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The Shape of Digital Transformation: A Systematic Literature Review

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  • Institut Mines-Télécom Business School
Association for Information Systems
AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
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Ninth Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems (MCIS), Samos, Greece, 2015
1
THE SHAPE OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: A
SYSTEMATIC LITERATURE REVIEW
Complete Research
Henriette, Emily, Télécom Ecole de Management, France, emily.henriette@telecom-em.eu
Feki, Mondher, Télécom Ecole de Management, France, mondher.feki@telecom-em.eu
Boughzala, Imed, Télécom Ecole de Management, France, imed.boughzala@telecom-em.eu
Abstract
Digital market has never been so unstable due to more and more demanding users and new disruptive
competitors. CEOs from most of industries investigate digitalization opportunities. Through a System-
atic Literature Review, we found that digital transformation is more than just a technological shift.
According to this study, these transformations have had an impact on the business models, the opera-
tional processes and the end-users experience. Considering the richness of this topic, we had proposed
a research agenda of digital transformation in a managerial perspective.
Keywords: Digital transformation, Business models, Operational processes, User experience.
Henriette et al. /
The shape of Digital Transformation
Ninth Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems (MCIS), Samos, Greece, 2015
2
1 Introduction
In the past few years, industries are facing technological shifts. Market volatility has resulted in a need
for a better response to demand. In a perspective of enabling business agility and changing the way
people work to optimize business performance, companies have undertaken digital transformation.
Some of the most important innovations are essentially based on internet and cloud technologies; also
called digital technologies.
Digital transformation, also known as digitalization, refers to a business model driven by “the changes
associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society” (Stolterman and
Fors, 2004, p. 689). It is usually implemented through digitization, i.e. the “ability to turn existing
products or services into digital variants, and thus offer advantages over tangible product” (Gassmann
et al., 2014).
As part of our research, we found that most of existing papers regarding digitalization dealt with tech-
nological innovations (e.g. mobile technologies, analytics solutions, etc.), while this subject actually
covers a wider potential of scope. We believe that digital transformation should also be studied from a
different angle. Indeed, both observations and existing studies from professional papers (MIT - Cap
Gemini, 2013; IBM Institute for Business Value, 2012) expose that digital transformation affects
every aspect of an organization. The four aspects we will be focusing on are digital capabilities, busi-
ness models, operational processes and user (internal and external IT consumer) experience.
In this paper, we intend to provide a research agenda on digital transformation with new perspectives,
based on systematic literature review method. We will discuss the following questions:
What are the digital capabilities impacted by the digital transformation?
How digitalization transforms business models, operational processes and user experience?
The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. Section 2 describes the research methodology.
Section 3 presents the results. Finally, section 4 discusses the key findings and provides future re-
search directions.
2 Methodology
The aim of this study is to explore the shape of digital transformation drawing on a literature review.
For it, we used a systematic literature review, following Kitchenham (2007) and Okoli and Schabram
(2010) protocol. It is a rigorous approach to select, analyze and assess papers. Applied in a given do-
main, it allows identifying trends and gaps in research.
The systematic literature review follows these following 6 steps:
Figure 1. Systematic literature review method.
2.1 Research identification
The idea here is to examine and evaluate research on digital transformation. For that, we investigated
the above research questions.
2.2 Research strategy
Our search strategy consists first in deriving major terms related to the research questions, and then
identifying alternative spelling and synonyms for these terms by leading a pilot test. We used the Boo-
Research
identification
Research
strategy
Study
selection
Data
extraction
Quality
assessment
Data synthesis
and analysis
Henriette et al. /
The shape of Digital Transformation
Ninth Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems (MCIS), Samos, Greece, 2015
3
lean operators (OR; AND) for connecting the founded terms. This resulted in the following used
strings for automated search:
("digital transformation" OR "digitalization") AND ("user experience" OR "operational process" OR
"business model").
The search of articles was conducted regardless of time limitation of publications by using Scopus
database. This bibliographic database holds more than 21,000 peer-reviewed journals, over 1,200
“open access” journals, more than 600 trade publications, 350 book series. The search of articles has
begun on May 16
th
, 2015
.
2.3 Study selection
In this step, we defined selection criteria to determine which studies are included or excluded. Studies
that met the following criteria were included:
The paper should be written in English
The paper should be published in a scientific journal
The paper approaches digital transformation
The articles which they weren’t accessible stated as excluded, as well as, master and doctoral theses,
proceedings or conference articles, working papers and textbooks. This choice of journal articles falls
in line with Ngai and Wat (2002, p.416), who believe that “academics and practitioners a like use
journals most often for acquiring information and disseminating new findings and represent the high-
est level of research”.
The final list of considered publications included 202 articles. Both authors carried out the selected
study process independently. Each reviewer performed the screening of the results based on title and
abstract for each publication that was considered according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria.
Then, a comparison of screening results is realized, in case of difference, verification is jointly made
to reach a consensus. At the end of this process, 153 articles were excluded and 49 articles were kept
for the quality assessment step.
2.4 Quality assessment
In this step, the quality criteria are defined to evaluate the rigor and credibility of the selected articles.
The evaluation requires the complete review of the paper. Based on the works of Nguyen-Duc et al.
(2015), Hauge et al. (2010), and Dyba and Dingsoyr (2008), we defined the following quality stated
criteria as questions:
Is there an adequate description of the context in which the research was carried out?
Is there a clear statement of research aims?
Does the paper describe an explicit research question?
Is the research design appropriate to address the research aims?
Is the literature review adequate?
Is the collected data in a way of addressed research issue?
Is the data analysis sufficiently rigorous?
Is there a clear statement of findings?
Is the study valuable for research or practice?
Does the paper discuss limitations or validity?
Henriette et al. /
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Each question has four possible options: (0) issue is not mentioned at all, (1) little mentioned, (2) ade-
quately addressed and (3) completely addressed (Nguyen-Duc et al., 2015). Hence, we used a four
points Likert scale for collecting answers. Articles with an average quality score lower than 1, were
removed. At the end of this process 13 articles were qualified to be analyzed for the data extraction
step.
2.5 Data extraction
In this step, we extracted data from the qualified articles.
2.6 Data synthesis and analysis
At the end, some results came out of the extracted data. The data synthesis includes a descriptive
analysis to provide a background about the included articles and an analysis of their findings in order
to underline the future directions of research.
Figure 2 presents the literature search, selection and assessment process.
Figure 2. Systematic literature review process.
3 Results and Analysis
This section presents an overview of 13 selected articles and a classification by digital capabilities,
business model, operational process, and user experience.
RQ1: What are the digital capabilities impacted by the
digital transformation?
RQ2: How digitalization transforms business models,
operational processes and user experience?
Research identification
Date: May 16, 2015
Keywords and database selections (Scopus)
Research strategy
202 articles identified from database
44 inaccessible articles
109 articles excluded by defined criteria
Study selection
49 articles assessed for quality
Quality assessment
13 qualified articles
Data extraction, synthesis and analysis
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The shape of D
igital
Ninth
Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems
3.1
Distribution of articles by year of publication
Table 1 presents the distribution of articles
in 2006. From 2011 to 2012, the amount of articles doubled each year to finally stabilize to 3 articles
per year in 2013 and 2014. As the subject is contemporary and at leading
over time.
Year
Number of articles
2006
(8%)
2011
(15%)
2012
(30%)
2013
(23%)
2014
(23%)
TOTAL
(100%)
Table 1.
Distribution of articles by year of publication
3.2
Distribution of articles by journal
Figure 3 represents the distribution of articles by journal subject area. We can notice that digitalization
covers a lot of areas such as social sciences, in
5 articles are published in a high ranked journal:
MIS Quarterly E
xecutive (Kohli et al., 2011)
European Journal of Information Systems (Zhu et al., 2006)
Technological Forecasting & Social Change (Øiestad et al., 2014)
Journal of Consumer Research (Belk, 2013)
Figure 3. Articles
distribution by journal subject area
Social
sciences
33%
Computer
science
17%
Economy
8%
igital
Transformation
Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems
(MCIS), Samos
, Greece, 2015
Distribution of articles by year of publication
Table 1 presents the distribution of articles
by the year of publication. The first article was published
in 2006. From 2011 to 2012, the amount of articles doubled each year to finally stabilize to 3 articles
per year in 2013 and 2014. As the subject is contemporary and at leading
-
edge, publications
Number of articles
(%) References
1
(8%)
(Zhu et al., 2006)
2
(15%)
(Kohli et al., 2011)
; (Rogers et al., 2011)
4
(30%)
(Berman, 2012)
; (Gastaldi et al., 2012)
al., 2012)
3
(23%)
(Barland, 2013); (Belk, 2013); (Medina et al., 2013)
3
(23%)
(Pardo et al., 2014); (Øiestad et al., 2014); (Rothmann et al.,
2014)
13
(100%)
Distribution of articles by year of publication
.
Distribution of articles by journal
Figure 3 represents the distribution of articles by journal subject area. We can notice that digitalization
covers a lot of areas such as social sciences, in
formation system and management.
5 articles are published in a high ranked journal:
xecutive (Kohli et al., 2011)
European Journal of Information Systems (Zhu et al., 2006)
Technological Forecasting & Social Change (Øiestad et al., 2014)
,
(Rothmann et al., 2014)
Journal of Consumer Research (Belk, 2013)
distribution by journal subject area
.
Information
system
17%
Management
25%
Economy
, Greece, 2015
5
by the year of publication. The first article was published
in 2006. From 2011 to 2012, the amount of articles doubled each year to finally stabilize to 3 articles
edge, publications
are steady
; (Rogers et al., 2011)
; (Gastaldi et al., 2012)
; (Liu, 2012); (Pînzaru et
(Barland, 2013); (Belk, 2013); (Medina et al., 2013)
(Pardo et al., 2014); (Øiestad et al., 2014); (Rothmann et al.,
Figure 3 represents the distribution of articles by journal subject area. We can notice that digitalization
formation system and management.
(Rothmann et al., 2014)
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Ninth Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems (MCIS), Samos, Greece, 2015
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3.3 Distribution of articles by methodology
The distribution of articles by research methodology (Palvia et al., 2006) is shown in Table 2. Most of
the articles (6 – 60%) use “case study” methodology due to the contemporaneity of the subject and
because most of the articles have for main subject digital business models (of which case study is an
appropriate method). 20 % of articles adopt a frameworks and conceptual model development (2 arti-
cles). The rest of articles use quantitative and qualitative research (with 1 article each).
We also noticed that most of the time, research methodology was poorly developed and research limits
were not expressed. Moreover, we couldn’t find any rigorous literature review dealing with the con-
cept of digitalization.
Methodology Number of articles
(%) References
Case study 6
(60%)
(Liu, 2012); (Rothmann et al., 2014); (Bar-
land, 2013); (Øiestad et al., 2014); (Kohli et
al., 2011); (Gastaldi et al., 2012)
Frameworks and conceptual model 2
(20%) (Zhu et al. 2006); (Pînzaru et al., 2012)
Quantitative research 1
(10%) (Pardo et al., 2014)
Qualitative research 1
(10%) (Medina et al., 2013)
TOTAL 10
(100%)
Table 2. Distribution of articles by methodology.
3.4 Distribution of articles by application area
Table 3 presents the studies which were applied on industries. A large part of articles deals with non-
material industries. We can suppose that researchers have more hindsight on both internet-based and
digitization business models which are the pioneers of digital era thus bring more perspectives for a
case study.
Industry Number of articles
(%) References
Book / publishing 3
(30%)
(Liu, 2012); (Øiestad et al., 2014); (Rothmann
et al., 2014)
Media 3
(30%)
(Barland, 2013); (Medina et al., 2013); (Pardo
et al., 2014)
Music 2
(20%) (Pînzar et al., 2012); (Rogers et al., 2011)
Healthcare 1
(10%) (Gastaldi et al., 2012)
Oil/Gas 1
(10%) (Kohli et al., 2011)
TOTAL 10
(100%)
Table 3. Distribution of articles by application area.
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Ninth Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems (MCIS), Samos, Greece, 2015
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3.5 Classification of articles by digital capabilities
A firm’s IT capabilities represent “the application of physical or intangible IT resources such as tech-
nology, knowledge, practices, relationships, management skills, business process understanding and
human resources to further organizational goals” (Sandberg et al., 2014). We made the assumption
that a digital capability is a kind of IT capability. In digital context, the main difficulty is to identify
the boundaries of digital capabilities. None of the author tried to neither identify these boundaries nor
define what a digital capability is.
However, they mentioned different capabilities presented on table 4. Among digital capabilities, we
can identify technological assets which purposes are to optimize and transform business activities such
as analytics and mobility.
Digitalization can be implemented through the transformation of physical asset to digital asset (digiti-
zation). For example, the book industry has lived a digital shift with the dematerialization from physi-
cal books to e-books (Liu, 2012). Internet and social network enable the access of a new field of po-
tential customers and strengthen ties with existing customers (Berman, 2012)
Digital transformation also has an organizational impact on human resources. Job roles evolve in line
with the transformation of activities. Decision makers must have to take into account the evolution of
knowledge and skills (Kohli et al., 2011; Liu, 2012).
Digital capability Number of articles
(%) References
Digitization / dematerialization 5
(18%)
(Liu, 2012); (Rothmann et al. 2014); (Øiestad
et al., 2014); (Belk, 2013); (Gastaldi et al.,
2012)
Internet technologies 10
(37%)
(Liu, 2012); (Rothmann et al., 2014); (Kohli et
al., 2011); (Berman, 2012); (Øiestad et al.,
2014); (Zhu et al., 2006); (Pardo et al., 2014);
(Rogers et al., 2011); (Pînzaru et al., 2012);
(Medina et al., 2013)
Analytics 3
(10%)
(Kohli et al., 2011); (Berman, 2012); (Gastaldi
et al., 2012)
Mobility 5
(18%)
(Berman, 2012); (Liu, 2012); (Pardo et al.
2014); (Pînzaru et al., 2012); (Medina et al.,
2013)
Social Network 2
(7%) (Berman, 2012); (Rogers et al., 2011)
Knowledge and skills 3
(10%) (Kohli et al., 2011); (Liu, 2012); (Belk, 2013)
TOTAL 28
(100%)
Table 4.
Distribution of articles by digital capability
.
3.6 Classification of articles by business model
In this paper’s context, a business model is “a description of a company’s intention to create and cap-
ture value by linking new technological environments to business strategies” (Liu, 2012). We found
that digitalization can be considered either as a business model or as a reshaping of existing business
model, taking into account digital capabilities (Rothmann et al., 2014).
Henriette et al. /
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Along with the technological shift, convergence of social media and mobile technologies is changing
the way of conducting business. Opportunities from new capabilities (for example, dematerialization)
are a door opener to an extended market and result to an adjustment of business focus. We also noticed
that digitalization is often presented as an inescapable evolution as market imperatives present a high
risk of not doing the technological shift, especially for publishing and music companies.
Table 5 presents the distribution of articles by impact on business model. We identified 3 impacts on
business models: Extend market (4 articles -36%), focusing on customer value propositions (3 articles
– 28%) and reshaping existing business model due to market imperatives (4 articles – 36%).
Business model Number of articles
(%) References
Extend market 4
(36%)
(Liu, 2012); (Øiestad et al., 2014); (Pînzaru et
al., 2012); (Medina et al., 2013)
Focusing on customer value proposi-
tions
3
(28%)
(Berman, 2012); (Rogers et al., 2011); (Pînza-
ru et al., 2012)
Reshaping existing business model
due to market imperatives
4
(36%)
(Rothmann et al., 2014); (Kohli et al., 2011);
(Rogers et al., 2011); (Medina et al., 2013)
TOTAL 11
(100%)
Table 5. Distribution of articles by impact of digitalization on business model.
3.7 Classification of articles by user experience
Table 6 presents the distribution of articles by impact of digitalization on user experience. The major-
ity of articles based on user maturity (6 articles – 46%), followed by interaction (3 articles – 15%) and
collaboration (2 articles – 18%).
Our review showed that the user is in the heart of digital transformations. Customers are more de-
manding and expect companies to listen, understand and be flexible about the evolution of their needs.
In companies, users, by using new technologies in private context, expect to use the same technologies
at work. Especially for new generations, also known as “digital natives” (Pardo et al., 2014), which are
born surrounded by technologies.
Collaboration tools expansion and commoditization of social networks changed the way of working by
tightening interactions between users and their ecosystem.
User experience Number of articles
(%) References
Digital natives & user maturity 6
(54%)
(Rothmann et al. 2014); (Berman, 2012);
(Øiestad et al., 2014); (Pardo et al., 2014);
(Rogers et al., 2011); (Pînzaru et al., 2012)
Interaction 3
(28%)
(Berman, 2012); (Belk, 2013); (Pînzaru et al.,
2012)
Collaboration 2
(18%) (Berman, 2012); (Belk, 2013)
TOTAL 11
(100%)
Table 6. Distribution of articles by impact of digitalization on user experience.
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Ninth Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems (MCIS), Samos, Greece, 2015
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3.8 Classification of articles by operational process
Undertaking digital transformation can impact the whole company supply chain. Table 7 presents the
distribution of articles by operational process impacted by digitalization.
Our review showed two kinds of impact in operational processes:
Transformation of processes induced by implementation of new technologies: As we explained
above, digitalization transforms the way to work, both in term of user experience and business
model. For example, implementing analytic tools to make predictive analysis on consumption
trends will impact the way of doing marketing, and so, the marketing process (Berman, 2012).
Digitalization of a chosen process: Companies can decide to undertake the digitalization of a spe-
cific process which implies to make investments in order to modernize a full process. For example
the digitalization of knowledge management implies to invest on new technologies (such as col-
laboration or analytic tools), to conduct change on usages and assign specific resources on
knowledge management (Kohli et al., 2011).
Operational process Number of articles
(%) References
Supplier relationship 1
(10%) (Kohli et al., 2011)
Customer relationship 1
(10%) (Kohli et al., 2011)
Knowledge management 1
(10%) (Kohli et al., 2011)
Marketing 1
(10%) (Berman, 2012)
Delivery 3
(30%) (Kohli et al., 2011); (Berman, 2012)
Sales / Engagement 1
(10%) (Berman, 2012)
Knowledge management 2
(20%) (Kohli et al., 2011); (Gastaldi et al., 2012)
TOTAL 10
(100%)
Table 7. Distribution of articles by operational process impacted by digitalization.
4 Discussion and future research directions
We have seen that digital transformation is often described as a new business model or as a reshaping
of existing business models. It is driven by several factors:
Companies are vulnerable to these new technologies: the past few years of technological shifts
have broken down market barriers for new disruptive competitors (e.g. Netflix, Uber, etc). Indus-
tries such as publishing, media or music had to undertake deep transformations, especially by dig-
itizing assets.
Opportunities to extend the market: we saw that new capabilities (e.g. internet and mobile tech-
nologies) are a door opener to an extended market. They require a company to adjust their busi-
ness model accordingly.
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A high and fluctuant expectation from users: with a deep knowledge on new technologies users
wish to use personalized and cutting-edge technologies.
A digital transformation project involves implementing digital capabilities to support business model
transformations. It impacts the whole organization, especially operational processes, resources, inter-
nal and external users. This is a major change in ones habits and ways of working, which is based on
collaboration and intensive interactions.
Table 8 summarizes findings of this study, responding to our following research questions: What are
the digital capabilities impacted by the digital transformation? How digitalization transforms business
models, operational processes and user experience?
Research questions Findings
What are the digital capabilities impacted by the digital transformation?
Digitization / dematerialization;
Internet technologies; Analytics;
Mobility; Social Network; Knowl-
edge and skills
How digitalization transforms
business models, operational
processes and user experience?
Business models
Extend market; Focus on customer
value propositions; Reshaping exist-
ing business model due to market
imperatives
Operational processes
Supplier relationship; Customer
relationship; Knowledge manage-
ment; Marketing; Delivery; Sales /
Engagement
User experience Digital natives & user maturity;
Collaboration; Interactions
Table 8. Findings summary.
Nonetheless, our research is limited by several factors such as the chosen keywords. We would have,
for example, added afterwards other keywords such as “consumer experience” or “business process”.
We can add others databases such as “science direct” or “business source complete” in order to enrich
our results. Regardless of the prior, this first investigation also highlights some future research direc-
tions.
First, we believe that the priority is to settle a rigorous theoretical frame on what digitalization is and
what digital capabilities are.
Second, we identified a lack of research regarding the realization of digital transformation projects.
The questions that arise are: How to manage a digital transformation? ; How to identify and manage
the costs of this transformation?
Third, it would be interesting to make a digitalization maturity assessment tool to identify opportuni-
ties and make a benchmark of organizations interested in leading a digital transformation. Then, a
guide for digital transformation could help industries initiate a change and frame their project.
Fourth, as we have seen above, digitalization projects have a strong impact on this whole organization.
The authors mentioned some of them; however, a research focused on digitalization impacts would
also be interesting; especially regarding its impacts on IT. This has an even larger impact on big com-
panies. Indeed, blue-chip companies have a significant and aging infrastructure (system of record),
which might have to evolve to adjust to these digital technologies. It also raises issues regarding IT
management and governance: who will manage IT infrastructure, how to avoid shadow IT and how IT
jobs will evolve?
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Finally, our three research questions had resulted in that digitalization impacts business models, opera-
tional processes and the user experience. Research on these three areas should be deepened. To lead
proposed research, we suggest the use of different approaches (e.g. design science or quantitative ap-
proach) and expand application area (blue-chip companies, other industries such as retail or govern-
ments).
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... It also require new skills and competencies that change how and where people work (George, Lakhani, and Puranam 2020), substantial changes in terms of culture, operations management, significant infrastructure upgrade and value creation as well as on the external level particularly on how companies operate and manage the relationship with suppliers, customers and other third parties (Schilir o 2021). Consequently, many companies have been unable to keep pace with the new digital reality and are still struggling to integrate digital innovation in their day-to-day managerial practices (Henriette, Feki, and Boughzala 2015;Kane et al. 2016;Parviainen et al. 2022;Reis et al. 2018). Therefore, the resulting complexity of the business transformation affects the emergence of challenges to overcome in terms of processes digitalization, by rethinking their businesses and developing innovative business models that take advantages from existing organizational potential (Seetharaman 2020;Kutnjak 2021). ...
... Most of these contributions remain dispersed in the way that they are largely dominated by contributions that focus on the management and optimization of digital processes (Higon 2011;Tarut_ e and Gatautis 2014;Klein and Todesco 2021), which indicated that the topic is more addressed by practitioners than by academics (Reis et al. 2018). And current academic literature is still limited in providing a consensus and representative cases that can be used by practitioners (Henriette, Feki, and Boughzala 2015). In line with current calls to develop a hybrid approach to digital transformation (Caputo et al. 2019), the aim of our contribution is to propose an integrative approach based on reporting cross-disciplinary and complementary point of views in literature on effects of digital transformation on SMEs. ...
... The results show that the "impact of digitization on organizational management" was, until around five years ago, a nascent topic in the field of Business and Management (Henriette, Feki, and Boughzala 2015), but started to attract more academic interest in 2017, accounting for almost 35 percent of all publications over the period 1996-2019. The managerial effects of digital innovation have been addressed in diverse disciplines, and the issues covered by articles have evolved over the period in line with the growing complexity of digital technologies ( Figure 1). ...
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The purpose of this article is two-fold. First it proposes an integrative approach based on reporting cross-disciplinary and complementary literature on effects of digital transformation on SMEs. Second, it identifies the salient managerial dimensions of building a digital transformation strategy at the organizational level for SMEs. For that purpose, we undertook a systematic review of the literature. Our descriptive analysis highlights diverse but diffuse streams of academic literature dealing with the implications of digitization in terms of managerial challenges, with a predominance of “information systems and knowledge management” and “strategic” perspectives. In the content analysis, we identify an integrative framework of three managerial dimensions that should be viewed interdependently to succeed digital transformation in SMEs and thus should drive strategic change in a transformational context: (1) Rethinking digital infrastructures and processes and digital manager involvement, (2) Implementing new organizational and managerial mechanisms and (3) Identifying the responsibility of senior management in orchestrating change. Finally, the article outlines avenues for future research and underscores the need for a cross-disciplinary approach to support SMEs digital transformation.
... Although most companies are aware of the basics of digitalization, many are struggling with digital transformation. The digital transformation process requires the involvement of the whole organization, and this will lead to significant changes in working practices and habits (Henriette et al., 2015). Organizational inertia (resistance to change) is one of the main challenges that prevents organizational transformation towards digitalization (Besson & Rowe, 2012) and a careful analysis might shed light on the current status of digitalization as a useful response to the global pandemic. ...
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... It affects the way how businesses strategies are being crafted and its operational key activities associated with it such as sales, manufacturing, advertising and marketing. Digitalisation is defined as the "ability to transform existing products or services into digital variants, utilising Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and hence offer advantages over tangible product" (Henriette, et al., 2015). It acts as a pivotal driver to transform society and the business process in the organisation (Tihinen & Kaariainen, 2016). ...
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... It affects the way how businesses strategies are being crafted and its operational key activities associated with it such as sales, manufacturing, advertising and marketing. Digitalisation is defined as the "ability to transform existing products or services into digital variants, utilising Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and hence offer advantages over tangible product" (Henriette, et al., 2015). It acts as a pivotal driver to transform society and the business process in the organisation (Tihinen & Kaariainen, 2016). ...
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... A few earlier works have reviewed DT contributions and made significant headway in building a better understanding of the literature (Hanelt et al., 2021;Reis et al., 2018;Verhoef et al., 2021;Vial, 2019;Zhu et al., 2021) (see Appendix A.1). The reviews have mainly contributed to the discovery of central themes in DT research through an explorative process (Henriette et al., 2015;Reis et al., 2018;Schallmo et al., 2017). More recent reviews sought to bring systematization to DT research and offer a holistic view of the phenomenon (Caputo et al., 2021;Verhoef et al., 2021;Vial, 2019;Zhu et al., 2021). ...
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The ongoing and ubiquitous digital transformation challenges the raison d'être of firms and forces managers to rethink business strategies and operations and academics to reconsider related theories. To aid these efforts, we conduct a systematic review of research on firms' digital transformation, generating a database of 537 peer-reviewed academic articles and analyzing it using a novel multi-layered framework. The framework separates three layers: an organization's core activities, its peripheral activities, and its external environment. We find that firms that have come far in their transformations are more embedded in platform ecosystems with unclear business boundaries. Relatedly, we identify a tension between decentralizing versus centralizing power across organizational layers during a firm's digital transformation and how this dynamic affects corporate strategies and firms' internal and external boundaries.
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