Designing Business Models for the Digital Economy (Pilot Q1/2017)

Designing Business Models for the Digital Economy sheds some light on the importance of business models for the Digital Economy. The course introduces Business Model Innovation (BMI) as an approach to iteratively develop the most appropriate business model.

This course was retired in October 2023.

Self-paced since March 8, 2017
Language: English

Course information


This course was retired in October 2023.

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

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

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. We try to organize groups so that you are located as close to each other as possible geographically.

Course contents

  • Course content no longer available

  • 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
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Course End
Mar 08, 2017
Course Start
Jan 17, 2017


This course was rated with 4.13 stars in average from 16 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

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.

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.