The Snowman Patent
The Snowman Practice is so radically different than any other approach to building large complex IT systems that it has been granted a patent: U.S. Patent 7,756,735. This patent is for a mathematically-based methodology for minimizing the complexity of large IT systems and enterprise architectures. This patent is the basis for the Snowman Identification Process (SIP).
The degree of protection awarded a patent is related to the novelty of the invention. In our case, the Patent Office recognized the ground breaking nature of our work by awarding this patent unusually broad protection, essentially covering any mathematical approach to reducing complexity that uses partitions and equivalence relations. We don't believe there is any reproducible approach to dealing with complexity that is not based on partitions and equivalence relations.
IT complexity is a costly problem in both the United States and worldwide. We estimate the direct and indirect cost of complexity-related IT failures to be trillions of dollars per year. The U.S. government alone loses tens of billions of dollars per year on failed IT projects, with indirect costs many times higher*. The Snowman Practice, by minimizing IT complexity, can dramatically reduce these numbers.
The Snowman Practice is based on the mathematics of complexity, set theory, and equivalence relations. It works by analyzing a large, complex IT system and partitioning it into smaller, simpler systems (Snowmen). Partitioning a large system into smaller systems is not in itself new but up until now the partitioning process has been trial-and-error. What makes The Snowman Practice unique and the reason it was awarded the patent is that it replaces the trial-and-error approach by a reproducible and mathematically verifiable approach that finds the best possible and least complex partition for a given system. Since the cost of implementing an architecture is directly related to the complexity of that architecture, there is a huge cost saving opportunity in using The Snowman Practice.
The importance of reducing complexity in both IT and business systems cannot be overemphasized. Complexity decreases an organization's ability to respond to today's fast-changing business environment and can significantly deter an organization's ability to gain or maintain competitive advantage.
When the patent was first awarded, Roger Sessions said, "We are a small company and we have been working for several years on perfecting this methodology. This is the first patent ever issued for a mathematically based methodology for IT simplification. To have our efforts recognized by the U.S. Patent office is tremendously exciting. But most exciting of all is the opportunity to introduce a process that can reduce IT costs, slash IT failure rates, and drive the delivery of highly effective IT systems."
*For more on the costs of IT Complexity, see the White Paper The IT Complexity Crisis. Click <here>
Page last updated 6/6/2013