Based on the analysis of four case vignettes the architecture and design principles of international information systems are explored. A two-dimensional topology – suggested in previous research - was confirmed as a useful working paradigm for the architecture of international information systems. In terms of this model, such systems are configured from two elements: ‘core’ systems (common for the whole enterprise) on the one hand and ‘local’ systems (different for each site) on the other. One case vignette in particular highlights the logical and organisational difficulties in defining these systems elements. Object orientation is suggested as a fundamental design approach to provide a solution for this problem. Because it enables implementation differentiation and flexibility for future functional changes, it is conjectured that object technology is a useful – technical - development strategy for international information systems. Directions for further research are outlined.