The Business Model Ontology: A Proposition in a Design Science Approach
2004 - 169 pages
The goal of this dissertation is to find and provide the basis for a managerial tool that allows a firm to easily express its business logic. The methodological basis for this work is design science, where the researcher builds an artifact to solve a specific problem. In this case the aim is to provide an ontology that makes it possible to explicit a firm's business model. In other words, the proposed artifact helps a firm to formally describe its value proposition, its customers, the relationship with them, the necessary intra- and inter-firm infrastructure and its profit model. Such an ontology is relevant because until now there is no model that expresses a company's global business logic from a pure business point of view. Previous models essentially take an organizational or process perspective or cover only parts of a firm's business logic. The four main pillars of the ontology, which are inspired by management science and enterprise- and processmodeling, are product, customer interface, infrastructure and finance. The ontology is validated by case studies, a panel of experts and managers. The dissertation also provides a software prototype to capture a company's business model in an information system. The last part of the thesis consists of a demonstration of the value of the ontology in business strategy and Information Systems (IS) alignment.