Robustness

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Real Life Business Debacle Highlights Importance Of BPM System Robustness

On his ebizQ blog, Peter Schooff, based on a posting in the the MWD Blog, asked for a definition of  systems robustness.  (July 2012): "What makes a business process robust?"  The question of robustness is much more important than you might expect.  The definition of robustness gets to the heart of what it means to build successful systems for business.  Addressing the question of robustness is one antidote to the "magical thinking" which is sometimes found in the executive suite.  But to think about robustness, one must have an understanding of the technical meaning of the term.  The term is sometimes bandied about along with other feel-nice business jargon, including the word "agile", with the result that the word loses it's power and your dialogue is robbed of meaning.  Here are your host's comments, mirrored from ebizQ:

In the context of several recent banking debacles, a question on the definition of system robustness is a good question. It's a good question because at least one of the UK banking failures appear to have happen at the intersection of technology, business process outsourcing and business process management. The failure was very high profile because thousands of customers were reported to have been locked out of their accounts for extended periods of time.   (This failure was not the same issue which was the trigger for the ebizQ thread; however interestingly, both issues conceivably involve business process.)

Why is "robustness" a good question in the circumstances? Because the ostensible failure of consumer banking services could correctly be characterized as a situation where the system "lacked robustness under conditions of outsourcing." The statement "conditions of outsourcing" gets to the formal definition of robustness.

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