Many products developed today are becoming increasingly reliant on embedded software to facilitate customisation. Such products are becoming extraordinarily complex systems to design, update and maintain throughout the entire product life cycle. To support the design of complex systems there is a need for a complete re-conceptualisation of the traditional approaches to the management of information throughout the design and development process. This research is being undertaken within an action research framework and involves professionals from across the automotive sector, including participants from major OEMs; suppliers and support organisations and small start-ups. This paper sets out a new conceptual view for managing the information needed to support the design and development processes for complex systems. The framework has been evaluated through a number of workshops and is now informing work on a business transformation project in a large OEM for luxury cars.