System Definition

A System is a whole, which consists of interdependent and interacting elements with a single purpose. A system is greater than the sum of its elements. When a system is taken apart it loses its value and so do the parts.

The implication of all this is that performance of the system depends on how well the parts fit together, not how well they perform individually plus how emerging properties are managed to maximize performance. Thus, the best parts do not necessarily make the best whole; they have to fit together. For a IT system to achieve efficiencies and effectiveness which in turn impact productivity and throughput (billing and inventory) systemic approach in its dynamic environment needs to be considered.

The main focus of this blog is the role of System Thinking in IT environment: ie. Leverage of IT to improve system performance.  The framework of applying system thinking can be adopted to any system: Economic system of EU to Formula 1 racing, Champion League Football.

System – a group of independent but interrelated elements comprising an integrated whole

system thinking pic1

1)    Structure – composition of elements of the system.

  1. Organizational key elements: inventory, cash, wip, raw materials ect…
  2. Organizational elements: Customer, Suppliers, Distributors, Markets,
  3. Organizational mechanism to carry-out process: factories, IT system, machines, workers, managers, R&D….
  4. State economic system, Citizens, banks, roads, trains, government, universities, trade-union, justice system, health system….
  5. Formula 1 Racing : track, driver, car (engine, tires, suspension, body), support, R&D, management…..

2)    Behavior – involved inputs, processes and outputs of material, energy and/or information

3)    interconnections – structural and functional relations between elements

4)    emerging properties -system properties that do not appear in individual elements (e.g. car individual parts cannot move by themselves). Emergent properties is that it’s the property of the wholeand only exists as a wholenot a property of the component bits. Emerging properties have a fundamental impact on the system performance.  Each organization will have unique emergent properties . ‘pattern resulting from the interactions’ among multiple elements in a system including aspects of the environment


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