Digital technologies, digitalization, and digitization represent the fundamental technological developments of our time (like steam-engine to the industrial revolution). As digital technologies such as Cloud technology, AI, IoT, and more recently Blockchain unfold, traditional industries converge (e.g., telecom, information, media, and entertainment, financial sectors) and new types of markets emerge (e.g., multi-sided markets). The new competitive landscape – created by challengers/start-ups –calls for a strategic response of established business players; they not only have to adopt digital technologies, but also create fundamentally new business models for creating and appropriating value.
Most firms fail to innovate their business model because they continue to do the same things that have made them successful in the past. In this research project, students investigate how companies can successfully migrate towards digital business models; what type of digital strategies can be used – and how this is different from the “traditional” strategies; what are the advantages of horizontal organizational forms and agile management practices; how to implement digital strategies; and how can firms achieve competitive advantage when operating on digital platforms or ecosystems. This proposal sets out to better understand the challenges of industry incumbents to successfully align business and IT strategies (including strategy processes and implementation) in digital transformations (cf. Volberda, Van Den Bosch & Mihalache, 2014; Khanagha, Volberda, Sidhu & Oshri, 2013; Smeekes, Borgman & Heier, 2018).
In this research project, we will use a mixed-method approach. The quantitative element will consist of a survey on digital transformation for which we use existing scales from academic literature in combination with secondary data. In addition, qualitative in-depth case studies will reveal how the process of digital transformation of industry incumbents unfolds over time. The research approach starts with synthesizing theory and developing a rich conceptual framework, focusing on key antecedents and outcomes of digital transformation and how and when pure (fully migration towards digital) versus hybrid strategies (digital and off-line) are effective. Besides using existing measures from the Amsterdam Innovation Monitor and Executive Opinion Survey from the World Economic Forum, several new scales will be developed. The data will be analyzed by using multivariate data analysis techniques including panel data methods.