Mercury Business


The work package focuses on how companies and societies can behave like liquid mercury, finding and flowing into new grooves. Mercury Business is the ability to adapt to new business conditions and search aggressively for new business opportunities with minimum effort. The employees in a mercury business actively search for new business opportunities and revenue sources in the way that mercury, which senses with its whole surface, flows pervasively toward gravitational attraction. The rapidity of software development is the equivalent business characteristic of mercury’s liquid metal character.

The goal of this work package is to enable companies to not only actively seek new ways to run their existing business, but also transform themselves into completely new businesses. The Mercury Business approach to conducting business may change the existing products, product portfolios, and business models but—perhaps more importantly—it can apply company assets and competencies to new markets, moving the company into a new business domain.

Another goal is to increase the flexibility and dynamic nature of the management of existing software-intensive products, in order to support continuous scouting for new business opportunities. The industry has difficulties adopting existing software product management practices due to their complexity and frameworks, which typically include about 40 activities related to development, release, marketing, and support. These activities are not equally important and some of them can slow company operations. Companies can miss new business opportunities by focusing on existing processes and products rather than looking outside their areas of expertise to gain new insights from customers and the market as a whole.

The work package executes continuous business experiments in order to scout for new business opportunities.

The work package

  • detects trends (small and large) and predicts the future business environment for the company and areas where the assets of the company could be used
  • defines when to continue smooth evolution in the current business and when to actively seek opportunities to transfer to other domains (or a mixture of the two)
  • captures new business ideas from the ecosystem (both internally and externally), using crowdsourcing and interaction data analysis to gain deep customer understanding and provide focus to real-time experimentation
  • develops new flexible, efficient methods and tools that help companies to eliminate time and resources wasted on unnecessary activities
  • builds a culture where new opportunities are sought at every level, and internal processes do not slow business transformation
  • validates experiment results in cases where real customers cannot be used for experimentation
  • supports creation of new businesses by providing tools and services that support experiments and analytics

Research areas

Organizational Culture and Human Factors

Organizations need to foster a culture with shared values. Organizations must embrace and exploit suitable structures, ecosystems, and networks to enable the fastest possible overall value creation (structure). The emphasis on value creation must be embraced by all the members of the ecosystem (staff/mindset), and individuals need to have a wider skillset and be more proactive to quickly understand what is required to create value for customers (mindset and skills). Having achieved shared values, one of the challenging questions is how to empower individuals to deliver value in real time, while being aligned with the goals and objectives of an organization. These necessitate changes to organizational strategy and leadership style. Organizations have a long tradition of being structured according to the division of duties. However, just as technical infrastructure enables the high speed of system and service creation and deployment, there also needs to be adequate infrastructure to support organizational aspects of the real-time value delivery (systems).

Mercury Business Opportunities

The Mercury approach to finding new business opportunities emphasizes evolutionary business development aided by A/B testing and various tools for customer understanding. Applying existing products to connected, addressable markets and providing new services to existing customers requires opportunity detection beyond statistics about current usage. Information gained through crowdsourcing, business networks, and other sources of market intelligence complement the direct customer data. This theme will study how to identify the best ways to monetize the assets and resources of the enterprise from the current ecosystem position.

Mercury Business Organization

Systemic transformations create the need for new ICT solutions. Identifying major changes in the environment enables firms to proactively design new ways of living and working that respond better to the needs of the changed world. In these emerging markets, the firms that create new solutions and evolve into new dominant platforms enjoy the first-mover advantage of opportunity creation. Although this approach requires major development for the minimum viable product and cannot yet analyze user behavior, deep understanding of customer needs is essential and timely action is critical. No firm wants to invest heavily in an emerging market too early to find the market has moved to another direction. How to delay development to the time when the market is ready, and minimize the effort, risk, and investment, but still enjoy the benefits of being the first mover? How to balance use of resources between existing and emerging business domains?