What is it about?

The horizontal combination of frontend face-to-face & digital processes with backend face-to-face & digital system platform processes reach for collaboration with external network actors to create value. Digital and face-to-face processes are perceived as interwoven for improvement of value creation.

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Why is it important?

The findings go beyond hitherto literature- and practice understanding of digital transformation as a top-down process emphasizing the coordination role of senior management in the SME. Additionally, the front-end and back-end digitalization is not aligned and combined, because the front-end digitalization is grounded in the marketing domain and the back-end digitalization is grounded in the engineering domain. A considerable gap can thus easy emerge in the SME. A new frontier for horizontal leadership to organize digital transformation is hereby empirically revealed to extend value creation in SMEs


Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) often have limited resources. Digitalization can decrease the use of resources, which is potential beneficial for the SME. However, SMEs often lack capabilities for digital strategizing. Digital strategizing is here understood as the organizations ‘on-going processes and practices of strategy for involving IS [Information systems] and IT [Internet Technology]’. Large digital investments can be necessary up-front, which can harm the SME. Board of Directors (BOD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) thus hesitate, neglect and sometimes reject strategizing digital Business Model Innovation (BMI) transformation. These ‘liabilities of smallness’ highlights a need for research on SME BOD and CEO capabilities for strategizing horizontal digital transformation for improvement of value creation

Associated Professor Tove Brink
Syddansk Universitet

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises Strategizing Digital Transformation: Backend & Frontend Integration for Horizontal Value Creation, February 2023, IOS Press,
DOI: 10.3233/faia230007.
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