I am a Professor of Innovation & Digitalization at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), School of Management, Campus Heilbronn.
I am a researcher in the field of information systems. My research interests cover the economics of information systems, especially competition in digital markets, measuring digital transformation progress, and estimating the value created by digital technologies. As part of this, I am interested in data analytics, particularly scraping massive web data and using state-of-the-art econometric methods for causal inference.
My research has been published in leading scientific journals, including Management Science, Information Systems Research, and Journal of Operations Management. It is funded by several organizations, including the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant) and the German Research Foundation (DFG), and has received several awards, including the INFORMS Information Systems Research Best Paper of the Year Award. I regularly serve as reviewer for leading scientific journals as well as organizations, including Management Science, the German Research Foundation (DFG) or the German-American Fulbright Commission, as Associate Editor for Business and Information Systems Engineering (BISE), and as expert for the media and organizations, including Handelsblatt, ZEIT and acatech.
My academic career started at the University of Mannheim, where I studied Wirtschaftsinformatik / Information Systems (B.Sc. 2011, M.Sc. 2013). I continued for a PhD at the University of Mannheim, first by completing the graduate program at the Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences (GESS) and then working as a research assistant at the Chair of General Management and Information Systems (Prof. Armin Heinzl) as well as the software company SAP. I graduated in 2017 with a Dr. rer. pol. (business), and stayed for two more years at the University of Mannheim as Habilitand. In 2019, I joined the Technical University of Munich as a Tenure-Track Professor, and I received tenure in 2023. As of 2023, I am also a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, Oxford Internet Institute.
Digital markets are an integral part of the global economy.
Digital markets leverage digital technologies, primarily the Internet, to facilitate the exchange of goods, services, or information (content). Examples of digital markets are app stores (e.g., Apple App Store), social media (e.g., Instagram), search engines (e.g., Google), video content (e.g., YouTube), rides (e.g., Uber), or e-commerce (e.g., Amazon).
Understanding how digital markets operate, their growth patterns, and their impact on traditional industries is crucial for business leaders and policymakers. Businesses must design strategies on how to compete in digital markets, or evaluate whether to start their own digital market. Policymakers grapple with the challenges of ensuring fair competition within digital markets, without harming innovation by overregulating a complex and critical node of the digital economy.
Management wisdom says that "You can't improve what you don't measure”.
One key challenge is that the effectiveness of digital transformation initiatives are hard to quantify. It is a novel endeavour. It also is complex because it involves identifying relevant dimensions of change, and developing quantitative measures in the form of key performance indicators (KPIs).
The study of measuring the progress and impact of digital transformation is crucial in today's business landscape, where technological advancements have the power to disrupt industries. Efficient measurement not only guides organizations in optimizing their digital strategies but also enables them to allocate resources effectively, ensuring a return on investment. The same holds true for policy-makers who evaluate industry or regional investments.
The vast availability of web data provides companies with a rich source for analyzing market trends, consumer behavior, and competitive landscapes.
For example, through real-time price monitoring of seller websites, procurement departments or traders can realize higher margins. Or, by analyzing posts on social media such as Instagram and TikTok, companies can recognize new trends earlier than their competitors.
Engaging in business analytics with data obtained from the web opens up a wealth of opportunities for extracting valuable insights and driving informed decision-making.
I am interested in state-of-the-art techniques for web data analytics along the entire process from data collection to insight, including web scraping, cleansing, statistical analyses or visualization. I am also interested in questions related to the validity of using web-scraped data.
App markets—such as Apple’s App Store or Google Play—have significant economic importance and drive digital innovation. In 2021, for example, the App Store alone facilitated transactions worth over EUR 511 Bn, which equals the GDP of Sweden.
However, app market operators have also attracted severe scrutiny from regulators due to their integrated gatekeeper structure: they operate a marketplace while also competing within them with their own apps. This gives app market operators an incentive for self-preferencing: they promote their own apps over third-party apps, consequently distorting competition and harming app innovation.
Uncertainty remains regarding how self-preferencing can effectively be counteracted with public policy inter-ventions. Although legislators have advanced bills to restrict self-preferencing, including the Digital Markets Act, existing theoretical models are scant, make mixed predictions, and lack empirical validation. This uncer-tainty is problematic because app markets represent a complex node of the digital economy where regulatory interference—if not done “right”—can likewise harm innovation.
This project will empirically assess how several public-policy interventions against Apple's and Google's self-preferencing impacted app innovation in their app stores.
Firms such as Apple, Microsoft and SAP regularly enter markets complementary to their platforms with own products. For example, in 2018 Apple surprisingly announced an app called ScreenTime, which gave users an overview of the time they spent on their iPhone. Several firms had been offering apps with similar functionality before and were now confronted with having to compete with Apple. Such platform entries are particularly consequential for affected firms due, eventually causing to them going out of business.
Funded by the German Research Foundation DFG, the aim of this research project is to understand the factors that explain market entries by big platforms. The goal is to examine the relationship between the characteristics of individual ecosystem niches (e.g. the quality of the complements, the innovation performance) and the market entry by the platform owner. In order to achieve this goal, a quantitative-empirical study will be conducted in the context of the mobile app platforms Apple iOS and Google An-droid. The iOS and Android ecosystems will be divided into market niches in a systematic procedure. A comprehensive data set on market entries will be built up for the period 2008 to 2020.
This research project seeks to understand the challenges faced by Mittelstand firms in the Heilbronn-Franken region regarding the digital transformation, as well as their strategies to overcome them.
For this purpose, a survey was conducted among more than 500 firms of the region. The scientific analysis of the data provides unique insights into the status quo, and permits identifying recommendations for decision-makers in Mittelstand firms.
The primary questions of interest are:
Teaching: Please find my teaching offerings and the point of contacts in TUMonline.
Project studies: If you are interested in a project study, please contact Alexander Stolte.