Sophisticated products require a sophisticated approach
In the past, approaches to product and systems development were much simpler. You had great engineers using slide rules and graph paper. These innovators and their "simple" systems built the bridges, airplanes, computers and oil rigs that powered the past century of industrialization.
But today’s innovations, full of software and sensors, are more complicated than ever. What used to be a supercomputer can now be held in one hand. Rovers explore the surface of Mars. Local police patrol with drone aircraft. And soon, our cities might have more network traffic than freeway traffic. Internet-enabled devices will outnumber our world population by 6:1 in coming years.1
Today’s world needs more sophisticated approaches to help build the smarter products and systems customers want.
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A systems approach to product and systems development
More than just staying competitive, gaining an edge in this marketplace is going to take a transformation―a new generation of capabilities. It’s going to take a systems approach to product development.
The application of systems engineering to product development means taking a holistic view. In this way of thinking, no system can be understood or improved by considering only the functions of its parts in isolation
The numbers support the theory. Recent research shows that a typical enterprise might invest in systems engineering at about 8.5 percent of total program cost. If the program increased its systems engineering effort level to an optimum of 14.4 percent, the US$200,000 investment would save US$500,000 on average.
The necessity of delivering increasingly complex and smarter products in less time and at a lower cost is driving the need for new strategies and development technologies. And with a smarter systems approach, manufacturers of smarter products can gain a competitive advantage.
1 Soderbury, Rob. “ How Many Things Are Currently Connected To The "Internet of Things" (IoT)”, Forbes.com, January 7, 2013.
2Honour, Eric, Systems Engineering Return on Investment, University of South Australia, 2013, p.180