Digitization is a very broad field and often barely tangible. The bandwidth is very wide, from the handling of data to the networking of people and machines. As I mentioned in my article on digital transformation, digitalization has a majority impact on the state, individuals, individuals, education and businesses. With this article, my goal is to give practitioners an overview of the 6 biggest topics of digitization and to give students hints for the thesis.

Benefits for practice

For you as a practitioner, the topics in the first line an overview. From this, you can select which of the topics relevant to their company. It is clear that not every relevant in any company.

Benefits for students

As a student, you are certainly looking for another topic for your thesis. In my article, I recommend that you define a rough topic. This should be one of the 6 fields mentioned. You can then start a literature analysis in thisfield.

Extensive scientific study

This article is based on the scientific study by Lindner and Leyh (2019). In order to identify the thematic clusters in the course of the digitization of companies, current publications on the digitization of companies in academic databases were searched, categorized and equivalent content summarized.

The hits were then and group edits the content into thematic clusters. This Clusters are then evaluated and displayed. Of course, there are still more fields, but I didn’t want to make this analysis too big let.

Results of the nearly 2,500 literature sources studied (Lindner and Leyh 2019)

Topics of digitization

In this section, I briefly explain the topics I was able to derive from the study. I only treat the fields in a very general and rough way. For specific research questions and recommendations for action, please refer to the original study. I would like to send me the link: just write me a short e-mail.

Industry 4.0 and Automation

Digitisation offers numerous new opportunities that examined in the context of production plants and machines (Lindner and Leyh 2019). According to the study, Industry 4.0 is a marketing term that so-called fourth industrial revolution and to use it with the influence of digital technologies in production. In doing so, intelligent digitalization, the possibilities of complex tasks, especially in completely or at least partially automate the knowledge work.

Possible questions are therefore the scenarios for the design of Industry 4.0 as well as the effects of increasing automation.

Reading Tip: Industry 4.0

Big Data

The term “big data” describes how to handle large amounts of data in the context of companies (Niebler and Lindner 2019). In doing so, various topics related to the identification, evaluation and use of very large amounts of data. This Data can be used by sensors, mobile phones, machines, customer cards, vehicles, come from social media and many other sources and must be large quantity is stored, processed and evaluated using special procedures (Lindner 2019). In doing so, these data offer companies potential for new business models, markets, job profiles and many other advantages.

Possible questions are the potential of data in companies as well as the influence on companies as well as questions about data protection and new job profiles.

Reading Tip: Big Data

Work, leadership and organisation

The digitalisation of the world of work is being Work 4.0 mainly in German and under Smart Working in international Literature discussed (Lindner 2019). According to the study of new working models, agile methods and office concepts with a focus on Implementation in large corporations. The central question is the granting of a higher autonomy in terms of the selection and use of IT, as well as in terms of location and time for work (Lindner and Leyh 2019). In doing so, it is also a challenge for executives to work together in complex and dynamic project tasks, which are conveyed through modern information and communication technologies.

Possible questions include the impact of digitalization on employees as well as the increasing challenges facing managers.

Reading tips:

Innovation/Business Models

Current technology developments offer numerous new opportunities for innovations and business models in companies (Lindner and Leyh 2019). According to the study, this discussion has been going on for many years using ever-changing technologies such as cloud computing, 3D printing and intelligent systems. The challenge lies, among other things, in the procurement of suitable IT as well as their exploratory testing in day-to-day business, as not every new business model or innovation is automatically a guarantee for new markets and an increase in sales (Lindner and Leyh 2019).

Special questions are the new possibilities for business models through digital technologies as well as exploratory testing.

Reading tip: Business models


Globalisation in the context of companies is understood in the study Lindner and Leyh (2019) cross-border and worldwide activities, respectively, lead to competitive advantages by exploiting locational advantages should. An essential point of the current discussion is the establishment of sufficient ICT technology for global cooperation.

Special questions are the new possibilities to work together independently of time and location.

Reading Tip: Virtual Teams

Cloud Computing

Under Cloud Computing will reduce the use of technologies to provide resources dynamically (Lindner Leyh 2019). Now many more companies are testing cloud computing internally than only a few years ago (Lindner and Leyh 2019). The results of the Thematic clusters indicate greater flexibility in scaling IT as well as also to increase agility. Many studies therefore examine use cases for the use and Integration of cloud computing in companies as well as data protection.

Special questions are the new possibilities through cloud computing.

Reading Tip: Cloud Computing

Relevance of the topics

The following figure shows the distribution of SMEs in Germany. This is somewhat emblematic of the distribution of enterprises. Each division has to be explored separately. It is clear that that not every topic is relevant for every area. For example, I have knowledge-intensive services.

Extract from the study by Lindner (2019) with the distribution of SMEs in Germany

So you should take the topics out of your glasses as practitioners your company and, as a student, also make a meaningful separateing by research object or practice partner.

Producing companies are, for example, automotive suppliers, iron manufacturers, mechanical engineering and the classic craftsmanship. Knowledge-intensive services include: IT consulting, software development, insurance, recruitment or financial advice and the construction industry should be self-explanatory. All three groups have different requirements and framework conditions. It is important to present this in strategy determination or thesis, e.g. in production, the networking of machines is rather important and in the knowledge work the software support of complex tasks or virtual teamwork is relevant. In the following I evaluate the topics for relevance. This is my personal assessment and serves as a guide.

Assessment of the topics for the different types of companies

For example, I found the subject of my doctoral thesis with this method. To this end, I made a roundtable and invited managers from knowledge-intensive SMEs and asked them: Which of these topics should I explore? The 12 managers have agreed on work, leadership and organisation. Thus, on the one hand, the practical relevance as well as the fact that there is enough literature was ensured for me.

Reading tip: Find a topic for doctoral thesis

Assessing the relevance of the topics for different SMEs

Gibt es noch Fragen?

Falls es noch Fragen gibt, habe ich zwei Tipps. Ich habe meine Erfahrung aus 5 Jahren in der Betreuung von Abschlussarbeiten im Buch: "Empfehlungen für die Bachelor- und Masterarbeit" zusammengefasst. Dieses gibt es bei Springer und Amazon seit August 2020. Das Buch ist ein offzielles Fachbuch in kann damit zitiert werden. Weiterhin können Sie mich gerne mal anrufen. Hierzu einfach im Buchungssystem nach einen freien Termin schauen. Ich nehme mir jeden Monat einige Stunden Zeit um Studenten zu helfen.

Mein Tipp vor der Abgabe Ihrer Abschlussarbeit

Es lohnt sich immer eine Abschlussarbeit professionell Korrekturlesen oder auf Plagiat prüfen zu lassen. Der Vorteil ist, dass Sie dabei auch Feedback erhalten und den akademischen Sprachstil verbessern. Anbieter wie bspw. Scribbr helfen mit guten Preisen bei der Abschlussarbeit.

Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.

Original sources

Lindner, D. (2019). SMEs in Digital Change – Results of Empirical Studies on Work, Leadership and Organisation. Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler.

Lindner, D. & Leyh C. (2019). Digitization of SMEs – questions and recommendations for action as well as implications for IT organization and IT service management. HMD – Practice of Business Informatics, (4), 19.


I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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