Sunday, August 28, 2011

Software engineering in the service of human functionality

Software engineering uses (hopefully, or seometimes) rigorous techniques to design computer-based functionality. But the functionality doesn't have to be computer-based - it could be any functionality, to be executed by human, machine or some combination thereof. This opens up exciting possibilities, and takes software engineering where it has never gone before. I sometimes have people respond by saying - oh yeah, that's business process management (BPM). How I wish it were...The current state of play in BPM theory and practice leverages software engineering only minimally. And formal software engineering (where I think the real excitement lies)? Almost not at all.

And then again, is business process modeling the final word on the modeling of human-executed functionality? I think not (and there's a body of literature poking holes in the current state of play in process modeling that would agree).

The paper ("A Formal Approach to Service Management in the Rural Sector") describing our tool and methodology, UNNOTI, is now set to appear at the International Conference on Services for Emerging Markets. This is a gold-mine of high-impact results, and we have only started scratching the surface.

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