Digital Transformation: A Literature Review and Guidelines for Future Research

  • João Reis
  • Marlene Amorim
  • Nuno Melão
  • Patrícia Matos
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 745)


The aim of this paper is to provide insights regarding the state of the art of Digital Transformation, and to propose avenues for future research. Using a systematic literature review of 206 peer-reviewed articles, this paper provides an overview of the literature. Among other things, the findings indicate that managers should adapt their business strategy to a new digital reality. This mainly results in the adaptation of processes and operations management. Scholars, for the other side, are also facing challenges, as prior research may not have identified all the opportunities and challenges of Digital Transformation. Furthermore, while the Digital Transformation has expanded to all sectors of activity there are some areas with more prospects of being developed in the future than others.


Digital Transformation Business strategy Processes Operations Systematic literature review 


  1. 1.
    Fitzgerald, M., Kruschwitz, N., Bonnet, D., Welch, M.: Embracing Digital Technology: A New Strategic Imperative. MIT Sloan Management Review, Research Report (2013)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ross, J., Sebastian, I., Beath, C., Scantlebury, S., Mocker, M., Fonstad, N., Kagan, M., Moloney, K., Geraghty Krusel, S.: Designing Digital Organizations, vol. 46. MIT Center for IS Research (2016)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Matt, C., Hess, T., Benlian, A.: Digital transformation strategies. Bus. Inf. Syst. Eng. 57(5), 339–343 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ebert, C., Duarte, C.: Requirements engineering for the digital transformation: industry panel. In: Requirements Engineering Conference IEEE 24th International, pp. 4–5 (2016)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Westerman, G., Calméjane, C., Bonnet, D., Ferraris, P., McAfee, A.: Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for Billion-Dollar Organizations, pp. 1–68. MIT Sloan Management, MIT Center for Digital Business and Capgemini Consulting (2011)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bharadwaj, A.: A resource-based perspective on information technology capability and firm performance: an empirical investigation. MIS Q. 24(1), 169–196 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Sebastian, I., Ross, J., Beath, C., Mocker, M., Moloney, K., Fonstad, N.: How Big Old Companies Navigate Digital Transformation. MIS Quarterly Executive (2017)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Zinder, E., Yunatova, I.: Synergy for digital transformation: person’s multiple roles and subject domains integration. In: Digital Transformation and Global Society, pp. 155–168 (2016)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hess, T., Matt, C., Benlian, A., Wiesböck, F.: Options for formulating a digital transformation strategy. MIS Q. Executive 15(2), 123–139 (2016)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Carcary, M., Doherty, E., Conway, G.: A dynamic capability approach to digital transformation–a focus on key foundational themes. In: 10th European Conference on Information Systems Management. Academic Conferences and publishing limited, pp. 20–28 (2016)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Henriette, E., Feki, M., Boughzala, I.: The shape of digital transformation: a systematic literature review. In: Information Systems in a Changing Economy and Society, p. 431 (2015)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Petticrew, M., Roberts, H.: How to appraise the studies: an introduction to assessing study quality. In: Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide (2006)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Tranfield, D., Denyer, D., Smart, P.: Towards a methodology for developing evidence-informed management knowledge by means of systematic review. Br. J. Manag. 14(3), 207–222 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Coombes, P., Nicholson, J.: Business models and their relationship in marketing: a systematic literature review. Ind. Mark. Manage. 42(5), 656–664 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Acedo, F., Casillas, J.: Current paradigms in the international management field: an author co-citation analysis. Int. Bus. Rev. 14(5), 619–639 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Karimi, J., Walter, Z.: The role of dynamic capabilities in responding to digital disruption: a factor-based study of the newspaper industry. J. Manage. Inf. Syst. 32(1), 39–81 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Agarwal, R., Gao, G., DesRoches, C., Jha, A.: Research commentary – the digital transformation of healthcare: current status and the road ahead. Inf. Syst. Res. 21(4), 796–809 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Nagy, P., Koles, B.: The digital transformation of human identity: towards a conceptual model of virtual identity in virtual worlds. Convergence 20(3), 276–292 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Trantopoulos, K., von Krogh, G., Wallin, M., Woerter, M.: External knowledge and information technology: implications for process innovation performance. MIS Q. 41(1), 287–300 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Alos-Simo, L., Alos-Simo, L., Verdu-Jover, A., Verdu-Jover, A., Gomez-Gras, J., Gomez-Gras, J.: How transformational leadership facilitates e-business adoption. Ind. Manage. Data Syst. 117(2), 382–397 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Sherer, S., Meyerhoefer, C., Peng, L.: Applying institutional theory to the adoption of electronic health records in the US. Inf. Manag. 53(5), 570–580 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ranganathan, C., Teo, T., Dhaliwal, J.: Web-enabled supply chain management: key antecedents and performance impacts. Int. J. Inf. Manage. 31(6), 533–545 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Benlian, A., Haffke, I.: Does mutuality matter? examining the bilateral nature and effects of CEO–CIO mutual understanding. J. Strateg. Inf. Syst. 25(2), 104–126 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Chen, Y., Jaw, Y., Wu, B.: Effect of digital transformation on organisational performance of SMEs: evidence from the Taiwanese textile industry’s web portal. Internet Res. 26(1), 186–212 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Schmidt, R., Möhring, M., Härting, R., Reichstein, C., Zimmermann, A., Luceri, S.: Benefits of enterprise architecture management–insights from European experts. In: IFIP Working Conference on The Practice of Enterprise Modeling, pp. 223–236. Springer, Cham (2015)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Kokkinakos, P., Markaki, O., Koussouris, S., Psarras, J.: Digital transformation: is public sector following the enterprise 2.0 paradigm? In: Digital Transformation and Global Society, pp. 96–105. Springer International Publishing, Cham (2016)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    McDonald, M., Rowsell-Jones, A.: The Digital Edge: Exploiting Information & Technology for Business Advantage. Gartner Inc. (2012)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Solis, B., Lieb, R., Szymanski, J.: The 2014 State of Digital Transformation. Altimeter Group (2014)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Collin, J., Hiekkanen, K., Korhonen, J., Halén, M., Itälä, T., Helenius, M.: It Leadership in Transition-the Impact of Digitalization on Finnish Organizations (2015)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Gimpel, H., Röglinger, M.: Digital Transformation: Changes and Chances–Insights Based on an Empirical Study (2015)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Kane, G., Palmer, D., Phillips, A., Kiron, D., Buckley, N.: Strategy, not Technology, Drives Digital Transformation, vol. 14. MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte University Press (2015)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Martin, A.: Digital literacy and the “digital society”. Digit. Literacies Concepts Policies Practices 30, 151–176 (2008)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Stolterman, E., Fors, A.: Information technology and the good life. In: Information Systems Research, pp. 687–692 (2004)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Lee, M., Lee, Y., Chou, C.: Essential implications of the digital transformation in industry 4.0. J. Sci. Ind. Res. 76, 465–467 (2017)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Horlacher, A., Hess, T.: What does a chief digital officer do? managerial tasks and roles of a new C-level position in the context of digital transformation. In: System Sciences 49th Hawaii International Conference, pp. 5126–5135 (2016)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Benjamin, R., Levinson, E.: A framework for managing IT-enabled change. Sloan Manag. Rev. 34(4), 23–33 (1993)Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Dremel, C., Wulf, J., Herterich, M., Waizmann, J., Brenner, W.: How AUDI AG established big data analytics in its digital transformation. MIS Q. Executive 16(2), 81–100 (2017)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Lei, Z., Jing, Y.: Study on human resource reform in the digital transformation. In: Proceedings of the 2016 Joint International Information Technology, Mechanical and Electronic Engineering. AER – Advances in Engineering Research, vol. 59, pp. 471–477 (2016)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Richert, A., Shehadeh, M., Willicks, F., Jeschke, S.: Digital transformation of engineering education. Int. J. Eng. Pedagogy 6(4), 23–29 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Kaivo-oja, J., Roth, S., Westerlund, L.: Futures of robotics. human work in digital transformation. Int. J. Technol. Manage. 73(4), 176–205 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Kohli, R., Johnson, S.: Digital transformation in latecomer industries: CIO and CEO leadership lessons from Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. MIS Q. Executive 10(4), 141–157 (2011)Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Abrahamson, E.: Management fashion. Acad. Manag. Rev. 21(1), 254–285 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • João Reis
    • 1
  • Marlene Amorim
    • 2
  • Nuno Melão
    • 3
  • Patrícia Matos
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Military Science and Technologies, and CISD&CINAMILMilitary AcademyLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Economics, Management and Industrial Engineering and Tourism, and GOVCOPPAveiro UniversityAveiroPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Management and CI&DETS, School of Technology and Management of ViseuPolytechnic Institute of ViseuViseuPortugal
  4. 4.Higher Institute of Social and Political Sciences, and CISDLisbonPortugal

Personalised recommendations