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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

Enterprise architecture management (EAM) is commonly employed by large organizations to coordinate local information system development efforts in line with organization-wide strategic objectives while simultaneously avoiding redundancies and inconsistencies. Even though EAM tools and processes have become increasingly mature over the past decade, many organizations still struggle to generate impact from their EAM initiatives. To this end, we describe how enterprise architects at Commerzbank, a major international bank, employed a control mechanism portfolio perspective to more effectively anchor EAM within the organization. This approach allows to purposefully combine a wide range of different formal and informal EAM control mechanisms, thereby going beyond the formal, topdown driven mechanisms predominantly discussed in EAM literature. Furthermore, such EAM control mechanism portfolios provide an effective means to purposefully realign EAM in reaction to major strategic shifts. The application of this perspective is demonstrated by tracing the evolution of EAM at Commerzbank for more than a decade (2008 to 2018) through a turbulent and challenging competitive environment, resulting in several major strategic realignments that required corresponding adjustments in EAM. We believe that such consciously designed and diversified EAM control mechanism portfolios also provide a useful means for other large organizations to more effectively conduct EAM.

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Significant investments in information systems (IS) over the past decades have led to increasingly complex IS architectures in organizations, which are difficult to understand, operate, and maintain. We investigate this development and associated challenges through a conceptual model that distinguishes four constituent elements of IS architecture complexity by differentiating technological from organizational aspects and structural from dynamic aspects. Building on this conceptualization, we hypothesize relations between these four IS architecture complexity constructs and investigate their impact on architectural outcomes (i.e. efficiency, flexibility, transparency, and predictability). Using survey data from 249 IS managers, we test our model through a partial least squares (PLS) approach to structural equation modelling (SEM). We find that organizational complexity drives technological complexity and that structural complexity drives dynamic complexity. We also demonstrate that increasing IS architecture complexity has a significant negative impact on efficiency, flexibility, transparency, and predictability. Finally, we show that enterprise architecture management (EAM) helps to offset these negative effects by acting as a moderator in the relation between organizational and technological IS architecture complexity. Thus, organizations without adequate EAM are likely to face large increases in technological complexity due to increasing organizational complexity, whereas organizations with adequate EAM exhibit no such relation.

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Over recent decades, many platform-native start-ups and firms were founded and some are now among the world’s most valuable. This study, however, focuses on an incumbent firm transitioning from a long established product platform ecosystem to an innovation platform ecosystem in response to the platform-natives’ threats of disruption. We specifically investigate the dynamic capabilities needed by the incumbent firm in an enterprise software ecosystem in the transition phase. Our analysis builds on multi-perspective empirical data covering the viewpoints of all the actor types in the ecosystem, i.e., plat-form owner, platform partners, and end-user firms. The results imply the necessity of four dynamic capabilities: resource curation, ecosystem preservation, resource reconfiguration, and ecosystem diversification. With this study, we contribute to the emerging literature on the incumbent firms’ transition to a new ecosystem organising logic, and extend the study of dynamic capabilities specifically for the case of transitioning to innovation platform ecosystems.

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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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With an increasing number of digitalization initiatives in the public sector, the providers of public sector shared service agencies that deliver and steer those initiatives are under pressure to become agile, i.e., to adopt agile activities, principles and an agile mindset. This study investigates challenges and corresponding mitigation measures of scaled agile transformations of such agencies. Based on data gathered through an Action Research based multiple case studies and drawing on context theory, it identifies obstacles related to the political, environmental, and internal context as well as transformation management itself. Among them are siloed actions and individual interests, IT legacy, the complexity of customer requirements, insufficient resources, no shared vision, low professionalization, and a missing holistic picture. Value stream thinking, architectural thinking, successful pilot projects, con-structive criticism and a culture of failure are suggested as countermeasures. The identified obstacles and measures fit well into and extend the findings from a systematic literature review. Our contribution is to contextualize and extend insights and recommendations related to the large-scale agile trans-formation of public sector agencies serving multiple public service organizations. Further research can quantitatively test the measures, develop maturity models for them, or identify obstacle-measure-patterns. Practitioners receive viable insights that should also contribute to a more successful transformation of the public sector in the benefit of society and economy.

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Digital platform owners repeatedly face paradoxical design decisions with regard to their platforms’ generativity and control, requiring them to facilitate co-innovation whilst simultaneously retaining control over third-party complementors. To address this challenge, platform owners deploy a variety of governance mechanisms. However, researchers and practitioners currently lack a coherent understanding of what major governance mechanisms platform owners rely on to simultaneously foster generativity and control. Conducting a structured literature review, we connect the fragmented academic discourse on governance mechanisms with each aspect of the generativity-control tension. Next to providing avenues for prospective digital platform research, we elaborate on the double-sidedness of governance mechanisms in fostering both generativity and control.

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