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Slide 1 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 The Power of Modularity: The Financial Consequences of Computer and Code Architecture Carliss Y. Baldwin Harvard Business School AOSD 06 March 22, 2006
Slide 2 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Unmanageable DesignsWhat They Are and their Financial Consequences Carliss Y. Baldwin Harvard Business School AOSD 06 March 22, 2006
Slide 3 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Three Points to begin Large, complex, evolving designs –Are a fact of modern life –Need design architectures »Description of the entities in a system and their relationships »Way of assigning work (Parnas) Designs create value –Value operates like a force in the economy –We fight to create it and to keep itusing strategy Design Architecture and Strategy –How can you create and capture value in a large, complex evolving set of designs? –Subject of this talk
Slide 4 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 In the economy, value acts like a force Value = money or the promise of money Consider the computer industry…
Slide 5 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 The changing structure of the computer industry Andy Grove described a vertical-to-horizontal transition in the computer industry: 1995-Modular Cluster 1980-Vertical Silos
Slide 6 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Andys Movie Stack View in 1980 Top 10 Public Companies in US Computer Industry Area reflects Market Value in Constant US $
Slide 7 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Andys Movie Stack View in 1995 Top 10 Public Companies in US Computer Industry Area reflects Market Value in Constant US $
Slide 8 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Andys Moviethe Sequel Stack View in 2002 Top 10 Public Companies in US Computer Industry Area reflects Market Value in Constant US $
Slide 9 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Turbulence in the Stack Departures from Top 10: Xerox (~ bankrupt) DEC (bought) Sperry (bought) Unisys (marginal) AMP (bought) Computervision (LBO) Arrivals to Top 10: Microsoft Cisco Oracle Dell ADP First Data Sic Transit Gloria Mundi… Sic Transit
Slide 10 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Contrast to the Auto Industry Top 10 Public Companies in US Auto Industry Area reflects Market Value in Constant US $ Value stayed in one layer!
Slide 11 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Two patterns Manageable designs = auto industry Unmanageable designs = computer industry What makes computer designs so unmanageable? This was the question Kim Clark and I set out to answer in 1987.
Slide 12 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 After studying the history of computer designs and correlating their changes with value changes We concluded that modularity was part of the answer…
Slide 13 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Modularity is The degree to which a set of designs (or tasks) is partitioned into components, called modules, that are highly dependent within a module, nearly independent across modules A property of architecture, somewhat under the architects control
Slide 14 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Modularity in computers IBM System/360 First modular computer design architecture ( ) –Proof of concept in hardware and application software –Proof of option value in market response and product line evolution –System software was NOT modularizable »Fred Brooks, The Mythical Man Month »Limits of modularity
Slide 15 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 StrategicallyIBM wanted to be the sole source of all of System/360s Modules
Slide 16 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 By 1980, 100s of firms made S/360 plug-compatible components
Slide 17 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Modularity and Option Value Interact IBM did not understand the option value it had created Did not increase its inhouse product R&D Result: Many engineers left –to join plug-compatible peripheral companies San Jose labs > Silicon Valley
Slide 18 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Modularity in computers, cont. Bell and Newell, Computer Structures (1971) –General principles of modular design for hardware –Basis of PDP-11 designanother ORMDA Thompson and Ritchie, Unix and C ( ) –Modular design of operating system software (contra Brooks Law) Parnas (1972) abstract data structures, info hiding –Object-oriented programming, C++, Java Mead and Conway, Intro to VLSI Systems (1980) –Principles of modular design for large-scale chips
Slide 19 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Modularity in computers (cont.) IBM PC (1983) –DEC PDP-11 minimalist strategy (exclude and invite) –+ Intel 8088 chip –+ DOS system software –+ IBM manufacturing –+ Lotus –A modular design architecture with a mass market
Slide 20 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Creating a modular architecture
Slide 21 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Design Structure Matrix Map of a Laptop Computer
Slide 22 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Every important cross-module interdependency must be addressed via a design rule. This is costly Modularization may not pay
Slide 23 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Design Structure Matrix of a Modular Laptop Computer
Slide 24 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Measuring modularity
Mozilla just after becoming open sourceLinux of similar size Coord. Cost = 30,537,703 Change Cost = 17.35% Coord. Cost = 15,814,993 Change Cost = 6.65% Comparison of different software systems with DSM tools © Alan MacCormack, Johh Rusnak and Carliss Baldwin, 2006
Mozilla just after becoming open source Linux of similar size Coord. Cost = 30,537,703 Change Cost = 17.35% Coord. Cost = 15,814,993 Change Cost = 6.65% Conways Law: Different organizations deliver different architectures One Firm, Tight-knit Team, RAD methods Distributed Open Source Development © Alan MacCormack, Johh Rusnak and Carliss Baldwin, 2006
Mozilla Before RedesignMozilla After Redesign Refactoring for modularity © Alan MacCormack, Johh Rusnak and Carliss Baldwin, 2006 Change Cost = 17.35%Change Cost = 2.38%
Slide 28 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 What about Aspects?
Slide 29 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Creating an Aspect Module Imagine 100s of As and Bs! Design Rules = APIs and XPIsDesign Rules = APIs only Modular Operator Inversion Cross-cutting concern
Slide 30 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 What is the Aspect worth? If no change ever, Aspect is worthless Reasons to change the Aspect sub-blocks –Achieve consistency –Better approaches –Changes in policy Option value = the value of an unforeseen change
Slide 31 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 An Option is The right but not the obligation to take an action –Action = Use a new design –If new is better than old, use new; –Otherwise, keep the old.
Slide 32 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 An Aspect changes the Net Option Value (NOV) of the codebase Without Aspect: Net Option Value (NOV) = Change Benefit – 100 Change Costs With Aspect: Net Option Value (NOV) = Change Benefit – 1 Change Cost If Change Benefit > 100 Change Costs NOV = 99 Change Costs As Change Benefit decreases, NOV goes down: If Change Benefit= 0, NOV = 0
Slide 33 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 To justify an Aspect (to your CFO) You need to argue: –Change Benefit is high »consistency, better approaches, policy –Difference in Change Costs is high »99 changes vs. 1 –Cost of refactoring is low »You are going to have to refactor anyway, so do it right…. The NOV approach attempts to quantify the elements of this argument –Option value resides in Change Benefit –This is the bleeding edge of our science
Slide 34 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 What is this elusive property that gives rise to option value? Where does it arise? Can we measure it?
Slide 35 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Low Medium Zero High Measuring Option Potential Successive, improving versions are evidence of option potential being realized over timeafter the fact Designers see option potential before the fact What do they see?
Slide 36 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Major challenge in research and practice right now Science may not be able to deliver tools to measure ex ante option potential reliably But ex ante estimates are whats needed
Slide 37 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 /Option potential is like dark matter in the universe Scientists can measure its effects but we cant measure it Wizards can perceive /option potential –But wizards dont talk to scientists! Thus we lack ways to measure /option value scientifically –It is a research frontier
Slide 38 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 /Option potential at work Matlab programming contest
Slide 39 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 /Option potential at work Transaction Processors and CPUs Architectural experimentation Component experimentation
Slide 40 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Sources of /option value Physics –Moores Law (dynamics of miniaturization) applies to MOSFET circuits and systems (Mead and Conway) –Power and heat systems vs. logic systems (Dan Whitney) User innovation –Users discovery of their own needs –Killer apps Architecture –Experimenting with different relationships among components
Slide 41 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 But you might not want to tell your CFO that … High option value makes designs unmanageable … Call your venture capitalist, instead!
Slide 42 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 High option potential induces entry => industry structure change AutosComputers
Slide 43 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 High s are what make designs unmanageable Unmanageable = Cannot be confined in a single company or supply chain There are modular design architectures that are very manageable –Example: Toyota Production System (TPS) If System/360 had had low /option potential, IBM would be like Toyota It would be a different world…
Slide 44 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Recapping the argument Designs create value –Value operates like a force in the economy –Changes the structure of industries Designs have architectures –Modularity and /Option value are the key economic properties of a design architecture –Modularity + High /Option value => Unmanageable »Why computers are not like autos »Why IBM is not Toyota We have NOT talked about How do you capture value in a modular, high- design?
Slide 45 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 How can you capture value? Architectural/Technological question: –Where/when does modularization stop? Business/Strategic question: –How do you make money in a modular, high- world?
Slide 46 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Where does modularization stop? Strojwas (2005) Semiconductor Industry Top 10 Firms: 1994 and 2004
Slide 47 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 How do you make money in a high- world? Old paradigm –Plunge in –Get lucky –Watch out for Microsoft –Get bought by HP
Slide 48 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 A new paradigm… –Expect a cluster –Use M&A to be the lead firm in some slice(s) of the stack –Use design architecture to reduce your footprint in each slice => high ROIC –Use open source methods to clone your complementors products => price and innovation discipline How do you make money in a high- world?
Slide 49 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Our research strategyLook for Stable patterns of behavior involving several actors operating within a consistent framework of ex ante incentives and ex post rewards ==> Equilibria of linked games with self- confirming beliefs (Game theory)
Slide 50 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 How a stable pattern works Anticipation of $$$ (visions of IPOs) Lots of investment Lots of design searches Best designs win Fast design evolution => innovation Lots of real $$$ (an actual IPO) Rational expectations equilibrium
Slide 51 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Three Stable Patterns Blind Competition –PCs in the early 1980s High ROIC on a Small Footprint –Sun vs. Apollo –Dell vs. Compaq (and HP and …) Lead Firm Competition –MonopolyMSFT –Mergers & AcquisitionsCisco, Intel …
Slide 52 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Blind Competition
Slide 53 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Blind Competition
Slide 54 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Footprint CompetitionApollo Keeps Design Control
Slide 55 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Then Sun came along… And did even less! How?
Slide 56 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Then Sun came along… Design Architecture for high performance with a small footprint Public Standards for outsourcing And did even less! How?
Slide 57 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Result: ROIC advantage to Sun Sun used its ROIC advantage to drive Apollo out of the market Apollo was acquired by HP in 1989
Slide 58 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Compaq vs. Dell Dell did to Compaq what Sun did to Apollo … Dell created an equally good machine, and Used design architecture to reduce its footprint in production, logistics and distribution costs –Negative Net Working Capital –Direct sales, no dealers Result = Higher ROIC
Slide 59 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Higher ROIC always wins! Dell started cutting prices; Compaq struggled, but in the end had to exit. Compaq was acquired by HP in 2002
Slide 60 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Competition and Beliefs Blind competitors –dont know others exist Footprint competitors –Dont expect to influence othersjust compete Lead firms –Must influence the beliefs of their competitors –FUD Fear, uncertainty and doubt –Others cannot be blind!
Slide 61 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Lead Firm Competition Monopolist needs to deter all potential entrants with threats of price war –Very fragile equilibrium –Potentially expensive to create enough FUD M&A Lead Firm does not try to deter all entry in the design space –Expects to buy most successful entrants ex post –More robust equilibrium –Maybe more advantageous, when you count the cost of FUD
Slide 62 © Carliss Y. Baldwin 2006 Thank you!
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