Journal of International Information Management


Despite their acknowledged importance, international information technology applications - defined as supporting a business activity across a number of diverse environments - are still largely unstudied and under-explored. Scholarly research has been relatively sparse, but there is anecdotal evidence of the serious difficulties facing the developer of international systems. In this exploratory paper it is investigated whether there is a specific architecture, generically common to international information systems which could provide a framework for the development of international systems. The linkage between the global business strategy of international firms and the organization and structure of their information systems is discussed. Building on the body of research into the structure of global information systems and distilling from it some fundamental commonalities, an architecture consisting of a two-dimensional topology and five systems elements is proposed as a basic construct for the design of systems which operate across diverse environments. The potential benefits of the architecture and the resulting implications for the design of international information systems are set out and the need for future research to validate and develop the architecture model further is emphasized.