Mastering complexity

Mastering complexity

Experience No.: 38

Nowadays new products and services must satisfy many criteria, including the demands of the relevant market and regulatory requirements. Furthermore, the factors that must be considered during development are not only more numerous, but are also changing at an accelerating rate. This is particularly true with regard to technology. A growing number of parameters and accelerated change give rise to increasing complexity. The articles in this issue of ERNI Experience describe ways to master this challenge based on our experience. In the industry, development of equipment or software on its own has been replaced by development of complex systems. This by itself already leads to a need for more intensive internal coordination. Furthermore, development must be aligned to external factors such as market changes and regulatory requirements. The articles in this issue on the subjects of process improvement and system engineering describe how to achieve these internal and external alignments in practice.

Another source of complexity is the need to embed systems in existing IT landscapes. These landscapes are often very heterogeneous. One approach to meeting this challenge is to use a service-oriented architecture (SOA). Besides enabling you to arrive at more flexible solutions, it can yield medium-term cost savings - as demonstrated by our example from the e-health sector. Service level management also involves alignment, and in particular aligning the various organisations that provide the services.

They cannot improve their level of service to their customers unless their task assignments are regulated by operational level agreements. Naturally, there are tools available to simplify dealing with complexity in the development process. However, a systematic approach is necessary for selecting and introducing these tools, as otherwise their benefits and survival chances are extremely limited.