Supporting the collaborative engineering of large and complex systems


In collaboration with ArianeGroup, Dassault Aviation, the French Government Armaments Agency (DGA – Direction Générale de l’Armement) , Naval Group and Thales, SystemX has proposed a coolaborative tool-based process dedicated to the review of heterogeneous models in the context of the extended enterprise, as well as a process to evaluate architectural alternatives aimed at classifying different possible architectural solutions.

Engineering large, complex systems involves a multitude of partners with a range of different needs, points of view, processes and tools. In this context, it is essential to manage the chain of design and overall consistency of specifications to ensure end customer needs and costs are met. In order to meet this design challenge, innovative collaborative engineering processes must be implemented, involving project management, industrial project management and other industrial partners.
Within the context of model-based systems engineering (MBSE), IRT SystemX studied solutions to share and manage the complexity of these large systems through managing the consistency between systems engineering data and by finding and comparing architecture solutions offering the best compromise.
The review process was implemented within the framework of a defence “fighter aircraft and facilities” programme on the Dassault Systèmes 3DExperience platform and highlighted the key elements of a model review:

  • A reading path to guide the reviewer through the model review by suggesting an order of display,
  • Graphic and textual annotation of the model,
  • A thread of discussions,
  • Data sharing security management depending on stakeholders.

The evaluation process of the architecture was tested using a complex systems engineering case study. Combined with the previous collaborative review process, the test consisted in sharing and validating, via a review, the architectural alternatives to be evaluated, then measuring these alternatives according to the architectural evaluation process, based on the 3DExperience platform and the implementation of an innovative collaboration platform (DCIDE – Dashboard for Innovative Collaborative Decision).
The various industrial players collaborating on major programmes will be able to use these processes, particularly in the defence, aeronautics and naval sectors.


There is still so much to explore: consistency management, digital continuity, model coevolution or co-simulation. We hope to pursuve our work with our partners to create the collaboration processes of tomorrow.

Anouk Dubois, Cheffe de projet et Responsable de la thématique Entreprise étendue, IRT SystemX

IRT SystemX has supported defence players in experimenting with new methods for major R&D programmes. By facilitating technical reviews, consistency management and the exploration of system architectures, we have improved the operational efficiency of systems under economic constraints. Working with IRT SystemX has been a great opportunity for the DGA to facilitate collaboration with its partners, while benefitting from a neutral space.

Jean-Philippe Masson, Assistant Director of Engineering, Systems Engineering Project Manager,

We decided to join an R&D project led by IRT SystemX in order to collaborate with other industrial players on the development of innovative processes in a non-competitive mode. We used the Dassault Systèmes 3DExperience platform to implement the tools developed by the different industrial partners and to produce prototypes. We were particularly interested in the review process, which is fundamental because it enables us to compare the digital model of the user’s needs with the digital model of the solution offered by manufacturers.

Jean Sass, Managing Director of Digital Transformation,

System engineering and dependability