The digitalization is no new phenomenon in case the automatization is seen as a preliminary stage of the digitalization – for instance, Mertens formulated this as a general orientation for Business Informatics. However, the already achieved level of digitalization combined with further possibilities for digitizing business enables tremendous opportunities that have the ability to drastically change the self-concept of businesses and their social elements. Within the scope of research papers, it is investigated, how the level of digitization can be determined, which requirements exist for business, and how the transformation from starting point to target state can be designed from a technical and a social perspective. What is more, the crucial aspect of human-computer cooperation has probably not been sufficiently investigated. Simply taking the digitalization as automatization of formerly manual activities would represent a far too narrow understanding of IT. The support of the “anticipated factor” through application systems – from a cooperative perspective – can possibly offer enhanced results. For instance, two chess amateurs with their own computers and application systems were able to successfully beat the supercomputer Deep Blue (that already beat the chess world champion Kasparow several years ago in a human-computer competition).
Albeit, precedent statements show that the number of technical elements in the company as “socio-technical” system (as is common in economic literature) will increase. This results in several questions:
- Can the underlying system “company” be analyzed and designed with given methods and instruments?
- Where is further potential for optimization? How is that analyzed?
- With which IT-systems can these potentials be depicted? Which architectures result from it?
- How exactly are these potentials and architectures implemented? Which project management and controlling questions arise from it?
- And as overall matter of these questions: How should the management of strategic and technically induced changes be carried out? Change management and radical changes in the enterprise are intensified by attempts of digitalization. Which challenges do exist for the development of the organization? Which competences are required to fulfill this task?
Both in theory and practice, these questions cannot be answered without the context of the domain: The requirements for a stationary retailer differ from those of an automobile manufacturer. Based on experiences and findings on the one hand, and contact to practice on the other hand, we strive for research patterns in the domain retail.