Reading

What's Your Digital Business Model?

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What’s Your Digital Business Model by Peter Weil and Stephanie Woerner

At-a-glance conclusions

  • Highly recommend for core concepts and building business case for an ecosystem-based business model

  • Insufficient for using as a guide to build your own strategy

More detailed thoughts:

Pros:

  • I love the 2x2 that reveals 4 possible business models based on level of customer centricity and business design (value chain vs. ecosystem — image below). Extremely smart and simple.

  • Compelling case studies across sectors that show clear business outcomes from evolving to an ecosystem-based business model.

  • High-level overview of key capabilities required to make this evolution

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Cons:

  • Calling this a digital business model touches on a pet peeve of mine. These are future-ready business models that transcend digital.

  • A critical prerequisite for making this type of transformation is a clear vision and strategy. The authors don’t sufficiently address strategy or how to align an ecosystem around value creation.

  • Failure to highlight that all organizations are (should operate as) ecosystems with many moving parts. Addressing this complexity and applying ecosystem-thinking is a must for any business, including those in the left quadrants.

  • There is a lack of detail on what an ecosystem is, the various types of ecosystems, and what makes an ecosystem run and become self sustaining.

  • On a related note to 3, there is no discussion of the underlying philosophy and mindset of ecosystem and platform thinking. To truly make this concept work, leaders must develop a basic understanding of complex systems (every business today is a complex system, and they operate on different rules than the linear, mechanistic, siloed approach that’s common today).

  • Required capabilities only scratch the surface on what’s actually required to develop digital/CX maturity.

Overall assessment: As an introduction to the concept and providing the business case, I’d give it 4 stars and recommend it to all leaders looking to evolve their organization to thrive in today’s complex environment. However, it’s insufficient to guide foundational strategy or how to think through specific application to complex (especially global) businesses.

If you’re interested in a deeper dive into applying platform and ecosystem concepts to your business, talk to us.