Corporate design, information and knowledge are intertwined. Information and knowledge are a prime element of organisation design, and e-business technology has enabled the complex integration of all three in e-business models such as e-shop, e-mall or third-party marketplace (Timmers, 1999). Organisation theorists assert that information processing and coordination of work tasks are central features of an organisation (Gailbraith, 1977; Minzberg, 1979; Groth, 1999). Following the history of industrial design, the premise in IT Governance and IS development is that computer-based information processing requires central design. The use of IT for information processing makes central IT Governance and designs an invalid proposition in the 21st century organisation.
The various interfaces between a company and its customers, partners and employees need to be both functionally relevant and easy to use. Certain interfaces such as customers cannot be trained to use e-business IT systems. The design of these interfaces is critical to the success of an e-business. The new e-business organisation requires a multidisciplinary team to deliver relevant and effective solutions. Designers, creatives, psychologists and developers all can contribute to the novel e-business systems. IT Governance and design need to be local and in actual-time (when it is required). So modern information processing in organisation requires an amethodological or distributed governance too. In methodological approaches the analysis, design, and implementation of IS solutions to organisational problems are separated and controlled centrally. An amethodological approach proposed by Patel (1999), deferred system's design (DSD), enables organisations to delay design decision making to mitigate risk, and permit procedural, operational or policy problems to be resolved locally. E-business systems in banking incorporate DSD (Theotokis et al., 1997) to allow emergent and tailorable information processing needs to be facilitated locally.
The complexity of a customised order processing system such as for personal computers or cars or an electronic bidding system such as for auctions increases with the degree of their embeddedness in the environment. Generally, such e-business systems have a high correlation with the organisational (and economic) environment in which they function. Figure 1 is an organisation environment impact analysis of e-business systems that need to cater for organisational emergence. When the correlation with the environment is high, e-business systems need to be developed using DSD, as shown in the top right quadrant. Over time, environment impact on systems requires most systems to move clockwise from the bottom left quadrant to the top right quadrant.
Information and knowledge ontologies are not an aspect of current IT Governance, especially that concerned with aligning IT with business strategy. This aspect is critical given the inclusion of the customer in the operations of the business. E-business companies will have to develop deeper understandings of their products, customers, and partners through better information and knowledge creation, sharing and analysis in a shifting environment.