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Prof. Dr. Robert Winter

Büro 52-6146
Müller-Friedberg-Strasse 6/8
9000 St. Gallen
+41 71 224 2190


  • Design Science Research; Enterprise Architecture Management; Management und Governance von Grossprojekten
  • Forschungsgebiete

  • Wirtschaftsinformatik
  • Weitere Forschungsgebiete

  • Methodik gestaltungsorientierter Forschung
  • Unternehmensarchitekturmanagement
  • Management und Governance von Grossprojekten
  • Publikationen

    Platform ecosystems are complex ecologies of firms with individual competencies and collective objectives. The sustainable evolution of platform ecosystems is thereby contingent on taking advantage of the individual competencies of the ecosystem’s actors toward obtaining collective objectives. To learn more about platform ecosystem evolution and dynamics, we study Salesforce, a leading and thriving B2B platform ecosystem. We find that the ecosystem’s evolution was closely defined not only by the platform owner’s orchestrating initiatives, but also by its complementors’ and customers’ competencies and particularities. Specifically, we derive three distinct dimensions of evolution, namely the extension of the platform core technology, the extension of the platform’s functional scope, and the industry-specific specialization of the platform. We further identify three cross-dimension levers, namely proprietary developments, acquisitions, as well as partnerships and alliances, which were employed by the platform owner to drive its platform ecosystem’s evolution.

    Firms struggle to meet dynamically changing customers’ needs. One challenge is to navigate a complex search space to find resources needed for innovations that meet customers’ needs. Another challenge is to acquire the resources at lower costs than revenue opportunities to yield profitability. Digital platforms promise to address these challenges better than the market by providing search matching capabilities and modular, reusable resources. We examine whether platforms improve innovation performance and profitability of firms better than the market, as assumed. Using agent-based modeling and simulation, we find that firms perform better in the market when environmental complexity is low. As environmental complexity increases, firms start to perform better on the platform than in the market, specifically when the platform owner remarkably invests in search matching and modularity capabilities. The study advances our understanding of the environmental conditions under which platforms could be superior or inferior to the market.

    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.

    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.

    (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.

    While agile principles and methods have become mainstream in IT solution development, they have also immersed project management and organizational design. This process, however, is gradual so that management and governance practice of digital transformation programs (DTP) often have to deal with a coexistence of agile and traditional components. Such coexistence leads to tensions as some agile principles and methods are incompatible with or even contrary to their traditional counterparts. Drawing on existing discourses on tensions and governance, the purpose of this paper is to (1) identify and analyze such tensions in the context of complex DTP, (2) explore the corresponding challenges for program governance, and (3) derive requirements to enhance current DTP governance practice to deal with those challenges. The data gathered from an in-depth revelatory dual-case study of large DTPs let us identify 18 tensions, 17 corresponding governance challenges, and derive 10 requirements for a “change-mode-agnostic” governance system.

    Despite growing project management maturity, the failure rate of IT-related projects remains high. We investigated four large IT-related projects within the Swiss Federal Administration that were well-managed but still failed. We found that these projects failed because of poor project governance, in particular inadequate handling of project context by the project sponsor and steering committee. We identify five contextual factors that steering committees should focus on and provide recommendations for strengthening context-aware project governance, illustrated by their implementation in the Swiss Federal Administration.

    Sir Isaac Newton (1676) famously said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Research is a collaborative, evolutionary endeavor—and it is no different with design science research (DSR), which builds upon existing design knowledge and creates new design knowledge to pass on to future projects. However, despite the vast, growing body of DSR contributions, scant evidence of the accumulation and evolution of design knowledge has been articulated in an organized DSR body of knowledge. Most contributions rather stand on their own feet than on the shoulders of giants, and this continues to limit how far we can see, curtailing the extent of the broader impacts that can be made through DSR. In this editorial, we aim at providing guidance on how to position design knowledge contributions in wider problem and solution spaces. We propose (1) a model conceptualizing design knowledge as a resilient relationship between problem and solution spaces, (2) a model that demonstrates how individual DSR projects consume and produce design knowledge, (3) a map to position a design knowledge contribution in problem and solution spaces, and (4) principles on how to use this map in a DSR project. We show how fellow researchers, readers, editors, and reviewers, as well as the IS community as a whole, can make use of these proposals, and also illustrate future research opportunities.

    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.



    Global “Best Paper of 2017” Award, AIS Senior Scholars Consortium, Association of Information Systems 2018 

    Scientific Impact Award 2012 (Kategorie senior researcher), Profilbereich Business Innovation, School of Management, Universität St. Gallen


    Verband der Hochschullehrer für Betriebswirtschaft (VHB, im Vorstand 2011-2014)
    Association of Information Systems (AIS, Präsident des Swiss Chapter 2012-2016)
    International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP, Swiss National Representative, Technical Committee 8 "Information Systems" 2011-2018)

    Editorial Board

    Journals (aktuell):
    Senior Editor, European Journal of Information Systems (A)
    Associate Editor, MIS Quarterly Executive (B)
    Member of the Editorial Board, Enterprise Modelling and Information Systems Architectures Journal (EMISA, C)

    Journals (früher):
    Vice Editor-in-Chief and Department Editor, Business & Information Systems Engineering Journal (B)
    Member of the Editorial Board, International Journal of Information Systems and e-Business Management (ISeB, C) 

    Weitere Informationen

    Robert Winter ist Ordinarius für Wirtschaftsinformatik ab der Universität St. Gallen (HSG) und Direktor des Instituts für Wirtschaftsinformatik IWI-HSG. Er war Gründungsdirektor des Executive Master of Business Engineering EMBE HSG und Akademischer Direktor des Ph.D.-Programms der School of Management. Nach einer Lehrstuhlvertretung an der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster/Westfalen lehrt und forscht er seit 1996 in St. Gallen. Davor erwarb er Diplomabschlüsse in Betriebswirtschaft und Wirtschaftspädagogik sowie ein Doktorat in Wirtschaftswissenschaften an der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. Nach seinem Engagement als Department Editor und stellvertretender Hauptherausgeber des Journals "Business & Information Systems Engineering" ist er zurzeit Senior Editor des "European Journal of Information Systems" und Mitglied weiterer Editorial Boards, u.a. "MIS Quarterly Executive". Seine Forschungsgebiete sind insbesondere die Methodik gestaltungsorientierter Forschung, Unternehmensarchitekturmanagement und die Governance grosser IT-Projekte/-Programme. Eine seiner Publikationen wurde 2018 als eine von nur fünf Arbeiten weltweit mit dem "Senior Scholars Best Paper Award for 2017" der Association of Information Systems ausgezeichnet. 

    Sekretariat: Bernadette Mayer-Schawalder