As of 2021,”ISEE” – Institute for Systemic Economic Engineering – is a joint-stock company with 23-years of history. Up until this point, it was known under the name of SEMBA, an acronym of Systems for Effective Modelling of Business Assets.
The majority shareholder (holding more than 80% of the shares) of “ISEE” JSC is a Bulgarian foundation, established under the name “EngKUB” – “Engineering Culture for Management of the Future”. EngKUB’s role is to act as an organizing centre for an informal and publicly anonymous Bulgarian tech park named IDEUM Base. Historically, ISEE has been acting as the founding core of IDEUM Base. Enclosed within this tech park, ISEE: has one clear and concrete goal – to add to the list of innovations with global influence by creating a new kind of knowledge for management of the industrial economy – knowledge in the shape of a holistic ERP system, bearer of engineering model of the economy of the enterprise. The volition and work applied for almost two decades have led to a truly unique invention – a practice proven prototype of a new generation ERP system.
At first sight, the new ERP systems — ISEE’s main focus area — are in no way different from the conventional ERP systems, as both are IT products for managerial modelling of the economy of the industrial enterprise. However, this is only at first sight. The ERP systems offered today (with no exception) have been based on fragmented (scholastic) fundamental scientific knowledge for the economy — knowledge which is characterized by large functional gaps that can be arguably defined as “major flaws”. From this perspective, the new ERP systems are completely different. Per their engineering concept, they are based on holistic fundamental scientific knowledge for the economy — knowledge which offers a clear perspective on and understanding about the principle setup and way of functioning of each industrial enterprise in its capacity of systemic object and subject.
This major difference opens up the possibility for the operational features of the new ERP systems to entirely surpass the features of the old ones. This can be clearly seen when the old systems are compared against the prototype of the new ERP system developed by ISEE. Everyone who has made such a comparison would probably find the next statement, made by one of the ISEE’s founders, a little exaggerated but really close to the truth. In order to motivate his team along the long and strenuous road to success he could be often heard saying…
the new (holistic) ERP systems will excel the old (scholastic) ERP systems almost to the same degree as contemporary machine-driven vehicles surpassed medieval horse-driven vehicles…
The foundations of ISEE (while still operating as SEMBA), and the foundations of the IDEUM Base Technology Park were laid at the beginning of 1998. At the time, two Bulgarian companies joined their efforts in mid-January, agreeing to cooperate on the development of a unique IT solution for the modelling of industrial enterprises and systems.
One of the companies had its roots in one of the most successful software engineering schools in Bulgaria in the mid-1990s. The company employed three gold medal winners in international competitive programming. At the time, working in a team with four other software engineers, these developed software for commercial enterprises, insurance companies and banks on a contractual basis.
The other company was a special venture. It brought together the ideas of two mathematicians and two mechanical engineers with somewhat unconventional interests and a talent for studying the practical efficiency of the scientific knowledge of economic management.
The first principal idea
Bulgarian economy is ailing because the scientific knowledge base that informs its management has two major flaws:
First major flaw: Scientific knowledge about the economy fails to translate from an understanding of principle setup and functioning of contemporary enterprises as a systemic object that can generate added value.
Second major flaw: Scientific knowledge about the economy fails to translate from an understanding of principle setup and functioning of contemporary enterprises as a systemic subject that must generate added value. This means that the existing knowledge is largely devoid of meaning when it comes to the essence of collective responsibility and hence unable to assist in the development of job descriptions in the industry that are clear from a practical point of view.
The second principal idea
The health of the Bulgarian economy can be nourished through spiritual reengineering of its enterprises through an IT solution that serves as the focal point of holistic knowledge of the principles that inform the principal setup and functioning of each enterprise as a systemic object and systemic subject that can and must generate added value. This means that the IT solution must provide essential and deeply meaningful insight into fundamental knowledge about the economy that is brand new in terms of quality and capable of explaining, replacing and complementing the entire body of modern scientific knowledge about the management of industrial enterprises as the building blocks of a well-developed national economy.
This is the overarching ideological base, which the two companies shared in their pioneering work, and which informed and lent meaning to the endeavours of ISEE for the last 20 years and leads to the formation of a unique laboratory system, which has been often defined by its creators as “an informal and publicly anonymous Bulgarian tech park called Base IDEUM”.
During the first 14 years of its existence, the leading focus of the work of ISEE has been to demonstrate that Bulgarian engineers and mathematicians can pioneer knowledge about economic management of a brand new order in the form of an IT solution that enables an industrial enterprise to be holistically modelled as an object and a subject at the same time.
In its pursuit of this lofty challenge, ISEE went through three distinct stages of cognition-based development:
The initial stage lasted 4 years, from 1998 until the end of 2001.
During this period, ISEE developed a cognitive platform for a universalist understanding of the enterprise as a systemic object. On this basis, it then designed and rolled out the first version of the IT solution for enterprise modelling as a systemic object. This first cognitive platform was called the Industrial Cross.
The second stage also lasted 4 years, from 2002 until the end of 2005.
During this period, ISEE developed a second cognitive platform for the enterprise relevant to its very essence and to the meaning and hierarchy of knowledge that enable the very existence of an enterprise as a systemic subject. On this basis it then designed and rolled out the second version of the IT solution for enterprise modelling as a systemic object and subject. The second cognitive platform was called Industrial Cognition Tree.
This stage lasted 6 years, from the beginning of 2006 until the end of 2011.
During this period, ISEE made an important step in the development of the second cognitive platform, which supplemented and substantial deepened its understanding of an enterprise as a systemic subject. On this basis it then designed and rolled out for scientific research activities the third version of the IT solution for enterprise modelling as a systemic object carrying a systematically realised subjecthood.
In order to eliminate the two major flaws, ISEE conducted large-scale research of the development of fundamental scientific knowledge of the economy at each of the three stages in its development. These spanned the following areas:
〉 Academic circles and recommended scholarly publications;;
〉 Management consulting;
〉 Business software.
The research work of ISEE was most intense between 2006 and 2007.
The research work of ISEE was most intense between 2006 and 2007.
The studies conducted in 2006 and 2007 demonstrated clearly that the IT solution developed by ISEE was an indispensable instrument for addressing the first major flaw of basic scientific knowledge of the economy but that the second version of the IT solution was not fully capable of rectifying the second major flaw identified. This deficiency was addressed with the release of the third version several years later. Using this latest version of the ISEE’s IT solution, anyone could gain valuable insight owing to the integrated knowledge offered, which enables the development of clear and precise job descriptions. However, there was no way of establishing whether the IT solution imparts effective knowledge, enabling the creation and development of an innovative technological elite — this would require experimental research that still presents an inordinate challenge.
Creating an enabling environment in which conducting such research is possible will be the most important focus in the work of IDEUM in the next 6 years.
It covered three main work areas:
- Overview and curation of working materials relevant to the theory and terminology underlying ISEE’s IT solution;
- A large-scale campaign dedicated to studying the development of fundamental scientific knowledge about the economy in the last few years;
- And, most importantly, an IT solution testing as a bearer of knowledge for the creation and development of an effective technological elite capable of nurturing and developing innovative technology industrial systems with conscious dedication and in-depth understanding.
The overview and systematic arrangement of the theory and terminology-related working materials for the IT solution developed by ISEE commenced at the end of 2011 and was finalised at the beginning of 2014. During this period, in order to secure ISEE’s copyright in the scientific work carried out, three books exclusively intended for in-house use were published in limited print runs.
The largest-scale campaign studying the development of all fundamental knowledge about economic management available was launched in late 2011 and completed in mid-2012. It was undertaken within the framework of two distinct research project.
The first research project focused on academic and consultancy circles as the bearer of comprehensive systematic knowledge about the management modelling of modern enterprises.
The second research project focused on the so-called ERP systems or Enterprise Resource Planning IT solutions.
The results of the two research projects fully corroborate the results of previous studies, which have shown the absence of dedicated research to create flawless fundamental knowledge about the economy.
Throughout its existence, ISEE has regarded and pursued its scientific endeavours as a wholesome and indivisible trinity comprising three basic activities: (1) research; (2) creative pursuits; and (3) experimental work.
The culmination of ISEE’s experimental work was a large-scale experiment proving the superiority of the IT solution developed as a bearer of knowledge for the creation and development of an innovative technological elite. An elite capable of designing and developing high-tech industrial systems using its in-depth understanding and expertise. This experimental study was launched at the beginning of 2014 and finalised in the autumn of 2015.
The generated results could be considered astonishing.
These results, along with the results of all previous experimental studies, serve as:
〉 Conclusive evidence substantiating the key hypothesis that IT solutions that serve as bearers of flawless fundamental knowledge about the economic management (of a new order) can be developed is offered by the third version of the IT solution developed by ISEE.
〉 Cognitive basis for formulating a concept for the applied development of the IT solution developed by ISEE through follow-up versions — although the third product version operates amazingly well, it is considered a dedicated research prototype as opposed to a finished product.
In conclusion, it can be said that from all of the achievements, the most scientifically and practically vital meaning have the two cognitive platforms: The Industrial Cross and The Industrial Cognition Tree. Each of these platforms may be defined as a fundamental discovery in the field of fundamental scientific economic knowledge
At the beginning of 2016, ISEE fell into a strategic vacuum. Following 18 years of hard work, the two strategic goals were accomplished:
〉 A new and truly successful prototype of a quality new ERP was created, based on the two cognitive platforms;
〉 A concept for further development of the ERP system was designed;<
The question “Where to now?” emerged naturally, as the search for an answer lasted for a couple of years. Despite the continuous making of new contacts and holding of meetings with important personalities and institutions from a diverse range of circles, the efforts proved to no avail.
Serious ideas about a new strategic development direction and goals were nowhere to be found.
The first and only viable proposal for a new strategic goal came from outside the company. It emerged towards the end of 2020 and saw its initial development during the first half of 2021. The idea was put forth by the Bulgarian discussion forum known under the abbreviation ITFES. According to this idea, from the middle of 2021 to the middle of 2024, ISEE must develop, improve and position itself in the public media space in a way that would attract almost every global ERP system leader to acquire a share in its joint-stock ownership. This would empower global ERP companies with the chance to initiate a global process of radical increase of the management efficiency of the industrial economy by the development and wide spread of the new generation of ERP systems. It is reasonable to presume that a process of this kind would lead to a redistribution of the world knowledge market concerning the efficient management of the industrial economy (in 2020, it was assessed at $3 billion). Also, the primary driver of this process would be enabled to take a leading part in this redistribution equaling tens and hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
The strategic idea proposed by forum ITFES brings out ISEE from its strategic vacuum which lasted 5 years. It became a foundation for the development of a detailed strategic business plan for structural and functional development of ISEE during the 2021 – 2024 period.