The purpose of this paper is to provide guidance to SMEs to sense and seize digitally enabled growth opportunities as well as start a project-based learning process to transform the organization in order to remain competitive in turbulent environments. The proposed framework is nurtured from a dynamic capabilities approach as well as from digital transformation studies and mitigates shortcomings of existing frameworks on IT-enabled business transformation. A pilot study has also been carried out for testing the proposed framework. The results of the pilot study show that the framework is well understood by SME owners or managers and contributes to a comprehensive perception of digitalization challenges and potentials. The overall maturity level of the 52 companies analyzed is moderate. Firms are better at “sensing” than “seizing”, that is, at identifying digitally based growth opportunities than in profiting from them. The test of the proposed framework also contributes to its further adjustment and refinement. The developed framework is useful for owners and managers of SMEs as a self-assessment of digital maturity. It sets a baseline regarding the current position and supports coordinated initiatives for digitally enabled growth. Few frameworks regarding digital maturity have been developed. Most of them lack a sound theoretical foundation and are less suited to the needs of SMEs. There are few studies on digitalization in SMEs and they are not focussed on capabilities development but mostly on processes (Trung Pham 2010; Blatz et al., 2018; Mittal et al., 2018). Therefore, the originality of this paper is to propose a framework that allows SMEs to assess their digital maturity level and the capabilities associated with each level to enhance digitally enabled growth, contributing to expand the research on the relationship between dynamic capabilities and digitalization (Teece, 2017).
This paper presents a framework to evaluate and develop curricula for higher education in the context of digital transformation. Developing well guided learning journeys for the digital transformation is still a major challenge for educators. The proposed VOIL competence framework is grounded in dynamic capability theory. The VOIL competence framework has been developed by relating the DIGROW digital maturity framework to the European e-competence framework. The foundational architecture and rationale of the VOIL competence framework link learning objectives to the specific challenges of digital transformation of small and medium businesses. The authors also discuss the application of the VOIL competence model for evaluating and designing self-directed and personalized learning journeys.
North, K., Hermann, A., Ramos, I., Aramburu, N., & Gudoniene, D. (2020, October). The VOIL Digital Transformation Competence Framework. Evaluation and Design of Higher Education Curricula. In International Conference on Information and Software Technologies (pp. 283-296). Springer, Cham.
Due to the plethora of possible digital technologies, companies face difficulties in selecting appropriate technologies to innovate their business model. Therefore, we introduce PlanDigital: a software tool supporting the digital transformation. PlanDigital combines existing tools and concepts in an integrated manner to support the identification, evaluation, and selection of potential digitalization ideas. Thereby, the application helps practice and academia in managing digitalization ideas in the early phase of a company’s digital transformation. In the tool, the user models and organizes goals, the current business model, digitalization ideas, as well as digitalization roadmaps, which ultimately represent a company-specific digital transformation agenda. The paper accounts for the technological and visual design as well as the features of the tool.
Hermann, A., Gollhardt, T., Cordes, A.-K., & Kruse, P. (2021). PlanDigital: A Software Tool Supporting the Digital Transformation. In Proceedings of the DESRIST 2021: 16th International Conference on Design Science Research in Information Systems and Technology, Kristiansand,Norway, 356–361.
The ability to adopt new digital technology is a very challenging endeavour, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), who because of resource poverty are dependent on external input and cooperation with other companies. Recent research has indicated that co-creation among SMEs is a promising way to overcome such limitations. However, there has been very limited research on the co-creation process, and we have little understanding about how SMEs would go about to establish and run a co-creation network. We propose a conceptual model based on our review of the literature and our empirical findings from investigating co-creation in four networks. The results expand our understanding of the process of establishing co-creation networks and contributes to research on co-creation and practice in SMEs.
Digital transformation has become an increasingly important topic among enterprises and in research. The adoption of enterprise systems is such an investment, and it usually requires significant change management activities to realize the potential benefits. One important issue is how firms should go about to make investments in appropriate digital technology – and the appropriate changes to organizational processes and business models. This is particularly challenging for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They generally have very limited resources, and they usually depend on external input and cooperation with other companies. Therefore, a successful strategy for many SMEs has been to cooperate with other companies to co-create digital assets. There is limited research on co-creation among SMEs, and we know little about how they should go about to initiate a co-creation network. We have therefore developed a conceptual model of a co-creation canvas based on a review of the literature and co-creation cases. This canvas can be a useful tool for SMEs to better grasp how they should approach the formation of a co-creation network in their industry.
Digital transformation is one of the main challenges that SMEs face nowadays. Nevertheless, to a great extent, they lack the necessary capacities and skills to introduce and apply technologies that can support digitalization. As a design science approach, researchers from different European countries have carried out the collaborative research project VOIL to collect and scientifically develop resources and tools to support SMEs in building digital skills. In the context of this project, a tool is developed to assess the digital maturity of SMEs. Moreover, a learning journey based on the use of simulators is proposed together with a minimal viable prototype integrating all developed tools to provide a comprehensive learning environment. Lessons learned from the application of said learning online environment in experimental settings are also shared. The project results contribute to the research that has been carried out within the scope of life long learning, proposing the aggregation of pedagogical strategies that allow self-guided learning in the workplace.
I. Ramos, K. North, S. Thalmann, N. Aramburu, A. Hermann, K. Gräslund, V. Barros (2021). Using simulation to leverage digital transformation of SMEs: an European Perspective. In Proceedings of the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) (in press)