Dr Ashley Aitken

Dr Ashley Aitken

Dr Ashley Aitken is an experienced business analyst, enterprise architect, software engineer, entrepreneur, and trainer with over 25 years of experience. He has a PhD in Computer Science and Software Engineering (in Artificial Intelligence) and specialises in Business Information Systems, Enterprise Software Development, Startups, Corporate Innovation, and AI. Ashley has two consulting businesses: Running Code Productions, which assists organisations with business software, systems and technology; and Innovately.com.au, which assists organisations in using Lean Startup and Customer Development to identify new business opportunities. He has worked internationally and received recognition and numerous awards for his teaching and training.

Presentation: Modular Mastery: Enhancing Business Agility and Robustness through Hybrid Systems with Clear and Well-defined Interfaces

What can business learn from software systems?

How can business analysts build better integrated business and software systems?

Problem: When businesses get large and complex it becomes difficult to change the way things operate, e.g. business processes. Businesses become less agile and more fragile, i.e., many parts are interconnected and if something needs to change in one part of the business some (or even many) other parts of the business will often be affected.  This problem is a common problem in software systems as well.

Solution: The solution in software is to compartmentalise parts of the software into modules and have clear and well-defined interfaces between them that don’t change as much and use these for interactions.  The solution for businesses is very similar, to compartmentalise parts of the business and have clear and well-defined interfaces between them that don’t change as much and use these for interactions.

Key Concepts: Hybrid Systems – considering business areas and business systems as hybrid information systems consisting of human and software information processing systems; Hybrid Interfaces – considering the human as well as the software interfaces between these business areas and systems; Choreography and Orchestration – the different ways to define business processes between areas and systems.

Takeaways: If we arrange business areas and systems together as hybrid systems with clear and well-defined interfaces, and prefer choreographed business processes, unless central control and tracking is required, we can have business area and systems that are easier to develop and change independently, enhancing both agility and robustness, crucial for thriving in a dynamic world.