Generic filters
Exact matches only
Filter by content type

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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Existing guidance for communicating design research projects commonly focusses on specific communication instance types such as journal paper writing. However, the diversity of design research endeavours and the variety of communication situations within each such project requires broader and more adaptable guidance. This study therefore proposes a use-case agnostic framework for the communication of DSR. The design of this framework was continuously evaluated and refined by using it in University lectures. It guides design researchers by helping them characterize specific communication situations, based on which an informed communication design process can be formulated.

    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.



    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