Chapter 13: Business Models

43 13.1 Business Models

From wikipedia.org: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_model

A business model is an “abstract representation of an organization, be it conceptual, textual, and/or graphical, of all core interrelated architectural, co-operational, and financial arrangements designed and developed by an organization presently and in the future, as well as all core products and/or services the organization offers, or will offer, based on these arrangements that are needed to achieve its strategic goals and objectives.”[1][2] This definition by Al-Debei, El-Haddadeh and Avison (2008) indicates that value proposition, value architecture (the organizational infrastructure and technological architecture that allows the movement of products, services, and information), value finance (modeling information related to total cost of ownership, pricing methods, and revenue structure), and value network articulate the primary constructs or dimensions of business models.[3]

A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value,[4] in economic, social, cultural or other contexts. The process of business model construction is part of business strategy.

In theory and practice, the term business model is used for a broad range of informal and formal descriptions to represent core aspects of a business, including purpose, business process, target customers, offerings, strategies, infrastructure, organizational structures, sourcing, trading practices, and operational processes and policies including culture. The literature has provided very diverse interpretations and definitions of a business model. A systematic review and analysis of manager responses to a survey defines business models as the design of organizational structures to enact a commercial opportunity.[5] Further extensions to this design logic emphasize the use of narrative or coherence in business model descriptions as mechanisms by which entrepreneurs create extraordinarily successful growth firms.[6]

Business models are used to describe and classify businesses, especially in an entrepreneurial setting, but they are also used by managers inside companies to explore possibilities for future development. Well-known business models can operate as “recipes” for creative managers.[7]Business models are also referred to in some instances within the context of accounting for purposes of public reporting.

Categorization of business models

From about 2012, some research and experimentation has theorized about a so-called “liquid business model”.[12][13]

V4 BM framework

Al-Debei and Avison (2010) V4 BM Framework – four main dimensions encapsulating sixteen elements: Value Proposition, Value Architecture, Value Network, and Value Finance[3]

  • Value Proposition: This dimension implies that a BM should include a description of the products/services a digital organization offers, or will offer, along with their related information. Furthermore, the BM needs also to describe the value elements incorporated within the offering, as well as the nature of targeted market segment(s) along with their preferences.
  • Value Architecture: portrays the concept as a holistic structural design of an organization, including its technological architecture, organizational infrastructure, and their configurations.
  • Value Network: depicts the cross-company or inter-organization perspective towards the concept and has gained much attention in the BM literature.
  • Value Finance: depicts information related to costing, pricing methods, and revenue structure

Shift from pipes to platforms

Sangeet Paul Choudary (2013) distinguishes between two broad families of business models in an article in Wired magazine.[14]  Choudary contrasts pipes (linear business models) with platforms (networked business models). In the case of pipes, firms create goods and services, push them out and sell them to customers. Value is produced upstream and consumed downstream. There is a linear flow, much like water flowing through a pipe. Unlike pipes, platforms do not just create and push stuff out. They allow users to create and consume value.

In an op-ed on MarketWatch,[15] Choudary, Van Alstyne and Parker further explain how business models are moving from pipes to platforms, leading to disruption of entire industries.

Platform business models

There are three elements to a successful platform business model.[16] The Toolbox creates connection by making it easy for others to plug into the platform. This infrastructure enables interactions between participants. The Magnet creates pull that attracts participants to the platform. For transaction platforms, both producers and consumers must be present to achieve critical mass. The Matchmaker fosters the flow of value by making connections between producers and consumers. Data is at the heart of successful matchmaking, and distinguishes platforms from other business models.

Chen (2009) stated that the business model has to take into account the capabilities of Web 2.0, such as collective intelligence, network effects, user-generated content, and the possibility of self-improving systems. He suggested that the service industry such as the airline, traffic, transportation, hotel, restaurant, information and communications technology and online gaming industries will be able to benefit in adopting business models that take into account the characteristics of Web 2.0. He also emphasized that Business Model 2.0 has to take into account not just the technology effect of Web 2.0 but also the networking effect. He gave the example of the success story of Amazon in making huge revenues each year by developing an open platform that supports a community of companies that re-use Amazon’s on-demand commerce services.[17][need quotation to verify]

Applications

Malone et al.[18] found that some business models, as defined by them, indeed performed better than others in a dataset consisting of the largest U.S. firms, in the period 1998 through 2002, while they did not prove whether the existence of a business model mattered.

In the context of the Software-Cluster, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, a business model wizard[19] for software companies has been developed. It supports the design and analysis of software business models. The tool’s underlying concept and data were published in various[citation needed] scientific publications.

The concept of a business model has been incorporated into certain accounting standards. For example, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) utilizes an “entity’s business model for managing the financial assets” as a criterion for determining whether such assets should be measured at amortized cost or at fair value in its financial instruments accounting standard, IFRS 9.[20][21][22][23] In their 2013 proposal for accounting for financial instruments, the Financial Accounting Standards Board also proposed a similar use of business model for classifying financial instruments.[24] The concept of business model has also been introduced into the accounting of deferred taxes under International Financial Reporting Standards with 2010 amendments to IAS 12 addressing deferred taxes related to investment property.[25][26][27]

Both IASB and FASB have proposed using the concept of business model in the context of reporting a lessor’s lease income and lease expense within their joint project on accounting for leases.[28][29][30][31][32] In its 2016 lease accounting model, IFRS 16, the IASB chose not to include a criterion of “stand alone utility” in its lease definition because “entities might reach different conclusions for contracts that contain the same rights of use, depending on differences between customers’ resources or suppliers’ business models.”[33] The concept has also been proposed as an approach for determining the measurement and classification when accounting for insurance contracts.[34][35] As a result of the increasing prominence the concept of business model has received in the context of financial reporting, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG), which advises the European Union on endorsement of financial reporting standards, commenced a project on the “Role of the Business Model in Financial Reporting” in 2011.[36]

Examples of business models

In the early history of business models it was very typical to define business model types such as bricks-and-mortar or e-broker. However, these types usually describe only one aspect of the business (most often the revenue model). Therefore, more recent literature on business models concentrate on describing a business model as a whole, instead of only the most visible aspects.

The following examples provide an overview for various business model types that have been in discussion since the invention of term business model:

Business model by which a company integrates both offline (bricks) and online (clicks) presences. One example of the bricks-and-clicks model is when a chain of stores allows the user to order products online, but lets them pick up their order at a local store.
Business system, organization or association typically composed of relatively large numbers of businesses, tradespersons or professionals in the same or related fields of endeavor, which pools resources, shares information or provides other benefits for their members. For example, a science park or high-tech campus provides shared resources (e.g. cleanrooms and other lab facilities) to the firms located on its premises, and in addition seeks to create an innovation community among these firms and their employees.[44]
The removal of intermediaries in a supply chain: “cutting out the middleman”. Instead of going through traditional distribution channels, which had some type of intermediate (such as a distributor, wholesaler, broker, or agent), companies may now deal with every customer directly, for example via the Internet.
Direct selling is marketing and selling products to consumers directly, away from a fixed retail location. Sales are typically made through party plan, one-to-one demonstrations, and other personal contact arrangements. A text book definition is: “The direct personal presentation, demonstration, and sale of products and services to consumers, usually in their homes or at their jobs.”[45]
Value Added Reseller is a model where a business makes something which is resold by other businesses but with modifications which add value to the original product or service. These modifications or additions are mostly industry specific in nature and are essential for the distribution. Businesses going for a VAR model have to develop a VAR network. It is one of the latest collaborative business models which can help in faster development cycles and is adopted by many Technology companies especially software.
Business model which works by charging the first client a fee for a service, while offering that service free of charge to subsequent clients.
Franchising is the practice of using another firm’s successful business model. For the franchisor, the franchise is an alternative to building ‘chain stores’ to distribute goods and avoid investment and liability over a chain. The franchisor’s success is the success of the franchisees. The franchisee is said to have a greater incentive than a direct employee because he or she has a direct stake in the business.

• Sourcing business model

A Sourcing Business Model is a type of business model that is applied specifically to business relationships where more than one party needs to work with another party to be successful. It is the combination of two concepts: the contractual relationship framework a company uses with its supplier (transactional, relational, investment based), and the economic model used (transactional, output or outcome-based).
Business model that works by offering basic Web services, or a basic downloadable digital product, for free, while charging a premium for advanced or special features.[46]
  • Pay what you can (PWYC) is a non-profit or for-profit business model which does not depend on set prices for its goods, but instead asks customers to pay what they feel the product or service is worth to them.[47][48][49] It is often used as a promotional tactic,[50] but can also be the regular method of doing business. It is a variation on the gift economy and cross-subsidization, in that it depends on reciprocity and trust to succeed.

Pay what you want” (PWYW) is sometimes used synonymously, but “pay what you can” is often more oriented to charity or socially oriented uses, based more on ability to pay, while “pay what you want” is often more broadly oriented to perceived value in combination with willingness and ability to pay.

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