Search
Generic filters
Exact matches only
Filter by content type
Users
Attachments

Architectural Coordination and Complexity Management

Overview

Virtually all of today’s large organizations have to cope with the significant complexity of their information systems (IS) landscape. Architectural coordination provides a holistic perspective on those hundreds or thousands of IS in an organization and aims at coordinating all the small and large scale change activities in order to maintain consistency and operational stability on the one hand while maintaining the resources for agility and innovation.

Responsible

Prof. Dr. Stephan Aier

Responsible

Prof. Dr. Robert Winter


Description

The application architecture of large organizations often comprises several hundred to some thousand applications that support business processes. These applications are implemented by an even larger number of software systems, which are run on various generations of information technology (IT) infrastructure. Changing only one of these components often impacts a potentially large number of related components of the organization. Changing several of these components at the same time in a number of projects or programs by division of labor leads to potentially redundant and/or inconsistent processes, applications, software systems, or IT infrastructure components. In other words, it creates misalignment in the enterprise architecture (EA). Such situations seem to be the rule rather than the exception not only for large organizations but also for medium-sized organizations, because these also possess project portfolios of several hundred concurrently running projects.

The factual short-term consequence of a misaligned EA is a waste of resources. The longer-term consequences are increasing efforts and difficulties to maintain existing IS and lacking resources for innovation. This development is almost inevitable unless explicitly addressed. The capability to constantly (re-)align an organization’s resources internally as well as with the changing requirements of its environment is considered a strategic advantage of an organization.

Architectural coordination provides means to support these reconfiguration endeavors in order to maintain or improve alignment among EA components while fostering innovation and change.

Projects

IS Architecture

This project investigates IS architecture from two distinctive, but interrelated perspectives. While the first part of the project employs a static approach to explain which institutional factors underlie desirable outcomes for IS architecture, the second part opts for a dynamic approach to explain how IS architecture evolves over time. This project combines both static and dynamic explanations to triangulate the generated theories on IS architecture.


Responsible

Prof. Dr. Robert Winter

Responsible

Prof. Dr. Kazem Haki

Supported by

Swiss National Science Foundation



Architectural Thinking

Architectural thinking aims at supporting non-architects and people outside the IT function to adopt holistic, long-term considerations in their daily decisions. To establish architectural thinking we build small interventions such as labels for applications, domains or projects to increase the awareness of employees for architectural goals and provide opportunities to contribute to the goal achievement.


Responsible

Prof. Dr. Robert Winter

Responsible

Prof. Dr. Stephan Aier


Publications

get_appSacha Fuchs, Roman Rietsche, Stephan Aier, Michael Rivera
Conference or Workshop Item
More and more employees request feedback from their organizations to develop and learn. This is reflected by a growing number of digital feedback apps which facilitate high-frequency feedback exchange. However, the effect of feedback has hardly been studied on an organizational level due to complexity. Therefore, we strive to analyze organizational feedback exchange with an agent-based simulation model. Concretely, we study the effect of feedback length and feedback frequency on the organizational return on investment (ROI) of feedback exchange. Our study shows that feedback length stays in an inverted U-shape relationship with ROI. Contrarily, feedback frequency is negatively correlated with ROI. When analyzed jointly, two sweet spots arise: one for medium-length, frequent feedback, and the other, for longer infrequent feedback.

More
Digital platforms (DPs) – technical core artifacts augmented by peripheral third-party complementary resources – facilitate the interaction and collaboration of different actors through highly-efficient resource matching. As DPs differ significantly in their configurations and applications, it is important from both a descriptive and a design perspective to define classes of DPs. As an intentionally designed artifact, every classification pursues a certain purpose. In this research, the purpose is to classify DPs from a business model perspective, i.e. to identify DP clusters that each share a similar business model type. We follow Nickerson et al.’s (2013) method for taxonomy development. By validating the conceptually derived design dimensions with ten DP cases, we identify platform structure and platform participants as the major clustering constituent characteristics. Building on the proposed taxonomy, we derive four DP archetypes that follow distinct design configurations, namely business innovation platforms, consumer innovation platforms, business exchange platforms and consumer exchange platforms.

More
(a) Problem faced: Due to heterogeneous stakeholder requirements, highly diverse tasks, and massive investments needed, enterprise-wide information systems (e-wIS) are often developed through multiple projects over long time periods. In this context, choosing the ‘right’ evolution paths becomes essential. This is not straightforward because e-wIS comprise technical, organizational, and use-related issues so that development stages need to be aligned over heterogeneous dimensions. Although maturity models (MM) are an established instrument to devise development paths, their respective development processes often lack transparency and theoretical as well as empirical grounding. Moreover, extant MM often focus on the control of certain capabilities (doing things right) rather than on providing the necessary capabilities in a sequence appropriate for a given type of organization (doing the right things). (b) Solution developed: We propose an empirically grounded design method for MMs, which devises capability development sequences rather than control levels. We instantiate the proposed method twice—for developing a Business Intelligence (BI) MM as well as a Corporate Performance Management (CPM) MM as two exemplary types of e-wIS. The artifacts are developed over three laps to successively enhance both their projectability in the problem space and their tangibility in the solution space. (c) Lessons Learned: (1) In DSR projects it often proves valuable to be open for diverse research approaches such as classical qualitative or quantitative approaches since they may purposefully ground and guide design decisions. (2) Complex artifact design processes may not be carried out by a single PhD student or published in a single paper. They require adequate decomposition and organizational integration. (3) Finally, complex and emergent artifact design processes require a reliable network of practice organizations rather than a project contract with a single organization.

More
Enterprise architecture management (EAM) in organizations often requires coping with conflicts between long-term enterprise-wide goals and short-term goals of local decision-makers. We argue that these goal conflicts are similar to the goal conflicts that occur in public goods dilemmas: people are faced with a choice between an option (a) with a high collective benefit for a group of people and a low individual benefit, and another option (b) with a low collective benefit and a high individual benefit. Building on institutional theory, we hypothesize how different combinations of institutional pressures (coercive, normative, and mimetic) affect decision makers’ behavior in such conflictive situations. We conduct a set of experiments for testing our hypotheses on cooperative behavior in a delayed-reward public goods dilemma. As preliminary results, we find that normative and mimetic pressures enhance cooperative behavior. Coercive pressure, however, may have detrimental effects in settings that normative and mimetic pressures are disregarded. In future work, we plan to transfer the abstract experimental design of an onlinelab experiment into a field experiment setting and thus into the real-world context of EAM.

More
To unlock additional business value, most enterprises are intensifying their enterprise-wide data management. In the case of the globally operating bank, we base this article on, a Chief Data Officer (CDO) organization is established for providing data governance and, in a second step, pushing data driven innovation forward. As many employees of the bank were not yet familiar with (or did not acknowledge) the need for enterprise-wide data management, this evolution exhibits characteristics of an organizational learning process. CDOs may want to actively steer this learning process by purposefully designing and adjusting their data management approach over time. Based on the major controversies the CDO has been confronted with, we propose four design dimensions for enterprise-wide data management and discuss the considerations for their configuration: (I) objective, (II) governance, (III) organization of data analytics, and (IV) expertise.

More
In the context of digital platforms, platform owners strive to maximize both their platform’s stability and generativity. This is complicated by the paradoxical relationship of generativity and stability, as well as associated tensions. To aid B2B platform owners in their design decisions, we aim to derive specific design principles that address the inherent tensions such that generativity and stability are maximized simultaneously. This requires a better understanding of when and to which extent a platform’s generativity and stability are paradoxical, and under which circumstances they can be maximized simultaneously. Thus, we first develop an agent-based simulation model to analyze the effects of an exemplary design decision regarding a tension (i.e. control vs. openness) on a platform’s generativity and stability. The developed simulation model enables predictive analyses of varying degrees of control and openness and their effect on generativity and stability. The simulation model must be further refined and applied to other tensions to thoroughly understand the impact of design decisions on a platform’s generativity and stability, and ultimately derive design principles.

More
Aligning local business and technology initiatives with enterprise-wide objectives remains a challenge for many organizations. To this end, Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) imposes formal control mechanisms such as architecture plans and principles aimed at leveraging enterprise-wide standards and harnessing information systems (IS) complexity. Addressing recent calls to complement EAM control portfolios with informal control mechanisms, this study reports on the design, implementation and adoption of an Enterprise Architecture Label at a large multinational engineering company. Based on recent research on nudging, we deliberately designed the choice architecture of local decision makers. The Enterprise Architecture Label aims to influence the decision-making process, so that IS design alternatives that are preferable from an enterprise-wide perspective appear to be more attractive. Following an Action Design Research approach, the paper highlights the process of defining the underlying measurement system, designing an appropriate presentation, and the learnings and theory implications made throughout this process.

More
Information systems analysis and design (ISAD) ensures the design of information systems (IS) in line with the requirements of a business environment. Since ISAD approaches follow the current dominant logic of business, the rise of a new and thriving business logic may require revisiting and advancing extant ISAD approaches and techniques. One of the prevailing debates in marketing research is the paradigmatic shift from a goods-dominant (G-D) to a service-dominant (S-D) logic of business. The cornerstone of this reorientation is the concept of value co-creation emphasizing joint value creation among a variety of actors within a business network. With the aim of introducing value co-creation as a new discourse to ISAD research, this research note argues that (i) the lens of S-D logic with its core concept of value co-creation provides a novel perspective to ISAD. We also assert that (ii) value-co-creation-informed IS design realizes the paradigmatic shift from G-D to S-D logic. Building on this mutual relationship between value co-creation and ISAD, we propose a research agenda and discuss the ISAD artefacts that prospective research may target.

More
In this paper, we provide a conceptual model of the knowledge gaps that design science researchers should attend to in order to ensure that their use of justificatory knowledge is made in an appropriate way. We identify nine knowledge gaps between descriptive (cause-effect) relations in kernel theories, prescriptive (means-ends) relations in prescriptive and design theories, and the instantiated relations (instantiated design features and design requirements). The development of the conceptual model of the knowledge gaps was informed by and illustrated with the case of the longitudinal design science research project on team coordination called Coopilot. An initial set of strategies to ensure the appropriateness of justificatory knowledge is identified.

More
Perspectives in organizations differ to which extent information systems (IS) should be tailored towards local (e.g., business unit) needs or toward organi-zation-wide, global goals (e.g., synergies, integration). For contributing to overall IS performance success, the harmonization of different perspectives becomes essential. While many scholars have highlighted the role of IS management approaches, institutional studies argue that harmonization is not solely the result of managerial action, but a consequence of institutional pressures that guide organizational decision-making. In the paper at hand, we follow the call for adopting institutional theory on the intra-organizational level of analysis and study the logic of attaining harmoniza-tion along institutional pressures. By means of a revelatory case study, we find harmonization attained in a dynamic interplay between different institu-tional pressures. Mimetic pressures influence normative pressures, which in turn influence coercive pressures. Our findings as well as our implications for enterprise engineering guide prospective research in studying the attain-ment of harmonization through an institutional lens.

More