How is digital transformation changing business models and internationalisation in Made in Italy SMEs?

  • Michela Matarazzo
  • Lara Penco
  • Giorgia Profumo
Keywords: digital transformation, business model, innovation, SME, Made in Italy


Purpose of the paper: This study examines the impact of digital transformation on business model innovation and internationalization using the context of small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) operating in the Made in Italy. The study attempts to answer the following research questions: 1) How is digital transformation changing the business model of SMEs? 2) How is digital transformation changing the internationalization strategies of SMEs?

Methodology: To answer these research questions, we present a multiple case study research on the digital transformation of three Made in Italy SMEs.

Results: We found that digital instruments contribute to innovate the business model of all the selected SMEs, creating new distribution channels and new ways to build and deliver value to customers; moreover, the use of social media becomes the driver and the “prerequisite” for internationalisation.

Research limitations: The main limitations are related to the limited number of case studies and the difficulty in the replication of results.

Practical implications: Focusing on Made in Italy, our study contributes to the existing literature on business model and digital transformation of SMEs. Second, it contributes to the internationalisation literature, identifying new paths for entering new geographical markets. In addition to the theoretical implications, this study provides some managerial implications to accomplish the digital transformation of SMEs operating in Made in Italy.

Originality. To the best of our knowledge, the present is the first specific study aimed at investigating this intriguing theme for Made in Italy SMEs.


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