SM9739 - Digital Business Models

What will I learn on this module?

This module will provide an understanding of how digital technologies provide new and exciting business opportunities and corresponding challenges. You will learn how businesses are required to adapt and change the ways they create and deliver value to their customers and how they monetise those.

You will learn why certain businesses are more successful than others, why they grow faster or why they are more profitable and the role of their business model to create and support their competitive advantage in an ever-changing business world.

Topics that will be covered include:
• Digital competitive advantage, what is it, how it is created and sustained
• Digital value network and ecosystems
• Digital Business survivability
• Open innovation and its relationship with competitive advantage
• Business model innovation
• The role of funding resources and crowdfunding / crowdsourcing
• Growth strategies

How will I learn on this module?

The lectures will provide you with a theoretical underpinning of the module. During the lectures, you will be exposed to different theoretical frameworks that will help you frame the challenges digital business face and identify potential strategic pathways.

Lectures will be supported by workshops. During the workshops you will have the opportunity to apply in practice the frameworks introduced in lectures.

The module has a supporting reading list. The reading list is a comprehensive repository or essential, recommended and additional reading to support your learning experience.

Your directed study will support the work in the face-to-face sessions. You are expected to familiarise with the material in advance of the workshops to successfully engage with the corresponding activities,

Independent learning time is set aside for learning activities, self-identified by you, to gain a deeper and broader knowledge of the subject. You may undertake further reading.

The continuous practical nature of the workshops means that tutor (formative) feedback will be received continuously. In-class evaluations and directed learning activity provide formative assessment.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Support will be provided to you by a member of academic staff leading the module and providing the lecture input. A team of academic staff are allocated seminars, which provides a closer, more personal academic support.

Your module is supported by the Electronic Learning Portal, which houses lecture materials, workshops, reading list and other supporting material.

You will also receive a wide-ranging electronic reading list that comprises of various books, conference papers and journal articles relevant to the material covered by the module.

There are two components to the assessment for this module. The first is an exam which will ask you to apply your knowledge in real problem-solving scenarios and accounts for 40% of your overall mark.

The second part of your assessment is an essay of 2000 words. This case study will ask you to analyse the company’s internal and external environment, identify challenges and provide potential strategies.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
MLO1: Understand the scope and scale of digital business models
MLO2: Appreciate the complex and dynamic environment in which digital business models develop and operate

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
MLO3: The ability to analyse the growth and development strategies of digital enterprises
MLO4: Critical evaluation of digital business models drawing on multiple data sources

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
MLO5: Appreciation of the challenges and opportunities arising from the application of digital technologies by businesses

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment:
The formative assessments will be provided during weekly seminar sessions. [MLO1, 2, 3, 4 and 5]

Summative Assessment:

1. Exam – 40%

2-hour exam focusing of framing real-life challenges and provide theoretically robust and empirically grounded solutions. [MLOs 1, 2 and 4]

2. Coursework – 60%

2000-word (excluding references). Written feedback will be provided. [MLOs 1, 3 and 5]





Module abstract

Digital technologies have opened up exciting new pathways for businesses to create and deliver value to their customers. From online social platforms that allow seamless connectivity among billions of people to the entire restructuring of supply chains that allowed companies to reach new markets and create new ones. These opportunities have accelerated considerably during the recent years.

However, the emergence of new opportunities means new challenges as well. Digital businesses are required to constantly adapt their business model to changes of their internal and external environment in a way to support their competitive advantage. Failing to do that entails risk to the business profitability, growth potential, even survivability.

This module explores how the businesses can navigate among the challenges in the digital world, how they can defend their competitive advantage or even create new ones as they navigate their operations in the digital world.

The module is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and student-led activities. Through this module you will be exposed to theoretical models that can be applied to the digital entrepreneurship and its socio-economic impact. The knowledge gained will help you appreciate the scale, scope and impact of digital entrepreneurship, both within the UK as well as internationally.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full time

Department Newcastle Business School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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