Brug af ontologier til konstruktion af forretningsmodeller: Et casestudie af Business Model Ontology og e3value Ontology

An Van Luu & Jonas von Scholten

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

During the past two decades IT and the Internet has, to an increasing extent, been intergrated into the business environment of many companies. Companies are becoming more dependent on a reliable IT-infrastructure with emphasis on consistent uptime, high availability and ubiquity. This has spured the trend for outsourcing. Recognizing the importance of IT in business, companies are making substantial investments in their IT-infrastructure. Issues arise as companies, especially Small- Medium-Businesses, typically do not possess the means to secure a satisfactory proficencylevel amongst its employees, to host and operate a state-of-the-art ITenvironment. Outsourcing has been a feasible solution for many companies, that do not possess adequate resources and competencies to maintain their it-environment and infrastructure. The latest outsourcing trend focuses on outsourcing selective parts of the companie’s IT-infrastructure to external it vendors. Application Service Providers provide customers with a wide number of heterogeneous products and services that make use of IT and the Internet. Examples include various types of hosting, support and service, consultancy services, development of web solutions and business systems. This type of company is a direct outcome of the rapid technological advancement and outsourcing trends. The purpose of this thesis is to explore the business model of a full-service ASP company. In addition, we also want to consider what and how values are exchanged in a multi-actor network. The thesis applies two different ontologies, Business Model Ontology (Osterwalder, 2004) and e3value (Gordijn, 2002), on one case company called Klestrup Partners. The concept of business models has been explored by many authors but with differing focuses. Starting with simple classifications and definition of the concept through identifying the the basic business model building blocks and evolving into conceptual models and ontologies to explore, describe, communicate, change and measure different aspects of the business model of the company. Osterwalder et al. (2005) defines a business model as: “A conceptual tool containing a set of objects, concepts and their relationships with the objective to express the business logic of a specific firm. Therefore we must consider which concepts and relationships allow a simplified description and representation of what value is provided to customers, how this is done and with which financial consequences”. This definition is in our opinion comprehensive enough to encompass the many different components of a business model. The Business Model Ontology and e3value complements each other on several areas. BMO provides a building-block-like ontology that delineate the significant concepts and their interrelations of a business model. In addition, the purpose of e3value is to explore innovative e-business ideas while relying on the notion of economic value. The ontology assumes that objects of economically value are created and exchanged in a multi-actor network. Furthermore, e3value utilizes semi-formal conceptual models to convey the exchange of objects of economic value between actors and what to expect in return. We conducted a case study of Klestrup Partners focusing on their business model and value exchanges. The reason for choosing Klestrup Partners as our case company is because they possess the profile as a full-service ASP company as defined by McKay og Marshall (2004). First, using Business Model Ontology developed by Osterwalder (2004), we examined, in detail, the business model of Klestrup Partners. Based on this analysis, we aspired to elucidate the value exchanges in a network constellation consisting of Klestrup Partners and their customers and partners. e3value provided the tools to model such a value model. The raison d’être of Klestrup Partners is their four value propositions: Foundation, Service, Component and Advice. Each of these value propositions consist of different offerings, which can create value for the customer. Klestrup Partners deliver their value propositions to a wide range of companies and industries. Furthermore, Klestrup Partners utilizes different partnerships in order to provide their wide-ranging products, services and solutions. Klestrup Partners exchanges value objects with their customers by providing them with solutions in return for money. The solutions provided to the customers frequently requires making use of competencies, which Klestrup Partners aquire externally through their partners. In this case, value is also exchanged between Klestrup Partners and their partners. The degree of how IT and the Internet has influenced the business model and the value exchange in such a scenario has been substantiated by our case study. The usefulness of combining BMO and e3value to describe the entire business model and value exchanges within a network of actors, was put into practice based on Klestrup Partners as the case company. The main findings of the thesis are following: ∙ BMO is able to describe the business model of ASP companies in terms of its products, customers and infrastructure in an explicit and conprehensible way. ∙ BMO provides a synthesis of established theories by relating different components in order to devise a comprehensive ontology describing the business model of ASP companies. ∙ BMO would benefit from considering the value exchanges between actors. e3value is able to augment BMO by providing the means to visualize this aspect of the business model. ∙ It is possible to explain the unique value creating processess of ASP companies by combining BMO and e3value.

EducationsMSc in Computer Science, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2010
Number of pages121