Software tools for business model innovation: current state and future challenges

Abstract

Software tools for business model development hold great promise for supporting business model innovation, but nonetheless, virtually no design-relevant knowledge exists concerning the functions that such tools should possess. As a result, practitioners lack guidance for choosing software tools, and researchers lack a foundation for advancing knowledge on these tools in a cumulative way. To address these issues, we synthesize knowledge from research on software tools for business model development and adjacent fields with the results of an analysis of 24 software tools from practice. Our contribution is threefold. First, we provide a comprehensive taxonomy that identifies 43 characteristic functions of software-based business model development tools. Second, we provide a classification of existing software tools for the taxonomy and, on this basis, third, we derive an agenda for future research. We thus support practitioners’ decision making on tool (re-)design and investment, and provide the foundation for a cumulative stream of research on software tools for business model development.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Business Model Canvas & SWOT: play.google.com; Canvanizer: canvanizer.com (the number of projects, admittedly, only provides a very rough estimate of the popularity, as one user can start multiple projects and as it is unclear what effort was devoted to each project); Business Model Fiddle: bmfiddle.com; InsightMaker: insightmaker.com; Strategyzer: strategyzer.com; RealtimeBoard: realtimeboard.com; figures retrieved on October 24th, 2018.

  2. 2.

    We adopted the following ending conditions from Nickerson et al. (2013, p. 344):

    Objective ending conditions: All objects or a representative sample of objects have been examined; No object was merged with a similar object or split into multiple objects in the last iteration; No new dimensions or characteristics were added in the last iteration; No dimensions or characteristics were merged or split in the last iteration; Every dimension is unique and not repeated (i.e., there is no dimension duplication); Every characteristic is unique within its dimension (i.e., there is no characteristic duplication within a dimension); Each cell (combination of characteristics) is unique and is not repeated (i.e., there is no cell duplication).

    Subjective ending condition: Concise, Robust, Comprehensive, Extendible, Explanatory.

  3. 3.

    We would like to thank the review team for suggesting additional websites as potential sources for BMDTs. The websites BusinessMakeOver (www.businessmakeover.eu) and Business Model Toolbox (www.bmtoolbox.net) provide, alongside a wide range of paper-based tools across all phases of business model development, some tools which are implemented in software.

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Acknowledgements

This work was partially supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the Collaborative Research Center “On-The-Fly Computing” (CRC 901, project number 160364472SFB901) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) within the research project “SmartHybrid – Process Engineering” (ZW 6-85003451).

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Appendices

Appendix 1

Table 1 Functions of business model development tools in literature

Appendix 2

Table 2 Sources of business model development tools (Fritscher and Pigneur 2010; Alt and Zimmermann 2014; Fritscher and Pigneur 2014; Zec et al. 2014)

Appendix 3

Table 3 List of business model development tools

Appendix 4

Table 4 Descriptions of functions of business model development tools

Appendix 5. Description of the preliminary taxonomy evaluation

For testing and revising the taxonomy and its functions’ descriptions during the taxonomy development we exposed preliminary versions of the taxonomy and its functions’ descriptions to four graduate students (i.e., people who were not involved in the taxonomy building).

The four graduate students were all familiar with developing business models as they attended a university course on master level in which they had to develop (at least) one business model by using software-based tools that implement the Business Model Canvas. Prior to the workshop, all four students have been already involved in a research project that aims analyzing business models. The age of the workshop participants ranges from 24 to 32 years, and one graduate was female. Participation was voluntary and unpaid, to ensure unbiased task completion and responses during the workshop. Furthermore, the graduate students were given sufficient time to read the taxonomy and its function’s descriptions.

A description of the graduate student’s background can be found below.

Table 5 Preliminary taxonomy evaluation

Appendix 6

Table 6 Taxonomy of business model development tools

Appendix 7

Table 7 Cluster analysis of business model development tools

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Szopinski, D., Schoormann, T., John, T. et al. Software tools for business model innovation: current state and future challenges. Electron Markets 30, 469–494 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12525-018-0326-1

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Keywords

  • Business model
  • Business model development tool
  • Business model innovation
  • Taxonomy
  • Research agenda

JEL classification

  • O3
  • L86
  • M15