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 North, K., Aramburu, N., Lorenzo, O., Zubillaga Rego, A.  
 IFKAD 2019

Structured Abstract

Purpose: Sustainable competitiveness and growth of SMEs are increasingly determined by their capability to make use of digital technologies which are generating opportunities for developing new growth routes based on digitization. This paper reports the findings of a study how SMEs in the Basque region of Spain assess their digital maturity. The main purpose of this research is to gain insights into the development of digital capabilities of SMEs that support their digital based growth.

Design/Methodology/Approach: The DIGROW-Framework of digital maturity (North et al. 2018) was used to assess the digitization capabilities of SMEs in the Basque region in northern Spain. In cooperation with the regional business associations, a self-assessment questionnaire was sent to members and resulted in a return of 550 questionnaires by November 2018.

Originality/Value: The study provides rich information on the digitization approaches of SMEs in the Basque region. It sheds light on the learning paths of digital transformation of SMEs. In particular, its originality and value resides in the application of a maturity framework based on dynamic capability theory to a wide range of SMEs. The model is easily applicable also to SMEs of other countries or regions.

Practical Implications: Study results allow regional business associations as well as local and regional government to develop strategies and support measures to foster digital growth of SMEs. The survey also demonstrated that the applied maturity model provides guidance to SMEs to raise awareness of owners, managers and employees towards required capabilities as well as opportunities/threats, to create a shared understanding on what “digitally enabled growth” means for the firm, to anchor pilot initiatives in an overall “picture” of digitalization and to define learning objectives.