Systems of Systems: From Concept to Actual Development 1
1.1. Network omnipresence creating a worldwide environment
The revolution brought on by the digital age, which had an impact as big as the industrial revolution, has deeply changed society. As a consequence of the spreading of information and communication technologies, businesses have grown under the influence of a new paradigm, created by the dematerialization of the economy and organizations, giving a new meaning to the notion of extended enterprise. Not only has the existing economical model evolved, but others have emerged, notably with the grouping of enterprises into networks – of different sizes and with different integration modes – to create value. This led to the development of business communities with an increasing outsourcing – and therefore the transfer of direct control via asset ownership – of parts of the traditional value chains in order to favor partnerships.
On a technical level, this cultural change goes hand in hand with the standardization of exchanges, and less centralized management techniques with contractual relationships between independent partners, rather than within proprietary organizations. Controlling these new virtual organizations, knowing how best to use the different resources provided via the networks (whether physical or not), is becoming a competitiveness factor in an ever changing world.
This new systemic context, moved by smaller and smaller time constants, requires ...