The Limits of Systems Integration: Complementarity, Contingencies, and Solution Design Choices

39 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2014 Last revised: 10 Dec 2014

See all articles by Federica Ceci

Federica Ceci

D.A.S.T.A. University G. d’Annunzio

Andrea Masini

HEC Paris - Operations Management and Information Technology

Andrea Prencipe

LUISS Guido Carli University

Date Written: December 1, 2014

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, we investigate the effectiveness of systems integration with respect to three specific approaches to solution design: breadth, modularity, and customization. We 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. We 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

Suggested Citation

Ceci, Federica and Masini, Andrea and Prencipe, Andrea, The Limits of Systems Integration: Complementarity, Contingencies, and Solution Design Choices (December 1, 2014). HEC Paris Research Paper No. MOSI-2014-1069. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535356 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2535356

Federica Ceci

D.A.S.T.A. University G. d’Annunzio ( email )

Viale Pindaro 42
Chieti Scalo, Pescara 66013
Italy

Andrea Masini (Contact Author)

HEC Paris - Operations Management and Information Technology ( email )

1, rue de la Liberation
Jouy en Josas, 78351
France

Andrea Prencipe

LUISS Guido Carli University ( email )

Viale Romania 32
Rome, Rome 00196
Italy

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