European Business Schools Librarian's Group

Les Cahiers de Recherche,
HEC Paris

No 1069: The Limits of Systems Integration: Complementarity, Contingencies, and Solution Design Choices

Andrea Masini () and Federica Ceci ()

Abstract: Whereas systems integration is recognized as an important organizational capability, the mechanisms through which it creates value as well as the environmental contingencies that delimit its effectiveness remain unclear, particularly when firms deliver integrated solutions embodying products and services. Focusing on IT solution providers, the authors investigate the effectiveness of systems integration with respect to three specific approaches to solution design: breadth, modularity, and customization. They find a complementarity effect between systems integration and solution design approaches: if firms pursue customization or rely on a broad set of heterogeneous knowledge bases, systems integration becomes fundamental. Conversely, if firms adopt a modular design, systems integration is redundant and even counterproductive. The authors also find evidence of complementarity between breadth and customization, but not between breadth and modularity nor between customization and modularity.

Keywords: systems integration; modularity; customization; solution design

39 pages, December 1, 2014

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