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  • Publication
    Disentangling the Fuzzy Front End of Digital Transformation: Activities and Approaches
    (Association for Information Systems, 2017-12-10) ;
    Digital transformation poses critical challenges to organizations. The initial phase – the “fuzzy front-end“– in such a profound innovation process is often perceived as ill-defined and chaotic, yet it may have great impact on the outcome. However, managers struggle with initiating this process and prioritizing between different activities. Prior research has pointed out the importance of a digital transformation strategy, however, less emphasis is put on the activities that enact this strategy. Drawing on qualitative data from eleven organizations with an ongoing digital transformation program and by employing activity theory, we delineate nine patterns of typical activities in the beginning of digital transformation. The prioritization of these activities reveals five approaches – centralized, bottom-up, IT-centered, innovation-centered, and channel centered. The results contribute to a better understanding of the initial phases of digital transformation for practitioners and complement prior research on digital transformation strategy with deeper insights on typical activities and approaches.