Conktw~tivepressures are forcing organizations to be agile and flexible. Response to changing environmental conditions is an important factorindeterminingcorporateperformance. Organizationalflexibilityisinturncloselyrelatedtothemanagementofinformation systems. Flexibility of information systems needs to be actively managed. Information systems in organizations have evolved from being a function of a centralized MIS department to a function dependent on a distributed collection of information systems resources (hardware,software,andpeople). ThisdistributedcollectionofresourceshasbeenreferredtoastheDistributedInformationSystems Architecture. Managing flexibility in distributed information systems architectures is an interesting and challenging problem. The importance of flexibilityboth at the organizational and information systems levels has been recognized by research in management (Bahrami 1992), operations management (Sethi 1990), and MIS (Lacity,Willcocks and Feeny 1995). However, flexibility in distributed informationsystemarchitectureshasnotbeenexaminedindetail. Flexibilityindistributedinformationsystemarchitecturescanbe of several types. Each type of flexibilityhas distinct characteristics. Understanding different types of flexibility in the context of distributedinformationsystemarchitectures isthereforeextremelyimportant. The operations management literature on flexibility is used as a starting point to categorize various types of flexibility. Analysis of secondary data using grounded theory(Strauss and Corbin 1990) is employed to identifyseveral different types of flexibility. Secondary data used consists of articles on outsourcing and management of information systems from academic publications as well as from practitioner publications such as Datamation,InformationWeek,etc. A taxonomyfor understanding flexibilityin distributed information system architectures is developed. "Iherelationshipbeaweenvarioustypesofflexibilityanddifferentinformationsystemsfunctionsisexplored. Thistaxonomyofflexibility, as well as the relationship between types of flexibility, information system functions, and resource requirements has important implications for evaluation of outsourcing decisions.
Kumar, Ram and Stylianou, Antonis, "Managing Flexibility in Distributed Information Systems Architectures" (1995). ICIS 1995 Proceedings. 31.