Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Monitoring the complexity of a firm’s IT architecture is imperative to ensure a stable and flexible platform foundation for competing in the era of digital business strategy. However, IT architects lack IT support for dealing with this important problem. We engaged with five companies in a significant design science research (DSR) program and drew on the heuristic theorizing framework both to solve this problem through evolving IT artifacts and to accumulate nascent design knowledge. We base the design knowledge development on a conceptual framework involving three essential concepts for understanding and solving this problem: structural complexity, dynamic complexity, and problem-solving complexity. Drawing on this foundation, we address the research question: How can IT support be provided for reducing the problem-solving complexity of monitoring the structural and dynamic complexity of IT architectures in the context of a digital business strategy? To answer this question, we present a set of design principles that we derived from our iterative process of IT artifact construction and evaluation activities with five companies. Our nascent design knowledge contributes to the research on IT architecture management in the context of digital business strategy. In addition, we also contribute to the understanding of how, through the use and illustration of the heuristic theorizing framework, design knowledge can be accumulated systematically on the basis of generalization from IT artifact construction and evaluation outcomes generated across multiple contexts and companies.