Unraveling the capabilities that enable digital transformation: A data-driven methodology and the case of artificial intelligence

Digital transformation (DT) is prevalent in businesses today. However, current studies to guide DT are mostly qualitative, resulting in a strong call for quantitative evidence of exactly what DT is and the capabilities needed to enable it successfully. With the aim of filling the gaps, this paper presents a novel bibliometric framework that unearths clues from scientific articles and patents. The framework incorporates the scientific evolutionary pathways and hierarchical topic tree to quantitatively identify the DT research topics’ evolutionary patterns and hierarchies at play in DT research. Our results include a comprehensive definition of DT from the perspective of bibliometrics and a systematic categorization of the capabilities required to enable DT, distilled from over 10,179 academic papers on DT. To further yield practical insights on technological capabilities, the paper also includes a case study of 9,454 patents focusing on one of the emerging technologies – artificial intelligence (AI). We summarized the outcomes with a four-level AI capabilities model. The paper ends with a discussion on its contributions: presenting a quantitative account of the DT research, introducing a process-based understanding of DT, offering a list of major capabilities enabling DT, and drawing the attention of managers to be aware of capabilities needed when undertaking their DT journey.


Author(s): Mengjia Wu, Dilek Cetindamar Kozanoglu, Chao Min, Yi Zhang
Organization(s): University of Technology Sydney, Nanjing University
Source: Advanced Engineering Informatics
Year: 2021

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