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MIT CISR 2021 Research Projects

Domains 2.0

Business Models: Ecosystems, Partnering, Business Model Transformation

For decades, companies have thought of themselves as operating in industries, such as banking, retail, education, shipping, automotive, insurance, and energy. But most customers don’t think about industries; instead, they think about the need to address a specific problem or opportunity. For the individual, this involves situations such as finding a home, getting from place to place, and getting an education; at the business level, it could involve managing a company’s energy needs or conducting international trade. We call these different problems or opportunities customer domains. The mismatch between the company’s industry-based mindset and the customer domain-based need often results in fragmented customer experience, with the company typically solving only parts of the domain need and relying on the customer to integrate the fragmented pieces.

Building on analyses we performed in 2017 and 2020, in this project we will research how enterprises are transforming themselves to deliver on customer domain expectations. Our first step, in Q1 2021, will be to conduct one to three virtual roundtable workshops with invited representatives from MIT CISR patron and sponsor organizations and other researchers to discuss current research and how to identify and measure domains. We will then use interviews and survey data for further analysis. Research questions include:

  • What is the mindset change needed to move from industry to domains?
  • What parts of a company need to transform to successfully operate in a domain orientation?
  • What key practices are the most significant in moving toward a domain orientation?
  • Which business models are most suitable for a domain orientation?
  • In how many domains can an enterprise effectively operate?


  • Interviews with companies that have started moving toward a domain orientation
  • Survey respondents in the latter half of the year

Contact: Stephanie L. Woerner


Peter Weill, Chair & Senior Research Scientist

Peter’s work centers on the role, value, and governance of digitization in enterprises and their ecosystems. Peter’s current responsibilities include the globalization of MIT CISR’s research and sponsorship base and engagement with senior executive teams.

Stephanie L. Woerner, Research Scientist

Stephanie’s work focuses on how enterprises use technology and data to create more effective business models and how they manage the associated organizational change. She has a passion for measuring hard-to-assess digital factors and linking them to firm performance.

Related publications

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MIT CISR research is funded by the more than ninety firms that sponsor our work and participate in our consortium. 

MIT CISR Patrons
Axway, Inc.
Microsoft Corporation
Pegasystems Inc.
Standard Bank Group (South Africa)
The Ogilvy Group
MIT CISR Sponsors
Allstate Insurance Company
ANZ Banking Group (Australia)
Australian Taxation Office
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Banco Bradesco S.A. (Brazil)
Banco do Brasil S.A.
Bank of Queensland (Australia)
BNP Paribas (France)
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Cabot Corporation
Caterpillar, Inc.
CEMEX (Mexico)
Charles River Laboratories, Inc.
CIBC (Canada)
Cochlear Limited (Australia)
Commonwealth Superannuation Corp. (Australia)
Credit Suisse (Switzerland)
Cuscal Limited (Australia)
CVS Health
DBS Bank Ltd. (Singapore)
Doosan Corporation (Korea)
ExxonMobil Global Services Company
Ferrovial Corporacion, S.A. (Spain)
Fidelity Investments
Fomento Economico Mexicano, S.A.B., de C.V.
Fortum (Finland)
General Mills, Inc.
General Motors Corporation
Henkel AG & Co. (Germany)
Hitachi, Ltd. (Japan)
HSBC Technology & Services (USA) Inc.
Johnson & Johnson (J&J)
Kaiser Permanente
King & Wood Mallesons (Australia)
Koç Holding (Turkey)
Markel Corporation
National Australia Bank Ltd.
Nomura Holdings, Inc. (Japan)
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. Systems Consulting Division (Japan)
Pacific Life Insurance Company
Pioneer Natural Resources USA Inc.
Posten Norge AS (Norway)
Principal Financial Group
Procter & Gamble
Raytheon Technologies
Reserve Bank of Australia
Royal Philips (Netherlands)
Santander UK/Grupo Santander
SC Global Tubular Solutions
Scentre Group Limited (Australia)
Schneider Electric Industries SAS (France)
Scotts Miracle-Gro
SIGMAXYZ Inc. (Japan)
State Street Corp.
Stockland (Australia)
Suncorp Group (Australia)
Teck Resources Limited (Canada)
Tetra Pak (Sweden)
Trinity Health
Truist Financial Corporation
UniSuper Management Pty Ltd (Australia)
Webster Bank, N.A.
Westpac Banking Corporation (Australia)
WestRock Company
Wolters Kluwer
Zoetis Services LLC
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