Systems Engineering in a Smart, Connected World

Manufacturers today are faced with the challenge of speeding delivery of products and managing the proliferation of product variants with fewer resources. The demand for software-intensive smart, connected products has only magnified those challenges.

The increase of software complexity requires an iterative, closed-loop process with granular traceability from system requirements right through to design and testing.

Why do we need systems engineering? At it’s best, systems engineering solves three key problems: determining how products will function within a connected system of systems; locating functionality, whether it’s in hardware, mechanical, electrical, software, or any combination; and figuring out which platform to use and which variation of a product line.

Systems engineering challenges. The challenges in systems engineering run the gamut from systems to software, and the products themselves. The growing complexity and functionality of systems is difficult to manage, especially now software accounts for a larger share of product cost and capability. The explosive growth in product families and product variants, plus the breaking up of systems into subsystems and the integration that comes with that, are all challenges that need to be addressed within systems engineering.

Along with this are myriad certifications and regulations that must be followed, organizational challenges surrounding globalization and distributed teams, increased time pressures, quality assurance, and the need to reduce costs.

What is the goal? The goal is a collaborative systems engineering approach whereby development teams can enable a holistic system design which manages requirements throughout the lifecycle to include the engineering of product lines.

An effective systems engineering solution is one that transforms isolated teams into a multi-disciplinary engineering practice with the ability to explore rapidly and accelerate design and delivery of successful products. Optimal system architecture can be developed through Model-based Systems Engineering (MBSE).

Envision an environment where teams can:

  • Enable holistic systems design to define and communicate how the product, users and the environment truly interact
  • Manage requirements cradle-to-grave to ensure customer needs and quality expectations are met
  • Engineer product lines to deliver variation and optimize commonality and reuse
  • Address quality early and often by validating and verifying requirements and designs


To learn more on the topic of systems engineering in a smart, connected world visit our Resource Center or hear from Ovum’s Principal Analyst, Michael Azoff in this webcast series.