Challenges of Digital Transformation in SMEs: Exploration of IT-Related Perceptions in a Service Ecosystem

AbstractSupported by a service ecosystem that is increasingly immersed into the digital transformation, SMEs have access to turnkey IT applications, which may come free of charge but not free of concerns. Using the group concept mapping (GCM) as the methodological framework, a concept map was estimated for a group of entrepreneurs in SMEs. Six main themes were identified as conceptual representations. The perceptions of the three main actor groups which interact in the ecosystem (i.e. entrepreneurs, IT specialists, socioeconomic support professionals) were estimated and compared. The analysis of IT-related perceptions shows entrepreneurs tend to rank as relatively more important the IT evaluation support identified on the concept map rather than the nature of the digital strategy to be implemented when compared with IT specialists and socioeconomic professionals. The discussion highlights issues of perceptions which vary among these interacting actors, and stresses the need to develop a shared understanding of IT challenges in a service ecosystem.

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