EU Projects FutureEnterprise Project

Digital Enterprise #4: Digital Business Innovation (DBI) Framework

Written for FutureEnterprise by Panagiotis Kokkinakos.

In the process of identifying how important digital transformation is for enterprises and what is the progress made so far, it was recognised that it is rather difficult for entrepreneurs and managers to understand what digitisation actually means for their organisations. In order to answer this challenge and help such organisations understand the repercussions of being digital and evolving to a new form at all levels of their everyday operations, a clear Digital Business Evaluation (DBI) framework was defined.

In that direction, the first step was to define Digital Enterprise (v2.0), by analysing each component based on the relative research activity including (see also the previous blog post for more details):

  • Digital Workplace
  • Digital Operations
  • Digital Leadership
  • Digital Borders and Endpoints
  • Digital Ecosystem and
  • Digital Strategy

Having defined the main components of the Digital Enterpise (v2.0), coming up with a ranking mechanism, allowing to measure the digital readiness of an organisation, seemed the next logical step. The figure below provides an overview of the relevant attempt.

The main idea is that the user provides an assessment for all previously mentioned components, ranging from 0 to 14. The colour code implies levels with the same score, and the mean value of the score per category or in total can be used to measure the digital readiness of the organisation.

In case the lower levels have not completed, the organisation should not take a higher score. For example, if an enterprise buys an external system based on a plan it has conducted, with APIs available and based on standards, and training is not completed, then the organisation should drop below level 7, while if usability tests have not completed to measure added value on stakeholders, level 6 should not be even reached.


The reason for an organisation to undergo such an effort and to invest on digitisation and digital transformation is that it will then be easier to become a new form of enterprise and look for new business models, based on innovation and shared value. This process may take much time to be concluded if it is based on human intelligence, as people tend to be creative, but they are also biased in many cases.

Running it manually, or semi-automated based on data-driven techniques, might end up in desired situations or it may need an enterprise to roll back, which is why agile management methodologies are more popular. Having a fully digitised enterprise makes it easier to change business models by modifying different components of the digital enterprise.

Having modelled properly different components, and also knowing how new components should be integrated, the enterprise may turn over a new leaf in digital business innovation via simulations. Using genetic algorithms, new random forms of digital enterprises may come up, as mutants of the initial business model. These mutations may become part of evaluation under an evaluation criterion (e.g. minimising costs, maximising revenues, share price or other KPIs etc.) that the enterprise selects, and the strongest mutants are part of further generations of evolution. After multiple generations, the virtual model of a digital enterprise will be the ideal combination of different components. Such neural networking techniques may automate a new form of enterprise performs and evolves. This may be an interesting research direction for management studies, for the next 25 years.

2Trying to “translate” the DBI framework to all targeted stakeholders, providing them useful insights and helping them understand how they can innovate and pave their way towards becoming new forms of enterprises, in accordance with their unique needs and priorities, the Digital Business Innovation Playground was developed.

Via an intuitive and user-friendly application, the DBI Playground aims to aid stakeholders answer questions like:

  • What type of Digital Business are you?
  • What are the Digital Challenges that may be of interest to you?
  • Which are the technological trends that apply to your industry?

You may visit and experiment with the Digital Business Innovation Playground here.

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