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Managing Modularity of Service Processes Architecture

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The world is increasingly turbulent with shorter and shorter technological life cycles andmore and more frequent changes in customer demand. This situation implies that flexibilityand agility are crucial for producers of products and services. Much effort has been directedtoward understanding innovation and the ways in which management can increase the valueof innovation efforts. As a consequence, suggestions emphasizing different aspects ofinnovation and creativity have been put forward. However, the value of architecturalknowledge for innovation is increasingly recognized as crucial with modular architecturesproposed as one way of increasing the rate of innovation by introducing flexibility and agilitywithout sacrificing efficiency.Modularity is a way to design a system with the intent of reducing its complexity bydecomposing the system and reducing interdependencies between the subsystems of thesystem through standardized interfaces. Systems designed in this way allow for greaterflexibility through recombination; however, they retain efficiency by means ofstandardization and scale economies from the reuse of components. For this reason modulararchitectures present an interesting solution to the dilemma of whether to invest in innovationor in efficiency. The topic has received much attention in the face of demands from customersfor increasingly heterogeneous products and services. However, an important aspect to keepin mind is that, while decomposition is a powerful way of reducing complexity, most realsystems remain only nearly decomposable (Simon, 1962) or loosely coupled rather thanuncoupled (Orton & Weick, 1990)....

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Thomas Frandsen

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