Area 2 - Business Value: Software Value and Innovation

Area manager: Prof. Tony Gorschek
Researcher: Dr. Samuel A. Fricker
Post doctoral researcher: Dr. Mahvish Khurum

In today’s competitive world software has become the main competitive advantage, enabling faster and cheaper innovation. At the same time hardware is becoming standardized. Consequently, the size and complexity of software in products are increasing, and so is the impact on decisions taken. That is, any decision taken regarding software (e.g. what features to realize, what quality to offer, or what technology to choose) will impact the entire product's life cycle and value, not to mention that it limits future possibilities and direction of the product. In the value context, companies need to estimate total cost, but also the total value, of ownership for a software product or a feature, which enables a cost basis for determining the economic value of that product or feature. This calls for a radical reinvention of the value term to include all perspectives of software value, ranging from what implication a decision today has on the architecture, sustainability, innovation and quality, to user perspectives like usability and user experience.

In this context Innovation and the ability to innovate is absolutely crucial. However, the challenges facing industry is not just how to create an innovative environment, or how to collect good ideas, rather one of the central challenges is how to get from a good idea and possible innovation, to actually implementing new products and features as they compete for resources with short term musts that threaten to overload the development organization.  How do we pre-screen and refine innovation candidates, how do we enable decision makers to choose between innovation and evolution given the risk averse nature of quarterly follow-ups?

Based on excellent experiences from two projects, the Software Value Analysis project at Ericsson, and the Star Search Innovation project at DHR and ABB, we want to combine a new way of looking at value, and use this to develop models for innovation that are practical and scale to reality.

Expected output

  1. VALUE MODEL: Refine the conceptual value map joining business, technology and value based software engineering concepts into one joint model, and VALUE MODEL TOOL SUITE: To enable the use of the value model in decision-making across companies value patterns and themes will be developed as a part of a tool suite incorporated with present tools for requirements engineering and other. The industrial effect will be radically improved decision support and the ability to estimate value impact in relation to software in software intensive product development.
  2. Practical Innovation and Value estimation model: As an addition to the value model a complete practical innovation model will be created and refined (based on StarSearch) consisting of two main parts; (i) a process model for practical elicitation of innovation candidates on a large-scale, and (ii) a value model for product management enabling the estimation of long-term software innovation effect in comparison to short-term reactive development as a part of product requirements engineering and product management. The industrial impact will be the ability to move towards long-term technology push and the utilization of software as an innovation driver as innovation candidates will be comparable with short-term reactive requirements.
  3. Post-mortem analysis: Decisions made using the value model can be recorded and post-mortem analysis increase estimation and decision accuracy.

Relation to ongoing research projects: SVA Ericsson.
Industrial partners: IBM, Ericsson, Qtema.

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