Using information systems as legacy utilities

Design freedom and flexibility

A view of flexibility is the degree of design freedom available during the design process. As a design progresses, flexibility decreases and design knowledge increases.

Image of: Relationship between design freedom and knowledge

Relationship between design freedom and knowledge

One of the challenges of current approaches is to raise both these levels during this process. By retaining a high level of freedom over the lifecycle of a design, the overall system design remains more flexible. Closely linked to flexibility, upgradeability exists within the context of concurrent engineering. Upgradeability is something that should be considered from the very early stage of a design, since the later in the process this is considered then the more difficult it is to implement.


The ability to upgrade systems easily is limited by the unknown effect changes have on other parts of a system. A fundamental aspect of an integrated information system is the ability to track and monitor how the consequences of changes spread. Utilising an information system which incorporates aspects of knowledge management will create a legacy utility, allowing reusability and provide the means to upgrade systems.

Our approach

The EDC at Newcastle has extensive experience in the development of modelling frameworks. This work has determined that systems represented by modelling frameworks can be interpreted to represent designers knowledge and thus best practice in the design of systems. To make use of this we have developed an approach, which interrogates and extracts relevant information from an information system so that previous designs can be reused.

Work has been identified in the field of knowledge capture that will be useful in expanding this approach in future. Using our experience in this area we will be able to develop approaches to enable use of information systems as legacy utilities.

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