Business Model Development and Innovation

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Digitization transforms markets, customers and companies. Those who recognize this change and are prepared to digitize their processes can secure competitive advantages. Together with manufacturing companies, Fraunhofer IPA develops and innovates business models with a consistent focus on services and which offer the customer added value.

Due to the change in value structures across the board in all industries, companies need to develop targeted business models quickly in order to remain profitable. Changing customer needs and the short product life cycles of digital developments call for new concepts for internal processes and a new approach towards customers and the market.

With their technical solutions, German companies are considered to be among the world’s leaders. These solutions and key skills offer companies excellent prospects, not only to stand out from the competition by using Industry 4.0 technologies, but also to achieve cost savings and to position themselves as attractive employers or innovation drivers.

Our services

Business model innovation and development

  • Ideas: by applying diverse innovation techniques, a project team of scientists and employees systematically develops business model ideas centered around the competition, the customer, technologies and products.
  • Design: to maximize the benefits for the customer and the company, we design the dimensions of business models based on the added value potential available.
  • Assessment: we use feasibility studies to assess digital business models for their financial and operational viability.

Implementing digital business models

  • Testing new business models, programming digital solutions - with our technological know-how and our expertise in the field of corporate development, we help you implement your business model.
  • This includes transferring the business model to the planning level, taking organizational criteria and change management aspects into account, acquiring skills and resources, and assessing the success of strategic goals and the effects achieved.

Your position in the business ecosystem

  • By analyzing the business network or ecosystem, we identify future changes in the market and the companies involved.
  • In doing so, we define the strategic role of the company so that it can operate profitably and successfully in the long term.
  • Based on this strategic role, we then define future business models in the business ecosystem.

Would you like to gain access to new markets by expanding your portfolio? Satisfy new customer wishes and needs and bind your customers to your company in the long term? Then it's worth taking a look at Everything-as-a-Service business models.

Everything-as-a-Service, or XaaS, combines industrial services as well as physical and digital elements to provide a solution tailored to customer requirements. Your customer can purchase these on a subscription basis. This means, for example, that instead of buying a machine, your customer pays continuously to use your machine.

Many companies are already seizing the opportunities offered by XaaS business models because of the great potential they hold for providers and users alike.


Potential for providers

  • Long-term customer loyalty & data-driven customer insights
  • Growth in saturated markets by tapping cross-selling/up-selling potential
  • Access to new markets through new value propositions
  • Better financial planning thanks to recurring cash flows


Potential for users

  • Better cost planning and flexibility in cases where production volumes fluctuate
  • Shift from CAPEX to OPEX: low barrier to entry (procurement even in times of crisis)
  • Focus on core business by reducing complexity

Cooperation formats


We help you identify the XaaS potential in your organization, design an XaaS concept and validate the implementation plan. We propose the following project formats for a cooperation.

If you think that an XaaS business model is an interesting prospect for your company:

  • Scope: half-day workshop
  • Procedure: examples from industry and field reports provide impulses, and ideas are methodically generated and prioritized
  • Result: you gain an overview of XaaS potential and ideas for an XaaS business model are developed

Validate the XaaS concept & implementation plan

  • Scope: half-day workshop
  • Procedure: discussion of XaaS concept & implementation plan, feedback on plan and approach
  • Result: fields of action for adjustment are identified and the next steps (for implementation) are defined


X-Forge: Wood Working as a Service - WOODaaS

Im Forschungsprojekt »Wood Working as a Service – WOODaaS« arbeiten fünf Partner aus Industrie und Forschung an einem nutzungsbasierten Geschäftsmodell für die Holzbearbeitung.


X-Forge: Productivity as a Service - PRODaaS

Im Forschungsprojekt »Productivity as a Service - PRODaaS« arbeiten sieben Partner aus Industrie und Forschung an einem erfolgs- und ergebnisorientierten Geschäftsmodell für die Metallverarbeitung.


Reference project

Agile business model transformation at EOS Electro Optical Systems

EOS GmbH offers its customers advanced systems for industrial 3D printing. It is also forging ahead with digitizing its own product development process.


Reference project

Data-driven services in stress test at Atlas Copco IAS GmbH

Atlas Copco IAS links joining technologies with data-driven services for maintenance, quality, and process optimization. Together with Fraunhofer IPA, a feasibility analysis in the form of a stress test was carried out on the services developed. This ensures technical, organizational, and economic feasibility and increases potential.


FabOS – Ein Betriebssystem für die Fabrik

Im Forschungsprojekt »FabOS« entsteht ein offenes, verteiltes, echtzeitfähiges und sicheres Betriebssystem für die Produktion. Es soll die Grundlage für datengetriebene Dienste und KI-Anwendungen bilden, damit die wandlungsfähige Automatisierung der Fabrik der Zukunft umgesetzt werden kann. 


Leuchtturmprojekt »Virtual Fort Knox«

Hierbei handelt es sich eine Plattform für produzierende Unternehmen, die bedarfsgerechte fertigungsnahe IT-Lösungen bietet.


(Struktur-) Business Ecosystems


»Geschäftsmodell-Innovation durch Industrie 4.0«


Digitalisierung im Mittelstand – Entscheidungsgrundlagen und Handlungsempfehlungen


Blinde Flecken in der Umsetzung von Industrie 4.0 – identifizieren und verstehen