The existing discourse on IT-enabled enterprise agility views the internal organizational processes of IT capability development and organizational learning as the primary means of attaining agility, but has neglected the new dynamics of competition in the present networked economy. As Digital Business Ecosystems (DBEs) may be crucial to enterprise agility for organizations engaged in intense, inter-network competition, we apply the literature on business ecosystems to analyze the case of Alibaba.com, a B2B portal that organizes one of the largest DBEs worldwide. In doing so, a process model of how a DBE may be developed and leveraged for enterprise agility is inductively derived that sheds light on the antecedents, nature and implications of DBE development in three distinct phases. With its findings, this study contributes to a networked perspective of IT-enabled enterprise agility, and provides practitioners with a comprehensive and empirically-supported framework for the development and subsequent leverage of a DBE.
Tan, Barney; Pan, Shan L.; Lu, Xianghua; and Huang, Lihua, "Leveraging Digital Business Ecosystems for Enterprise Agility: The Tri-Logic Development Strategy of Alibaba.com" (2009). ICIS 2009 Proceedings. 171.