The thesis “Incumbent Firms in the Energy and Chemical Industries from a Business Model Portfolio Perspective” was recently finished. The abstract is as follows:
Nowadays, it is not unusual for companies to operate several business models at once. By definition, a firm operates a business model portfolio when it is active in two or more ways of creating and/or monetizing value. While research has examined especially younger and less capital intensive industries, little is known about business model portfolio management of incumbent firms in capital intensive industries such as the energy and chemical industries.
The aim of this thesis is to provide more clarity on the above-mentioned research gap in terms of mapping the business models and analyzing approaches for business model portfolio management. The thesis elaborates on insights based on systematic review of academic and grey literature as well as interviews with open-ended questions to answer the research questions.
The findings show that the energy industry business models are, in practice, classified along two factors: the commodities and the value chain steps for each commodity. In turn, the two factors chosen for the chemical industry business models are the value chain steps as well as the degree of interaction with the customers.
Regarding building and managing business model portfolios, three sub-activities were looked at in more detail: assessing and analyzing business models, weighting them in a portfolio, and managing this portfolio. In general, it can be said that many of the approaches proposed in theory are applied in practice very similarly. In some cases, industry-specific details are added. Still, there are theoretical concepts that might serve as additional approaches or at least inspiration for business model portfolio management in practice.