Digital Platform Business Models in Asset Heavy Industries – The Tension of Strategic Openness

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Lehrstuhl für Betriebswirtschaftslehre, insbesondere Technologie- und Innovationsmanagement
Bachelor; Master


Today’s most valuable companies use a distinct approach for value creation and value capture: they can be characterized as platform businesses harnessing network effects. Thus far, majority of studies focused on consumer-facing industries, such as video games and online social networks. At the same time, industrial companies in a B2B context face a shift from selling hardware with proprietary technology to digital platform business models due to commoditization of hardware and customers’ increasing demand for digital services. These asset heavy platforms developed by incumbent firms entail distinct managerial challenges and differ fundamentally from the more widely analyzed asset light platforms. Due to their layered architecture – coupling physical products with digital services – strategic decisions become more complex.

This thesis should examine the tension of strategic openness in the context of digital platform business models in asset heavy industries. The thesis will be part of the Cluster of Excellence "Internet of Production", thus contributing to cutting edge research projects with high awareness. Both conceptual and empirical approaches are viable. Potential focuses include:
- Trust and openness of industrial platforms
- Real time data for the innovation process: Design for prediction and predictive innovation

Keywords: Platforms, Business Models, Strategic Openness, Industry 4.0