The flexibility of information systems (IS) is a topic of growing
importance within IS analysis and design. IS have to cope with
the increasing structural and behavioral complexity of environmental
and business systems. Both increase the need for flexibility
of a company’s IS. On the one hand, researchers and practitioners
agree that IS flexibility is a crucial success factor for the
viability of business systems, on the other hand, however, earlier
research has come to the conclusion that the concept of flexibility
is hard to capture. One of the reasons for this is the difficulty to
perform flexibility analyses on IS. This paper investigates different
definitions of flexibility and methods for the analysis of IS
flexibility regarding their precision, completeness and applicability
by using a systems and organizations theoretical foundation.
The paper’s research goal is to propose a certain way of understanding
flexibility as well as a method for analyzing it. Furthermore,
“rules of thumb” are introduced to support the development
of IS strategies with regard to flexibility aspects. Finally, the
applicability of the IS artifact is exemplified by a scenario within
the Plant Engineering and Construction industry.