Organized to digitize : A new perspective on collaboration and structure

University essay from KTH/Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.); KTH/Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.)

Abstract: This master thesis was conducted at a large Swedish manufacturer, where the perception on and challenges regarding digital transformation were studied. Digital technology is a gateway to numerous possibilities, simplifying production, altering products and creating new value offers. This study is focused on commercial digitalization, such as digital services and solutions that challenge or strengthens existing business models. A manufacturing firm, accommodated with the development of physical products is not adapted for the speed, flexibility and cross-functional collaboration which digital development requires. Though, the digital business area for a manufacturing firm is somewhat unresolved, with limited knowledge and guidelines as well as uncertain profitability. Reallocating resources from existing business towards digital development can thus be risky. Evidently, development of digital initiatives within a manufacturing firm requires high pace, support, structures and clarified roadmaps. Synergies from cross-market collaboration are important, but it can also increase complexity and tardiness in a large organization. Based on findings from this study, a manufacturer should alter its organizational structure to benefit their digital transformation. Speed should be prioritized over collaboration and traditional development should increasingly focus on business and consumer contact rather than technology. A common back end function should be increasingly utilized, developing digital technology for the whole organization, to ensure unanimity and simplifying development of similar initiatives. Digital initiatives tightly connected to products or existing business models should be developed within the corresponding functions. Support and inspiration towards digital development should derive from a holistic function that can aid and guide the whole organization. This function should also be responsible for digital initiatives that differentiate from traditional business. Increasing experience and proactively develop digital solutions will be important to stay ahead of competition and fulfill customer demands.

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