Evaluating the adoption of enterprise application integration in multinational organisations
A review of normative literature, in the field of Information Systems (IS) integration, indicates that traditional approaches to applications integration have failed to result in flexible and maintainable IT infrastructures. In addressing this issue, a new technology called Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) has emerged and addresses most of integration problems by resulting in the development of reusable and manageable IT infrastructures. Enterprise application integration is a new research area with many research issues needing to be investigated. At this end, EAI adoption has not efficiently studied with organisations and researchers needing to understand and analyse EAI adoption. This work examines the introduction of enterprise application integration in multinational organisations and proposes a novel model for its adoption. The model is based on a comprehensive set of factors that influence the introduction of EAI in organisations. Since there is an absence of theoretical models for EAI adoption, the proposed model adapts factors that influence the adoption of other integration technologies such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDT). Additional factors like an evaluation framework that supports decision making have been considered by the author as factors that influence EAI adoption. In moving from the conceptual to the empirical, the work is based on a qualitative case study approach to examine the concepts of the proposed model for the adoption of EAI. In doing so, two case studies were conducted at multinational organisations and presented and analysed. However, during the empirical research complementary factors also emerged, which resulted in modifications being made to the previously presented conceptual model. In interpreting from empirical data, it appears that ten main factors influence the adoption of EAT namely: (a) benefits; (b) barriers; (c) costs; (d) internal pressures; (e) external pressures; (f) IT infrastructure; (g) IT sophistication; (h) an evaluation framework for the assessment of integration technologies; (i) evaluation framework for the assessment of EAT packages and, (j) support. The proposed model makes novel contribution at two levels. First, at the conceptual level, as it incorporates factors identified separately in previous studies as influencing adoption of other integration technologies. These factors are used for the development of a consistent model for the adoption and evaluation of EAT. Secondly, the concepts of the proposed model can be used for the adoption of inter-organisational information systems. The proposed model can be used as a decision-making tool to support management when taking decisions regarding the adoption of EAI. Additionally, it can be used by researchers to analyse and understand the adoption of application integration.