Strategic Choices in IS Infrastructure: Corporate Standards Versus"Best of Breed" Systems

Rajiv Dewan, Abraham Seidmann, Shankar Sundaresan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


A key IS infrastructure policy decision is whether to let each department select its own "'Best of Breed" system solutions, which may be incompatible with each other, or to mandate the adoption of a uniform corporate standard, which may not be deemed suitable by some departments. Our paper examines the salient trade-offs involved in making such critical decisions. We identify cases where installation of disparate systems is preferable from anoverall corporate perspective and those where all departments are required to adopt the same system. The paper shows that: (I) If the organization requires all departments to use the same standard system, then it is always better off delegating this choice of a particular standard to a negotiating process among the departments. (ii) ha certain situations, the organization benefits by letting departments install different systems that are best suited to their needs (Best of Breed). (iii) Site-licensing may adversely affect the adoption of a standard system as a result of a dysfunctional response which we term shadow-rider behavior: Departments initially mask their true preferences and do not contribute to the purchase of site licenses, but later try and switch to gain cheap usage of the system once it is licensed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes
Event16th International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 1995 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: Dec 10 1995Dec 13 1995


Conference16th International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems


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