Pacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Background: The digital transformation (DT) disrupts companies across all industries, forcing them to rethink and adjust their value creation. The necessity to adapt to a digital future seems clear; however, many companies still struggle with “becoming digitally transformed”. While existing literature shows that projects can play a crucial role in realizing DT, we have a limited understanding of these projects. Therefore, we investigate these digitalization projects by asking: How are digitalization projects in the context of organizational transformation characterized and how do they contribute to organizations’ DT? With this study, we provide an initial characterization of these digitalization projects and advance the understanding of their importance for the overall DT process.

Method: With our qualitative multiple-case study, we analyze five projects that were carried out in highly heterogenous contexts based on 27 semi-structured interviews. Subsequent to the individual analysis of each case, we draw insights from a cross-case comparison and identify common characteristics that distinguish digitalization projects in the context of DT.

Results: Our analysis reveals that despite digitalization projects are manifesting in different forms, they are predominantly characterized by their embeddedness in and contribution to an overarching DT process, their derivation from a central DT strategy, the central role of digital innovation in these projects, the integration of technology and business perspectives on a project level, and the application of novel project methods.

Conclusions: Digitalization projects in the context of DT can differ from traditional IT projects and thus need dedicated management approaches. We contribute to literature by elaborating an initial, theoretically sound characterization of these digitalization projects. In addition, we offer valuable insights to practitioners regarding how these digitalization projects can be recognized and managed successfully.

Available at: https://aisel.aisnet.org/pajais/vol12/iss3/2/