WI2: Digital transformation in SME
Donnerstag, 19.03.2020:
9:00 - 10:30

Chair der Sitzung: Rainer Alt, Universität Leipzig
Ort: Virtueller Raum 3


Survival in the digital age – a framework for formulating a Digital Transformation Strategy in SME

Johannes Trenkle

TU München, Deutschland

The availability of competitive opportunities based on exploring and exploiting digital technologies forces existing companies to adapt. Therefore, many digitally successful companies have established a dedicated digital transformation strategy. Scholars have examined a large company view on the necessary components, meanwhile the SME perspective on the topic remains unclear. I fill this research gap with a qualitative research approach. The primary data source are interviews with representatives from seven SME, who are leaders in digital transformation, triangulated by additional data. Main findings include a set of 14 strategic questions along four summarizing categories – use of technologies, changes in value creation, operational changes, and financial aspects. Three out of these four categories hold true in SME environments as they are valid in large corporation settings. Regarding the fourth, I recommend establishing the term “organizational changes” instead of “structural changes” in order to increase fit to the mindset of SME owners. Answer options enrich these strategic questions, based on the experience of successful examples from the field. I identify differences between SME and large corporations in the areas of value creation, organizational changes and financial aspects. This paper elaborates theory on digital transformation strategy, contributing to understand management behavior and decision levels in an economic environment, where the adaptation of digital technologies has become an imperative.

The Right Digital Strategy for Your Business: An Empirical Analysis of the Design and Implementation of Digital Strategies in SMEs and LSEs

Wolfgang Becker, Oliver Schmid

Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, Deutschland

The importance of digitalization continues to grow, with companies from all sectors and of various sizes subject to this influence. In order to remain competitive in the future, companies must recognize and overcome the opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the long term. To do this, companies can develop an entire digitization strategy that affects all areas of the business, enabling them to achieve a holistic digital transformation and ensure their survival in the digital age. Based on a qualitative–empirical research design, this study examines whether small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large enterprises (LSEs) have such a strategy, and how it is structured. In particular, it addresses the use of new technology, changes in value added, structural changes and the financing of digitalization. At the same time, there is an examination of any similarities and differences among the different company sizes.

Keywords: Digital strategy, SME, LSE.

Small businesses – big plans: Empirical insights concerning the introduction of the IoT in SMEs

Hannes Reil1, Marlen Rimbeck2, Michael Leyer1,3, Jutta Stumpf-Wollersheim2

1Universität Rostock, Deutschland; 2TU Freiberg, Deutschland; 3Queensland University of Technology, Australien

The implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT) offers high potential for adapting existing business models but is a major challenge for SMEs in particular. In these, there are often few resources for a systematic change of business models, which has a fundamental impact on organizational structure and employees. For this reason, this paper focusses on the research question how the implementation of IoT affects SMEs, especially at the organizational and individual level. This includes whether different business models of SMEs have an impact on the degree of change. To address this question, we conducted 16 semi-structured interviews. The findings of an initial content analysis show that IoT at organizational level is primarily a driver for long-term changes in organizational structures, whereas the introduction of IoT has a short and medium term impact on the process organization. At individual level IoT lead to a higher stress and resistance level of the employees. Additionally, it was pointed out that IoT does have a negative impact on the competencies of the employees. This article contributes to the SME research as it provides an insight which aspects SME should consider when implementing IoT.