PACIS 2019 Proceedings


During digital transformation, companies integrate digital technologies creating large and complex digital infrastructures. These digital infrastructures hold combinatory affordances enabling companies to achieve outcomes that are more than the sum of their parts (i.e., the individual digital technologies). Owing to the complexity of digital infrastructures, these combinatory affordances are ever-present but hidden in the thicket of the infrastructure making their effective use a challenge. We report on an ethnographic study of a large German car manufacturer (Car Inc.) that increasingly integrated digital technologies into its infrastructure as part of its digital transformation strategy. With its infrastructure growing into a ‘digital jungle’, the combinatory affordances remained hidden impeding the infrastructure’s effective use. To facilitate effective use of their infrastructure, that is, support employees to navigate the digital jungle, Car Inc. created a digital compass as a tool to articulate the affordances hidden in the thickets of the digital jungle.