- Forrester Councils
- Councils Overview
- log in
Posted by Jost Hoppermann on April 15, 2010
Recently, I discussed complexity with a banker working on measuring and managing complexity in a North American bank. His approach is very interesting: He found a way to operationalize complexity measurement and thus to provide concrete data to manage it. While I’m not in a position to disclose any more details, we also talked about the nature of complexity. In absence of any other definition of complexity, I offered a draft definition which I have assembled over time based on a number of “official” definitions. Complexity is the condition of:
The level of complexity is associated with the number of entities and interconnections in a given system as well as the effect of the entities on the system.
Please note that entities and systems are not necessarily distinct. For example, a “business division” may be a system for divisional functions and could be a (complex) entity within the system “bank.” Consequently, a system’s level of complexity is also associated with the level of complexity of each of the system’s entities (which may be systems by themselves).
Systems may include external entities that do not directly belong (organizationally or technology-wise) to the system. In a bank, examples are customers and partners as well as bank-external IT systems (see the figure).
Further differences are related to the reasons of complexity which can be can be intrinsic and artificial: The very nature of a system may make it complex — or its designers.
Let me know what you think. Is this a suitable definition of complexity — at least as a starting point — or is it completely useless in real life?
Thanks a lot for your feedback.
Lead BT Transformation
Develop customer-obsessed strategies to drive growth »
Forrester's CX Index
Predict how actions to improve CX will affect revenue performance.
Measure the customer experiences that matter most »