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Abstract

Over the last three decades, the prevailing view of information technology strategy has been that it is a functional-level strategy that must be aligned with the firm’s chosen business strategy. Even within this so-called alignment view, business strategy directed IT strategy. During the last decade, the business infrastructure has become digital with increased interconnections among products, processes, and services. Across many firms spanning different industries and sectors, digital technologies (viewed as combinations of information, computing, communication, and connectivity technologies) are fundamentally transforming business strategies, business processes, firm capabilities, products and services, and key interfirm relationships in extended business networks. Accordingly, we argue that the time is right to rethink the role of IT strategy, from that of a functional-level strategy—aligned but essentially always subordinate to business strategy—to one that reflects a fusion between IT strategy and business strategy. This fusion is herein termed digital business strategy.

We identify four key themes to guide our thinking on digital business strategy and help provide a framework to define the next generation of insights. The four themes are (1) the scope of digital business strategy, (2) the scale of digital business strategy, (3) the speed of digital business strategy, and (4) the sources of business value creation and capture in digital business strategy. After elaborating on each of these four themes, we discuss the success metrics and potential performance implications from pursuing a digital business strategy. We also show how the papers in the special issue shed light on digital strategies and offer directions to advance insights and shape future research.

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