Digital transformation has been defined as the integration of digital technology into all areas of business leading to fundamental changes in operations and value creation to customers (Morakanyane, Grace, & Reilly, 2017; Westerman, McAfee, & Bonnet, 2014). It requires a cultural change towards a continuous challenging of the status quo, proactively promoting the adoption of new practices and the continuous adjustment to turbulent, uncertain markets. Digital transformation can be a double-edged sword, both solving old problems and creating new problems. It is particularly demanding for small firms due to their general lack of resources. SMEs make up most of the economy in terms of value creation and number of employees and are therefore critical to the economic development of the modern societies. It is therefore imperative that SMEs can innovate and transform using new technology. This Competence Center wants to be a leading knowledge hub for academia and industry in this endeavour.
The high speed at which scientific knowledge is produced globally, accompanied by equally rapid technological innovation, leads to profound transformation of business and organizational activities, processes, competencies and models required to fully leverage the opportunities associated with innovative digital technologies and their impact across society. Emerging technologies, such as social media, internet of things, cloud technologies, blockchain, big data analytics, cognitive systems, smart robots, and smart workspace technologies, have the potential to bring about changes across people, processes, and platforms. These changes have profound impact on how work, learning, communication, and collaboration happens in organizations(Zimmermann et al., 2015); they can improve the financial performance of the organization, originate gains of efficiency and enhance value creation (Hess, Matt, Wiesböck, & Germany, 2016).
Digital transformation is challenging for most firms who struggle with effectively understanding the opportunities and consequences of digitalization to their business and how they should transform. Research as yet has pointed at the following practical digital transformation challenges for SME’s: understanding the nature of digital transformation, the effective formulation of a digital strategy, the factors that drive its success, the impacts to be expected of specific initiatives on the culture of the organization, the new disruptive business models and the digital capabilities that empower employees to participate in the value creation initiatives (Bilgeri, Zurich, Wortmann, & Bilgeri, 2017; Majchrzak et al., 2016; Morakanyane et al., 2017; Sieben, Gregory, & Hanelt, 2015).
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