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Article : "Les stratégies d'Open Savoir-Faire"

(Open Savoir Faire strategies)

mercredi 2 mai 2012

Digital business model : the case of Référentiels SI

Findings on emblematic digital products are a help to address the change of business model patterns when physical entreprises transform into digital enterprises.

Such products, known as Référentiels SI, can be observed in France.

What are the Référentiels SI ?

The phrase Référentiels SI is the local naming of IT management Best ¨Practices.

Within the French market, IT management Best Practices have three characteristics which make them interesting from an epistemological perspective:
  1. First, in France, they have not been always recognized as immaterial products: for some French professionals, they are nothing but plain old common sense (Fr : gros bon sens) or common language (Fr : langage commun) [1]; 
  2. Then, these products are used by professionals who are at the forefront of the digital transformation of enterprises, the IT professionals: as a matter of fact, the value of Référentiels SI is to make information systems effective and efficient; 
  3.  Finally, the life cycle of Référentiels SI shows two distinct phases: a Physical Phase and a Digital Phase. 

When introduced into the French market, the Référentiels SI were just seen by professionals as IT management books that could be found on the shelves of a bookstore or downloaded from a publisher’s website : it was the Physical Phase.

During this phase, the business model is one of a common printing business.
For revenue earned by their publishers, it can be assumed that for the French market, they have been made only through the purchasing price of the books, either printed and or downloaded: indeed, it might have been cumbersome for their copyright owners to claim for royalties due to the French copyright [Fr : droits d’auteur patrimoniaux] and at the same time to promote the content as “best practices drawn from field research” (Fr : meilleures pratiques recueillies sur le terrain), “plain old common sense” or “common language”.

By leveraging digital capabilities, their owners have transformed the Référentiels SI from mere copyrighted books into complex professional services which integrate know-how authoring, copyright license, professional education, certification services, business relationships services [2]...This is the Digital Phase.

Overall the value remains the same, which is to make information systems effective and efficient. Of course the services have been considerably enhanced and the streams of revenues account for all these services.

But the point is that some Référentiels SI copyright owners (licensors) have just come out to announce that the fees for the bundled service package do include copyright royalties as well.

Within the French market, some awareness of the Digital Phase has developped since the worldwide releases of ITIL ® Edition 2011 and Cobit ® V5 [3].

[1] An online survey conducted in France from May to July 2011 indicated that 50 % out of 150 respondents say that the Référentiels SI are nothing but “plain old common sense”. This online survey is a “collaborative” survey: the statistics are computed in real time and shared with respondent right at the end of the questionnaire without requesting any registration. “12 questions to explore the real value of Best Practices”, produced by Dô-Khac Decision, an independent consultancy.

[2] “Négoce de savoir-faire informatique” [Trading IT management know-how], Tru Dô-Khac, Le Cercle Les Echos, 3 janvier 2012.

[3] ITIL® is a registered trade mark of The Cabinet Office, United Kindom. Cobit® is a registered trademark of ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Foundation) and ITGI (IT Governance Institute), United States of America.

Notes :
We have made some reseach on Référentiels SI since 2006. Findings have been published in various professional magazines such as :
More articles (in French) are available via The Repertory of Digital Governance for Businesses.
All research activities have been self financed.

As we have reserved all rights but these strictly needed to publish the integrality of the articles on the chosen professional magazines, we are looking for a sponsor to translate them into English or other languages.