Smart Service Welt – Data and Platform-Based Business Models

With this free online course, you’ll learn about the potential of smart services for business model innovation. You’ll also learn about key technological enablers for the implementation of smart services and the necessary changes in management and business organization.

This course was retired in October 2023.

Self-paced since July 25, 2018
Language: English
Subtitles (auto-generated): Deutsch, English, Français, Español

Course information


This course was retired in October 2023.

Course Summary

The process of digitization is characterized by the increasing use of sensors and software. This makes it possible to connect people, products, and services, as well as entire production plants with their specific internal and external planning and production processes, via the Internet. The boundaries between the real and the virtual world become more and more blurred. In this process, data is generated and collected on a massive scale. After analysis and interpretation, this data forms the basis for smart services –data-based services that complement purely physical products and allow a high level of personalization according to specific customer needs and expectations.
With Industrie 4.0, Germany took the important step of driving digital transformation in the field of production with the concept of smart factories. However, digital transformation affects all domains, leading to the disruption of traditional, in part rigid structures of value creation and to interactions extending across companies or even industries. This creates opportunities for the development and implementation of innovative business models, based on platforms in digital ecosystems. Individualized smart services often become more important than offering a physical product. They can help save resources in production, realize new revenue and profit models, create jobs and thus safeguard Germany's competitiveness in the future as well.

In a total of four course weeks, acclaimed figures from the fields of business and science will guide you through the world of smart services, providing you with a theoretical and practical overview that extends across industries. After a general introduction to the topic, you’ll see the disruptive change processes at work within existing business models. At the same time, the potential of smart services to develop new business models will be highlighted. Following this, key technological enablers for implementing smart services will be explained. In the next step, the focus is on the necessary changes in management and business organization. Finally, you’ll get an overview of best practices from various industries or areas of application during week 4.

Course Characteristics

Course Content

Week 1: Smart Services & Business Model Innovation
Week 2: Technological Enablers for the Smart Service Welt
Week 3: Smart Services, Management, & Business Organization
Week 4: Smart Service Best Practices
Week 4-5: Final Exam

Target Audience

  • Management and leading professionals of companies, especially SMEs (small or midsize enterprises)
  • Politicians interested in data and platform-based business models
  • Societal stakeholders such as trade unions, associations, Chambers of Industry and Commerce
  • Anyone with a specific interest in the topic

Course Requirements

  • No previous knowledge is required to participate in the course.

Who created this course?

This massive open online course is a cooperative venture between acatech - National Academy of Science and Engineering and the Senate company Accenture. It was elaborated as part of the Digital Service Platforms project, and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). More information about this project is available at: (in German only).

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The German version of this course is available on the acatech channel of, an online learning platform operated by the Hasso-Plattner-Institute:. The start of the German course is on April 23, 2018.

Course contents

  • Course content no longer available

  • Introduction:

  • Week 1:

    Smart Services & Business Model Innovation
  • Week 2:

    Technological Enablers for the Smart Service Welt
  • Week 3:

    Smart Services, Management, & Business Organization
  • Week 4:

    Smart Service Best Practices
  • I Like, I Wish:

    We Love Your Feedback … And Want More
  • Final Exam:

    Good Luck!

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Course End
Jul 25, 2018
Course Start
Jun 19, 2018


This course was rated with 4.37 stars in average from 220 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

Prof. Dr. Henning Kagermann

Henning Kagermann has been President of acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering since 2009. acatech provides independent and science-based advice to policymakers and civil socie-ty. In 2017 Henning Kagermann was appointed “Global Representative and Advisor of the Plattform Industrie 4.0” by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

He holds the chair of the Steering Committee of the Innovation Dialogue between the german gov-ernment and the scientific and business communities. As a former member of the German Federal Government’s HighTech Forum and the Industry-Science Research Alliance, he plays a key role in the promotion of strategic projects such as Industrie 4.0, web-based service innovations (Smart Ser-vices) and autonomous systems.

Henning Kagermann holds a post-doctoral thesis in physics and is former CEO of SAP.

Frank Riemensperger

Accenture Geographic Senior Managing Director for Germany, Switzerland and Austria

Frank Riemensperger has been Senior Managing Director of Accenture in Germany, Switzerland and Austria since November 2009. In this role, Frank is responsible for strategy development and execution as well as Accenture’s market development in the German-speaking countries.

The trained computer scientist and expert for digitization holds a seat in the acatech Senate, the German Academy for Engineering Sciences. Frank is a member of the top executive committee of the German IT association BITKOM as well as the German association of IT users VOICE, and is the Vice President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany. Furthermore, he is a member of the Baden-Badener Unternehmer-Gespräche (BBUG) and a jury member of several awards including the Top 500 German Growth Champions, the German Innovation Prize and the German CIO of the year.

Together with Prof. Henning Kagermann, President of acatech, Frank heads the German research project "Smart Service Welt - Digital Transformation of the German Industry”. The aim of the project is to develop recommendations for German industry leaders and policy makers to lead the digital transformation of Germany’s key industries.