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1, 2012

Shannon R. Bowling*

Department of Electrical Engineering Technology,

Bluefield State University,

219 Rock Street Dickason Hall 230,

Bluefield, WV 24701, USA

E-mail: srbbsu@gmail.com

E-mail: sbowling@odu.edu

*Corresponding author

Nevan E.N. Shearer and Jun Zhang

Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering,

Old Dominion University,

241 Kaufman Hall, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA

Fax: +1 757 683 5640

E-mail: grabdi@odu.edu

E-mail: mkhasawn@odu.edu

E-mail: nesheare@odu.edu

E-mail: jxzhang@odu.edu

Abstract: In this paper, we propose developing a generic approach to handle

different system-of-systems applications, including (1) a framework to map or

classify initiatives based on their contribution to different capabilities and

(2) introduce an optimisation-based methodology that selects combinations of

initiatives that will maximise the contribution to the capabilities, and ultimately

maximises the yield or benefit of the entire system. The approach will focus on

using subject matter experts to obtain rankings of capabilities. The optimisation

of initiative selection will utilise binary integer programming and desirability

mapping to ascertain the overall effectiveness of the combined initiatives. After

conducting multiple simulation runs at various budget constraints, the heavy

hitters are dominant and the big losers time and time again are not chosen.

The resulting selection is a subset of the total number of initiatives, and can be

subsequently evaluated in greater detail than trying to evaluate the entire

selection and all of the possible combinations.

Keywords: initiative mapping; desirability function; system-of-systems

engineering; Monte-Carlo simulation; optimisation; MCDM; multi-criteria

decision-making.

Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Bowling, S.R., Rabadi, G.,

Khasawneh, M.T., Shearer, N.E.N. and Zhang, J. (2012) Initiative mapping

methodology for system-of-systems applications, Int. J. Industrial and Systems

Engineering, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp.7595.

75

76

Biographical notes: Shannon R. Bowling is an Assistant Professor in the

Department of Electrical Engineering Technology at Bluefield State University.

He received his PhD in Industrial Engineering with a focus in Human Factors

Engineering from Clemson University, SC, in August 2003; his MS in

Engineering Technology with an emphasis in Quality Management (2000) from

East Tennessee State University, TN and BSc in Electrical Engineering

Technology (1998) from Bluefield State College, WV. He has also a graduate

minor in Experimental Statistics from Clemson University. He teaches topics

related to modelling and simulation including operations research, optimisation

methods, systems dynamics and agent-based modelling. In addition, he teaches

course relating to electronics, power systems and digital circuits. He has

various papers published and/or submitted in the area of modelling and

simulation. He is a member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), the

American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM) and the American

Society of Engineering Education (ASEE).

Ghaith Rabadi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering

Management and Systems Engineering at Old Dominion University. He

received his PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Central

Florida in 1999. He has an MS and BSc in Industrial Engineering from the

University of Central Florida and the University of Jordan in 1996 and 1992,

respectively. His research interests include operations research, scheduling,

simulation modelling and analysis, applied optimisation, supply chain

management and logistics.

Mahmoud T. Khasawneh is currently pursuing a PhD in Engineering

Management in the Department of Engineering Management and Systems

Engineering at Old Dominion University. He received his ME in Systems

Engineering from Old Dominion University in 2009. He received a BS in

Management Information Systems (MIS) from Hashemite University in Jordan

in 2007. His research interests are focused on modelling and simulation (M&S)

in healthcare. His research aims to utilise M&S as a decision-making

framework cut costs and improves healthcare delivery. He also has an interest

in using agent-directed simulations as a tool to explore social science and

engineering theories.

Nevan E.N. Shearer is a PhD candidate in Engineering Management at the

Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering. He

received a Master of Engineering Management from Old Dominion University

in 2007. He has a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology

from Old Dominion University in 2005. His research interests include response

surface methodology and applied statistical methods. He also has an interest in

using operations research to solve optimisation problems and complex

problems.

Jun Zhang is a PhD candidate in the Department of Engineering Management

and Systems Engineering at Old Dominion University. He received his MS in

Management Science and Engineering from Nanchang University, China in

2007. His research interests are focused on modelling and simulation, decisionmaking and operations research. His research focus is on using metaheuristics,

especially genetic algorithms to solve optimisation problems. He is also

interested in using evidence theory for decision-making in an uncertain

situation.

77

Introduction

The motivation behind this paper is to help implement large-scale systems of systems. In

applying large-scale systems of systems, there are several objectives that need to be met

and even more ways to achieve those objectives. This paper proposes a methodological

way to evaluate those proposed systems (or initiatives) and gives direction to finding the

best combination of initiatives to apply to reach the objectives, thus maximising the

desirability of the system as a whole. An initiative, in reference to this paper, can either

be the implementation of a policy, system or system of systems. The methodology

focuses on using experts to rank capabilities of each initiative or system and with each

initiative having a known cost associated with it. In addition to the way systems are

referred to as initiatives, the capabilities being evaluated are akin to the objectives of the

system. The ultimate objective is to select appropriate initiatives to maximise the

individual capabilities in such a way that maximises the capability of the system as a

whole, all within our constraints like the amount of money available for investment.

Background research

Cook et al. (1988) utilised a technique for ranking projects based on Roys (1968)

concordance model, and used it along with a tournament ranking method developed by

Ali et al. (1986). Roys model requires that each project be assigned a rating relative to

each criterion, and that criterion be given weights reflecting their relative importance.

Project i is then evaluated relative to project i1 in terms of a concordance and a

discordance index. Butler et al. (2001) developed a ranking and selection procedure that

used a simulator (to generate statistics on cost, duration and crews utilisation) and

combines multiple attribute utility theory (MAUT) with statistical ranking and selection

to select the best configuration of a set of possible configurations using the indifferencezone approach. Ahire and Rana (1995) use a multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM)

approach for selecting total quality management (TQM) pilot projects. Their MCDM

project selection method uses elements of the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) to help

determine the project rankings.

Lee and Kim (2000, p.367) use analytic network process (ANP) combined with goal

programming (GP) for information system (IS) project selection. The ANP is used prior

to the GP to set priorities among multi-criteria and trade-off among objectives. The

resulting information is then used in the GP formulation for project selection. Badri

(2001, p.27) uses a combined AHP-GP model for the selection of the best set of

quality control instruments for customer data collection purposes. AHP is used for the

weighting of five sets of quality measures; next, the weights are utilised in the GP model

for the final selection of elements incorporated into the quality control system being

designed. Derringer and Suich (1980) use a desirability approach to simultaneous

optimisation of multiple response variables. The desirability approach, originally

proposed Harrington (1965) can be adapted for multi-criteria optimisation in many

situations. The desirability approach is a major aspect of the initiative mapping process

developed in this paper.

Chen and Cheng (2009) presented an MCDM approach for the selection of IS

projects. Their method was founded on the fuzzy measure and the fuzzy integral. Rao

(2008) suggested an improved compromise ranking method for multi-attribute material

78

selection problems. The improvement in the method was implemented by introducing the

AHP for weight assignment of importance of attributes and by also using ranked value

judgement on a fuzzy conversion scale for attributes that have qualitative values. Gabriel

et al. (2006) suggested a project selection model that integrates multi-objective

optimisation, Monte Carlo simulation and the AHP. The formulation of the competing

objectives for project selection was carried out using probability distributions to describe

costs. Henriksen and Palocsay (2008) addressed the problem of scoring and ranking

potential R&D projects. The manner in which their method is implemented is by

establishing the set of attributes against which the proposed projects will be evaluated,

and then assigning each project a rating on the evaluation scale. The results are then

combined to get the ordinal scale score using mathematical computations. Huang (2007)

proposed a method that incorporates random fuzzy uncertainty into project selection.

Huang selected investment expenditures and annual net cash flows as random fuzzy

variables. A hybrid algorithm that integrates both genetic algorithm and fuzzy simulation

was designed to solve the proposed models and obtain results. Halouani et al. (2007)

introduced a new method that can integrate both quantitative and qualitative information

in a context of uncertainty. Their method was a response to the typical multi-criteria

group decision-making (MCGDM) techniques which, in their opinion, discriminates in

favour of quantitative information.

Vrana and Aly (2010) suggest the decision-making process dealing with assessing

industrial technologies has inherent problems with being ill structured, subjective and

vague. They approach this problem by using a hierarchical fuzzy decision-making

process that addresses the subjectivity of the problem as well as the quantitative aspect.

Komljenovic and Kecojevic (2009) use a combination of the coefficient of technical level

(CTL) and the AHP to make their selections of materials handling equipment. The

methodology they have developed, however, is specific to the selection of materials

handling equipment and cannot be easily adapted for choosing multiple systems based on

multiple criteria. Baykasoglu et al. (2009) assess several different multi-criteria decision

support (MCDS) methods for making contractor selections. Even though no new

methodologies are developed in their paper, the authors give direction to the advantages

and disadvantages of several MCDS methods.

The purpose of this paper is to develop a generic approach to handle different system-ofsystems applications, including

1

capabilities

that will maximise the contribution to capabilities, and ultimately maximise the yield

or benefit.

The approach will focus on using subject-matter experts (SMEs) to obtain rankings of

capabilities. The optimisation of initiative selection will utilise binary integer

79

combined initiatives. The proposed method is described below in a nine-step process.

Stage 1: Initiative ranking

In this stage, we have a set of initiatives, each of which is evaluated according to specific

capabilities. Several SMEs will rank each initiatives capabilities on a scale from 1 to 5

(with 5 being the strongest and 1 weakest). In many cases, there is difficulty in gathering

data for different capabilities of initiatives. By using expert rankings, we can overcome

this problem and develop a robust basis for ranking the various initiatives. Moreover,

having a diverse group of experts specialising in different fields related to the subject will

offer more reliability in the analysis. Figure 1 illustrates the proposed format for initiative

ranking. In denotes each initiative, rm denotes the ranking of each capability and En

denotes each expert.

Stage 2: Average ranking

After having SMEs rank each initiatives capabilities, they will be averaged and compiled

into a single matrix. Furthermore, the cost for each initiative will be estimated based on

quotes or SME opinion. This methodology will be implemented as a way to incorporate

the feedback of all the SMEs, as it is of utmost importance to combine their expertise into

one measure that can be evaluated objectively. Despite taking the average for SMEs

rankings, a lower bound and an upper bound will be created at a later stage of this

analysis for sampling purposes. This also allows for the incorporation of uncertainty

associated with the SME estimates. Figure 2 provides an illustration of the rankings

averages in addition to the estimated cost associated with each initiative.

Figure 1

Initiative ranking

80

Figure 2

Average ranking

Having averaged the rankings, the next step will be to convert those averages into a

number within the range between 3.66 and 3.66 to induce variability (uncertainty) into

the capabilities of each initiative. Consequently, this is the total range of where the

logistic function comprises 95%, having a range of 7.32. The logistic function was

chosen because of its simplicity and similarity to the cumulative distribution function of

the normal distribution. In fact, logistic functions with the appropriate parameters show

no significant difference to the cumulative normal function (Bowling et al., 2009). The

total range is then divided by five in order to give the range of each interval (7.32/5

1.464) associated with the five possible ranking scores provided in Stage 1. Now, we can

easily convert between average rankings and its probability associated with the logistic

function. The proof below shows the relationship between the logistic function and the

ranking conversion:

1

1 e x

1

0.975

1 e x

x 3.66

d

and

1

0.025

1 e x

x 3.66

The range from 3.66 to 3.66 represents a 95% confidence of the logistics function. Since

the total range is divided into five intervals (7.32/5 1.464) and we know the midpoints

of the outer intervals, a simple equation can be used to make the ranking conversion. The

following equation uses the aforementioned approach to convert the expert rankings into

associated values on the logistics curve.

(1)

81

where x is the midpoint for each range. The intercept is 4.392. This equation is used to

calculate the midpoint of each average ranking. For example, if the average ranking of a

capability is one, then the converted ranking is centered at:

4.392 1.464 u 1

which is equal to 2.928. Figure 3 shows the logistic curve, which is used to convert the

rankings into desirabilities. Figure 4 shows the matrix of the ranking conversion.

Stage 4: Bounding

Because we know the total range for each ranking is 1.464, the range associated with

each midpoint is x r (1.464/2). For example, the previous center-point of 2.928 will be

given a range of 2.928 r 0.732 or [3.66, 2.196]. This is the range that the sampling

will be drawn from if the average ranking is one. Figure 5 shows the matrix that displays

the lower bounds and upper bounds associated with each midpoint calculated in the

previous step. The lower bound and upper bound are created to allow multiple

optimisations using Monte-Carlo simulation.

Stage 5: Run sampling

Now that we have established a lower and upper bound for each ranking, we can use a

uniform distribution to draw random values from within these bounds. The uniform

distribution was chosen to create more variance in the samples, as it is the distribution of

maximum ignorance. These random samples will be used to simulate multiple runs.

Monte-Carlo simulation will be used to create initiative/capability matrices for which

optimisations will be performed. Figure 6 demonstrates the matrices used in each

iteration.

Figure 3

82

Figure 4

Ranking conversion

Figure 5

Bounding matrix

Figure 6

Run sampling

83

The run sample values from Stage 5 are now converted into individual desirabilities

(Harrington, 1965) using the following logistic function:

1

1 ex

(2)

where x is the random number sampled between the lower and upper bound. Desirability

values will be between two extremes, which are zero and one. A desirability of zero

represents a completely undesirable value, while a desirability of one will represent a

completely desirable or ideal response value. Figure 7 displays the mapping of individual

desirabilities for each initiative.

The individual desirabilities are then combined using the geometric mean

(Harrington, 1965), which gives the overall desirability DT :

DT

1/ k

d1 Yi u d2 (Y2 ) u" u dk Yk

(3)

where k denotes the number of responses. Notice that if any response Yi is completely

undesirable di (Yi ) 0 , then the overall desirability is zero.

Next, we face the challenge of creating a theoretical framework for combining

multiple initiatives into one measure.

Stage 7: Aggregate via union

Using the concepts of reliability engineering (Lewis, 1996), the proposed approach of

using desirability is analogous to a system of two or more subsystems working in parallel

or in probability theory, the union of two or more events. Similarly, it is assumed that

multiple initiatives working in parallel will increase the reliability of the system. The total

reliability, or in this case, desirability can never exceed one, and the results

asymptotically approach one indicating the law of diminishing return. Let us consider the

following example:

P(A and B)

P(A and B)

P(A and B) 0.33 0.58 0.33 u 0.58 0.719, we can see that 0.719 greater than either

0.33 or 0.58, representing two is better than one.

We notice that the more systems (i.e. initiatives) we have, the number of terms in the

equation above will grow exponentially, which will make it an extremely difficult

mathematical process. Therefore, we propose a simplification of the approach mentioned

above, which, guided by reliability engineering is as follows (Lewis, 1996):

P (A and B)

P (A and B)

P (A and B)

0.719

By adopting this approach, we can eliminate the tedious task of evaluating combinations

of events. Figure 8 presents an overview of the aggregate via union process.

84

Figure 7

Desirability mapping

Figure 8

Integer programming will be used to maximise the overall desirability by selecting the

best combination of initiatives. Optimisation will be performed for each sampling run.

The objective is to optimise the total desirability of the capabilities of the system. During

each optimisation run, samples are drawn from the established bounds. The samples are

then converted into desirabilities associated with each initiatives contribution to the

various capabilities. Then the optimisation is performed to select the best combination of

initiatives within the budget constraints. The optimisation can be performed several times

so that multiple combinations of initiatives may be selected. The way integer

programming will be used in this situation is as a switch to turn on/off the initiatives to

their desirabilities and estimated costs using binary decision variables. Consequently,

binary-integer optimisation software can optimise the overall desirability by switching

on the best initiatives within our constraints, such as the amount of money available for

investment.

85

Max Z

DT

1/ n

dj

where

N

dj

1

1 x u d

i

ij

i 1

or

N

dj

*d

ij

i 1

subject to:

n

i i

i 1

xi

0 or 1

cost of initiative i.

After optimising several sampling runs, a final initiative selection will be performed. Due

to the fact that the capabilities will change for each optimisation, several initiatives might

be chosen more than the investment will allow for. However, the heavy hitters should

appear to be dominant after several iterations, and the big losers should time and time

again not be chosen. The resulting selection will be a subset of a total number of

initiatives and be much easier to evaluate in detail than trying to evaluate the entire

selection and all of the possible combinations.

An important point to note is that the overall desirability is a conceptual measure. The

overall desirability or even the individual desirabilities give no indication as to an

absolute value of the effectiveness of the initiative or initiative combinations.

Case example/application

Border security is a very complex problem that overarches multiple domains and systems

that may have multiple objectives in addition to securing the borders. If we, for example,

take the department of justice (DoJ) as one of the systems, its responsibility is to hear

cases and prosecute those who violate the law, including illegal immigrants. However,

DoJs main mission may be focused on other types of criminals more than illegal

immigrants. In many cases, the different systems may have conflicting objectives and

priorities that may or may not improve border security.

In an effort to increase border security, several different types of initiatives can be

considered. The objective of implementing different initiatives is to enhance border

security capabilities, such as deterrence, detection, apprehension, processing and

86

returning illegal aliens as shown in Figure 9. There exist multiple processes, activities

and resources that support one or more of the capabilities listed below. To enhance the

different capabilities, different initiatives are usually funded and implemented. To gain

the most benefits, however, the initiatives should be selected properly, so that their

combined effect maximises the overall security. For example, installing surveillance

technology like cameras improves the detection capability and may also enhance the

deterrence capability. However, increasing the number of cameras to a large number may

lead to information overload that may in return reduce the effectiveness of the detection

capability. As the number of the initiatives becomes larger, the impact on the capabilities

and ultimately on border security becomes more difficult to quantify and predict, and

fuzzier to assess.

This framework can be used in the case of border security to evaluate initiative

selections. Each initiative will be evaluated based on their capabilities, such as

deterrence, detection, apprehension, etc., as well as, a certain cost associated with it. In

this example, 25 initiatives are evaluated based on six capabilities and their

corresponding cost. This example will begin at Step 2: average ranking, where the

various SMEs input have been compiled, after the input from each SME was collected at

Step 1. Table 1 shows the average rankings associated with each initiative.

Having averaged the rankings, the next step is to convert those averages into a

number within the range between 3.66 and 3.66 to induce variability (uncertainty) into

the capabilities of each initiative. This conversion was performed using equation 1.

Table 2 displays the rankings conversions.

Now that the rankings have been converted, bounds can be introduced for each

capability to facilitate sampling. The lower bound and upper bound are created to allow

multiple optimisations, using Monte-Carlo simulation. The bounds were calculated

according to the following formula:

1.464

xr

2

where x is the converted average ranking. Table 3 shows all the calculated bounds.

Figure 9

Security

Deter (1)

Detect (2)

Apprehend (3)

Process (4)

Return (5)

Table 1

87

Cost

4.40

1.85

1.85

1.02

3.68

3.54

$5,386,045

1.16

4.64

4.46

4.02

3.04

4.05

$1,347,396

1.13

1.67

1.34

4.83

1.97

2.53

$8,433,967

1.23

3.86

3.03

4.14

3.51

4.73

$3,039,492

3.45

2.86

4.65

3.82

1.64

4.64

$962,504

4.60

4.97

1.83

2.34

2.33

2.52

$1,616,156

1.17

2.53

3.30

4.24

4.77

2.51

$5,607,858

2.60

3.47

4.04

1.08

3.84

1.09

$2,221,389

2.64

3.85

4.72

4.53

4.25

4.35

$6,043,765

4.65

3.47

2.37

4.76

4.21

1.86

$5,553,082

1.46

1.38

2.16

4.84

3.18

1.33

$5,541,814

3.50

3.02

2.69

4.43

2.22

2.16

$5,186,944

3.95

2.99

4.13

1.43

2.92

4.43

$9,346,001

1.35

4.94

2.87

4.64

2.68

2.51

$1,820,285

4.13

1.42

2.56

1.86

1.79

1.99

$6,562,133

3.56

4.64

1.73

2.44

1.60

1.68

$7,483,652

2.95

3.61

4.30

4.17

4.05

2.53

$9,545,516

3.81

3.38

1.61

3.73

2.03

4.10

$9,938,250

4.50

4.74

3.23

4.51

4.25

3.93

$6,171,513

1.98

1.40

1.73

4.22

1.14

4.01

$9,086,594

4.80

2.24

1.71

1.09

1.05

1.92

$7,236,907

3.92

1.90

4.22

2.19

2.82

1.80

$8,991,699

1.59

1.05

4.74

3.89

2.99

1.31

$4,928,913

4.15

3.59

2.92

3.58

1.73

2.12

$2,028,168

4.82

4.98

4.33

2.37

4.36

4.94

$661,973

Table 2

Ranking conversions

Cost

2.05

-1.68

-1.69

-2.89

1.00

0.79

$5,386,045

2.70

2.40

2.14

1.49

0.05

1.54

$1,347,396

2.74

1.94

2.43

2.68

1.51

0.68

$8,433,967

2.59

1.27

0.05

1.67

0.74

2.54

$3,039,492

0.65

0.20

2.42

1.20

1.99

2.41

$962,504

2.34

2.88

1.72

0.97

0.99

0.70

$1,616,156

2.67

0.68

0.44

1.81

2.60

0.72

$5,607,858

0.59

0.69

1.52

2.82

1.23

2.79

$2,221,389

0.53

1.25

2.51

2.23

1.84

1.98

$6,043,765

88

Table 2

Ranking conversions (continued)

Cost

2.42

0.70

0.92

2.58

1.77

1.67

$5,553,082

2.25

2.37

1.23

2.70

0.26

2.45

$5,541,814

0.73

0.03

0.45

2.10

1.15

1.24

$5,186,944

0.12

2.10

$9,346,001

1.39

0.01

1.65

2.29

2.42

2.84

0.19

2.40

0.47

0.72

$1,820,285

1.65

2.31

0.64

1.67

1.77

1.47

$6,562,133

0.81

2.40

1.86

0.82

2.04

1.93

$7,483,652

0.07

0.89

1.90

1.71

1.53

0.69

$9,545,516

1.19

0.55

2.04

1.07

1.42

1.61

$9,938,250

2.19

2.55

0.34

2.21

1.82

1.37

$6,171,513

1.50

2.34

1.86

1.79

2.72

1.48

$9,086,594

2.63

1.11

1.88

2.80

2.85

1.58

$7,236,907

1.35

1.61

1.78

1.19

0.26

1.75

$8,991,699

2.06

2.86

2.55

1.30

0.01

2.47

$4,928,913

0.85

1.86

1.29

$2,028,168

0.92

1.99

2.84

$661,973

1.69

0.87

0.12

2.67

2.89

1.95

Table 3

Bounding

Capability 4

Capability 5 Capability 6

1.317 2.781 2.415 0.95 2.420 0.956 3.624 2.160 0.269 1.733

0.06 1.520

3.427 1.963 1.665 3.13 1.411 2.875 0.762 2.226 0.681 0.783

0.81 2.275

3.467 2.003 2.675 1.21 3.158 1.694 1.945 3.409 2.246 0.782 1.41 0.050

3.318 1.854 0.533 2.00 0.682 0.782 0.935 2.399 0.008 1.472

0.080 1.384 0.933 0.53 1.688 3.152 0.466 1.930 2.725 1.261 1.68 3.139

1.611 3.075 2.145 3.61 2.449 0.985 1.698 0.234 1.719 0.255 1.43 0.034

3.404 1.940 1.416 0.05 0.296 1.168 1.082 2.546 1.864 3.328 1.45 0.017

1.325 0.139 0.045 1.42 0.786 2.250 3.547 2.083 0.496 1.960 3.52 2.058

1.265 0.199 0.515 1.98 1.782 3.246 1.503 2.967 1.103 2.567

1.80 3.269

1.25 2.712

1.690 3.154 0.037 1.43 1.654 0.190 1.849 3.313 1.038 2.502 2.40 0.933

2.980 1.516 3.102 1.64 1.959 0.495 1.968 3.432 0.469 0.995 3.18 1.716

0.000 1.464 0.699 0.76 1.181 0.283 1.368 2.832 1.880 0.416 1.97 0.504

0.654 2.118 0.740 0.72 0.917 2.381 3.025 1.561 0.851 0.613

1.37 2.832

3.152 1.688 2.108 3.57 0.923 0.541 1.665 3.129 1.205 0.259 1.45 0.016

0.917 2.381 3.038 1.57 1.372 0.092 2.400 0.936 2.501 1.037 2.21 0.742

0.081 1.545 1.666 3.13 2.593 1.129 1.552 0.088 2.775 1.311 2.66 1.200

Table 3

89

Bounding (continued)

Capability 4

Capability 5 Capability 6

0.804 0.660 0.161 1.63 1.169 2.633 0.977 2.441 0.800 2.264 1.42 0.042

0.456 1.920 0.182 1.28 2.771 1.307 0.333 1.797 2.147 0.683 0.87 2.338

1.461 2.925 1.822 3.29 0.391 1.073 1.476 2.940 1.091 2.555

0.64 2.099

2.230 0.766 3.071 1.61 2.593 1.129 1.060 2.524 3.456 1.992 0.75 2.213

1.900 3.364 1.841 0.38 2.617 1.153 3.529 2.065 3.586 2.122 2.31 0.850

0.615 2.079 2.343 0.88 1.052 2.516 1.924 0.460 0.996 0.468 2.48 1.018

2.797 1.333 3.591 2.13 1.822 3.286 0.571 2.035 0.742 0.722 3.21 1.742

0.956 2.420 0.138 1.60 0.853 0.611 0.123 1.587 2.592 1.128 2.02 0.557

1.937 3.401 2.161 3.63 1.216 2.680 1.648 0.184 1.257 2.721

2.10 3.568

After establishing a lower and upper bound for each ranking, a uniform distribution is

used to draw random values from within these bounds. Thirty Monte-Carlo simulations

were conducted for various budget constraints. The budget was incremented from

$500,000 to $5,000,000 at $100,000 increments. For instance, at a budget of $500,000,

thirty runs were performed and the results were reported. The purpose of doing multiple

runs is to create a frequency chart to identify dominant initiatives. An Excel

spreadsheet was set up to perform the desirability mapping and Monte-Carlo simulation

necessary for the optimisation of initiative selection.

The following charts show the results from the repeated runs. Figures 1015 show the

maximum desirability for each capability based on the budgeted amount for the project. It

can be observed that the maximum desirability for each capability does not always

increase as the budget increases. Figure 12 shows a significant decrease in the desirability

at roughly a one-million dollar investment. This is due to the fact that solving the integer

programming formulation reveals that a compromise should be made in reducing the

desirability of one capability may increase the total desirability of the entire system. This

trade-off continues until a critical capability of the entire system is reached, then the

desirabilities of the individual capabilities begin to level off. Notice, however, in

Figure 16, DT continues to have a constant increase in desirability that asymptotically

approaches one. No significant reduction in desirability is noticed between investment

levels due to the fact that DT is the objective that is being maximised in the integer

programming formulation.

Figures 17 and 18 show the frequency of the selected initiatives for investment levels

of $4M and $5M, respectively. At the $4M investment level, only 11 initiatives

(A,E,F,G,H,I,J,Q,R,S,V) were chosen after 30 runs. Of those 11 initiatives, only six

initiatives (A,E,F,I,Q,S) had a frequency of at least 20 or more. Therefore, when trying to

determine what initiatives should be investigated further for possible funding or adoption,

these six initiatives could be evaluated using a more advanced modelling technique like

systems dynamics modelling. The histogram for the $5M investment level shows similar

results to the $4M investment.

90

Figure 13 Desirability of capability 4 (see online version for colours)

91

92

Initiative Selection at $4,000,000

35

30

25

20

15

10

5

0

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V X Y Z

93

Initiative Selection at $5,000,000

35

30

25

20

15

10

5

0

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V X Y Z

Conclusions

The advantages of the initiative mapping process developed in this paper may be

summarised as follows:

1

this method is unique, because it takes into account the variability of the subjective

rankings given by the experts.

It should be pointed out that this process is used to screen a large number of proposed

initiatives to further evaluate the efficacy of each initiative and/or combinations of

initiatives on the entire system. This approach capitalises on the knowledge of subjectmatter experts while recognising that humans may not have the ability to assess the

impact of initiatives on complex systems. By creating uncertainties associated with SME

rankings, Monte-Carlo simulation can be used to create ranges of the efficacy of

proposed initiatives and proposed initiative selection alternatives. By clearly determining

what initiatives definitely enhance system performance and what initiatives definitely do

not enhance system performance, system designers are allowed to spend more effort

focusing on modelling the impact of the significant initiatives and not waste time trying

to model initiatives that may not enhance performance of the system.

A possible limitation to this methodology is inherent in the way the SME estimates

are combined. This is due to the fact that they are combined using the arithmetic mean.

94

This assumes that each SME is equally knowledgeable. Therefore, it might appropriate to

investigate alternative combination methods for SME estimates.

Future research will be focused into turning the binary-integer programme that was

developed as part of this effort into a generic excel-based decision support system. The

purpose of this tool would be to assist managers in making decisions about potential

policies and projects in system-of-systems applications. An additional feature that can be

incorporated is the ability to change the amount of uncertainty associated with the SME

rankings.

Acknowledgement

The authors would like to thank the reviewers whose constructive comments significantly

improved this manuscript.

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