Category Archives: Presentations

Competing within Ecosystems: sustaining ways of creating indirect value

Title: Competing within Ecosystems: sustaining ways of creating indirect value
Author: P.J. Boxer
Category: Presentation
Year: 2012
Where Presented: School of Systems & Enterprises, Stevens Institute of Technology

The presentation will discuss the nature of the complexity that makes this way of thinking about the relationships between suppliers and customers ‘non-classical’. Thus entanglement means moving from a one-sided to a multi-sided understanding of markets, which changes the unit of analysis from the supplier to the ecosystem with which the supplier is interacting. Analysing market behaviours in a way that is driven by a tempo of demand organised by customers’ value deficits means that there are many different local environments within which market behaviours are expected to be aligned. A quantum metaphor will be used to cast light on what makes this way of thinking ‘non-classical’. The varieties of simultaneous behaviours which the business platform must be able to support are a superposed set of states. Each customer’s local environment collapses a singular local state from this platform that need not be correlated with states experienced in other customers’ environments. This collapse takes place through the local coherence created by alignment processes organised by shared meaning established within the customer’s local environment. Two implications drawn from this way of thinking will be discussed: first, how are agile platforms to be engineered if they are to support this level of variety in simultaneous complex behaviours; and second, how are the forms of agency to be developed within an organisation through which many forms of simultaneous local coherence may be created and sustained cost-effectively at its edges.

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Supporting social complexity in collaborative enterprises: a third agenda?

Title: Supporting social complexity in collaborative enterprises: a third agenda?
Author: P.J. Boxer
Category: Published
Publication year: September 2011
Where Published: UNICOM Enterprise Architecture Forum

The need for enterprises to capture new forms of indirect value in ecosystems, and the demand this creates for platform architectures that can support customers within these contexts.

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The Impact of Governance Approaches on SoS Environments

Title: The Impact of Governance Approaches on SoS Environments
Author: P.J. Boxer, P. Kirwan & H. Sassenburg
Category: Published
Publication year: 2010
Where Published: IEEE 4th International Systems Conference Proceedings

Governments worldwide are turning to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based systems of systems, commonly termed Electronic Government (eGovernment), to enable more timely, efficient and effective interaction with their citizens and with the business community. Citizens and businesses have dynamic and evolving demands related to the complexity of their lives and operational environments, respectively. A major challenge for government is to be able to understand the value derived from investment in eGovernment in order to improve its consequent ability to respond to the variety of demands of its citizens and businesses. To be able to understand the value derived from planned investments in eGovernment, their analysis needs to extend beyond the familiar approaches that address economies of scale and scope to encompass economies of alignment. These economies of alignment arise from being able to reduce the costs of the multiple forms of collaboration needing to be supported by systems of systems in providing greater responsiveness.

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Designing Collaborative Systems of Systems in support of Multi-Sided Markets

Title: Designing Collaborative Systems of Systems in support of Multi-Sided Markets
Authors: Boxer, P. & Whittall, N.
Category: Published
Where published: 13th NDIA Systems Engineering Conference, San Diego

Recent studies into the operational use of a UAV system have shown that the variety of mission situations in which the UAV system was used had far exceeded those anticipated at the time it was acquired. In effect, the dimensions of the operational capability space had expanded beyond the particular dimensions of the capability design space constrained by the acquisition paradigm. Whilst this may be regarded as the benefit of network-enabled approaches, which are intended to increase the variety of ways in which capabilities can be combined to create composite capabilities within systems of systems (SoS), this raises the question of whether the engineering of SoS can be addressed adequately from within the perspective of the capability design space.
From the point of view of the supplier, one way of approaching the impact of an expanding operational capability space is to think in terms of its being multi-sided, its multiple ‘sides’ corresponding to the multiple ways in which a supplied system can participate in larger systems of systems. This multi-sidedness yields an additional value to that normally associated with the direct use of a system’s particular capability. This additional value is associated with the system’s ability to support multiple ways of being used in conjunction with other capabilities, creating a multi-sided market in which two kinds of value have to be considered.
For the supplier of a component system within the context of a SoS, “Directed” or “Acknowledged” processes for acquiring SoS establish a single customer for the performance of the component system against a particular capability requirement, so that the supplier’s focus can be on the capability design space alone (referencing OSD’s Systems Engineering Guide for Systems of Systems, v1.0 August 2008). But in the case of “Collaborative” SoS, no such ‘top-down’ requirement is established, and a community interested in the uses of the operational capabilities of the SoS (possibly a Community of Practice) has to define its requirements ‘bottom-up’. In this case, the supplier of a component system faces customer requirements that must span a variety of different ways of being used operationally, making the supplier’s market multi-sided. As a result, the system’s supplier must approach the capability design space from the perspective of an expanding operational capability space in which two kinds of value must be generated for the customer.
The paper will outline an approach to Collaborative SoS in which the multi-sidedness of the SoS is defined in terms of its expanding operational capability space. The paper will use this approach to distinguish the two different kinds of value associated with supporting the SoS as a multi-sided market, and show how these two kinds of value impact differently on the design of its component systems.

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Limits to the Use of the Zachman Framework in Developing and Evolving Architectures for Complex Systems of Systems

Title: Limits to the Use of the Zachman Framework in Developing and Evolving Architectures for Complex Systems of Systems
Authors: Boxer, P. & Garcia, S.
Category: Published
Where published: 5th SEI Architecture Technology User Network Conference Proceedings 2009

Software architects are increasingly being asked to address how their architectural representations relate not only to those of systems (of systems) engineers, but also to the views commonly found in DODAF (Department of Defense Architecture Framework) or other enterprise architecture frameworks. In many cases, these requests made to software architects are part of trying to understand how one software system is likely to interoperate with others that are either inside or outside of the enterprise. Understanding some of the limitations of the Zachman framework and DODAF 2.0 in understanding both software architectures and interoperability in complex systems of systems should make it easier for software architects to place their architectures in relation to these other common frameworks.
This presentation describes proposed modifications to the Zachman framework that are required to account for the needs for cross-enterprise collaboration and for accommodating new user needs at a rapid pace. The presentation also highlights a set of modeling elements that are commonly found in multi-enterprise situations. These modeling elements are illustrated in reference to DODAF 2.0 entities to emphasize what is currently missing. The presentation concludes with an example from a modeling approach that addresses these gaps, which is used at the SEI to describe not only the social and technical aspects of systems (including software systems), but also their relationship to the changing demands (especially user needs) placed upon them.

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Enterprise Architecture for Complex System-of-System Contexts

Title: Enterprise Architecture for Complex System-of-System Contexts
Authors: Boxer, P. & Garcia, S.
Category: Published
Where published: IEEE 2009 International Systems Conference

An enterprise architecture is an accepted, widely used means for an organization to capture the relationship of its business operations to the systems and data that support them. Increasingly, enterprises are participating in complex system-of-systems contexts in order to meet changing customer demands that require them to collaborate with other enterprises in new and innovative ways. For a complex system-of-systems context, a shortcoming of enterprise architecture is that it presumes a single enterprise or a single, ultimate source of control.
This paper explores an approach to reasoning about distributed collaboration in the complex system-of-systems, multi-enterprise context, in which this single, ultimate source of control does not exist. It outlines the ways in which the long-used Zachman Framework for enterprise architecture would need to be modified to account for multi-enterprise collaboration and decentralized governance. It proposes a concept of stratification to meet this need and puts forward the main characteristics of the methods needed to model the stratified relationships of complex systems-of-systems to their contexts-of-use.

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Building Organizational Agility into Large-Scale Software-Reliant Environments

Title: Building Organizational Agility into Large-Scale Software-Reliant Environments
Author: Boxer, P.
Category: Published
Where published: IEEE 2009 International Systems Conference Proceedings

The tempo at which an enterprise creates new uses for its systems is different from that of its acquisition or systems development processes. The military continues to confront the issue of how fielded systems can support the agility needed by its deployed forces. This problem of diverging tempos applies to a variety of large-scale, software-reliant enterprises – such as those found in healthcare and digital communications. This paper posits four realities underpinning an approach to this problem space: the governance-demand double challenge, edge-driven perspective, stratification, and demand cohesion. It uses a particular case example to show how these concepts support the modeling and analysis of the enterprise as a socio-technical system of systems. The paper argues that analyses based on this approach are necessary for making this problem space tractable.

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Changing the value equation in engineering and acquisition to align systems of systems with dynamic mission needs: The Value Stairs

Title:Changing the value equation in engineering and acquisition to align systems of systems with dynamic mission needs: The Value Stairs
Authors: Boxer, P. Garcia, S. Anderson, W. Kirwan, P.
Category: Published
Where published: 12th NDIA Systems Engineering Conference

New kinds of threat and much wider varieties of demand on mission capabilities are requiring the military to achieve unprecedented levels of agility and responsiveness, and are driving the transformation of military capabilities. The great benefit of net-enablement in this new strategic environment is that it enables mission capabilities to be orchestrated and composed from constituent capabilities within the context of systems of systems.
The presentation will outline three essential ways in which the foundational nature of the systems engineering task needs to be transformed to take advantage of these new possibilities, and will use examples from various military contexts to illustrate their applicability. First, it will discuss how the definition of systems-of-interest has to be extended to include their socio-technical nature. Second, the definition of systems-of-interest also has to give an explicit account of the contexts-of-use from which emerge new forms of demand for mission capability. Third, it has to be possible to analyze how these new forms of demand translate into new patterns of interoperability (geometries-of-use) across systems of systems, thus defining the agility of systems of systems in terms of the required varieties of geometry-of-use that they must support. The presentation will conclude by considering the impact this has on the suppliers’ role, the acquisition process, and in particular the changes it introduces into how value is defined.

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The Double Challenge: working through the tension between meaning and motivation in a large system

Title: The Double Challenge: working through the tension between meaning and motivation in a large system
Author: Boxer, P.J.
Category: Published
Where published: ISPSO Conference proceedings

An enterprise is made up of a number of systems of practice within which its work is organized, whether the enterprise is public or private, virtual or not, or for profit or not. Such an enterprise faces a double challenge in the way it elaborates its systems of practice: this challenge places it between what it knows how to do, and the demands made on it by turbulent environments that take it beyond what it knows. A case study of a large system, the US wildland fire service, is used to exemplify these ideas, and the implications for considering the kinds of leadership that are needed to meet this challenge. Motivation is defined as that which emerges where there are gaps in the ability of the enterprise to do what it needs to survive and prosper, that is gaps in its systems of practice. These gaps are understood as ‘driving’ the enterprise, and show themselves as dilemmas that are symptomatic of these gaps. The double challenge presented by these dilemmas are relate to vertical and horizontal kinds of leadership. Horizontal leadership is then linked to the need for a consulting ethic that is reflexive.

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