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School of Business | Department of Information and Service Economy | Information Systems Science | 2013
Thesis number: 13404
Defining business models from theoretical perspective and in practice - In-depth case study of a Finnish software start-up company
Author: Kuisma, Marko
Title: Defining business models from theoretical perspective and in practice - In-depth case study of a Finnish software start-up company
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Information and Service Economy
Academic subject: Information Systems Science
Index terms: tietojärjestelmät; information systems; toimialat; business branches; ohjelmistot; software; liiketalous; business economics; ansaintalogiikka; wage trends; mallit; models; yritykset; companies; kasvu; growth
Pages: 94
Key terms: business model; revenue model; value creation; value capture; software company; start-up; strategy; business planning; framework for defining business models
Objectives of the Study:

This research aims to define a business model for a small Finnish software start-up company. First, it is necessary to define what a business model is. Second, it is necessary to define a framework on how to arrive at a business model in practice. Third, business models are defined for the case company. Fourth, generalization of the framework is discussed.

Academic background and methodology:

The concept of business model has enjoyed increasing popularity in academic research. There is a myriad of business model related research and publications, but there is little consensus on what business model actually is - and what it is not. Furthermore, there seems to be a gap in literature in methods or frameworks on how to define a business model in business practice. Business model is established as an important tool in business planning, and can be the source of competitive advantage. Generally strategy and financial models are not viewed as parts of a business model. There are different propositions of business model constituents in literature. This background literature is extensively used in defining the business model construct.

An interpretive, in-depth single case study approach was selected for this research. Data sources were published data and the potential customers, collaborators and competitors of the case company. Data collection methods were analysis of published data, semi-structured theme interviews and an online questionnaire survey. Acquired data was interpretively analyzed.

Findings and conclusions:

A business model construct of eight different constituents was reached. Furthermore, a framework for defining a business model in practice was formulated and tested with the case company. The framework was found useful resulting in three different business model options. Another finding was that a business model cannot be selected isolated from strategy and financial modeling. The analysis of these three parts will result in a comprehensive view of the business, or a business plan.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.