Toward a Theory of an IT Integration Infrastructure
Americas Conference on Information Systems
Not long ago, the IT profession was concerned with integrating islands of information. Then the focus shifted to integration of applications to form enterprise systems. A major challenge of the new millennia is the integration of IT infrastructures that have emerged as technology rapidly advanced during the past couple of decades. This holistic view is similar to many ideas found in Stafford Beer's viable systems model. Information technology infrastructures have been the focus of much research
... during the past two decades. Unfortunately, infrastructure is a ubiquitous term applied to many systems and structures for both IT and non-IT areas. Infrastructure research has been conducted for information infrastructures, network infrastructures, enterprise system infrastructures, hardware infrastructures, and the like. IT infrastructures do not exist in a vacuum but rather depend upon and interact with other infrastructures found in organizations and society. A relatively new phrase is integration infrastructure, which is currently an ill-defined concept. This research proposes a model to represent the antecedents, components, and relationships of an integration infrastructure. The paper suggests that an integration infrastructure is the "glue" that holds the other IT infrastructures together and allows them to work together. Integration infrastructures are artificial mechanisms created by organizations to meet their specific needs. Since organizations depend on different stakeholder groups to create, integrate, and manage IT infrastructures, technological frames can be useful for operationalizing the model. A recent empirical study supports parts of the proposed model.