The Centre for Digital Business Research was founded in 2018 with the aim of conducting interdisciplinary research into the theory, methods and technologies underpinning the digital transformation of modern 21st century enterprises.

Modern organisations increasingly rely on digital technologies (such as the Internet of Things, Big Data, blockchain, cryptocurrencies and data analytics) to improve their business processes and provide increased value to their customers. Integrating new technologies into the organisation is normally a complex and costly endeavour, which requires a re-design (or transformation) of existing business processes. This effort of digital transformation is aimed at transitioning the organisation into a state in which it can meet customer expectations more effectively and efficiently.

Consequently, the primary focus of our research is on developing novel artefacts (e.g., architectures, frameworks, methods and tools) that assist organisations in the journey of digitalisation of their processes and services, and thereafter managing in a sustainable manner ongoing change in their business strategies and operations.  We recognise the central role of business architecture (and its evolution) to deliver value by purposefully integrating novel and existing digital technologies into the organisation.

Therefore, our mission is to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in Digital Business and Transformation by conducting research that assists modern organisations in the complex endeavour of redesigning and architecting their business strategies, processes and services due to the impact of novel digital technologies.

The Centre is structured in the following themes:

Architecting the digital enterprise

Theme leader: Sergio de Cesare

Business architecture, as defined by the Object Management Group, is “a blueprint of the enterprise that provides a common understanding of the organisation and is used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands”. Architecting the business is about modelling organisational resources and capabilities so that these can be flexibly recombined to deliver value to customers in the form of products and services. Emerging digital technologies provide modern organisations with increased opportunities and challenges given their potential to radically change the business landscape in which the modern digital enterprise operates. A digital enterprise is an organisation in which emerging technologies permeate, drive and innovate the firm’s business processes to deliver improved or novel types of offerings to their customers.

Research within this theme aims to develop enterprise modelling approaches capable of developing business representations that are sufficiently flexible and adaptive to the changes induced by the new business opportunities and constraints of today’s digitally enabled markets. Core to this theme is the application of foundational ontology as a means to underpin the business architecture of 21st century digital enterprises.

Digital Transformation

Theme leader: David Barnes

Digital Business Transformation can be defined as “an organisation-wide technology-induced change based on the exploitation of digital technologies to improve existing business processes and the exploration of digital innovation to transform the business model, with the aim of achieving dramatic improvements in business performance”. It has become increasingly important as more and more organisations seek to take advantage of the increasing number and scope of emerging digital technologies available for organisational use.

Research within this theme aims to further the understanding and practice of Digital Business Transformation in organisations of all kinds. It investigates the adequacy of existing theories of technology-induced change and explore how organisations might best undertake such change in the contemporary digital environment. 

Emerging digital technologies and platforms 

Theme leader: Fefie Dotsika

The theme focuses on emerging digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, big data, Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain. In particular, we are interested in their high transformational potential, progressive business adoption and integration as well as their impact on business models and processes.

Research within this theme aims to (1) monitor the technological landscape to identify new technological trends and innovative practices, and (2) investigate their adoption and potential to innovate and drive economic growth.

Service innovation and customer experience

Theme leader: Jose Luis Ruiz-Alba Robledo

The integration of employees, customers and technology is considered one of the main challenges in service research. Customer experience is becoming more multifaceted due to the confluence of digital, physical emotional and cognitive elements. The fact that value is co-created by inputs from multiple actors is adding more complexity to the role of business leaders.

Research within this theme aims to understand service innovation opportunities and the challenges of customer experience for value co-creation. Most of the studies of this theme will be investigated in the context of ecosystems. Essential to this theme is therefore the interfunctional coordination and the strategy implementation through an excellent customer orientation of service employees.