What are the effects of digitalization on service-based business models? : an exploratory study into the concept of digitalization, and its impacts on business models
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- Master Thesis 
Digitalization, in the form of new digital technologies, is disrupting various service-based industries, such as the traditional music industry. However, it is not always clear what impact digitalization has on the business model of service companies. In our review of the literature, we find that the term digitalization is often used as a buzzword, without a clear definition of delineation of the impact it has on the elements of a firm's business models. Further, the extant literature provides little insight into how firms can shift towards more digital business models. Thus, in our study we aim to answer the questions (1) how is digitalization impacting servicebased business models, (2) and what facilitates or hinders firms to shift towards more digital business models. To address these questions, we developed a framework that helps to categorize the different effects of digitalization on the elements of a firm's business model. We draw on a sample of 6 retail banks, where we conducted in-depth interviews to explore how digitalization has impacted their business models and to identify the barriers and facilitators in their shift towards digitalized business models. We chose the retail banking industry as our research context, because few industries have been more impacted by digitalization the recent years. Our sample consisted of three traditional savings banks and three digital niche banks that are all impacted by new technological innovations in their business models. Key findings in our study indicate that it is not that digitalization itself that directly impact the components of a business model. We uncovered that changes in customers’ expectations and preferences as a result of new technological innovations are the main drivers for change. Hereby, our thesis contributes with a more fine-grained understanding of the effects of digitalization on firms' business models. Furthermore, we contribute to a better, practical understanding on how practitioners can manage the transformation process to a more digitalized business model.