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HP launches multi-industry group to give IT
Services a scientific edge

Virtual centre brings together industry and universities to develop services sciences

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BRISTOL, UK, December 6, 2005 – HP today announced the launch of the Centre for Systems and Services Sciences, a multi-institution initiative that intends to help develop IT-based services on a more predictable and scientific basis than has been the case in the past.

The Centre – or CS3 – will bring together leading service organisations and universities from across Europe to deliver pre-competitive research, consortium brokerage, standards and journal publications.

CS3’s inaugural meeting is being held at HP Laboratories Bristol. As well as HP, industry participants include Accenture, BT, Cap Gemini, IBM, Qinetiq and Vodafone. Academic institutions include the universities of Bath, Cambridge, Manchester, Oxford and Warwick, EPFL (Switzerland), INSEAD (France), the London School of Economics and Humboldt University, Berlin.

The workshop has been initiated by HP Laboratories, which has been developing and is using new approaches that treat IT Services delivery as complicated systems-engineering tasks. The analytical methods developed by researchers at HP Laboratories enable them to define the appropriate IT systems for HP customers in large IT outsourcing deals. But the researchers know that a more coordinated and scientific approach across industry and academia will deliver benefits for all.

Large-scale, multi-million dollar IT service contracts involve highly complex systems that bring together a wide range of technologies, disciplines, people and processes, often from multiple companies and usually over several years, from concept to delivery.

Because of their complexity these projects are often poorly understood, even by the specialist practitioners who have created them. As coverage of some recent high-profile IT procurement failures have illustrated, when problems do emerge rectification is difficult to plan and deliver, leading to financial penalties to the vendors and poor customer satisfaction.

The area of services sciences is relatively new, encompassing disciplines as diverse as anthropology, engineering, economics and pure mathematics. And it is an area ripe for study and the development of cross-industry standards to build on and enhance today’s expertise. CS3 will bring a distinctive systems engineering perspective to this discipline.

As a result HP has invited academic and industrial colleagues to the inaugural meeting of CS3 to launch a joint industrial and academic partnership that will work on developing the research agenda and lobbying processes to make advances in services sciences.

Keynote presenters at the inaugural meeting will be Dick Lampman, HP Senior Vice-President for Research and Director of HP Laboratories; Jim Spohrer, Director of Services Research, IBM Almaden Laboratories; and Martin Illsley, of Accenture Research Laboratories.

Dick Lampman explained: “The IT industry in general needs more understanding of how large, complex, multi-technology, multi-discipline systems are designed and operate when all the components are in place. By developing standards across the industry and sound techniques, customers and every IT Services company will benefit.“

As economies mature and move towards greater reliance on the services sector for growth in GDP we see tremendous opportunity for companies such as HP in the growth of our IT Services business.”

Lampman explained that there is a need to bring disciplines together in a constructive and creative way. And there is a need for practitioners trained at university level in a specific new discipline of systems and services science, an amalgam of existing diverse subjects such as psychology, mathematics and engineering.

Richard Taylor, of the Open Analytics research group at HP Laboratories Bristol, said: “The primary purpose of the centre will be to advance the development and integration of the sciences that underpin the successful analysis, design and control of complex systems characterised by the requirements of services.”

He explained that the centre will:

    • Organise regular hybrid industrial-government-academic research meetings and colloquia;
    • Publish advances in the area of systems and services sciences through a refereed journal;
    • Identify and encourage pre- and near-competitive research;
    • Act as a ‘dating agency’ to bring together academic, government and industrial members in partnerships;
    • Establish systems and services science as a recognised research discipline.
    • Establish and champion standards in systems analysis, specification, development and management in process and training;
    • Validate expertise and competence in systems and services sciences;
    • Act as a repository for sample and standard problem sets and research results

CS3 has a Web site with information about the inaugural meeting and future activities at https://www.services-sciences.org/

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