The internet is not just another technology. It is having a defining effect on many areas of society. One such effect is a change in the way that organizations interact with a wide range of stakeholders, including their customers and suppliers, end-users, employees, investors, government, people living nearby, as well as environmental protection groups. All these relationships are being changed largely due to the internet’s influence on the process of innovation and on organizational strategy.
Looking at innovation, the internet enables the development of connected, adaptive products and services. Previously, firms produced standardized goods but had little idea about their use in practice. Now, digitally connected products enable firms to continually optimize their use, adapting to the shifting needs of the users. Internet-based, service-dominant practices will increasingly determine the way that firms develop innovations in the coming years.
Additionally, the internet inherently changes organizational strategies. According to a new scientific view, information technology, most importantly the internet, is no longer a subordinate, functional level component of organizations. Instead, information technology directly affects the mechanisms through which firms create and capture value to earn a profit. Digital technologies are thus integral to the firm’s business-level strategy.
Based on the promise of new and upcoming internet-based technologies, including digital fabrication, the internet-of-things, blockchain and distributed artificial intelligence, Prof. David Langley highlights his ideas for a structured approach to tackle new research questions that remain, as yet, unanswered but that are crucial for all stakeholders in this new era of organizational relationships.
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