A Decentralized Business Ecosystem Model for Complex Products

Mirjana Radonjic-Simic*, Dennis Pfisterer

*Corresponding author for this work
2 Citations (Scopus)


Consumers looking for complex products, demand highly personalized combinations of individual products and services to satisfy a particular need. While online marketplaces work well for individual products and services (or a predefined combination of them), they fall short in supporting complex products. The complexity of finding the optimal product/service combinations overstrains consumers and increases the transaction and coordination costs for such products. Another issue related to contemporary online markets is the increasing concentration around platform-based ecosystems such as, e.g., Amazon, Alibaba or eBay. That increases the “positional power” of these platforms, putting them in the position, where they can dictate the rules and control access directing towards de facto centralization of previously decentralized online markets. To address these issues, we propose a novel business ecosystem model for complex products—a model of a strictly decentralized exchange environment purposefully designed to support complex products in a way to lower transaction and coordination costs and alleviate the adverse effects of growing platform power. This chapter introduces our ecosystem model by describing its primary artifacts: (1) the ecosystem structure, and (2) the ecosystem architecture. The ecosystem structure maps the activities, actors, their roles, and the essential value creation pattern required to support different complex product scenarios. It integrates various actors (i.e., individuals, companies, communities, autonomous agents, and machines), and enables them to constitute and enrich their ecosystem without any central instance of control or governance (i.e., underlying platform). The ecosystem architecture describes the building blocks of our ecosystem model, and the relationships among them considered essential to support the ecosystem structure on the operational level. It is represented by a highly scalable and strictly decentralized software-system architecture that supports arbitrarily complex products given existing domain-knowledge, relevant for commercial transactions in a particular domain. The feasibility of the proposed software-system design is demonstrated based on a prototypical implementation and an evaluation use case scenario.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigital Business
Number of pages30
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer, Cham
Publication date27.07.2019
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-93939-1
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-93940-7
Publication statusPublished - 27.07.2019


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