Each information system (IS) has an underlying architecture, although its complexity and scope can vary quite substantially for differ kinds of systems. Since design decisions about the architecture define the very foundation of an IS, the design decisions cannot be easily undone or altered after they were made. If not taken seriously enough, improper IS architecture designs can result in the development of systems that are incapable of adequately meeting user requirements. Understanding the concept of good IS architecture design and taking design decisions diligently is, therefore, highly important for an IS development project’s success. In order to answer the question of what constitutes a good IS architecture, this chapter examines the importance of design decisions across a system’s lifecycle. In particular, two different perspectives on the concept of good IS architecture design are explicated: (1) design as the process and (2) design as the outcome of a design process. The two perspectives are closely related to each other and generally help explain the more abstract concept of IS architecture design and particularly the characteristics of a good IS architecture.
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