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Key Activities

The Key Activities Building Block describes the things a company must do to make its business model work and to operate successfully.  Like Key Resources, they are required to create and offer a Value Proposition, reach markets, maintain Customer Relationships, and earn revenues.  Key Activities will differ depending on business model type. For software maker Microsoft, Key Activities include software development. For PC manufacturer Dell, Key Activities include supply chain management. For consultancy McKinsey, Key Activities include problem-solving.

Questions to address in this section
  • What Key Activities do our Value Propositions require?
  • Our Distribution Channels?
  • Customer Relationships?
  • Revenue streams?
Types of Key Activities

Key Activities can be categorized as follows:

  • Production - These activities relate to designing, manufacturing, and delivering a product in substantial quantities and/or of superior quality. Production activity dominates the business models of manufacturing firms.
  • Problem solving - Key Activities of this type relate to coming up with new solutions to individual customer problems. The operations of consultancies, hospitals, and other service organizations are typically dominated by problem-solving activities. Their business models call for activities such as knowledge management and continuous training.
  • Platform/network - Business models designed with a platform as a Key Resource are dominated by platform or network related Key Activities. Networks, matchmaking platforms, software, and even brands can function as a platform. eBay’s business model requires that the company continually develop and maintain its platform: the Web site at Visa’s business model requires activities related to its Visa® credit card transaction platform for merchants, customers, and banks. Microsoft’s business model requires managing the interface between other vendors’ software and its Windows® operating system platform. Key Activities in this category relate to platform management, service provisioning, and platform promotion.

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