Stefano Costa, Stefano De Santis, Alessandra Nurra, Sergio Salamone, Claudio Vicarelli

Indifference, Sensitivity, Completeness: A Map of the Propension to Digital Transformation in the Italian Production System

  • Abstract

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Keywords: digitalizzazione, capitale fisico, capitale umano.

Digital transformation is increasingly taking on the characteristics of a dominant paradigm to bring the Italian productive system to structurally higher levels of competitiveness. According to some studies, however, Italy would still suffer from an acute form of «European disease», identified in the inability to fully exploit the ICT revolution. In addition to the small average size of the company (and a modest capitalization), the largely imperfect mechanisms of staff selection and training would be affected. The Business Plan 4.0 stimulates the renewal of tangible and intangible assets with a view to digitizing production processes, which has a key element in the integration of technology, business processes and human capital. The effectiveness of such measures, however, depends on how the economic and territorial characteristics of the production system affect the ability to absorb the advantages of the ICT. Understanding these last dynamics therefore becomes essential to be able, subsequently, to measure the effects of the provision. To this end, the work aims to provide a territorial map (defined at the region/province level) of the competitiveness of Italian companies in relation to the levels of digitization and capital endowments (human and physical), and to investigate the transformation of the system to the light of its most recent developments. For this purpose a detailed data set has been defined, which integrates various sources of both administrative and statistical nature. In this way, from the national detail it is possible to highlight the presence of territorial clusters that geographically represent the heterogeneity of the economic system in terms of digital transformation in the years of recovery, proposing a non-canonical reading but more functional to the analysis of the issue in question. The results highlight: a) the possibility of identifying «virtuous» digitalisation paths, that is of complete digital transformation; b) the presence of constraints linked to the allocation of productive factors (a complete digitalization cannot be separated from an adequate availability, in terms of quality and quantity, of physical and above all human capital); c) the persistence of large territorial divides in the digital path; d) the presence of significant repercussions on the territory of the links between digitization and quality and the amount of employment generated.

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