“Complexity of IT Systems Will Be Our Undoing”

eserversI know, I know, I know ALL I seem to go on about is COMPLEXITY! So, what’s your problem with that? Do you get it? Do you understand what I am saying and why?

Did you know that I am not alone?

Please tell me I’m not alone!!!

Well here is pretty emphatic reassurance for me that I am not – just the blogging equivalent of the guy howling at the moon – exaggerating the nature and extent of the problem.

This time it’s not from a business, economic, environmental, political or sociological perspective but from the “upper echelons of IT”.

You know the most ironic thing is that Roger knows that Ontonix already have a provide a “hard science” solution!     I did wonder why, instead of “waxing lyrical” about the problem, he wasn’t talking about available [tried and tested] solutions….then I read the bits about a patent and consultancy!

Complexity of IT Systems Will Be Our Undoing – PCWorld Business Center.

The basic problem is the larger and more expensive an IT project is, the more likely it is to fail. You can do a lot of analysis as to why that is. You can say maybe we’re not using the right methodology, or communications is failing, or any number of things. But ultimately the only variable that appears to correlate closely with failure is complexity.So my basic proposal is that as systems get bigger and more expensive they get more complex and complex things are harder to deal with and therefore more likely to fail. So if the system is under, say $750,000, it has a good chance of succeeding. Once it approaches $2 million it has less than a 50% chance of succeeding. And by the time it gets much larger than that, the chances of success drop to near zero.

Rok: Another one bites the dust…

Of course it is sad when, yet another UK firm, that for so long was a real success story, collapses. When I read this it triggered a memory regarding worse than anticipated results and the suspension of a Director. The CFO who had been there for over 5 years.

This happened in August and it struck me at the time how our Ontospace technology would have helped a company like this identify emergent issues rather than to have to wait for the numbers to tell them it was too late. Little did I know that “it would come to this”.

We can’t tell the future but we can let a company establish how “fit” they are and, through complexity analysis, identify (otherwise) hidden areas of weakness within the organisation that may be worked upon BEFORE the cause irreparable damage.

Building firm Rok set to enter administration

Rok specialises in maintenance and employs more than 2,000 people across the UK Rok, the Exeter-based building services company, has said it is to place itself into administration.

In August, the company – which employs more than 2,000 trades people – reported a £3.8m loss for the first half of the year

Just one week before the results, the group said it had uncovered "serious failings" in financial and operational controls.

I am not suggesting that we possess the solution to business woes in such turbulent financial times but, as BBC reported at the time, there were “serious failings” in their “financial controls”. If a business has the ability to monitor its current financial health (structural robustness) in an objective and transparent manner they possess the ability to manage that proactively.

Otherwise managing the finances falls to those suitably qualified to do so and, for a variety of reasons, they don’t always get it right. It should never require an “independent review” to unearth issues related to the financial well-being of an organisation. Are we to believe that the CFO operated unchecked? I am not suggesting anything improper but, at best, there has been failure at the highest level within the Company.

You may find this blog post from July relevant and of interest. There are also some good links on there:

If “Risk Leaders” don’t know…how can their bankers and insurers?


“Running a company based on just the financials is like driving a car by only looking at the rear view mirror!”

With Ontospace we are able to map internal operational interdependencies and effectiveness as well as external supply chain robustness. We can provide the same in depth analysis and, if required, real-time monitoring of critical operations or processes.

COMPLEXITY is not an imaginary foe dreamt up just to make life more difficult than it already is for modern business. It is the inevitable consequence of the advancements we have made. We view a business as the dynamic (non-linear) complex “system” that it is and needs to be.


The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity

Just in case anyone who has taken the time to visit my blog in the past STILL hadn’t got the message about the need to acknowledge the complexity of the interdependencies that exist at every level of our existence. It is worth remembering that the global ecosystem would fair an awful lot better without us to screw it up but we are dependent upon  it for our survival.

The history of post-war economic growth has been one of unsustainable development: unsustainable for the planet’s ecosystems, for its species diversity, and indeed for the human race. By some recent yardsticks of sustainability, our global ecological footprint has doubled over the last 40 years, and now stands at 30 per cent higher than the Earth’s biological capacity to produce for our needs.

The ongoing degradation of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity, especially observable in the post-war era, is a well-documented reality. Several reports, culminating in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, have presented the evidence of significant degradation, affecting 60 per cent of ecosystem services over the last 40 years…

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Ecological and Economic Foundations | SD Scene.