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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|7687||2010||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Long Range Planning, Volume 43, Issues 2–3, April–June 2010, Pages 247–261
The business model concept offers strategists a fresh way to consider their options in uncertain, fast-moving and unpredictable environments. In contrast to conventional assumptions, recognizing that more new business models are both feasible and actionable than ever before is creating unprecedented opportunities for today's organizations. However, unlike conventional strategies that emphasize analysis, strategies that aim to discover and exploit new models must engage in significant experimentation and learning – a ‘discovery driven,’ rather than analytical approach.
In highly uncertain, complex and fast-moving environments, strategies are about insight, rapid experimentation and evolutionary learning as much as the traditional skills of planning and rock-ribbed execution. The Business Model has evolved as a popular term, and as a focal concept for strategy. Key drivers have been the emergence of the commercial Internet, enabling ubiquitous communications and increasingly cheap ways to convey vastly more rich amounts of information, and making it possible for businesses to do things they simply never could before. ‘Conventional rules tie us down?’ the dot-com entrepreneurs seemed to trumpet, ‘no way – we have a superior business model!’ Of course, as became rather evident rather quickly, old-fashioned ideas like having profits – or failing profits, even revenues - continue to matter. Nonetheless, the idea that a company can create a competitive advantage by doing something differently – adopting a new business model - has remained with us. Some observers have gone so far as to suggest that a business model offers a new way of analyzing companies that is superior to traditional concepts such as position within an industry.1 It is worth, therefore, reflecting a bit on where the concept might take us and what we might expect from business models in the future. The concept of ‘the business model’ is appealing because it suggests a change to the way that strategies are conceived, created and executed against. In highly uncertain, complex and fast-moving environments, strategies are as much about insight, rapid experimentation and evolutionary learning as they are about the traditional skills of planning and rock-ribbed execution. Modeling, therefore, is a useful approach to figuring out a strategy, as it suggests experimentation, prototyping and a job that is never quite finished. Business model analysis also gives us a sense of firms in action. But this dynamic perspective is not central to two ideas about the genesis of competitive advantage that are well-accepted in strategy: the industry positioning view or the so-called resource-based or dynamic capability view. The positioning school has long proposed that what firms need to do to succeed is to find a truly differentiated and defensible position within an industry and execute relentlessly against that position. The capability school argues instead that advantage stems from having difficult-to-copy resources that are often built up over long periods of time. The dilemma is that neither of these perspectives give management much latitude for action. Having selected a position in an industry, it is hard to pluck a firm out and move it to some other position; similarly, after a firm has spent time and effort assembling a compelling resource endowment, order of magnitude shifts are quite difficult. But making business model decisions does fall into the realm of managerial choice, and is therefore exceptionally useful to inform managerial decision-making. For instance, when Mark Hurd joined Hewlett Packard, he took the helm of a firm whose positional advantages (particularly in the computer hardware business) were under significant threat. Michael Porter's five-forces of industry analysis was increasingly negative for HP: it had few barriers to entry, substitutes for its products abounded, buyers and suppliers retained significant power and industry rivalry was brutal. Similarly, the value of its resources, relative to its competition, was proving insufficiently valuable to drive sustained differentiation. Hurd initiated a series of initiatives to move the company's core business toward a different business model than it had pursued up to that point. In the consumer-facing PC business, for example, HP matched competitors such as Dell on operational efficiency, but added a strong retail presence to the personal computer business. On the corporate side, he shifted HP toward more of an integrated solutions and services model than it had previously adopted, culminating most recently in its decision to acquire the consulting and outsourcing firm EDS to fill out its capabilities to support client corporations' needs more comprehensively. These were not positional moves (although they had positional consequences), nor were they strictly speaking resource moves (although, likewise, they had resource accumulation and dispersion consequences): rather, they were decisions intended to align the firm around a new set of business models. For academics or executives trying to make sense of why some firms do better than others, and how firms might themselves benefit from such understanding, the business model concept offers four ideas that are either new, or that have not figured substantively in considerations of strategy formulation historically. • First, it promotes an outside-in, rather than an inside-out, focus. For some time, managers have been advised to get to know their ‘core competences’ - those activities at which their firms excel - and find market opportunities to deploy them. The dilemma is that such analyses are often carried out with an internal focus. Focusing on business models shifts re-invigorates a view of firms as continually engaged with - and adapting to - changing customer values. Clearly, business models that don't create value for customers don't create value for the firms that seek to serve those customers either; • Second, business models often cannot be fully anticipated in advance. Rather, they must be learned over time, which emphasizes the centrality of experimentation in the discovery and development of new business models; • Third is a new appreciation of the dynamism of competitive advantages. Conventionally, the Holy Grail in strategy has been the creation of a ‘sustainable’ competitive advantage. In more and more categories, however, we see firms competing to achieve what we might think of as a ‘temporary’ advantage, which they exploit until competition has caught up or markets have changed, at which point, the hunt is on for a new advantage. The business model construct encourages conversations which might help us discern possible early warnings of model weakness and prompt the search for new ones. It wasn't until former CEO Paul Allaire of Xerox identified the company's decline as a consequence of an ‘unsustainable business model’ (coupled with a near-death experience) that the firm, with new CEO Anne Mulcahy at the helm, went on to discover the new document management and information management businesses that have supplemented its plain-paper copying franchise; • Finally, as business models themselves evolve and mature, adopting the notion suggests a developing understanding that strategy itself is quite frequently discovery driven rather than planning oriented. Bringing the customer in The ideas of corporate distinctive or core competences had a huge impact on managerial thinking. Largely in response to the preceding notion of ‘strategic business units’, proponents of this concept for strategy argued that what really leads to competitive advantage are hard-to copy organizational capabilities that cannot be imitated or bought on the open market. In academia, the idea went mainstream in what is often called the ‘resource-based’ view.2 While the focus on firms' capabilities led to a good many insights, it didn't much help managers who were trying to determine which resources to invest in, how much to put toward them, and how particular resources would contribute to a future competitive position. In academia, there were many attempts to tie resources to competitive advantages or superior profitability (called ‘rents’). Unfortunately, few have yielded much in the way of answers about the direct connection between what a resource combination allowed a firm to do and how that then allowed it to create value for a customer. Indeed, even though a central proposition of what makes a given resource combination interesting is that it is both rare and valuable,3 looking at value to a customer has too often failed to take the customers’ perspective on its utility into account. The business model construct offers some intriguing opportunities to capture better how a given set of resources translates into something a customer is willing to pay for. two core components constitute a business model … the basic ‘unit of business’, which is what customers pay for [and] ‘key metrics’ of process or operational advantages for delivering superior performance. Which brings us to two core components of what constitutes a business model. The first is the basic ‘unit of business’, which is the building block of any strategy, because it refers to what customers pay for. The second are process or operational advantages, which yield performance benefits when more adroit deployment of resources leads a firm to enjoy superior efficiency or effectiveness on the key variables that influence its profitability. You can think of these process advantages as being captured in a set of ‘key metrics’ that allow a firm to deliver superior performance. The unit of business A unit of business is quite literally the items on the invoice: the products, services, guarantees or other things the firm offers and for which its customers pay. This is clearly a supremely important choice - without it the firm doesn't have a business, much less a business model. But, surprisingly, our literature has spent little time on what should guide an executive or entrepreneur in making this choice. The reason the term ‘unit of business’ is useful for analyzing business models is that it does not call forth pre-existing conceptions of what businesses sell. Terms such as ‘product’ ‘offer’ ‘good’ and even ‘service’ really don't capture the wild array of new offerings that companies today are finding ways of being paid for. For instance, revenue can be earned from guarantees (as in insurance), or the dispensation of know-how (as in consulting or training), or via models where the ‘thing’ being sold is actually users' attention, which is paid for by advertisers or some other third party. It can be earned by supplementing a basic product with other features – such as style, ease of use or convenience: consider how Cemex has altered the dynamics of supplying cement by offering delivery within a specified time ‘window’, thus essentially turning a product into a service. Calling what you sell a ‘unit of business’ also suggests that this is a matter of managerial choice, which has a major impact on competitive strategy. Consider, for instance, firms such as Nokia or Apple - whose primary revenues come from selling hardware - facing off against firms such as Microsoft, AT&T or Verizon, whose primary revenues derive from software or services. The software and services firms are only too happy to subsidize hardware (as Microsoft does with its gaming systems and Verizon does with handsets) while the hardware firms are not all that reluctant to give away or discount the software components that make their devices work, or make them more attractive. Nokia, for example, in its ‘Comes With Music’ devices embeds the cost of the music in the cost of the hardware, so that the music appears to be ‘free’ to the consumer. new communication and computing developments [have] vastly expanded [what is] intellectually (maybe even economically) feasible …. the choice of unit of business is critical to strategy One of the effects of new developments in communication and computing technologies has been to vastly expand the units of business that are intellectually (and may even be economically) feasible, making the choice of unit of business critical to strategy. For instance, in a recent discussion, Wired magazine editor Chris Andersen observed that it is now quite feasible to base a business model on what is literally a ‘free’ unit of business by collecting revenues from parties other than those who use/benefit from what is ‘sold’. One of the interesting things about the concept of non-monetary exchanges is the revival of some traditional models through which people exchanged goods and services, such as bartering. Some examples of business models that incorporate some element of ‘free’ – the variety of which is also illustrated in Figure 1 - include: • Advertising (probably the best known of the free business models). In an advertising model, companies are paid for attracting users - even though the users don't pay for what they receive - so that users may be exposed to advertising messages. The advertiser pays the company for access to its audience. • Cross-subsidization. In a cross-subsidization (or ‘bundling’) model, certain units of business are given away for free or at lower than market-rate price in the interest of making fat margins on another part of the business. A classic example along these lines is ink-jet printer manufacturers who ‘give away’ printers at relatively low prices, but make their margins on selling ink. Similarly, elevator manufacturers often accept low margins on new elevator installations in the expectation of revenues from on-going servicing contracts later on. • Promotion. In this model, a low cost good (a stuffed toy, software or digital music) is given away to promote something that might be entirely different – a brand, membership in a community or attendance at a rock concert. McDonald's famous exploitation of the promotional model – the ‘teeny beanie baby’ giveaway in which a hugely popular ‘free’ toy was included with its kids' meals - drove so much business its way that pundits joked that McDonald's really was a toy company masquerading as a food provider. • ‘Freemium.’ In the Freemium model, a basic version of an offering is given away for free, with the hope of eventually persuading sufficient numbers of customers to pay for a more advanced version. This has become a popular approach for social networking sites such as LinkedIn, and for persuading people to buy more advanced versions of security software. • Barter, in which a good is given away without cost to customers who provide in return something of value to the sponsoring organization. One example is Google providing free directory assistance to improve its voice recognition technology. In a more traditional example, pharmaceutical companies give drugs free to doctors and hospitals for clinical trial testing, who in turn provide them without cost to the patients enrolled in the trials. The ‘free’ good (the drug) is being ‘exchanged’ for information and for the option on an attractive future income stream should the drug gain regulatory approval. • Gratis. In a gratis, or gift model, something of value is provided for free simply because those involved enjoy interacting or making a contribution: the rise of open source software and various forms of ‘wiki’ encyclopedias are good examples. However, such ‘exchanges’ can still be part of a profitable business model – sometimes because the free participation substitutes for some other activity that would have had cost implications. Thus when the accounting software firm Intuit provided a user forum allied with its ‘Quickbooks’ product, it found that the users could (and did) answer so many queries about how best to use the software that it could reduce its customer service operations staff - a direct result of users contributing their own time for free. Similarly, the LEGO Group has looked to its customers for design ideas and new products for years, and recently, even producers of products such as corn chips are encouraging customers to make videos, submit advertising ideas and propose new flavors and concepts – the customers' reward is simply seeing their ideas incorporated in a final product. The rise of social networks is another example of how ‘free’ exchange creates value – users pay nothing to use networks such as Twitter, Facebook, My Space or LinkedIn (at least in the basic versions – see ‘freemiums’ above) yet the presence of other users is what attracts members (although monetizing such membership usually requires adopting one of the other ‘free’ models.) The beautiful thing about comparing units of business to one another as part of a strategic analysis is that it doesn't require an in-depth understanding of the resources or capabilities that underlie them. Instead, one can consider the transactions in which the firm engages in the marketplace, which are both less complex to understand and less ambiguous to interpret. Thus Anne Mulcahy recently pointed out to analysts that Xerox could be seen as a good bet because so much of its revenue was promised on an annuity (long-term contract) basis rather than a transaction basis. Her argument - that the long-term contracts model is more enduring than the transactional model – is a statement of competitive advantage that stems straight from business model analysis. Process advantages: key metrics Having chosen a particular unit of business, a second set of choices available to executives concerns process steps, specifically, which sets of activities are employed to sell those units. We can detect the operations of these processes through the assessment of ‘key metrics’ that help drive performance. The key metrics in a business reflect its architecture – those operational activities that influence the critical dimensions of performance for a firm. For instance, in airlines, one critical performance variable concerns how full the planes are when they take off, and the industry looks at measures of passenger yield to determine how effective a competitor is. Southwest Air, the pioneering low-cost carrier in the US, identified practices that would allow them to out-perform on this critical measure (such as using only one type of plane and pricing so that they flew full). Similarly, when Dell came up with its ‘build-to-order’ model for selling computers to businesses, it didn't employ an innovative unit of business: the unit was still (for the most part) a computer. What it did was deploy radically different processes from its contemporary competitors, in which customers ordered (and paid for) the computer before Dell even built it. One could see the advantage Dell had created by comparing its operating metrics in its heyday against those of its conventional competitors. Its working capital was actually negative because the money came in before the computers went out the door: Dell made money on its work in progress. If an executive can come up with a breakthrough in the way that the business operates, this can represent as important a business model innovation as developing a whole new type of offering. Again, this way of comparing firms' resource deployments doesn't require complex analysis of the resources themselves - instead one can examine the key metrics that are used to assess performance. Even if the unit of business isn't revolutionary, (and Dell's was not – a hundred years earlier, Sears & Roebuck pursued something along similar lines) a firm can create an advantage by delivering it in a new and unusual way. Key metrics are almost always derived from the most critical constraint or rate-limiting step in a particular value chain, and are therefore extremely helpful in comparing the performance of firms struggling with similar constraints. Inventing a (new) way around an industry constraint can create a differentiated business model, and yield an advantage. Amazon.com, for instance, figured out how to overcome the most traditional retail constraint of all (limited floor space) by selling instead over the Internet from warehouses, and Wal-Mart has used its scope, scale and information innovations to wrest the maximum possible return from its available retail space, to the detriment of competitors who didn't keep up. Of course, nothing stands still in business, let alone the value of certain key metrics. Business model analysis can help us understand why some companies' competitiveness declines, as well as why it was successful. With Dell, its competitors caught up over time on many of the numbers that had made it so successful, reducing if not eliminating its business model advantage. And worse (for Dell), tastes shifted, corporations began to buy differently and its established model proved impossible to align well with a slew of potential new high growth products, such as flat screen televisions. In the same way, the value to customers of dial-up access to the Internet was made irrelevant by the competing offering based on broadband, whereon the relevant assessment of competition was no longer to be found within the dial-up Internet Service Provider segment: comparing the ISP with the broadband business model then provided a more meaningful understanding of competitive advantage. When an existing business model has been copied, made irrelevant by environmental events or is otherwise no longer germane to customers, new business models have the opportunity to flourish. It is difficult, however, to plan analytically for which new models will supplant old ones, since so many of the variables relevant to their success are unknown at the outset. This brings us to the next issue – the centrality of experimentation in discovering new models. When existing business models are … no longer germane, new [ones] flourish. [But] many variables relevant to success are unknown at the outset [so] experimentation is central
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
I suggested that the business model concept is a powerful idea for strategic thinking and strategic research, and allows us to shift focus from a pre-occupation with the resources a firm has, to the use to which those resources are put. As the Xerox CEO noted, identical firm-level resources could be used to chase a transaction-oriented or an annuity model. Because the annuity model contains some elements of lock-in that makes customers more sticky; because it can promise an analyzable future with some stability; and because observers can understand how annuities should be priced, the annuity model is the more attractive. This sort of analysis may well help us to understand why some firms are more successful than others, despite their similar-looking resource endowments. With new business models, experimentation is key, and it can take place both within firms and across industries. This itself may offer another source of competitive differentiation, as some firms develop superior capabilities at experimentation and consequently can build better models more quickly than their slower counterparts. Finally, there is a human dimension to competing on new business models that we are also beginning to understand. Encouraging leaders to question the viability of a business model, and to have the right conversations with those who might challenge it, will become increasingly important. So too will the use of planning and analysis frameworks appropriate to the level of uncertainty a company is facing. the business model concept shifts focus from the resources firms have to how they use them…experimentation is key, within firms and across industries … [conversations with] those who can challenge business model viability will become increasingly important.