böhm, Marina Schröer, Alexander Bakhirev, Bogdan-Cristian Baiasu, Prof. Helmut Krcmar, PIMW (2016). Business models in the digital economy. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/156641/1/StuDIS_2016-13.pdf

Chamber of Commerce Stuttgart. (2017). Digital business models. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://www.isi.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/isi/dokumente/ccp/2017/Lerch_et_al_2017_Digitale_Geschaeftsmodelle.pdf

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I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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