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Prof. Dr. Jannis Beese

Büro 52-6152
Müller-Friedberg-Strasse 6/8
9000 St. Gallen
+49 79 500 61 82


Understanding how information systems (IS) architecture evolves and what outcomes can be expected from the evolution of IS architecture presents a considerable challenge for both research and practice. The evolution of IS architecture is marked by management’s efforts to keep local and short-term IS investments in line with enterprise-wide and long-term objectives, so they often employ coercive mechanisms to enforce enterprise-wide considerations on local actors. However, an organization is shaped by a multitude of heterogeneous local actors’ actions that pursue their own, sometimes conflicting, goals, norms, and values. This study offers a theory-informed simulation model that explores how IS architecture evolves and with what outcomes in various types of organizations. The simulation model is informed by institutional theory to capture various types of organizations that are characterized by different combinations of coercive, normative, and mimetic pressures, and by complex adaptive systems theory to capture the emergent character of IS architecture’s evolution. First, we outline the insights from simulation experiments. Then, building on the simulation model and theoretical insights, we discuss implications for both research and practice.

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.

Simulations provide a useful methodological approach for studying the behavior of complex socio-technical information systems (IS), in which humans and IT artifacts interact to process information. However, the use of simulations is relatively new in IS research and the current presence and impact of simulation-based studies is still limited. Furthermore, simulation-based research is quite different from other approaches, making it difficult to position and evaluate it adequately. Therefore, this paper first analyses the epistemic particularities of simulation-based IS research. Based on this analysis, a structured literature review of the status quo of simulation-based IS research was conducted, to understand how IS scholars currently employ simulation. A comparison of the epistemic particularities of simulation-based research with its status quo in IS literature allows to critically examine epistemic inferences in the respective research process. The results provide guidance for prospective simulation-based IS research through discussing the theory-based derivation of simulation models, as well as different simulation techniques, validation techniques, and simulation uses.

Organizations constantly adapt their Information Systems (IS) architecture to reflect changes in their environment. In general, such adaptations steadily increase the complexity of their IS architecture, thereby negatively impacting IS efficiency and IS flexibility. Based on a Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) perspective, we present a more differentiated analysis of the impact of IS architecture complexity. We hypothesize the relation between IS architecture complexity on the one hand, and IS efficiency and IS flexibility on the other hand to be mediated by evolutionary and revolutionary IS change. Subsequently, we test our hypotheses through a partial least squares (PLS) approach to structural equation modelling (SEM) based on survey data from 185 respondents. We find that the direct negative impact of IS architecture complexity on IS efficiency and IS flexibility is no longer statistically relevant when also considering the mediating effects of revolutionary and evolutionary IS change.

In this paper, we define three key performance indicators (KPI) to measure the health of application portfolios (AP) and use the business capability map (BCM) as a visualization lens. Based on a literature review of AP management and BCM practices, we conduct a case study with a large European automotive company to develop three KPIs related to AP complexity, AP quality, and AP impact. The application of the KPIs is illustrated for the BCM of our case study partner and evaluated by conducting expert interviews with ten enterprise architecture experts of the company. Our results provide further insights on AP management practices that are enabled by using the BCM as a holistic visualization tool.

Im Zuge der Digitalisierung haben technologische Fortschritte, neue Kundenbedürfnisse und neue regulatorische Anforderungen die Komplexität von Anwendungssystemen vervielfacht. Firmen müssen adäquat auf diese Veränderungen reagieren, da unnötige Komplexität oft zu Inkonsistenzen sowie kostspieligen Redundanzen führt. Anhand von Praxis-Analysen bei einem deutschen Automobilhersteller diskutiert dieser Artikel die Komplexität von IT-Landschaften, analysiert daraus resultierende Konsequenzen und entwirft Strategien, um diese unter Kontrolle zu bringen.

Application Portfolio (AP) complexity is an increasingly important and strongly discussed issue by both researchers and practitioners. Application portfolios in large organizations have become more and more difficult to understand, resulting in costly efforts to maintain and operate them. Although this is an urgent topic in large organizations, researchers and industry experts do not yet have a common understanding of this phenomenon and lack appropriate methods to measure and manage the respective complexity. We conduct an exploratory case study with the central enterprise architecture management (EAM) governance team and ten application owners of a large European automotive company to identify and link root causes and consequences of AP complexity. Furthermore, we evaluate possible solutions to decrease or manage this complexity from an application owners perspective. The results are interpreted from a socio-technical systems perspective.

In today's economy organizations have to continuously adapt to changing external requirements. This often necessitates the adoption of new technologies and consequently the implementation of new applications. As a result, enterprise architects struggle with increasingly complex application portfolios that are costly to maintain and operate. In order to adequately manage these application portfolios, a better understanding of the relation between business application characteristics and operation costs is required. In this research we therefore analyze data from 3656 business applications of a global automotive company to evaluate the effects of commonly conjectured application portfolio complexity drivers. Our results show that several application characteristics-in particular the number of supported interfaces, business processes, business data, and users-correlate with operation costs and with incident numbers. We furthermore find that these correlations differ significantly for different application types.

Today’s organizations deal with a significant complexity of their information systems (IS) architec-ture—a complex cobweb of heterogeneous IS with tight, mutual interrelations. With the constantly in-creasing number of IS along with the inherent complexity of the organizational context in which IS are embedded, organizations lose control of their IS architecture’s evolution. Through employing a se-quential mixed-methods research design, this study investigates the drivers and effects of IS architec-ture complexity. Based on the extant literature and on focus groups data, at the outset we develop a research model and derive its constitutive hypotheses. We subsequently test the research model follow-ing a partial least squares (PLS) approach to structural equation modelling (SEM) with survey re-sponses from 249 IT managers and architects. While differentiating structural and dynamic complexi-ty, this study confirms a high degree of integration, large size, high diversity, strong dynamics, and, in particular, inadequate planning as the main drivers of IS architecture complexity. Further, this study affirms the negative effect of IS architecture complexity on the efficiency, agility, comprehensibility, and predictability of the IS.

Organizations rely on access to information to deal with environmental uncertainty and to support their decision making processes. Consequently, they implement structural mechanisms and information processing capabilities to enhance the information flow, such as integrated information systems and formal hierarchies. Particularly in environments that are strongly influenced by information and communication technology, the ability of an organization to provide decision makers with useful and trusted information is also dependent on social interactions outside of the organizational hierarchy. This research therefore jointly analyses the effects of social and organizational network structures on information spread for archetypical organizational configurations. Drawing upon literature on information diffusion in social networks and on organizational design, a conceptual model of information spread in organizations is developed. Based on this model, a simulation is built, validated, and a series of simulation experiments is performed. First, the simulation is able to replicate observations from other studies. Second, the results indicate that information spreading patterns in organizations differ significantly, depending on the organizational configuration, the position of a person within this configuration, and the employed communication strategy. Implications and next steps for further, more detailed analyses are eventually discussed.