and Web Information Systems
It appears obvious, but bears
repeating: Without Internet and Web technology, there would be no electronic
commerce, e-business, e-learning, etc. Furthermore, business affairs
and strategies in these areas remain highly dependent on innovation
such as the emergence of the Web services standards.
With Internet and Web technology,
entire industries can be reorganized to release efficiency gains and
create value. This process is driven by competitive pressure, as well
as by the global nature of the Internet.
Usually, it is not just a single
piece of technology, but rather a set of information technology (IT)
components integrated into an information system (IS) or
platform that changes business processes and industry economics.
The Web is a very good example. It consists of the HTTP, HTML, and URL
standards, the Web browser, Web servers, and many more components.
These components have to be organized and integrated into an IS so that
their use can create value. The manner in which this is done is described
by the IS architecture.
As information systems and in
particular, software are becoming more important, so too is IS architecture
design. In many industries, companies have implemented enterprise resource
planning (ERP) systems to tightly integrate fragmented islands of automation.
However, ever-increasing competition requires changes in architectures
to resolve the tension between ease of integration and flexibility.
In industries such as computers
and cellular/mobile communications, architecture design can win technology
wars. Competitive success goes to the firm that can impose architectural
control over a newly emerging space. Often this includes the definition
of interface standards. The Microsoft Corporation antitrust ruling
in the Federal Court has revealed how software standards and control
of software application interfaces can shape the structure of on an
entire industry and the strategic options within the industry. With
its control of the PC operating system and application programming interfaces,
Microsoft can influence higher-level applications ("application
barrier to entry").
With software becoming the "factory,"
one key to success lies in the alignment of IS architecture design with
a firm's business strategy.
I investigate the role and capabilities
of IS architectures and their impacts on business strategy and performance.
Research in this Research Area
is supported in part by a grant from