Digitalization is changing people and markets. It disrupts entire industries, creates new digitally-centric companies, and requires established companies to make significant efforts to manage the transformational activities associated with these digitization processes. New models of procedures must be learned, tried and tested thinking patterns broken and, last but not least, innovation activities must be seen as continuous needs. At the same time, there are significant opportunities in the digital business to renew competitive advantages, improve existing process structures and realign own products, services and business models. (Source: Digital Business Leadership by Kreuzer et al.).

In the above-mentioned book: Digital Business Leadership three very exciting questions were asked about which I would like to list here and in the course of the article also try to answer them:

    • What distinguishes Digital Business Leadership and how can it be achieved?
    • But how can the necessary changes be made, especially in existing organisations?
  • What new concepts need to be taught, which conventional principles have to be thrown overboard?

What is Digital Business Leadership

With Digital Business Leadership, Kreuzer means to maintain market leadership in the new digital market. According to the authors, many companies will not survive and will be lost in a so-called digital Darwinimus. Here’s what the quote is: Many companies have already perished in the struggle for survival of digital Darwinism. Print products such as the Financial Times Deutschland and the Frankfurter Rundschau have been withdrawn from the market and have thus already been sorted out by readers or reduced in their importance massively. Universal shippers such as Quelle and Neckermann were blown out of life light. The multi-channel company Weltbild was also caught cold by the online challenge and shaken to its foundations.

Kreuzer et. Al mean a change in a business model through the new technological possibilities and the change of customer wishes up to the opening up of completely new markets. In order to achieve this, however, important adjustment screws need to be changed in companies.

Changes in organizations

From the point of view of digital business leadership, a business model corresponds in character to a strategic business model. It represents the basic logic of a (digital) company that describes the benefits that are being given to customers and partners in what way and makes statements about how this benefit is to be generated., according to Kreuzer and the other authors in their book. One way to implement such models is the model of the so-called Lean Startup.

Digital business models
Lean startup model according to Eric Ries (own presentation)

As early as 2011, Eric Ries showed in the above illustration that precise future planning for a product is no longer possible. Rather, today requires a rapid release of the respective business model in order to be able to collect data after the market launch, which can flow into the further development of the business model. Before the release, however, only conjectures are possible, which may result in a decisive additional effort in a repair. Take a look at Eric Ries’s book. Read also my article on agile product development.

digital business models for digital business leadership

But what are such new business models? What distinguishes a digital business model? Here is the definition of First of all, a digital business model is a transaction that is handled via digital technologies. A transaction is the exchange of a service and a consideration that takes place between a questioning system and a offering system according to exact rules across a defined technical interface. The transaction must not be carried out once and randomly, but must be able to be repeated.

These digital models do not work by 1:1 transmission. here are some examples: The principles of how values are created and captured differ significantly in digital models from those of traditional and traditional business models. For example, a rental video library, like Empire, has a completely different business model from Netflix’s video-on-demand model, although from a user’s point of view, the range of services is similar. The placement of taxi rides via an app is a different model than communicating via a radio station, even if taxis are ordered in both cases.

Establishing digital business models is also a task for a digital leader, not an easy one. There are already numerous examples on the market and it is important to find your own model, which suits your own company. A best practice is Leanstartup to find it quickly and cheaply. Here are also the links to the books:

Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.

Falls es noch Fragen gibt, können Sie mich gerne anrufen. Hierzu einfach im Buchungssystem nach einen freien Termin schauen. Ich nehme mir jeden Monat einige Stunden Zeit um mit Lesern zu interagieren.

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Verwendete Quellen anzeigen

Kreutzer, R. T., Neugebauer, T., & Pattloch, A. (2017). Digital Business Leadership. Springer Gabler.

Ries, E. (2014).
Lean Startup
. Munich: Redline Verlag.


I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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