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Managing Complexity of Information Systems: The Value of Simplicity by Mederic Morel, Pirmin P. Lemberger

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Chapter 1Why Simplicity?

 

 

 

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

Leonardo da Vinci

 

1.1. Solving conflicting requirements

Information systems (ISs) are now ubiquitous in nearly all large companies and organizations. They provide a permanently available online store to customers. They automate an ever-increasing proportion of business processes and tasks, thus contributing to the rationalization effort and cost reduction required by the globalization of competition. Senior executives use ISs to perform business activity monitoring that allows them to react quickly in fast-moving markets, where reducing the time to market is more important than ever. ISs have thus truly become an essential tool for sound decision-making as well as for selling or providing goods and services.

We might naively think that such a strategic position would logically call for putting maximal effort into designing robust and perennial systems. However, as most likely any reader of this book will know by experience, such is hardly ever the case. Unlike road networks or buildings, most ISs are not really built or designed to last. Rather, they grow much more like living organisms, responding to a set of fluctuating and contradictory forces while trying to adapt in an open environment. A common situation is one in which the number of users grows, both inside (employees and IT personnel) and outside (customers) the company, while at the same time those same users all become more demanding. They expect ...

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