MIS Quarterly Executive


As companies compete in a “flat world,” business strategists look to the enterprise IT architecture as an enabler of meeting unique local customer demands while also maintaining cost-effective global standards. Drawing from the experiences of globalizing companies operating in a variety of industries, this article shows how that architecture can be designed for each of the four approaches that companies can follow in their globalizing journey. Case study evidence and interview data are used to illustrate each enterprise IT architecture design, together with the global information management practices associated with the architecture. In presenting the enterprise IT architecture designs, this article focuses on the trade-offs general managers must consider when transitioning from one approach to another to ensure the company obtains the optimum balance between business flexibility and business standardization. The article concludes with nine key success factors for the IT architecture-enabled journey toward globalizing the company.