Adaptability (lat.: adaptō = fit, matching) is a feature of a system or of a process.
This term can be used in different disciplines and business functions to describe organisational, technology and information systems.
Adadptability is now increasingly seen as an important factor for efficientcy and economic success of systems and processes. To determine the adaptability of a process or a system, it should be validated concerning some criteria.
Development of the use of this term
In the technical research field this feature is considered only since the late 1990s. Adaptability came up in the context of factory planning. Here it is considered as goal to develop modular, adaptablesystems.
H. P. Wiendahl first brought up adaptability as a necessary feature of a manufacturing system in 1999. That is how adaptability has moved into the centre of interest of manufacturing and system engineers.
Adaptability can in general be seen as an ability to change something or oneself to fit to occurring changes [Andresen, K., Gronau, N.: An Approach to Increase Adaptabilityin ERP Systems. In: Managing Modern Organizations with InformationTechnology : Proceedings of the 2005 Information Recources ManagementAssociation International Conference, 2005.] .
Criteria of adaptability
Adaptability of a system
Adaptability is to be understood here as the ability of a system to adapt itself efficiently and fast to changed circumstances. An
adaptive systemis therefore an open systemthat is able to fit its behaviour according to changes in its environment or in parts of the system itself. That is why a requirement to recognise the demand for change without any other factors involved can be expressed [Andresen, K., Gronau, N.: An Approach to Increase Adaptabilityin ERP Systems. In: Managing Modern Organizations with InformationTechnology : Proceedings of the 2005 Information Recources ManagementAssociation International Conference, 2005.] [Andresen, A.: Patterns of Adaptability in Enterprise Systems, Gito, Berlin; 2005; S. 52]
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