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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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.



    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