Systems Engineering for Business Process Change: Collected Papers from the EPSRC Research Programme

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A very large proportion of commercial and industrial concerns in the UK find their business competitiveness dependent on huge quantities of already installed, legacy IT. Often the nature of their business is such that, to remain competitive, they have to be able to change their business processes. Sometimes the required change is radical and revolutionary, but more often the required change is incremental. For such incremental change, a major systems engineering problem arises. The cost and delay involved in changing the installed IT to meet the changed business requirements is much too high. In order to address this issue the UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) set up, in 1996, a managed research programme entitled Systems Engineering for Business Process Change (SEBPC). I was appointed as co-ordinator of the programme. The overall aim of this new managed research programme was to release the full potential of IT as an enabler of business process change, and to overcome the disabling effects which the build-up of legacy systems has on such change. As such, this aim addressed a stated objective of the Information Technology and Computer Science (IT&CS) part of EPSRC to encourage research at a system level.