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Business Ecosystem Modeling and Visualization

Last modified Apr 14


Undoubtedly, companies increasingly recognize the relevance of their complex business environment in which they develop, produce and distribute their services and products. This environment is often referred to as business ecosystem. Addressing the associated challenges and opportunities is a reality for most companies (Peltoniemi and Vuori 2004). The growing relevance of business ecosystems substantiates through the perceived shift of the competitive environment from single companies and their supply chains towards ecosystems competing against each other (Bosch 2016).

Definition of Business Ecosystem
Thereby, a business ecosystem extends the classic supply chain, consisting of suppliers and customer, by also including other entities within the business environment of the enterprise. We define business ecosystems as the holistic environment of a company covering current and potential future business partners, customers, suppliers, competitors, regulatory institutions, and innovative start-ups. It exhibits a high dynamic as continuously entities enter and leave the ecosystem. Peltoniemi and Vuori (2004) provide a comprehensive definition of business ecosystems. Analogously to the metaphor of a biological ecosystem, which served as a basis for the initial definition of business ecosystems (Moore 1997), the economic success of an enterprise can therefore depend on the health and ability to evolve their business ecosystem. The role of the enterprise within its ecosystem can range from a keystone to a niche player, with varying level of influence on the overall health of the ecosystem (Iansiti and Levien 2004).

Due to the influence on the economic success of the enterprise and the dynamic characteristics, enterprises increasingly realize the need to analyse their business ecosystem continuously, in order to identify and address changes within their ecosystem (Basole et al. 2016), adapt own business activities accordingly and to “learn what makes the environment tick” (Porter 1979).

Visualizing Business Ecosystems

Visualizations of business ecosystems have proven to support decision makers in their ecosystem related tasks (Basole et al. 2016; Huhtamaki and Rubens 2016, Evans and Basole 2016). Visualizing data can help to derive value from ecosystem data, e.g., in order to spot anomalies, identify keystone and niche players of the ecosystem, or recognize change patterns and trends (Vartak et al. 2016).

Our Contribution

At our chair, we are developing a web-based application that will help companies to model and visualize their business ecosystem in a collaborative manner. The web-based application provides multiple interactive visualizations. A knowledge management system provides the modeling environment. 

Visualization provided in the web-based application:

Explore all available visualizations: 

Connection between modeling enviroment and interactive visulizations:

We conducted an online survey in 2017 to determine the state-of-the-practice how enterprises analyze their business ecosystem today. You can find the questionnaire here.

The project is part of the Software Campus (BEEx+) with Holtzbrinck as Industry Partner.

If you are interested in a collaboration in this research project, please contact Anne Faber (



Faber, Anne; Rehm, Sven-Volker; Hernandez-Mendez, Adrian; Matthes, Florian
Modeling and Visualizing Smart City Mobility Business Ecosystems: Insights from a Case Study
Information 2018, 9(11), 270;

Faber, Anne; Hernandez-Mendez, Adrian; Sven-Volker Rehm; Matthes, Florian
Visualizing Business Ecosystems: Applying a Collaborative Modelling Process in Two Case Studies
29th Australasian Conference on Information Systems (ACIS), Sydney, Australia, 2018 

Braun, Daniel; Faber, Anne; Hernandez Mendez, Adrian; Matthes, Florian
Automatic Relation Extraction for Building Smart City Ecosystems using Dependency Parsing
2nd Workshop on Natural Language for Artificial Intelligence 

Bondel, Gloria; Faber, Anne; Matthes, Florian
Reporting from the Implementation of a Business Capability Map as Business-IT Alignment Tool
21th Conference on Enterprise Distributed Object Computing (EDOC), Stockholm, Sweden 2018 

Faber, Anne; Riemhofer, Maximilian; Hernandez-Mendez, Adrian; Matthes, Florian
Visualizing an Emerging Mobility Business Ecosystem
5th Internation IEEE Congress on Information Science and Technology (CiSt 2018), Marrakech, Morocco, 2018 [tbp]

Hernandez-Mendez, Adrian; Faber, Anne; Bondel, Gloria; Matthes, Florian
Towards an Ontology-Based Information System for Smart City Ecosystems
Proceedings of the 24th Americas Conference on Information Systems, New Orleans, 2018

Faber, Anne; Hernandez-Mendez, Adrian; Rehm, Sven-Volker; Matthes, Florian
An Agile Framework for Modeling Smart City Business Ecosystems
Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems - Volume 2: ICEIS, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, 2018

Huth, Dominik; Faber, Anne; Matthes, Florian
Towards an Understanding of Stakeholders and Dependencies in the EU GDPR
Multikonferenz Wirtschaftsinformatik (MKWI) 2018, Band 1

Faber, Anne; Huth, Dominik; Matthes, Florian
State-of-the-practice in analyzing enterprises' business ecosystems
Multikonferenz Wirtschaftsinformatik (MKWI) 2018, Band 2

Braun, Daniel; Hernandez Mendez, Adrian; Faber, Anne; Langen, Manfred; Matthes, Florian
Customer-Centred Intermodal Combination of Mobility Services with Conversational Interfaces
Multikonferenz Wirtschaftsinformatik (MKWI) 2018, Band 4


Rehm, Sven-Volker; Faber, Anne; Goel, Lakshmi
Visualizing Platform Hubs of Smart City Mobility Business Ecosystems
Thirty Eighth International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), Seoul, South Korea, 2017

Faber, Anne
Towards a Visual Language Approach for Modeling Business Ecosystems
Proceedings of the Doctoral Consortium and Industry Track Papers presented at the 10th IFIP WG 8.1 Working Conference on the Practice of Enterprise Modelling (PoEM), Leuven, Belgium, 2017

Hernandez-Mendez, Adrian; Faber, Anne; Matthes, Florian
Towards a Data Science Environment for Modeling Business Ecosystems: The Connected Mobility Case. 
Proceedings of the 21 Databases and Information Systems (ADBIS) - 1st International Workshop on Data Science: Methodologies and Use-Cases (DaS) 2017

Huth, Dominik; Faber, Anne; Matthes, Florian 
Personal Mobility Data: Threats and Opportunities. 
MobilTUM Conference 2017, Munich

Amini, S.; Beckers, K.; Böhm, M.; Busch, F.; Celikkaya, N.; Cozzolino V.; Faber, A.; Haus, M.; Huth, D.; Kemper, A.; Kipf, A.; 
Krcmar H.; Matthes, F.; Ott, J.; Prehofer, C.; Pretschner, A.; Uludağ Ö.; Wörndl, W.
Informatikforschung für digitale Mobilitätsplattformen: Am Beispiel des TUM Living Lab Connected Mobility, Informatik-Spektrum (40):2, pages 180-191, 2017.

Faber, Anne; Hernandez-Mendez, Adrian; Matthes, Florian
Towards an Understanding of the Connected Mobility Ecosystem from a German Perspective. 
Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems (ICEIS) - 1st International Workshop on Advanced Enterprise Modelling (AEM) 2017

Peltoniemi M., and Vuori, E. 2004. “Business ecosystem as the new approach to complex adaptive business environments,” Proceedings of eBusiness Research Forum, pp 267–281. 
Bosch, J. 2016 “Speed, Data, and Ecosystems: The Future of Software Engineering,” IEEE Software (33:1), January, pp 82–88. 
Moore, J. F. 1996. The Death of Competition: Leadership and Strategy in the Age of Business Ecosystems. New York: HarperBusiness. 
Iansiti, M., and Levien, R. 2004. “Strategy as Ecology,” Harvard Business Review (82:3)
 Basole, R. C., Huhtamäki, J., Still, K., and Russell, M. G. 2016. “Visual decision support for business ecosystem analysis,” Expert Systems with Applications, (65), pp 271–282. 
Porter, M. 1979. “How competitive forces shape strategy,” Harvard Business Review, March, pp 102–117. 
Huhtamaki, J., and Rubens, N. 2016. “Exploring innovation ecosystems as networks: Four european cases,” Proceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, March, pp 4505–4514 
Evans, P. C., and Basole, R. C. 2016. “Revealing the API ecosystem and enterprise strategy via visual analytics,” Communications of the ACM (59:2), pp 26–28.
Vartak, M., Huang, S., Siddiqui, T., Madden, S., and Parameswaran, A. 2017. “Towards Visualization Recommendation Systems,” ACM SIGMOD Record (45:4), May, pp 34–39.