Modular business processes in digital ventures

In a joint project between ERICS and the Hasso Plattner Institute, we aim to investigate the scaling of business processes in digital ventures. Here, modularity is a key concept in information systems research (Yoo et al., 2010), enabling flexibility and scalability in product design. A modular approach to business process design may provide similar benefits for digital ventures. In this thesis, you will conduct qualitative interviews to explore how early-stage digital ventures employ modular process design principles to navigate the complexities of high growth. Building on that, you will follow a DSR approach to derive requirements and prototype a BPM system tailored to the needs of digital ventures. 

Guiding questions:  

  • In what ways do digital startups modularize business processes to accommodate changing business needs and allow independent scalability of functions?  

  • What are the critical success factors for developing scalable business processes in digital ventures, and how can these processes be effectively managed as the venture grows and expands?  

  • What are the requirements for BPM systems tailored to the needs of digital ventures? 

  • What factors contribute to the successful implementation of modular process architectures?  

Through interviews, document analysis, and prototyping, this inductive inquiry aims to:  

  • Understand how process modularity enhances agility and scalability within digital startups. 

  • Identify best practices for modular process design and management during rapid evolution.  

  • Derive requirements for BPM systems tailored to digital ventures to leverage modular thinking in establishing scalable yet adaptable business processes.  

Literature recommendations: 

  • Wuttke, T., Haskamp, T., Perscheid, M., & Uebernickel, F. (2023, December 10). On the Potential of Business Process Management for Digital Entrepreneurship: Findings from a Literature Review. ICIS 2023 Proceedings. ICIS 2023, Hyderabad, India. 

  • Sunyaev, A., Dehling, T., Strahringer, S., Da Xu, L., Heinig, M., Perscheid, M., Alt, R., & Rossi, M. (2023). The Future of Enterprise Information Systems. Business & Information Systems Engineering.  

  • Yoo, Y., Henfridsson, O., & Lyytinen, K. (2010). Research Commentary—The New Organizing Logic of Digital Innovation: An Agenda for Information Systems Research. Information Systems Research, 21(4), 724–735.  

Start date: June 2024  

Supervisors: Thomas Haskamp (ERCIS) and Tobias Wuttke (Hasso Plattner Institute)

Qualifications: Ability to work reliably, disciplined, thoroughly, and willingness to engage with digital ventures/start-ups.  

Applications: If interested, please send your application (CV + Grades) to