Accelerating Enterprise Capabilities with Digital Engineering

Our comic strip illustrates how you can adapt your system at the speed of relevance

Brian Haan

In my blog, Understanding Digital Engineering with Comic Books, I wrote about cartoonist Scott McCloud’s wonderful explanation of how comics allow one person to convey an idea to another person or audience. One of the goals of digital engineering is the same: ensure what an organization is building resembles what it wants through the presentation of visual and other information among its people.

Digital engineering transforms engineering enterprises through the integration of digital technologies, engineering model expertise, and multidisciplinary knowledge into a digital ecosystem. Because I enjoyed McCloud's book, Understanding Comics, so much, I convinced my friends at the SAIC communications team to help me boil down digital engineering to a six-cell comic strip.

Our comic features our SAIC space avatar and a guest-starring appearance from a customer robot. What I like particularly about this comic strip is the customer robot is the real hero of the story. The SAIC space avatar provides critical digital engineering tools, but the customer robot scores the victory.


As you can see in the first three cells, the customer robot has a water-wielding robot coming its way, and that bad robot is evolving fast! It is getting bigger, scarier, and more dangerous by the minute. The customer robot needs some capabilities quickly to defend itself.

When a customer with engineering challenges calls SAIC, we spring into action with our four modular digital engineering services: transformation, ecosystem, execution, and knowledge management. In this comic, our transformation service benchmarks, plans, and executes a transformation strategy, built on SAIC and partner expertise, reconfiguring the customer robot for the new capabilities.

In cell 4, we get down to work with our ecosystem service. Like for our customer robot, it helps clients automate and evolve their current engineering infrastructures while reducing vendor lock. We partner with some of the digital engineering industry’s leading tool and platform providers, bringing the best together to build digital ecosystem solutions that fit customers' mission needs.

With a digital engineering ecosystem in place, we then apply our execution service to bring the right experts to attack engineering questions with confidence. They use a range of ecosystem tools, including modeling and simulation and systems engineering analyses.  

For instance, SAIC has teams conducting quick response modeling for congressional decision-making and mission modeling for U.S. Air Force preparedness. Findings are cycled back into the digital engineering ecosystem to inform all stakeholder efforts along the system life cycle.

Cell 5 shows the customer robot receiving the right equipment, training, and knowledge. Our knowledge management service drives quality and workflow by providing on-the-job-training using SAIC’s hyper-learning workforce development methods. It’s great to deliver cutting-edge tools and methods, but users need to know how to apply them to bring together and leverage the best minds in their organizations.

As the comic ends with the bad guy on ice, I like to imagine the customer robot and SAIC’s space avatar get to enjoy a few well-deserved moments of downtime, but the truth is there will always be more mad scientists and more bad robots on the horizon. The great thing about digital engineering is the ability to continuously evaluate and adjust systems as missions evolve.

By leveraging the power of customers’ enterprise tools and experts into a knowledge management system, digital engineering can accelerate design and technical integration while driving innovation, which results in greater mission impact.

For more on what digital engineering is about, visit our digital engineering page, where you can click on our digital engineering services interactive infographic.

Posted by: Brian Haan

Chief Solutions Architect

Brian Haan has 25 years of systems engineering, mission engineering, and reliability experience covering multiple mission domains for defense and intelligence community customers. He leads technical research and development of digital engineering, systems engineering, and model-based systems engineering methodologies in SAIC’s Solutions & Technology Group. His work in data architecture and design has netted multimillion-dollar savings across multiple programs. He has led large systems engineering organizations as well as payload operations procedures.

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