Thursday, 05 July 2018 02:34

Towards a Knowledge Democracy and Digital Transformation

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Democratization of Knowledge

The “strength of common people” is the meaning from which the word democracy is derived – a combination of demos, "common people" and kratos, strength.1 In a knowledge democracy, where the sharing of knowledge is encouraged, everyone is empowered and intellectual capital increases. Many leaders have stated that their people are the greatest strength of their organisation. It follows, based on this assertion, that the knowledge and the abilities, talent and intellect of individuals, are of great importance for the competitive advantage of the organisation2. To deny the links between strategic human resources and the organisation’s innovation capacity, senior management fail to recognise the value of intellectual capital, their intangible assets,3 at the peril of the organisation.

Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum has noted, “There has never been a time of greater promise, or one of greater potential peril. Today’s decision-makers, however, are too often trapped in traditional, linear thinking, or too absorbed by the multiple crises demanding their attention, to think strategically about the forces of disruption and innovation shaping our future.

In the end, it all comes down to people and values. We need to shape a future that works for all of us by putting people first and empowering them.” 4

Findings from the Price Waterhouse Coopers 2017 Digital IQ Survey show that “Those companies that pay more attention to people also report superior financial performance, compared with their peers.”5

Mobilising Mind Power

When harnessed, the knowledge of ordinary people delivers extraordinary value for the enterprise, this is collective intelligence from which innovation is born. For two decades, Sparx Systems has been supporting the ability of ordinary people in every industry, - empowering them through Enterprise Architect, - to achieve extraordinary outcomes. Those intellectual assets from which innovation arises - such as models and software - have been created and captured in Enterprise Architect and by re-use have improved the competitive position of organisations and industries.

Commenting on innovation, organizational theorist Ikujiro Nonaka suggests that knowledge is not created by information processing, but by “tapping the tacit and often highly subjective insights, intuitions, and hunches of individual employees and making those insights available for testing and use by the company as a whole". He adds “The key to this process is personal commitment, the employees’ sense of identity with the enterprise and its mission.”6

By extending Enterprise Architect to every employee, or stakeholder in the organisation, it will be possible to increase the focus of this collective intellect and mobilise mindpower for maximum productivity, while exposing the value models that will nurture innovation and create competitive differentiation for the enterprise.

With the use of an Enterprise Architect licence, the Sparx Systems Pro Cloud Server platform can extend the collaborative modeling efforts of the enterprise, to the entire workforce including Enterprise Architect users. Within the organisation, many thousands of non users of Enterprise Architect can freely access the model through the use of WebEA, to make comments and allocate resources.

“Effective KM (Knowledge Management) fosters innovation by encouraging the exchange of ideas, improves decision making quality, enhances the relationship with stakeholders (e.g., customers, suppliers, and employees, etc.), increases revenues by better responding to the market, and reduces costs by streamlining business processes.”7

Digital Workplace

Disruption defines new rules for everything and the digital workplace and the digital workforce change the way people work and the way they relate to each other.

Irrespective of it’s complexity, software takes up the same invisible space and grows without limit. In the past technological change was visible, software is not visible and the software based systems that are being built today, are beyond our intellectual capacity to understand as they are based millions of lines of code, that make those systems function. The value chain of physical industries are being eaten by software. In today's connected cars, software runs the engines, controls safety features and entertains passengers. Tesla provides software updates over the Internet to car owners, making the traditional“service” model obsolete.

In other industries such as, Retail, Oil and Gas, Financial services, Health and Defence etc, software is driving digital transformation and as we re-evaluate our ideas about the workplace , through the process of digital transformation, so too the relationship or engagement models between companies and their employees is changing as the digital workplace evolves. This people centric workplace revolves around employees’ needs—where employees can easily find and choose the technology tools they need to do their work effortlessly.

“The digital workplace is something that exists today, that evolves as technology and user behaviours do and that will keep transforming along the years. For this reason, the digital workplace initiative is to be seen as a continuous transformation.”8

In this context enterprises require flexible IT solutions such as Enterprise Architect and the Pro Cloud Server, that will evolve with changing needs and enable applications to be adapted quickly to prevailing conditions.

CIOs have to build a new service platform which is accessible both in-house and on the Cloud.9 With the Pro Cloud Server global enterprises will empower their employees to act in the moment and accelerate their business, by leveraging disruptive service delivery methods.

Through WebEA a lite web access, it will allow many thousands of people, to consume those models created by the few. For the organisations around the world who together form the largest percentage of the 600,000+ users of Enterprise Architect, the Pro Cloud Server represents an immediate pathway to productivity, previously unavailable.

The Pro Cloud server is a silo buster and for those non users of Enterprise Architect it represents an information portal, once the exclusive domain of Enterprise Architect licence holders, now accessible via WebEA. These users will be able to obtain a real-time view of content contained in an Enterprise Architect Cloud repository via a smart phone, tablet or computer simply using a web-browser. The entire organization can read and consume models, providing feedback where appropriate. Discussion enabled models support contributions to the model via the browser. Discussions are stored in the model to build up a complete picture of stakeholder feedback and create seamless discussions, either inside Enterprise Architect or using WebEA.

Innovation Management

As the global mobile subscriber base reaches 5 billion,10 technological change accelerates, competition intensifies and consumer demands increase, companies must develop more agile business models and rethink how they do business.11 the impact of the digital platform is multi-sectoral with a pervasive influence that is enabling companies to reinvent their business models, generateadditional revenue streams and provide new and innovative services, based on open standards and collaboration. Those International Standards cover all aspects of safety, interoperability, efficiency, electromagnetic compatibility and environmental impact.

Innovation management involves workers at every level in contributing creatively to a company's product development, manufacturing and marketing. Collaboration is an experience that integrates people, technology and business through which extraordinary things can happen and businesses can increase profits. It is an important source of innovation demonstrated by the fact that innovations are increasingly brought to the market by networks of firms, selected according to their comparative advantages, and operating in a coordinated manner.12

Successful companies view each alliance as a window on their partners’ broad capabilities. They use the alliance to build skills in areas outside the formal agreement and systematically diffuse new knowledge throughout their organizations.13

Examples of this type of collaboration occuring today are becoming increasingly common. Coca-Cola and Heinz, Nasa and Lego, Corning and Sharp, Corning and Volkswagon, Biotherm and Renault, Microsoft and Toyota, Repsol and Burger King are just a few of the organizations jumping on this bandwagon.

When Renault was launching a new 100% electric car called the Zoe Z.E, there was intense competition in Europe between car manufacturers to create an efficient, desirable zero-emission car. Accent on "desirable." So the 110-year old Renault tapped Biotherm's 60 years of skin experience and asked the cosmetic company to design a state-of-the-art climate control system that replenished its driver.

In other words, to create a "spa" car. Renault wanted to differentiate its vehicle in a very busy category, and it wanted to attract female car buyers. Biotherm answered the call, creating an in-car spa-like experience.14

The Aviation sector

Recently at the 2017 Aviation Show in London, Sir Tim Clark President of Emirates warned the aviation industry saying “The airlines which will not have properly integrated digital revolution in their day-to-day business will die, because they will not be able to offer the customer, the passenger, a tailored and customized offer.”

Over the past decade much work has been underway in this sector between the United States and Europe who are undertaking major modernisations of their respective Air Traffic Management (ATM) systems. The United States and Europe continue to collaborate to ensure harmonisation and demonstrate global leadership in support of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) initiatives. Sparx Systems has directly supported this effort which covers System Wide Information Management (SWIM). SWIM is key to ATM modernisation in both the U.S. and Europe and consists of standards, services, infrastructure and governance enabling the streamlined management of Air Traffic Management related information and its information exchange among multiple parties. Domains for information exchange standards include aeronautical information, meteorological information and flight information.

Exchange models for each of these domains have been developed through collaboration between the U.S. and Europe. The Aeronautical Information Exchange Model (AIXM)15 has become a de facto global standard for new digital AIM systems being deployed globally.

The Weather Information Exchange Model (WXXM)16was developed as a joint effort of the EU, the U.S., and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). It supports the latest ICAO requirements and aligns with international standards for geospatial and temporal information.

The Flight Information Exchange Model (FIXM) 17has been established to define current operations and some elements of Flight and Flow Information for Collaborative Environment (FF-ICE).

Airline distribution in the five-year span between 2016 and 2021 will be poised for monumental change.18 Two catalysts for this are IATA’s XML-based New Distribution Capability (NDC) shopping standards and IATA’s One Order single customer order record. The Airline Industry Data Model (AIDM) facilitates the development and maintenance of messaging standards in the aviation industry. The basis is a consistent model collaboratively developed and maintained by globally distributed industry work groups that use the Sparx (Systems) Enterprise Architect tool, including the “industry-agreed vocabulary, datamodels,and message definitions, as well as the related business process context and requirements”.19 The first XML schema (in the area of Baggage Logistics) was ratified as a an industry standard in September 2017 and it is anticipated that the NDC, one of five projects will become an AIDM/EA-based XML schema by end of this year.

Retail sector

The worlds of traditional commerce and e-commerce are merging, being driven by digital transformation, which is closing the gap between what digital customers already expect and what analog businesses actually deliver. As the gap closes many companies that cannot adapt become casualties of rapid change. “There have been nine retail bankruptcies in 2017—as many as all of 2016. J.C. Penney, RadioShack, Macy’s, and Sears have each announced more than 100 store closures. Sports Authority has liquidated, and Payless has filed for bankruptcy. Last week, several apparel companies’ stocks hit new multi-year lows, including Lululemon, Urban Outfitters, and American Eagle, and Ralph Lauren announced that it is closing its flagship Polo store on Fifth Avenue, one of several brands to abandon that iconic thoroughfare.20Recently the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Object Management Group (OMG) formed a partnership to develop a portion of the standards formerly managed by NRF’s Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) division.21

Working with ARTS since 2007, Sparx Systems has been providing licence support to the ARTS standards development team, both in the US and Japan. ARTS has created an extensive set of standards for communicating and storing information. This retail information library contains between 15,000 and 20,000 elements, representing over 80% of the interfaces in retail.

Automotive Sector

The automotive industry brought innovations such as mass production and the assembly line to market 100 yeas ago. Since then consumers have benefitted from developments in safety, build and performance. However this industrial inflection point has been totally eclipsed by the technology sector. Digitization will drive more innovation in the automotive industry in the next 20 years than there has been in the past 100 years.22

The future roadmap of digitalization in the automotive industry is expected to move rapidly from “digital services” to “car-as-a-service” to “mobility-as-a-service”, transforming the car into an element of a connected living solution by 2030.23

The automotive industry predicts that from 2017 “four out of five new cars will have an Internet connection. According to experts, the connected car of the future will send 25 Gigabytes of data to the cloud every hour, representing up to 130 Terabytes of primary data storage per car, per year.

The Automotive Open System Architecture (AUTOSAR) is an open and standardised software architecture and a platfrom designed to manage and accommodate the exponential growth in the complexity of modern vehicles. While complexity increased the AUTOSAR platform made changes easy to manage. Today’s vehicles contain multiple complex electronic systems, which can cause serious harm if they fail, potentially resulting in lawsuits and associated financial loss and brand damage to the manufacturer. Cross-industry safety standards have emerged and are gradually being implemented fully or in part. These standards affect the entire supply chain, and the implications specifically of ISO26262 and AUTOSAR means that we can all expect to drive safer and more reliable vehicles, knowing that designers and developers have considered the impact of safety and reliability for the many electrical, electronic, and software components in a modern vehicle. Having repeatable and reliable processes in place which have open audit trails and traceability back to formal requirements are an essential part of current software development and test practices. Enterprise Architect is deployed to maintain and develop the AUTOSAR standard.

Smartgrid Sector

The electricity industry is experiencing an inflection point where disruptive technology is empowering consumers with innovative alternatives to demand change to or even by-pass the traditional utility service model. As reflected in the current political debate in Australia, the traditional model of the vertically integrated electricity utility is in crisis.

Grid edge is the term for the many types of connected technologies that have sprung up outside the electricity grid. In the same way that Uber disrupted the transport industry, grid-edge technologies could do the same to electricity infrastructure. Like with Uber, the customers will take centre stage. According to the World Economic Forum, the innovation from grid edge technology will boost the electricity industry by $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years. .24

The three main industry sectors of grid edge are electrification, decentralisation and digitalisation. Electrification includes, electric vehicles, vehicle to grid/home, smart charging etc. Decentralisation includes energy efficiency, solar PV microgrids etc. Digitalisation includes network technologies that support open, real time communication and operation of the system.

The Smartgrid is the change framework for the utility sector and is being created from a standards based approach that is being driven by IEEE and IEC. In September 2017 the Common Grid Model Exchange Specification or CGMES was adopted by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). This data exchange specification for electricity systems in Europe, “will facilitate information exchange among an increasing amount of actors and notably with distribution system operators.”25

Interoperability standards such as CGMES create new freedoms and innovation for the benefit of manufacturers and the utilities. The CGMES is a part of the wider Common Grid Model framework supporting European data exchange and regional coordination which will result in grid optimisation, greater renewables’ integration, greater security and economies of scale.

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect has been used extensively in the global utility sector and particularly in the development of standards such as CGMES


When embarking on major change the best position is to have available, resources in the form of product or service, that will be attractive to some other entity, who can assist in the transition and better still, by complementing your product or service, improve the odds of the success through the change.

Furthermore when seeking to evolve the best approach is for industries to work together to find solutions26. Because models capture and state requirements and domain knowledge so that all stakeholders may understand them, the model based approach to this quest is ideal.

Digital transformation is about the inclusivity of people. It is about agility- designing out the ordinary (the norm) and retaining people for their extraordinary insights and capabilities. Systems that support collaboration and knowledge democracy, allow the sharing of those insights and the collective identification of the mundane in processes and relationships. These platforms present the opportunity to make the changes that have the potential to deliver benefits to every stakeholder in the business ecosystem.

Sparx Systems has produced the Pro Cloud Server which enables any organisation that has invested its development IP in models, to now selectively share those models with any organisation, in any domain investing IP in models.


2L.Sherbin, R.Ripa, Diversity Doesn’t Stick Without Inclusion, Harvard Business Review,February 2017


4K.Schwab, The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond, World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2016The Future of Growth: Technology-Driven, Human-Centred

5Price Waterhouse Coopers, 2017 Global Digital IQ Survey:10th Aniversary Edition

6I.Nonaka, The Knowledge-Creating Company: Harvard Business Review, July-August, 2007

7K.Sung-kwan, R.Woolridge, Enterprise Knowledge Modeling:Challenges and Research Issues, Journal of Knowledge Management Practice, Vol. 13, No. 3, September 2012

8European Commission, Directorate-General Informatics, Digital Workplace Strategy 2017, Page 3

9Capgemini Consulting, The New Digital Workplace, Employee Productivity, Brand Image, Business Value, Page 8


11Grant Thornton, The future of growth and the technology industry: Reinventing the “new” again Spring 2017


13Gary Hamel, Yves Doz, C.K Prahalad, Collaborate with Your Competitors - and Win, Harvard Business Review, From the January–February 1989 Issue

14Terry O’Reilly, The Odd Couple: Unlikely Marketing Collaborations, Under the Influence, CBC Radio, March 9th 2017






20The Atlantic, What in the World is Causing the Retail Meltdon of 2017? Derek Thomson, April 10 2017


22World Economic Forum White Paper, Digital Transformation of Industries: Automotive Industry, In collaboration with Accenture, April 2016

23Frost & Sullivan, Digital Transformation of the Automotive Industry

24World Economic Forum

25Digital Transformation of the Automotive Industry, Frost and Sullivan, March 2017

26M. Reeves, S. Levin, D.Ueda, The Biology of Corporate Survival, Harvard Business Review, from the Jan-Feb Issue 2016

Read 30398 times Last modified on Monday, 23 July 2018 04:44

Sparx Systems

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Sparx Systems specializes in high performance and scalable visual modeling tools for the planning, design and construction of software intensive systems. A Contributing Member of the Object Management Group (OMG), Sparx Systems is committed to realizing the potential of model-driven development based on open standards. The company’s flagship product, Enterprise Architect, has received numerous accolades since its commercial release in August, 2000. Enterprise Architect is the design tool of choice for over 740,000 registered users worldwide.
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