Options in inter-organizational systems integration

Frank Geert Goethals, Monique Snoeck, Wilfried Lemahieu


Inter-organizational systems integration can happen in many ways. Depending on the setting, one integration solution is more appropriate than another. If companies are to decide on the most appropriate solution for them, they need to know what all possible solutions are they can choose from and on what aspects these differ. The research question that is answered in this paper is on what relevant classificatory basis we can distinguish IOSI solutions; and given this classificatory basis, what is the complete set of IOSI solutions to choose from? We used a grounded theory approach, studying several inter-organizational integration cases, standards and technologies. The theoretical contribution of this paper is that it identifies a six-dimensional inter-organizational systems integration solution space. The six dimensions concern data design, process design, process execution control, task execution, data transmission and data storage, each of which is considered from a (de)centralization perspective. These (de)centralization dimensions are, at least in theory, orthogonal to each other. The research is relevant for practitioners because taking a position on the dimensions implies choosing a solution with distinct properties. Properties of solutions are discussed so as to make it easier for companies to choose an appropriate solution. The main novelty of the paper is that it defines a comprehensive integration solution space by introducing the important concept of centralization at the level of inter-organizational information systems.


inter-organizational systems integration; centralization; inter-organizational processes; inter-organizational data sharing

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.9876/sim.v16i3.356

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