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Business models look very different in the digital economy than they did in the past. If your business hasn’t changed its approach to how it does business, sign up to this free online course and learn how to build the most appropriate business model.

The course Designing Business Models for the Digital Economy has moved and is now available on the SAP Learning site. The openSAP platform will be discontinued at the end of July 2024.

Self-paced since November 8, 2017
Language: English

Course information

Course Summary

The digital economy, encompassing topics like Industry Cloud, Internet of Things, Business Networks, Platform-as-a-Service offerings, etc. has led to the rise of new business models. In turn, former, well-established business models are often no longer suitable, because the way products are created, the approach to customers, the revenue model / cost structure, and much more has changed.

Using the Business Model Innovation (BMI) approach, you can design business models and improve them iteratively towards the most appropriate business model. In this course, you will learn about the motivation behind and relevance of BMI. You will experience a full iteration cycle, starting with the design of an initial business model baseline. Over six weeks, you will learn how to analyze specific elements of your business model, challenge the entire business model, test the key assumptions underlying your business model with customers, and finally pick the most appropriate business model from a number of alternatives – for example, to create a business case and justify an investment decision.

The course is accompanied by an end-to-end, applied example from SAP – the SAP Sports One solution – which used the BMI approach as an essential part in commercialization.

External guest speakers will stress the importance of BMI in the digital economy. In addition, key players from various key areas in SAP, like Finance & Administration, Portfolio and Pricing, and Global Innovation Center Network, will explain how they apply and elaborate BMI at SAP.

A collaborative group exercise with other course participants will help you to practice and apply what you’ve learned each week and come up with your own end-to-end BMI case.

Welcome to the course and we have fun!

Course Flow per Week

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Course Characteristics

  • Starting from: September 5, 2017, 09:00 UTC. (What does this mean?)
  • Course end: November 8, 2017, 09:00 UTC
  • Duration: Getting Started (40 minutes) + 6 weeks of content (2-4 hours per week) + 2 weeks Team Peer Assessment (about 2 hours per week)
  • Course language: English
  • How is an openSAP course structured?

Course Content

  • Getting Started: Course Preparation Week
  • Week 1: Introduction to Business Model Innovation
  • Week 2: Business Model Baseline
  • Week 3: "Analyze & Improve" your business model
  • Week 4: "Challenge & Change" your business model
  • Week 5: "Test & Verify" your business model with Minimum Viable Products (MVP)
  • Week 6: "Evaluate & Decide" on your business model
  • Week 7: Review your peers
  • Week 8: Receive feedback and closing

Target Audience

  • Everyone who wants to learn more about business models for the digital economy and Business Model Innovation (BMI)
  • Software professionals
  • University students

Working in Groups

To enable you to learn about Business Model Innovation (BMI) effectively and apply it in the future, you will be assigned to a group where you will work with your peers to complete collaborative activities.

A grading of your exercises will be performed in week 7 via the Team Peer Assessment (TPA) after submitting all your results in one document at the end of week 6. In the TPA, your team will receive feedback on your group exercise results from other participants (not in your team) as well as vice versa. Find detailed information about the TPA here.

Previous Version of This Course:

Previous version of this course is available here:

Course contents

  • Getting Started:

    Course Preparation Week
  • Week 1:

    These are the topics of this week: A general overview of business models • Get a basic understanding on the business model design approach • Understand the relevance of Business Model Innovation (BMI) • Experience, how BMI drives business success in the digital economy • What business models are, broadly, and, in particular how the digital world changes business models and requires BMI • The value of BMI
  • Week 2:

    These are the topics of this week: How to describe a business model and environment • Understand the business network around products / solutions / services (SAP's external network view including customers, partners and competitors) • Understand how value is created, delivered and captured in more detail (SAP's internal enterprise view of your business [also known as business model canvas])
  • Week 3:

    These are the topics of this week: Apply Value Proposition Design & Competitive Analysis • Improve the Problem-Solution fit • Understand your customer needs and find value propositions that fit • How to differentiate from your competition • Applying Design Thinking techniques to Business Model Innovation
  • Week 4:

    These are the topics of this week: Trigger Analysis, Ideation and Implementation • Leverage trigger analysis in order to find threats and opportunities • Develop meaningful business model challenges for ideation • Learn how to develop new ideas and business model options • Understand the business model patterns of the digital world • Learn from successful companies to create your own business model • How to combine and transfer patterns to innovate your business model • Learn how to implement your business models in your company
  • Week 5:

    These are the topics of this week: Understand the lean startup principle: build-measure-learn and customer development approach (customer discover, validation, creation) • Experience the value of Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) • Learn about real-world examples from early to high-end MVPs • Learn how to work with SAP’s MVP Design Canvas • Develop meaningful and actionable metrics for your MVP • Leverage MVP experiments to improve or pivot your business model • Learn how risk management works in business model innovation
  • Week 6:

    These are the topics of this week: Understand qualitative and quantitative approaches to evaluation • Learn how to turn the business model logic into a solid business case • Learn about typical costs and revenues in software / digital economy • Understand how to leverage different evaluation approaches over time • **If applicable, submit your group exercise results to the Team Peer Assessment**
  • Team Peer Assessment

  • Week 7 - Review Your Peers:

    These are the topics of this week: Review the group exercise results of other teams • Review the group exercise results of your team • Provide feedback to your team members
  • Week 8 - Receive Feedback and Closing:

    These are the topics of this week: Receive the review results of the other teams for your team • Provide feedback about the course • Closing
  • I Like, I Wish:

    We Love Your Feedback … And Want More

Enroll me for this course

The course is free. Just register for an account on openSAP and take the course!
Enroll me now


Course End
Nov 08, 2017
Course Start
Sep 05, 2017


This course was rated with 4.31 stars in average from 236 votes.

Certificate Requirements

  • Gain a Record of Achievement by earning at least 50% of the maximum number of points from all graded assignments.
  • Gain a Confirmation of Participation by completing at least 50% of the course material.

Find out more in the certificate guidelines.

This course is offered by

Tobias Schimmer

Dr. Tobias Schimmer is a chief expert in business model innovation (BMI) in SAP’s Global Development organization. As well as scaling BMI across the globe, his responsibilities also include coaching strategic innovation projects such as SAP Fashion Management, Sports One, and Hybris-as-a-Service. Tobias is a committed university lecturer at Mannheim Business School in Germany, and represents SAP as a member of the bi-annual European Innovation Forum.

Uli Eisert

Dr. Uli Eisert heads the SAP Research and Innovation Hub in St. Gallen, Switzerland. The Hub closely collaborates with the University of St. Gallen and is part of SAP’s global Innovation Center Network. Uli has worked for over eight years on multiple projects in the field of business models, as well as holding workshops and trainings. He has also published various papers and articles on innovation management and business model innovation.

Prior to this, Uli was head of Global PLM Solution Management at SAP, where he worked as a consultant and project manager on SAP implementations. He holds degrees in mechanical and industrial engineering, as well as a PhD in business administration in the field of disruptive innovation.

Julia Doll

Julia Doll is a senior project lead, responsible for business model concepts at the SAP Research and Innovation Hub in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Her main focus is on the concepts of business model development & innovation and business model-based management. Julia has coached many projects in business model innovation, evaluation, and optimization. Since joining SAP in 2007, she has also worked on a number of global projects. She holds a Master of Science in Management Information Systems from the University of Mannheim, Germany, and a Master of Business from the University of Queensland, Australia.