Business Development Through Digital Transformation: The Evolution of Amazon.Com

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Information Systems and Organisation book series (LNISO, volume 6)


Since 1995, when the first book was sold as an online bookstore, Amazon has continued to evolve turning to a provider of cloud computing services and a publisher. The aim of the present paper is to investigate this evolution focusing on the concept of platform and the concept of infrastructure as metaphors of the business/environment relationship and of the reframing of business sectors. In the case in question, an overlapping between the concept of platform proposed and the technological platform emerges so that it has become the backbone on which Amazon’s businesses run. On the other hand, the concept of infrastructure outlines an environment in which customers can turn into suppliers and also into partners.


Platform Infrastructure Amazon Strategy Structure Environment 


  1. 1.
    Vasconcelos, F.C., Ramirez, R.: Complexity in business environments. J. Bus. Res. 64, 236–241 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Besson, P., Rowe, F.: Strategizing information systems-enabled organizational transformation: a transdisciplinary review and new directions. J. Strateg. Inf. Syst. 21, 103–124 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Leonardi, P.M.: When flexible routines meet flexible technologies: affordance, constraint, and the imbrication of human and material agencies. MIS Q. 35, 147–167 (2011)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Spagnoletti, P., Federici, T.: Exploring the interplay between FLOSS adoption and organizational innovation. Commun. Assoc. Inf. Syst. 29, 279–298 (2011)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Truex, D.P., Baskerville, R., Klein, H.: Growing systems in emergent organizations. Commun. ACM 42, 117–123 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Zammuto, R.F., Griffith, T.L., Majchrzak, A., Dougherty, D.J., Faraj, S.: Information technology and the changing fabric of organization. Organ. Sci. 18, 749–762 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Rossignoli, C.: The contribution of transaction cost theory and other network-oriented techniques to digital markets. Inf. Syst. E-bus. Manag. 7, 57–79 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rossignoli, C., Carugati, A., Mola, L.: The strategic mediator: a paradoxical role for a collaborative e-marketplace. EM Electron. Mark. 19, 55–66 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ricciardi, F., De Marco, M.: The challenge of service oriented performances for chief information officers. Lect. Notes Bus. Inf. Process. LNBIP. 103, 258–270 (2012)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ciborra, C.: Teams, Markets and Systems: Business Innovation and Information Technology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1993)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mellahi, K., Sminia, H.: Guest editors’ introduction: the frontiers of strategic management research. Int. J. Manag. Rev. 11, 1–7 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Porter, M.E.: Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. Free Press, New York (1980)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Porter, M.E.: Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance. Free Press, New York (1985)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Barney, J.: Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. J. Manage. 17, 99–120 (1991)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Wernerfelt, B.: A resource-based view of the firm. Strateg. Manag. J. 5, 171–180 (1984)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Teece, D.J., Pisano, G., Shuen, A.: Dynamic capabilities and strategic management. Strateg. Manag. J. 18, 509–533 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bain, J.S.: Industrial Organization. Wiley, New York (1959)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Chandler, A.D.: Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the Industrial Enterprise. M.I.T. Press, Cambridge (1962)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Becker, J., Niehaves, B., Pöppelbuß, J., Simons, A.: Maturity models in IS research. In: 18th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2010) Pretoria, South Africa, 2010Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Resca, A., Za, S., Spagnoletti, P.: Digital platforms as sources for organizational and strategic transformation: a case study of the Midblue project. J. Theor. Appl. e-Commerce Res. 8, 71–84 (2013)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Yin, R.K.: Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks (2009)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Yoo, Y., Henfridsson, O., Lyytinen, K.: The new organizing logic of digital innovation: an agenda for information systems research. Inf. Syst. Res. 21, 724–735 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ciborra, C.: The Labyrinths of Information: Challenging the Wisdom of Systems. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2002)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Ciborra, C.: The platform organization: recombining strategies, structures, and surprises. Organ. Sci. 7, 103–118 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Normann, R.: Reframing Business: When the Map Changes the Landscape. Wiley, Chichester (2001)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Boland, R.J., Lyytinen, K., Yoo, Y.: Wakes of innovation in project networks: the case of digital 3-D representations in architecture, engineering, and construction. Organ. Sci. 18, 631–647 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hanseth, O., Lyytinen, K.: Design theory for dynamic complexity in information infrastructures: the case of building internet. J. Inf. Technol. 25, 1–19 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Ghazawneh, A., Henfridsson, O.: Governint third-party development through platform boundary resources. In: International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), St.Louis, MO (2010)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Galbraith, J.R.: Designing Complex Organizations /. Addison-Wesley, Boston (1973)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Basaglia, S., Caporarello, L., Magni, M., Pennarola, F.: IT knowledge integration capability and team performance: the role of team climate. Int. J. Inf. Manage. 30, 542–551 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ouchi, W.G.: Markets, Bureaucracies, and Clans. Adm. Sci. Q. 25, 129–141 (1980)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Williamson, O.E.: Markets and Hierarchies: Analysis and Antitrust Implications: a Study in the Economics of Internal Organization. Free Press, New York (1975)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Magni, M., Pennarola, F.: Stand by me: the quality of interorganizational relationships as antecedent of IT adoption. In: Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on Information Systems, Information Systems in a Rapidly Changing Economy, ECIS (2005)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Lawrence, P.R., Lorsch, J.W.: Organization and Environment: Managing Differentiation and Integration. Harvard Business School Press, Cambridge (1967)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Sambamurthy, V., Bharadwaj, A., Grover, V.: Shaping agility through digital options: Reconceptualizing the role of information technology in contemporary firms. MIS Q. 27(2), 237–263 (2003)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Hanseth, O., Bygstad, B. & Johannesen, L.K.: Towards a theory of generative architectures: a longitudinal study of eHealth infrastructures in Norway. Discussion Paper, University of Oslo, Norwegian School of IT, University of Tromso (2012) Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CeRSI—LUISSGuido Carli UniversityRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations