Options in inter-organizational systems integration


  • Frank Geert Goethals IESEG School of Management à Lille - Catholic University Leuven
  • Monique Snoeck Faculty of Business and Economics, K.U. Leuven.
  • Wilfried Lemahieu Faculty of Business and Economics, K.U. Leuven.


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


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.

Author Biographies

Frank Geert Goethals, IESEG School of Management à Lille - Catholic University Leuven

Frank G. GOETHALS holds a Ph.D. in Applied Economics from the K.U.Leuven in Belgium. He is currently Assistant Professor in IS and head of the IS track at IESEG School of Management in Lille, France.  His research focuses on information sharing in B2B and B2C e-business. Frank has published in numerous journals including Data & Knowledge Engineering, IEEE Software, and Future Generation Computer Systems.

Monique Snoeck, Faculty of Business and Economics, K.U. Leuven.

Monique SNOECK obtained her Ph.D. from The Department of Computer Science of the K.U.Leuven (Belgium) in 1995 with a thesis that lays the formal foundations of the object-oriented business modelling method MERODE. She is Full Professor at the Management Information Systems Group of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the K.U.Leuven. She has been involved in several industrial conceptual modelling projects.  Her research has been published in journals such as Information & Management, Data & Knowledge engineering, and Information Systems Frontiers.

Wilfried Lemahieu, Faculty of Business and Economics, K.U. Leuven.

Wilfried LEMAHIEU holds a Ph. D. in Applied Economics from the K.U.Leuven, Belgium (1999).  He is associate professor at the Management Information Systems Group of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the K.U.Leuven. His teaching includes Database Management, Data Storage Architectures and Management Informatics.  His research interests comprise distributed object architectures and web services, database systems and hypermedia systems. His research appeared in IEEE Software, Data & Knowledge engineering, and the International Journal of e-Business research.


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How to Cite

Goethals, F. G., Snoeck, M., & Lemahieu, W. (2011). Options in inter-organizational systems integration. Systèmes d’Information Et Management (French Journal of Management Information Systems), 16(3), 81–114. Retrieved from https://revuesim.org/index.php/sim/article/view/356



Empirical research