Small Business Digital Transformation in the Context of the Pandemic
Munir Mandviwalla and Rich Flanagan
The pandemic is a major crisis for small businesses. Digital transformation (DT) offers a lifeline for some small businesses. In this paper, we outline a rapidly conceived and implemented research project to digitalize small business. We apply action design research using the DT lens to intervene and impact forty-two different small businesses over an intense six-month period. Three detailed case studies illustrate the problem, drivers, mechanisms, and challenges of DT. The results illustrate how small businesses can engage, sell, and deliver using technology, and the factors that influence the transformation process. We also discuss limitations and identify research opportunities in relation to the DT, platform, and small business literature. The paper demonstrates how IS can have an immediate impact on the livelihoods of the businesses in our community during the pandemic.