New forms of value creation in the digital economy

Digitization New forms of value creation in the digital economy

Published on 19.08.2021 by Dr Hans-Dieter Zimmermann, lecturer in business informatics at OST Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences in St. Gallen

The digital economy is set to change the way value is created. But what does the digital economy actually mean and how can it influence value creation?

When we talk about digitization today, we mean the impact of digital technologies on the economy and society. A change that is often termed “digital transformation”.

New forms of digital value creation are changing the structures of value creation itself: intermediaries in value chains, such as retailers or banks, are changing, or even becoming superfluous. New types of intermediaries are emerging, such as those in mortgage lending, retail or digital payment transactions.

This transformation of intermediaries is making new forms of value creation process possible

One important development is interactive value creation. Customers are actively integrated into the shaping of a product – either in its design (open innovation) or in its final form (mass customization). In the retail sector in particular, a dramatic form of transformation is taking place: traditional intermediaries (e.g. retailers) have long since ceased to be the first point of contact for customers looking to make a purchase, with various online portals (= intermediaries) instead helping them choose a product or service. Gerrit Heinemann talks about Amazon commerce, when customers choose the product and supplier on a single platform, a marketplace such as Amazon (Heinemann 2019*).

Where the social networking of customers via social media plays an important role in the buying process, this is known as social commerce, while dialogue-oriented forms of exchange between users and companies, e.g. via chatbot or voice assistant, are referred to as conversational commerce.

Traditional value creation processes are changing

It is now apparent that in the context of the digital transformation, traditional value creation processes are undergoing massive change – primarily as a result of the emergence of new intermediaries.

In the area of services in particular, digitization makes entirely new forms of value creation possible: content in digital format, for example, can be freed from its context and pieced back together in completely new ways, e.g. for news, small ads or music (e.g. playlists) and films. Existing services can also be rearranged to enable Mobility as a Service (MaaS) for example. With sensors and communication technology, physical products become intelligent products that generate added value through additional services, from Barbie dolls, TV sets and smartwatches to networked clothing and intelligent lighting that also acts as a burglar alarm.

It is becoming clear that the digital transformation at different levels is enabling new forms of value creation that are a hallmark of the sustainable transformation towards a digital economy.


Due to the current situation, Connecta Bern will again be held as a digital event in 2021. Connecta is renowned for shining a light on the diverse nature of digitization and this year will be no different with content presented across the three formats of Connecta Blog, Connecta TV and Connecta Talk. Find out more here:


Dr. Hans-Dieter Zimmermann

He is a lecturer in business informatics at OST Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences in St. Gallen. His area of interest and work includes the use of new media to overcome challenges in the economy and society. He is also co-editor of the academic journal Electronic Markets and an active blogger.

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