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DSR Methodology

Overview

Design Science Research is the dominant research approach at IWI-HSG. Besides community engagement (editorial service in journals and conferences), we contribute to further develop research methods and techniques, e.g. regarding validity, modularization, or communication excellence.


Projects

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



Nudging for Data Quality

Many organizations struggle with creating and maintaining data quality in their everyday business. Beyond formal means of control, such as data governance frameworks comprising rules, regulations or regular data quality reviews, in this project we explore lightweight interventions that nudge people in the organization to spend a little more effort here and there, which overall measurable increases the understanding for data quality and data quality itself.


Responsible

Prof. Dr. Stephan Aier


Publications

Anhaltende und massive Veränderungen im regulatorischen und technischen Kontext führen zu neuen bzw. veränderten Anforderungen an das Datenmanagement grosser Banken. Daraus resultieren Chancen und Herausforderungen im Datenmanagement, für die es hinsichtlich des Vorgehens und der Konsequenzen oft (noch) keine „Best Practices“ gibt. Hierzu haben wir entsprechende Erkenntnisse aus den Strategien und Umsetzungen der Partnerunternehmen der Data Management und Analytics Community (DMAC) der letzten zehn Jahre analysiert. Wir fassen den Status Quo des Datenmanagements zusammen und skizzieren wesentliche Entwicklungsrichtungen bzw. strategische Initiativen. Dabei fällt auf, dass europäische Grossbanken neben den generellen Entwicklungen in Richtung Cloud und agiler Strukturen / Prozesse auch ein zunehmend dezentrales Datenmanagement als geeigneten Weg zur datengetriebenen Organisation ansehen.

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The Design Science Research (DSR) paradigm is highly relevant to the Information Systems (IS) discipline because DSR aims to improve the state of practice and contribute design knowledge through the systematic construction of useful artefacts. Since study designs can be understood as useful artefacts, DSR can also contribute to improving conceptualizing a research project. This study developed a taxonomy with relevant dimensions and characteristics for DSR research. Such a taxonomy is useful for analyzing existing DSR study designs and successful DSR study design patterns. In addition, the taxonomy is valuable for identifying DSR study design principles (dependencies among characteristics) and subsequently for systematically designing DSR studies. We constructed the DSR study taxonomy through a classification process following the taxonomy development approach of Nickerson et al.

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Obwohl sich die Rolle und Bedeutung der IT in den meisten Unternehmen stark verändert hat, folgt die Strukturierung von CIO-Bereichen (und ihrer Wertbeiträge) meist noch einem funktionalen Paradigma – unter Bezugnahme auf „was wird gemacht“ oder „wie wird es gemacht“, manchmal auch „für wen wird es gemacht“. Eine funktionale bzw. ergebnisorientierte Strukturierung findet sich mittelbar auch in Ansätzen, welche die Wertschöpfungskette in den Mittelpunkt stellen oder agile Gestaltungsprinzipien berücksichtigen.Wir diskutieren bestehende Ansätze und schlagen ein neues Strukturierungsmodell vor, das die Aktivitäten des CIO-Bereichs aus der Perspektive „welcher Wertbeitrag wird erreicht“ (bzw. welche strategische Wirkung wird angestrebt) unterscheidet. Das sich ergebende Wirkungsorientierte Portfolio wird dabei in den Dimensionen Wirkungsbreite, Wirkungszeitraum und Wirkungstiefe abgebildet. Ausgehend von der Demonstration bestimmter Aspekte dieses Perspektivenwechsels in Form von zwei Anwendungsfällen werden die Potenziale und Konsequenzen einer wirkungsorientierten Strukturierung des CIO-Bereichs z. B. für die Kommunikation des CIO-Wertbeitrags, die Koordination mit anderen Führungsfunktionen und die Organisation von „Business Technology“ diskutiert.

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Although Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) is a mature discipline and widely adopted in practice, surveys indicate effectivity barriers that, at least partially, appear to be a consequence of local decision makers’ non-compliance with enterprise-wide architectural guidelines. Several recent contributions aim at extending the portfolio of EAM interventions by applying informal control mechanisms. Although promising to extend EAM effectivity, informal interventions are apparently not much utilized in EAM practice. Based on the assumption that a comprehensive presentation of design knowledge for informal EAM interventions would support more widespread adoption, this paper integrates existing knowledge components to a coherent design approach. The proposal covers theoretical justification, conceptual foundations, a taxonomy of generic informal interventions, a catalogue of derived EAM intervention types, and a process to systematically instantiate and evaluate situation-specific informal interventions. Two Action Design Research projects in large companies are summarized as evaluative evidence for the potential that comprehensive in-formal intervention design has for improving EAM effectivity.

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Design science research (DSR) aims to generate knowledge about innovative solutions to real-world problems. A comparably new stream of research, DSR has matured methodically, and is increasingly catching the interest of researchers, specifically for its potential to contribute to problem solving in society and the economy. Since research methodology curricula develop slowly, however, DSR is still underrepresented in most curricula and courses on research design and methods, and we lack guidance on what and how to teach in a DSR course in a way that enables junior academics to conduct DSR according to high standards. We report on teaching DSR methodology both on PhD and Master levels and for both managerially and technically oriented student populations. Our interactive on-site and distance formats have been refined over 14 years. The PDW presents an effective syllabus, teaching material and experience from conducting over 25 courses with students from over 20 countries across all three geographic AIS regions.

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By acquiring complementors, digital platform owners can facilitate rapid advances in the evolution of their platform ecosystems. We describe how Salesforce has successfully evolved its platform ecosystem through the acquisition of complementors. Based on insights from the Salesforce case, we provide recommendations for acquiring complementors, aligning acquisitions with the platform owner’s proprietary developments, integrating the acquired complementors and retaining the coherency of the platform’s offerings even after diverse acquisitions.

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The spectrum of changes that enterprises need to deal with varies from simple continuous adjustments of the product portfolio in response to evolving customer preferences, to complete overhauls of the business and operating model in response to disruptive trends. Many research fields and practitioner disciplines have produced analysis and engineering approaches that can help enterprises to assess and prepare for the impact of changes from this spectrum. However, they have partial scopes and consequently limited integration. By selecting, slightly extending and integrating existing approaches, this paper introduces a ‘simple enough’ integrated solution model and a ‘simple enough’ integrated analysis and engineering method that covers the full spectrum of changes. Our focus is the large, complex enterprise that operates in a specific industry and performs information processing at scale. The research is intended to provide methodical support to practitioners with a responsibility for shaping solutions. Our proposal is the result of initial experiences in practice that instilled the research theme, application in a large-scale industry project, focused collaborative research that joined researchers and academia, and ongoing applications and experiences in practice. The solution model and the analysis and engineering method that we propose support three types of adaptability: a) foundational adaptability produces full new business model and operating model parts, b) transitional adaptability extends the current business model and operating model and adds additional configurability, and c) routine adaptability is managed within the configurability of individual operating model components that need to be designed with sufficient bandwidth. A business configuration center is proposed as a key constituent that manages the differences in underlying technology, and that allows to perform integrated, technology agnostic administration of an industry solution.

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Businesses of all kinds need to innovate rapidly and adapt quickly due to market disruption fueled by the digital transformation. Executive managers require the management tool that supports them in navigating their company through agility transformation journey by identifying and developing organizational capabilities as means to enhance Corporate Agility.

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In times of business-driven digital transformation, increased design autonomy in innovation projects and agile principles, traditional coordination approaches in the IS domain are facing growing acceptance issues and, consequently, value contribution barriers. Since coordination challenges of IS on the enterprise level (e.g., IS complexity) persist or even increase with digitalization and design autonomy, organizations are in search of extending their portfolio beyond formal interventions. This paper integrates various descriptive and design knowledge components into a comprehensive analysis and design approach for informal coordination interventions. We cover a problem-oriented discussion of theoretical and conceptual foundations, a taxonomy of generic informal interventions, a catalogue of derived intervention types, and a process to systematically construct and evaluate situation-specific informal interventions. An Action Design Research project in a large company is summarized to demonstrate our proposal and provide evaluative evidence.

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In the context of digital transformation, it is mandatory for most organizations to conduct information systems development (ISD) projects as part of their digitalization and business development journey. One reason that many ISD projects fail is lack of knowledge about which ISD method (ISDM) is most suitable for the project at hand and how to adapt it to reflect the respective business development context. These problems especially occur in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as they often lack specific methodological skills and project governance experience – so they cannot even manage ISD consultancies that promise to support them in their digital transformation. In this conceptual paper, we present the design of a method for selecting and using ISDM for SMEs. It considers both the context dependency and missing project governance skills of SMEs. The main components of the proposed method link the knowledge areas of business development and ISD: business context evaluation, ISDM selection and ISDM management.

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