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Discovering digital business models in traditional industries

Gerrit Remane (Roland Berger, Hamburg, Germany and PhD Researcher at University of Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany)
Andre Hanelt (Digital Transformation Research Center, Chair of Information Management, University of Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany)
Robert C. Nickerson (San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, USA)
Lutz M. Kolbe (University of Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 18 April 2017




The purpose of this paper is to provide managers from traditional industries with a blueprint to systematically analyze and discover digital business models and, thus, better cope with the digital transformation of their industrial businesses.


The proposed blueprint is built on state-of-the-art research on digital business model innovation and a rigorous taxonomy-building approach. The process is demonstrated through a simplified case study of a passenger transport company.


The process involves three steps: identifying existing products and services, deconstructing business models and discovering new configurations. The managers from the case company very positively evaluated the efficiency and effectiveness of the proposed procedure.


The proven methodology relates the generic components of digital business models to a specific firm’s context, listing the solution space for each relevant dimension. The resulting framework aids in better understanding the existing business models and serves as a tool for the systematic discovery of new models.



Remane, G., Hanelt, A., Nickerson, R.C. and Kolbe, L.M. (2017), "Discovering digital business models in traditional industries", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 38 No. 2, pp. 41-51.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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