A1 Journal article (refereed)
Drivers, barriers and impacts of digitalisation in rural areas from the viewpoint of experts (2022)

Ferrari, A., Bacco, M., Gaber, K., Jedlitschka, A., Hess, S., Kaipainen, J., Koltsida, P., Toli, E., & Brunori, G. (2022). Drivers, barriers and impacts of digitalisation in rural areas from the viewpoint of experts. Information and Software Technology, 145, Article 106816. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infsof.2021.106816

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsFerrari, Alessio; Bacco, Manlio; Gaber, Kirsten; Jedlitschka, Andreas; Hess, Steffen; Kaipainen, Jouni; Koltsida, Panagiota; Toli, Eleni; Brunori, Gianluca

Journal or seriesInformation and Software Technology



Publication year2022


Article number106816

PublisherElsevier BV

Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/79861


The domain of rural areas, including rural communities, agriculture, and forestry, is going through a process of deep digital transformation. Digitalisation can have positive impacts on sustainability in terms of greater environmental control, and community prosperity. At the same time, it can also have disruptive effects, with the marginalisation of actors that cannot cope with the change. When developing a novel system for rural areas, requirements engineers should carefully consider the specific socio-economic characteristics of the domain, so that potential positive effects can be maximised, while mitigating negative impacts.

The goal of this paper is to support requirements engineers with a reference catalogue of drivers, barriers and potential impacts associated to the introduction of novel ICT solutions in rural areas.

To this end, we interview 30 cross-disciplinary experts in digitalisation of rural areas, and we analyse the transcripts to identify common themes.

According to the experts, main drivers are economic, with the possibility of reducing costs, and regulatory, as institutions push for more precise tracing and monitoring of production; barriers are the limited connectivity, but also distrust towards technology and other socio-cultural aspects; positive impacts are socio-economic (e.g., reduction of manual labor, greater productivity), while negative ones include potential dependency from technology, with loss of hands-on expertise, and marginalisation of certain actors (e.g., small farms, subjects with limited education).

This paper contributes to the literature with a domain-specific catalogue that characterises digitalisation in rural areas. The catalogue can be used as a reference baseline for requirements elicitation endeavours in rural areas, to support domain analysis prior to the development of novel solutions, as well as fit-gap analysis for the adaptation of existing technologies.

Keywordscountrysideagricultureforestrydigitalisationenvironmental effectseconomic effectsdevelopment (active)sustainable developmentregional developmentsoftware developmenttechnological developmentproductivity

Free keywordssoftware engineering; requirements engineering; sustainability requirements; interviews; digitalisation; empirical study

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating3

Last updated on 2024-14-06 at 23:26