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System Analysis

System Analysis

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Published by: mukhunthan on Mar 04, 2010
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01/27/2014

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ASSUMING THE ROLE OF THE SYSTEMS ANALYST
CHAPTER1
7
NEED FOR SYSTEMS ANALYSIS AND DESIGN
Systemsanalysisanddesign,asperformedbysystemsanalysts,seekstounderstandwhathumansneedtoanalyzedatainputordataflowsystematically,processortransformdata,storedata,andoutputinformationinthecontextofaparticularbusiness.Furthermore,systemsanalysisanddesignisusedtoanalyze,design,andimplementimprovementsinthesupportofusersandthefunctioningof businessesthat can be accomplished through the use of computerized informa-tion systems.Installingasystemwithoutproperplanningleadstogreatuserdissatisfactionandfrequentlycausesthesystemtofallintodisuse.Systemsanalysisanddesignlendsstructuretotheanalysisanddesignofinformationsystems,acostlyendeavorthatmightotherwisehavebeendoneinahaphazardway.Itcanbethoughtofasaseriesofprocessessystematicallyundertakentoimproveabusinessthroughtheuseofcomputerizedinformationsystems.Systemsanalysisanddesigninvolvesworkingwithcurrentandeventualusersofinformationsystemstosupporttheminworkingwithtechnologiesinanorganizationalsetting.User involvement throughout the systems project is critical to the successfuldevelopment of computerized information systems.Systems analysts,whose rolesin the organization are discussed next,are the other essential component in devel-oping useful information systems.Users are moving to the forefront as software development teams becomemore international in their composition.This means that there is more emphasison working with software users;on performing analysis of their business,prob-lems,and objectives;and on communicating the analysis and design of the plannedsystem to all involved.New technologies also are driving the need for systems analysis.Ajax(Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is not a new programming language,but atechnique that uses existing languages to make Web pages function more like a tra-ditional desktop application program.Building and redesigning Web pages that utilize Ajax technologies will be a task facing analysts.New programming lan-guages,such as Ruby on Rails,which is a combination programming language andcode generator for creating Web applications,will require more analysis.
ROLES OF THE SYSTEMS ANALYST
The systems analyst systematically assesses how users interact with technology andbusinesses function by examining the inputting and processing of data and the out-putting of information with the intent of improving organizational processes.Many improvements involve better support of users’ work tasks and business func-tionsthrough the use of computerized information systems.This definitionemphasizes a systematic,methodical approach to analyzing—and potentiallyimproving—what is occurring in the specific context experienced by users andcreated by a business.
 
8
PARTI
SYSTEMS ANALYSIS FUNDAMENTALS
CONSULTING OPPORTUNITY 1.1
“You’llbehappytoknowthatwemadeastrongcasetomanage-mentthatweshouldhireanewsystemsanalysttospecializeinecommercedevelopment,saysAlFalfa,asystemsanalystforthemultioutletinternationalchainofMarathonVitaminShops.Heismeet-ingwithhislargeteamofsystemsanalyststodecideonthequalifica-tionsthattheirnewteammembershouldpossess.Alcontinues,saying,“Infact,theyweresoexcitedbythepossibilityofourteamhelpingtomoveMarathonintoanecommercestrategythatthey’vesaidweshouldstartoursearchnowandnotwaituntilthefall.”Ginger Rute, another analyst, agrees, saying, “As long as theeconomy is healthy, the demand for Web site developers is far out-stripping the supply. We should move quickly. I think our new personshould be knowledgeable in CASE tools, Visual Basic, and JavaScript,just to name a few.”Al looks surprised at Ginger’s long list of languages, but thenreplies, “Well, that’s certainly one way we could go. But I would alsolike to see a person with some business savvy. Most of the peoplecoming out of school will have solid programming skills, but theyshould know about accounting, inventory, and distribution of goodsand services, too.”The newest member of the systems analysis group, Vita Minn,finally breaks into the discussion. She says, “One of the reasons Ichose to come to work with all of you was that I thought we all gotalong quite well together. Because I had some other opportunities, Ilooked very carefully at what the atmosphere was here. From whatI’ve seen, we’re a friendly group. Let’s be sure to hire someone whohas a good personality and who fits in well with us.”Al concurs, continuing, “Vita’s right. The new person should beable to communicate well with us, and with business clients, too. Weare always communicating in some way, through formal presenta-tions, drawing diagrams, or interviewing users. If they understanddecision making, it will make their job easier, too. Also, Marathon isinterested in integrating ecommerce into the entire business. Weneed someone who at least grasps the strategic importance of theWeb. Page design is such a small part of it.”Ginger interjects again with a healthy dose of practicality, saying,“Leave that to management. I still say the new person should be agood programmer.” Then she ponders aloud, “I wonder how importantUML will be?”After listening patiently to everyone’s wish list, one of the senioranalysts, Cal Siem, speaks up, joking, “We’d better see if Supermanis available!”As the group shares a laugh, Al sees an opportunity to try for someconsensus, saying, “We’ve had a chance to hear a number of differ-ent qualifications. Let’s each take a moment and make a list of thequalifications we personally think are essential for the new ecom-merce development person to possess. We’ll share them and continuediscussing until we can describe the person in enough detail to turna description over to the human resources group for processing.”What qualifications should the systems analysis team be lookingfor when hiring their new ecommerce development team member? Isit more important to know specific languages or to have an aptitudefor picking up languages and software packages quickly? Howimportant is it that the person being hired have some basic busi-nessunderstanding? Should all team members possess identicalcompetencies and skills? What personality or character traits aredesirable in a systems analyst who will be working in ecommercedevelopment?
Our definition of a systems analyst is necessarily broad.The analyst must beable to work with people of all descriptions and be experienced in working withcomputers.The analyst plays many roles,sometimes balancing several at the sametime.The three primary roles of the systems analyst are consultant,supportingexpert,and agent of change.
SYSTEMS ANALYST AS CONSULTANT
Thesystemsanalystfrequentlyactsasasystemsconsultanttohumansandtheirbusinessesand,thus,maybehiredspecificallytoaddressinformationsystemsissueswithinabusiness.Suchhiringcanbeanadvantagebecauseoutsideconsultantscanbringwiththemafreshperspectivethatotherpeopleinanorganizationdonopossess.Italsomeansthatoutsideanalystsareatadisadvantagebecausethetrueorganizationalculturecanneverbeknowntoanoutsider.Asanoutsideconsultant,youwillrelyheavilyonthesystematicmethodsdiscussedthroughoutthistexttoanalyzeanddesignappropriateinformationsystemsforusersworkinginaparticu-larbusiness.Inaddition,youwillrelyoninformationsystemsuserstohelpyouunderstandtheorganizationalculturefromothersviewpoints.
HEALTHY HIRING: ECOMMERCE HELP WANTED
 
ASSUMING THE ROLE OF THE SYSTEMS ANALYST
CHAPTER1
9SYSTEMS ANALYST AS SUPPORTING EXPERT
Another role that you may be required to play is that of supporting expert withina business for which you are regularly employed in some systems capacity.In thisrole the analyst draws on professional expertise concerning computer hardwareand software and their uses in the business.This work is often not a full-blown sys-tems project,but rather it entails a small modification or decision affecting a singledepartment.Asthesupportexpert,youarenotmanagingtheproject;youaremerelyservingasaresourceforthosewhoare.Ifyouareasystemsanalystemployedbyamanu-facturingorserviceorganization,manyofyourdailyactivitiesmaybeencompassedbythisrole.
SYSTEMS ANALYST AS AGENT OF CHANGE
The most comprehensive and responsible role that the systems analyst takes on isthat of an agent of change,whether internal or external to the business.As ananalyst,you are an agent of change whenever you perform any of the activities inthe systems development life cycle (discussed in the next section) and are present and interacting with users and the business for an extended period (from twoweeks to more than a year).An agent of change can be defined as a person whoserves as a catalyst for change,develops a plan for change,and works with others infacilitating that change.Your presence in the business changes it.As a systems analyst,you must recog-nize this fact and use it as a starting point for your analysis.Hence,you must inter-act with users and management (if they are not one and the same) from the verybeginning of your project.Without their help you cannot understand what theyneed to support their work in the organization,and real change cannot take place.If change (that is,improvements to the business that can be realized throughinformation systems) seems warranted after analysis,the next step is to develop aplan for change along with the people who must enact the change.Once a consen-sus is reached on the change that is to be made,you must constantly interact withthose who are changing.As a systems analyst acting as an agent of change,you advocate a particularavenue of change involving the use of information systems.You also teach usersthe process of change,because changes in the information system do not occurindependently but cause changes in the rest of the organization as well.
QUALITIES OF THE SYSTEMS ANALYST
From the foregoing descriptions of the roles the systems analyst plays,it is easy tosee that the successful systems analyst must possess a wide range of qualities.Manydifferent kinds of people are systems analysts,so any description is destined to fallshort in some way.There are some qualities,however,that most systems analystsseem to display.Aboveall,theanalystisaproblemsolver.Heorsheisapersonwhoviewstheanalysisofproblemsasachallengeandwhoenjoysdevisingworkablesolutions. Whennecessary,theanalystmustbeabletosystematicallytacklethesituationat handthroughskillfulapplicationoftools,techniques,andexperience.Theanalysmustalsobeacommunicatorcapableofrelatingmeaningfullytootherpeopleoverextendedperiodsoftime.Systemsanalystsneedtobeabletounderstandhumansneedsininteractingwithtechnology,andtheyneedenoughcomputerexperiencetoprogram,tounderstandthecapabilitiesofcomputers,togleaninformationrequirementsfromusers,andtocommunicatewhatisneededtoprogrammers.

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