Stefano Bresciani (University of Turin, Italy)
Alberto Ferraris (University of Turin, Italy)
Marco Romano (University of Catania, Italy)
Gabriele Santoro (University of Turin, Italy)

Digital Transformation Management for Agile Organizations: A Compass to Sail the Digital World

ISBN: 978-1-80043-172-0, eISBN: 978-1-80043-171-3

Publication date: 10 June 2021


Bresciani, S., Ferraris, A., Romano, M. and Santoro, G. (2021), "Prelims", Digital Transformation Management for Agile Organizations: A Compass to Sail the Digital World, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. i-xv.



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Digital Transformation Management for Agile Organizations

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Digital Transformation Management for Agile Organizations: A Compass to Sail the Digital World


University of Turin, Italy


University of Turin, Italy


University of Catania, Italy



University of Turin, Italy

United Kingdom – North America – Japan – India – Malaysia – China

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First edition 2021

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ISBN: 978-1-80043-171-3 (Online)

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List of Figure six
List of Tables xi
About the Authors xiii
Acknowledgments xv
Introduction 1
Chapter 1: Building a Digital Transformation Strategy 5
1.1 Strategy and Digitalisation: An Introduction 5
1.2 Strategic Management Theories and Digitalisation 9
1.2.1 Digital Resource-based View 9
1.2.2 Digital Knowledge-based View 10
1.2.3 Digital Dynamic Capabilities 12
1.3 Digital Transformation as a Strategic Process 15
1.3.1 How to Structure the Digital Transformation Strategy 15
1.3.2 Different Extents of Digital Transformation 19
1.3.3 Digital Competitive Position 21
1.4 Strategic Challenges of Going Digital: Practical Takeaways 22
1.4.1 Addressing the Challenges 22
1.4.2 The Seven Decisions that Matter in a Digital Transformation: A CEO’s Guide to Reinvention 23
Chapter 2: Technologies 4.0 Towards Digital Transformation 29
2.1. Technologies 4.0: Categories and Concepts 29
2.1.1. Data Collection, Exploitation, Management and Protection 29
2.1.2 Transition from ‘Digital’ to ‘Real’ in a Smart Factory 35
2.2. Impact Of Technologies 4.0 On Competitive Ecosystems 38
2.3. Assessment In Digital Transformation Processes 45
Chapter 3: Digital Business Models 51
3.1 Introduction to Digital Business Models 51
3.2 Business Models: Their Architecture and Relevance 52
3.3 Business Model Digitalisation of Traditional Companies 53
3.3.1 How to Digitalise a Business Model. Takeaways from Disney 55
3.3.2 How to Digitalise a Business Model. Takeaways from Domino’s Pizza 57
3.3.3 Digital-driven Servitisation 59
3.4 Missing the Train of Digitalisation. Lessons From Blockbuster Versus Netflix 63
3.4.1. Before Streaming: The Blockbuster Case 64
3.4.2. Netflix Act I: Film Rental 66
3.4.3. Netflix Act Ii: Streaming 66
3.4.4. How Strategies Change Act I: From ‘Binge Watching’ to ‘Binge-Racing’ 68
3.4.5. How Strategies Change Act II: Bandersnatch 68
Chapter 4: Shifting Paradigms in Modern Marketing 71
4.1 The Road to Modern Marketing Lead by Digital Transformation 71
4.2 Modern Marketing as Data-Driven and Predictive 73
4.3. Exploiting Big Data for Mass Personalisation 77
4.3.1. Display Advertising 77
4.3.2. Email Advertising/Marketing 78
4.3.3. Search Engine Marketing and Optimisation 78
4.4. Effectiveness in the Era of Modern Marketing: A Selection of Emerging Topics 79
4.5. Retention Strategies and Churn Management 91
Chapter 5: Digital Leadership 97
5.1. Defining Digital Leadership 97
5.2. How Leaders Should Stimulate a Digital Culture 99
5.2.1 What is a Digital Culture 100
5.2.2 Learning Culture 100
5.2.3 How to Face the Unknown in the Era of Digital Innovation 102
5.3. How To Effectively be a ‘Digital’ Leader 103
5.3.1 How to Volte-Face the Way of Working and Thinking in the Company 107
5.4. Five Rules for Leadership 109
5.4.1 A New Culture of Leadership 112
Chapter 6: Human Resource Management and Digitalisation 117
6.1 A New Era for the Human Resource Management 117
6.2 Core HR Process at the Times of Digital Transformation 120
6.2.1 Digital HR 122
6.2.2 An Incredible Example of HR Digital Innovation: The Smart Working 123
6.3 The New Figures in the Corporations 125
6.4. The Five Traits of a Successful Chief Innovation Officer 130
6.4.1. Business Leader 130
6.4.2. Agent of Change 132
6.4.3. Talent Scout 133
6.4.4. Revolutionary Culture 134
6.4.5. Tech Instructor 134
6.5 Case Study – Avio Aero 135
Chapter 7: Data Management 139
7.1. Exploiting Key Assets for Business Management 139
7.2. Business Processes in Data Management 141
7.2.1. Intelligence Phase: Identify Big Data, Acquire/Store, Organise 142
7.2.2. Design Phase: Model Planning and Data Analytics 143
7.2.3. Choice Phase: Analyse, Evaluate and Decide 145
7.2.4. Implementation Phase 146
7.3. Big Data Analytics and Knowledge Management 146
7.4. Data Management Platform 150
Chapter 8: Digital Ecosystems 153
8.1 Introduction to Digital Ecosystems 153
8.2 Ecosystems, Business Ecosystems, and Digital Ecosystems 154
8.3 Platforms as Digital Ecosystems 156
8.3.1. Different Types of Platform 158
8.4 Business Models of Platforms: Features and Dynamics 159
Chapter 9: Agility for Successful Digital Transformation 167
9.1 Past Intuitions and Present Pitfalls in a Vuca World 167
9.1.1. Volatility 169
9.1.2. Uncertainty 169
9.1.3. Complexity 169
9.1.4. Ambiguity 169
9.2. The Need for Agility 170
9.3. It is not the Only Innovation. Lead the Digital World! 172
9.3.1. Digital Leadership 173
9.3.2. Experiment and Be Ready to Fail 174
9.3.3. Rethink Control 174
9.3.4. Reality Simplification 174
9.3.5. Be Open 174
9.4. A Change Management Approach 175
9.5. A Framework for Digital Transformation 177
9.6. A Digital Mind-Set and Final Remarks 183
Index 189

List of Figures

Fig. 1.1. Activities and Elements of Digital Dynamic Capabilities. 14
Fig. 1.2. Complexity and Impact of the Digital Transformation. 20
Fig. 1.3. BCG Matrix for Digital Competitive Position. 22
Fig. 2.1. Nine Critical Rivers of Companies’ Relative Success Exploiting Analytics 35
Fig. 3.1. Servitisation and Digitisation. 60
Fig. 3.2. Apple’s Sources of Revenues from 2012 to 2019. 62
Fig. 4.1. The Orchestrator Model. 76
Fig. 6.1. Key Factors for CDO’s Roles. 126
Fig. 6.2. How to Be a Successful CIO in Five Steps. 131
Fig. 7.1. From 3Vs, 4Vs, 5Vs and 6Vs Big Data Definition. 140
Fig. 7.2. The Big Data, Analytics and Decisions (B-DAD) Framework (Elgendy & Elragal, 2016, p. 13). 142
Fig. 9.1. VUCA World, the Need to be Agile. 170
Fig. 9.2. A Transformation Approach to Flip the Odds of Success. 175
Fig. 9.3. Agile Change Management Approach. 177
Fig. 9.4. Transformation Framework. 178
Fig. 9.5. Interaction of the Different Levels of Technology Is an Example of Predictive Maintenance 179
Fig. 9.6. Main Features of Future Organisations. 183

List of Tables

Table 6.1. Distinctive Characteristics of People Mindset and Skills for Digital Transformation 119
Table 6.2. Key Factors for CDO’s Roles. How Activities Are Changing (Old vs. The New Way). 124
Table 6.3. Future of Jobs. 130
Table 6.4. Distinctive Characteristics of a Humanised Workplace for Digital Transformation 136

About the Authors

Stefano Bresciani, Ph.D. in Business Administration, is a Full Professor in Innovation Management and Digital Transformation at the School of Management and Economics, University of Torino, where he is the Director of the Ph.D. program in Business and Management. He undertakes research integrated with the Department of Management of the University of Torino; his main areas of research include innovation management, knowledge management, international business and open innovation. He is the Vice President of the EuroMed Research Business Institute (EMRBI), Director of the Research Center of the Q-Institute, Chairman of the EMRBI Research Group on ‘Multinational enterprises and corporate governance’, and Member of the Steering Committee as Representative for Europe of the Academy of Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Knowledge. He has published many refereed journal articles, contributed chapters and books, and presented papers to conferences on a global basis.

Alberto Ferraris, Ph.D. in Business and Management, is an Associate Professor at the University of Turin – Department of Management. He obtained the qualification of Full Professor at the National Scientific Evaluation in Italy in 2020. He is an Active Member and Research Fellow of the Laboratory for International and Regional Economics, Graduate School of Economics and Management, Ural Federal University (Russia), and he is Fellow (F-EMAB) of the EMRBI. He is the author of many academic and scientific articles published on international journals and he is in the editorial board and serves as a Guest Editor for special issues in several prestigious international journals. During the last years, he got several international awards such as the ‘2015 Emerald/EMRBI Business Research Award for Emerging Researchers’ and the ‘Best Reviewer Award’ for different conferences as well as for Journal of Intellectual Capital (2018).

Marco Romano, Ph.D., is a Full Professor of Management in Italy and serves as a Professor in ‘Entrepreneurship and Business Planning’, ‘Digital Innovation and Transformation Management’, and ‘Marketing’, Department of Economics and Business, University of Catania. He is a Visiting Professor with Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University (UK). He has published papers in leading international journals such as Journal of Technology Transfer, Journal of Intellectual Capital, and Journal of Knowledge Management. He is currently an Associate Editor in Journal of Intellectual Capital. He has successfully secured research funding and is an experienced Principal Investigator leading large-scale multi-partner publicly funded research programs at European, national, and regional levels. He held several leadership positions including President of Science and Technology Park of Sicily, Board Member of APSTI – Italian network of scientific and technological parks, General Manager ‘Department of Economic Development’ Regione Siciliana, and General Manager, Service Health Emergency 118 in Sicily.

Gabriele Santoro, Ph.D. in Business and Management, is an Assistant Professor of Business Management at the Department of Management, University of Turin, Turin, Italy. He has authored/coauthored several papers in international journals such as Technovation, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Small Business Economics, Journal of Technology Transfer, Journal of Knowledge Management, and Journal of Business Research. He also published two books on topics related to Open Innovation, and Strategic Management and Business Modelling. He is currently an Associate Member (AM-EMAB) of the EMRBI and Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Intellectual Capital. He also works as a Strategy Consultant with small and medium enterprises based in Italy. Finally, he is the Owner and Member of the Scientific Committee of Progesia (an Italian consulting firm).


We would like to thank all the authors of the numerous articles, books, and book chapters that have contributed to the digital transformation stream and related topics. Without their work, we would not have written this book. We also would like to acknowledge the friendly and supportive role of editorial staff of Emerald. Last, but not least, we appreciate all our family members for their encouragement to make this project a success.