Eclectica Systems Ltd.

Adding Innovation to your systems...

What is Enterprise Systems Engineering?

In simple terms Enterprise Systems Engineering (ESE) appplies Systems Engineering principles and processes to a business or enterprise - a 'soft system'.

Systems (of Interest) - the Enterprise and the Product

Systems typically have 'emergent behaviour' resulting from interaction between their parts. What we aim or is that this is deliberate, planned-for and wanted behaviour in order to minimise possible negative effects and 'the law of unintended consequences'. We do need to be take care, however, because each system has its own criteria and ptimising one is likely to reduce the effectivess of the containing system (i.e it's a balance).

The Enterprise

The system of interest is formed from the people, processes and the resources or tools used by them. This is the system of interest that typically designs, develops, builds, manufactures and maintains the products of the Enterprise.

Processes provide a means to standardise the quality of the product and make the quality independent of any one person's expertise.

The people - which include employees but may also include external suppliers and possibly a regulator or auditor - follow the processes and using the tools (which might include CAD or Computer-Aided Systems Engineering or Manufacturing software) to produce the deliverables that are typical in defining, building, delivering, operating and supporting the product. There is usually an organisational structure which controls reporting and communication and often the physical grouping of the people.

The Product

The product is usually a "hard system" that is built or manufactured and consists of physical elements, software elements and a sofware controller which manages, coodinates and optimises the overall system during its operation. This controller might be a guidance and control computer (for a weapon system), a engine management system (for a car), the network operations centre (for a railway or an electricity grid) or the operating system (for a computer). Sometimes the product might consist of wholly software elements. It also often includes one or more human elements in the roles of user, operator, maintainer and possibly disposer. Often the system elements might be widely dispersed - enabled by modern communications technology whether the internet (internet of things), satellite or radio frequency.

The Combination of the Enterprise and the Product

These two systems can affect each other in many possible ways:-

  • communication / interactions in the product might reflect the organisational and contractual structure and boundaries. Sometimes this is deliberate - for product safety development. Sometimes this is accidental and unobserved. It might simply reflect where two teams within a company or between companies have good (or poor) communication in the design and development process.
  • unwanted behaviour of the combination is often at the root of accidents where process is either correct but not followed or incorrect results in a process flaw that affects the product verification or the product design or where the interaction of the product in its environemt wasn't established sufficiently and the product reacts to a situation it wasn't designed for in a way that results in unwanted and possibly hazardous outcomes. Sometimes it might simply be a quality problem in unxpected variability in the product parameters that make it more susceptible to a problem in service (or disposal).

This is increasingly the case for modern systems which are becoming ever more complex and ever more interconnected and might unintentionally form a system of systems.

Many of these interactions are behind system failures that have been exposed by well known inquiries such as the Challenger disaster, the Haddon-Cave enquiry into a Nimrod crash , failure of the fire service FiReControl command and communication project or the failure of the introduction of a new communications technology into the London Ambulance Service.

Produced by OmniGraffle 7.14.1 2020-03-29 12:31:06 +0000 Canvas 4 Layer 1 System - Enterprise People Process Tools FOLLOW USE System - Product Product Product Element Product Element Organisation Job Job Job REPORTS TO SUPPORT GROUPED BY TO PRODUCE
Any organization that designs a system (defined broadly) will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization's communication structure.
Conway's Law

Areas of Potential Help

Eclectica Systems can help:-

  • analyse/ audit / make recommendations
    • undertake an audit of the maturity of the organisation / processes against typical standards such as ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288 Systems and Software Engineering - Lifecycle Processes or a Capability Maturity Model, such as the Carnegie - Mellon one
    • identify gaps, overlaps, inconsistencies in process, role or responsibility, missing development or process artefacts/documents
  • amend / create processes so that in following the processes compliance with the respective standards is achieved
    • help make them auditable / verifiable
  • suggest / help integrate organisation, process, tools
    • options available
    • implications - on technology, on process (and whether the tools are able to properly support the required processes)
    • organisational or role capabilities needed

At all times we will offer pragmatic advice or delivery rather than the theoretical ideal (which often doesn't survive in the real workplace with imperfect people, process and technology). As a startup or small business has very different needs and will be at a different state of maturity to an established large organisation we will always ensure that the advice suits your particular circumstances, if needs be with a development or transormation path for the future.

As ever we are always willing to have a discussion about how or if we can help (we will never commit or promise something that is beyond ourt collective experience).