Internet-of-Things and cloud computing adoption in manufacturing among small to medium sized enterprises in Sweden : A multiple case study on current IoT and cloud computing technology adoption within Swedish SMEs

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för ekonomistyrning och logistik (ELO); Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för ekonomistyrning och logistik (ELO)

Abstract: Title: Internet of things and cloud computing adoption within manufacturing among small to medium sized enterprises in Sweden. Authors: Tim Kari and Wesley Kleinreesink Background & Problem discussion: Industries in Europe are facing economic challenges related to global societal and technological developments. The adoption of industry 4.0 technologies such as IoT and cloud computing within manufacturing can be used as a solution to these challenges. SMEs form the backbone of the Swedish economy, making up a large amount of the employment and added value within the country, making them important in this context. Little is known about the maturity levels of IoT and cloud computing and the challenges encountered during adoption of of these technologies by Swedish SMEs. Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to investigate maturity levels of IoT and cloud computing adoptions and the associated adoption challenges by looking at Swedish SMEs in the manufacturing industry that are adopting or are interested in adopting IoT and cloud computing technologies within their manufacturing. By addressing the maturity levels and adoption challenges found among the cases and providing more insight into the context in which these are occurring. These insights can then be used for the purposes of addressing maturity levels as practitioner and contributing to current literature regarding maturity levels and adoption challenges found. Method: Following an exploratory research strategy, qualitative data has been gathered both in the form of a literature review as well as a multiple case study through semi-structured interviews. The data has then been analyzed by conducting a conceptual analysis, a cross-case synthesis and pattern matching Findings & Conclusion: The findings indicate that the levels of maturity vary highly between categories and cases, with only a few examples of reaching higher (integrated) levels of maturity. Adoption challenges found were mainly centered around organizational and human challenges as opposed to technical ones, indicating that further focus needs to be put on organizational change management. Furthermore, an apparent lack of knowledge among the case companies may explain both the narrow and simple implementations of IoT and cloud computing as well as the lack of drivers for further adoption. The implications of this means that managers need a larger focus on change management and more comprehensive implementation plans. There is also the need to consider the need for digitalization and to do it in an efficient and useful manner. Further research is needed on these topics, with possible avenues being a focus on smaller companies, a study with a larger sample size or a focus on industries with a higher volume of production as the ones presented in this study were all relatively low-volume.

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