BASE/X business agility through cross-organizational service engineering : the business and service design approach developed in the CoProFind project

P.W.P.J. Grefen, E.R. Lüftenegger, E. Linden, van der, C.A. Weisleder

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Many business domains are currently characterized by a move from an asset-orientation to a service-orientation: customers recognize that business value is not in owning assets, but in using the services offered by assets (which they do not need to own). This creates service-dominant business markets. The not-so-physical characteristics of these markets give rise to high levels of dynamism. This places high demands on the agility of service providers operating in these markets. These providers find their agility, however, heavily constrained by the business and IT platforms they use to deliver their services. This paper proposes the BASE/X framework for agility in service-dominant business, which has been developed in the CoProFind project, a strategic collaboration between Eindhoven University of Technology and De Lage Landen International B.V. This framework makes two fundamental distinctions in the setup of a service-dominant business environment. Firstly, the framework separates two concepts in business conception: business strategy and business models. Business strategy is linked to the identity of an organization and hence is relatively stable in time. Business models specify the operation in the here and now of changing markets, and hence change frequently. Secondly, the framework separates two concepts in business implementation: service capabilities and service offerings. Service capabilities are relatively stable in time as they are based on the resources of an organization (both human and non-human). Service offerings change over time – they revolve with market dynamics as operationalization of network-centric business models of a provider. The framework provides a basis for structural agility by on the one hand coupling the stable elements to each other and on the other hand the fluid elements. The concepts of BASE/X are combined in a service-dominant business structure that provides an operationalization of the framework. As this is a structure with stable outer layers and flexible inner layers, we call this the business sandwich model. Applying this sandwich model to the way business is organized thoroughly changes the traditional way of thinking in terms of decision horizons where it comes to implementing agility. The business sandwich model describes the business view on agility. To enable automated support of agile business, the sandwich is mapped to an information system stack. This mapping how the business is connected to automated business applications at each of the layers of the sandwich. The information system stack is in its turn mapped to an infrastructure stack, which describes the basic IT platforms that form the implementation basis for the business applications. The BASE/X framework described in this document is a structure for the development of new service-dominant business: business strategy, business models, their operationalization in service compositions, business services, and their implementation in state-of-the-art automated service management platforms. To aid in the use of this structure, the framework embeds tools that are tailored to business design in a servicedominant context. Application of the framework and its tools lead to well-structured management of the complexity of service-dominant business and short time-to-market of new business models. The approach is illustrated by a case study of an advanced travel industry service orchestrator.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEindhoven
PublisherTechnische Universiteit Eindhoven
Number of pages96
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameBETA publicatie : working papers
ISSN (Print)1386-9213


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