Thursday, October 31, 2013

Does Complexity Diminish Business Value?

 There are both 'Trick & Treat" Pieces in Complexity. Business is Complex, Nature is Complex, and Human is Complex

Modern organizations spend significant time and resources to deal with complexity, the complex organizational structure/process or the hyper-complex business ecosystem, which factors contribute the most to making organizations more complex? How to reduce unnecessary complexity or enforce effective complexity to increase business value?

Complexity is a systematic thinking concept, and it’s not the opposite of "simplicity.” In systematic thinking, systems such as organizations, biological systems, enterprise as a system, etc., can be characterized as being complex if they have non-linear feedback loops; such systems can exhibit emergent behavior. Simple systems can have complexity in that they have non-linear feedback loops which can result in emergent properties and outcomes. Complexity is diverse, ambiguous, and dynamic with unpredictable outcomes. It is often erroneously confused with the term complication. Nevertheless, complexity and complication do not mean the same thing. Something that is complex is not necessarily difficult, but something that is complicated does have a high degree of difficulty.

Einstein said that every solution to the problem should be as simple as possible, but no simpler. It means that a problem has an inherent, irreducible complexity; any attempt to simplify further than that will fail and any complexity added to it is harmful. So complexity per se is neither good nor bad. Some problems are simple in nature; others are complex. And it's a continuum, not either/or. The goal as an architect is to create elegant and useful problem solutions that accommodate a problem's inherent complexity and, depending on the system's nature and its audience, hide that complexity by abstracting up from it to a simpler level, without compromising the solution's quality, robustness, and enhanced ability. It's basically the old "novice vs. expert" tradeoff; a good system tries to accommodate as much of that range as possible. many problems become more and more complex as we dig into them,

Complexity is not the opposite of simplicity. Sometimes "complex is simple as it gets." System complexity arises from the interaction of dynamic components and can be layered and intricate. Even simple interactions can create amazing complex systems such as the game of life, Fractal images, Asparagus clouds. At the core of these complex images/patterns are a few simple elements. In some ways, “complexity” is an emergent property. The challenge is able to see the simple elements that make up these systems and understand the nature of the system, its elements, and the rules that govern them. This is not always easy. Once you have this understanding, the complexity still exists, but now you are in a better position to respond to threats and opportunities, and even modify the system – both its elements and the rules that govern them – to effect change. 

The complication is a better antonym for simplicity. Complicated systems will no doubt have layers of complexity as well, but can be simplified by reducing the number of components or changing the way they interact. Sometimes the way to do this is to make one of the elements of the system more complex, designed in such a way so that the complexity of other elements of the system is reduced. Some complexity factors cannot be simplified, you need to become more complex in order to serve, for example, customers. Other complexity factors do have less influence of external forces; these factors can be tackled and simplified in order to perform better. EA could be an instrument to handle complexity, but not conquer it. 

Tree Shape Complexity theory-Simplicity at the top, complexity towards leaves. Complex systems require systemic and holistic analysis techniques based on synthesis. Complexity and Complication are both relevant to Enterprise Architecture. EA must strive to understand the complexity and must work to simplify things that are complicated.

However, these systems typically pose a problem for architects and engineers because they are usually using the wrong tools (reductionism analysis techniques that can't detect the emergence properties). From the point of the business strategy changes, all tasks/requirements should be assessed and ranked in three dimensions:
1) criticality (value) for the business of the task
2) Readiness (maturity) of business for this task solution
3) Feasibility (Effort/ Complexity) 

Business is complex, nature is complex, and human is complex, there are beauty and harmony in it, also it is dynamic, diverse and distinct. So the purpose of managing complexity is not to, actually is impossible to eliminate it all, but on how to create synergy and build delight on it.


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