This book is about complexity in Information Systems (IS). The subject is addressed from both conceptual and applied perspectives. Concepts are drawn from information theory, industrial design and software engineering. Its content capitalizes on experiences gathered by the authors during various contracting jobs involving software architecture, modeling and IS architecture that were conducted for large organizations in the banking and industry sectors, as well as in the public sector.
The authors develop the point of view according to which mastering complexity involves two essential steps: first, one should develop a clear understanding of the real nature of complexity within the IS; second, one should identify the primary causes which contribute to its uncontrolled growth and organize these into a logical framework, in order to define efficient countermeasures. Both technical and psychological causes of complexity are to be considered. Two themes make up the main thread of the book: complexity and value. Both themes are quite common when considered separately, but their interplay remains a largely unexplored topic. The analysis of this interplay is one of the sources of originality of this book.
Table of Contents
- Title Page
Chapter 1: Why Simplicity?
- 1.1. Solving conflicting requirements
- 1.2. Three periods in IS management
- 1.3. And now … simplicity!
- 1.4. Plan of the book
Chapter 2: Complexity, Simplicity, and Abstraction
2.1. What does information theory tell us?
- 2.1.1. Shannons entropy
- 2.1.2. Kolmogorov complexity
- 2.1.3. Bennetts logical depth
- 2.1.4. Abstraction in light of scale and depth
- 2.1.5. Harvesting information theory
2.2. What does the design tell us?
- 2.2.1. Simplicity by reduction
- 2.2.2. Simplicity by hiding complexity
- 2.2.3. Simplicity through organization
- 2.2.4. Simplicity through learning
- 2.2.5. Simplicity implies time saving
- 2.2.6. Simplicity needs trust
- 2.2.7. What does software architecture tell us?
- 2.2.8. Abstraction in software engineering
- 2.1. What does information theory tell us?
Chapter 3: Value or Values?
- 3.1. Who is concerned?
- 3.2. Concepts of value for an IS
- 3.3. Are these values sufficient and independent?
Chapter 4: Promoting Value Through Simplicity
4.1. Growing technical heterogeneity
- 4.1.1. Openness
- 4.1.2. Rapid obsolescence of IT
- 4.1.3. Absence of technological vision and leadership
4.2. Changing requirements
- 4.2.1. Why complexity increases
- 4.2.2. Implementing simplicity
4.3. Human factors
- 4.3.1. Multidisciplinarity
- 4.3.2. Disempowerment of IT Skills
- 4.3.3. Local interest is not global interest
- 4.1. Growing technical heterogeneity
Chapter 5: Simplicity Best Practices
- 5.1. Putting simplicity principles into practice
- 5.2. Defining a generic IS
5.3. A simplicity framework
- 5.3.1. Simplicity in hardware
- 5.3.2. Simplicity in software data access
- 5.3.3. Simplicity in software services
- 5.3.4. Simplicity in softwareuser interface
- 5.3.5. Simplicity in Functional Architecture
- Appendix 1: Digging into Information Theory
- Appendix 2: Two Measures of Code Complexity
Appendix 3: Why Has SOA Failed So Often?
- A.3.1. The need for flexibility
- A.3.2. First issue: no suitable enterprise architecture
- A.3.3. Second issue: no data integration
- A.3.4. Identifying the operating model
- A.3.5. Which models are compatible with SOA?
- A.3.6. Conclusion on SOA
- Title: Managing Complexity of Information Systems: The Value of Simplicity
- Release date: January 2012
- Publisher(s): Wiley
- ISBN: 9781118566053