Fault-tolerant system architecture radically improves reliability

The development of safety systems begins by risk analysis of the controlled process. Risk analysis examines how the controlled process may fail and what is the probability of different failure events and scenarios. Based on the events and scenarios the implemented safety functions, that ensure the total system safety, are selected.

The same principle applies for improving the reliability of systems already in operation. The vulnerabilities are identified and analysed, and based on the priority of the vulnerability, the need and the degree of assurance is selected.

Where industrial production systems are considered, reliability is essential for productivity. However, for information technology systems the overall reliability is often buried under technical details.

IntoWorks analyses the potential vulnerabilities in your system and proposes corrections if needed, as well as guides you as system operator on how to prepare for exceptions resulting from failures and how to plan the failure recovery procedures.

Independent verification and validation is underrated as quality assurance means

Quality assurance of a product is based on recurring verification and validation activities. The design artifacts are verified against requirements, as are the life cycle artefacts as a whole. Validation is performed as whole entities, for example with acceptance tests.

The benefit of using independent organisation for verification and validation is objectivity. Typically design teams and their organisations have commonly established way of thinking, common concepts and set of hidden assumptions. For example, persons who have used computer software in Finnish language only are not necessarily readily aware of how different locales affect the design of a software system's user interface layout, date formats, and the required functionality for localization. Independent verification and validation begins without such assumptions. For safety critical software based systems, independent verification and validation is typically required routinely regardless of the application domain.

Independent verification and validation is commonly associated with testing. However, most benefit is gained by utilizing it during earlier phases of system life cycle, for example by independently assessing requirements specification and system architecture. Independent assessment is useful also beneficial when identifying errors in design documentation.

IntoWorks is the technical consultant for procurement

The procurement technical consultancy service of IntoWorks consists of performing and facilitating the following activities:

  • the procurement requirements definition, documentation and validation
  • assessment of the supplier and technology candidates
  • objective scoring of the supplier candidates
  • optimization of the delivery scope (if applicable)
  • planning and execution of the supervision of the supplier and delivery and supplier support

How is technical procurement consulting different from normal procurement consulting?

Stereotypical procurement consultancy focuses on fulfilling procurement legislation. Technical procurement consultancy strives to ensure that the delivered product fulfills users' needs. The two are not mutually exclusive, but the means are different.

The distinction is important in order to avoid misplaced trust in procurement legislation. Fulfilling the procurement law is not enough for successful procurement, and it will not deliver the actually needed but not exactly specified quality, service or functionality.

Facts about procurement legislation

Three important facts about procurement legislation are as follows:

  • The purpose of procurement legislation is not to achieve a quality product. It is intended to level the playing field, remove obstacles in open trade and make competition possible amongst the suppliers.
  • Long-term partnerships, where trust and reputation are meaningful assets, are not recognized by procurement legislation. Every tender is independent, and qualitative opinion about previous success or failure is not considered. Focus on quality is neither required nor rewarded, so suppliers logically optimize to minimum quality level and corresponding minimum cost.
  • Only public-funded organizations need to consider procurement legislation. Private businesses not using public capital have more options available to emphasize the system quality and optimize total cost of the system life cycle.

Quality statements in legislation are only hopes and dreams

Procurement legislation makes beautiful, overarching statements about high quality. A quick rule of thumb to test the actual meaning of these statements is to check the penalties imposed for not reaching them. From the legislative perspective, the importance of good specification is clear: Procuring an expensive system that does not fit its purpose is completely inconsequential, as long as the relevant procedures that facilitate free competition are followed and the system meets its specification.

Combining quality and compliance with technical procurement consulting

In procurement interested in quality, the technical preparation plays key role. Obtaining the right product definition, comparing suppliers against correctly weighed criterion, selection of the right supplier and planned cooperation with the selected supplier are all part of the technical planning. Procurement technical consulting fills the gap between compliance-driven procurement legislation and quality-driven technical planning, so that the procured system can and will meet the performance expectations and the intended purpose of the system.

Not affected by procurement regulation? Get all the upsides

Our methods always consider the context where they are used. If your business context does not involve compliance to procurement regulation, our methods are still valid for specifying the right system for your needs, and objectively selecting the best supplier for the job, and ensuring the delivered product meets not only the specification, but also your expectation.