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In order to do this, we must have a clear understanding both of the overall
objectives of the business and of what it is that the individual users of the system
are trying to achieve in their jobs. Unless you are in the rare position of developing
a system for a new organization, you will need to understand how the business is
operating at present and how people are working now.
Many aspects of the current system will need to be carried forward into the new system, so it is important that information about what people are doing is gathered and documented. These are the requirements that are derived from the 'current system'.
The motivation for the development of a new information system is
usually problems with the current system, so it is also essential to capture what it is
that the users require of the new system that they cannot do with their existing
system. These are the 'new requirements'.
The existing system may be a manual one, based on paper documents,
forms and files; it may already be computerized; or it may be a combination of
both manual and computerized elements. Whichever it is, it is reasonably certain
that large parts of the existing system meet the needs of the people who use it,
that it has to some extent evolved over time to meet business needs and that
users are familiar and comfortable with it. It is almost equally certain that there
are sections of the system that no longer meet the needs of the business, and that
there are aspects of the business that are not dealt with in the existing system.
Here the analyst, who is responsible for gathering information as one of
the first steps in developing a new system, gains a clear understanding of how
the existing system works means what parts of the existing system will be
carried forward into the new one. It is also important, because the existing
system will have shortcomings and defects, which must be avoided or overcome
in the new system.
of lines of program code, which have been added to and amended over a period of
time. One approach to dealing with such systems is to create new frontends,
typically using modern graphical user interfaces and object\u00adoriented languages,
andwra p the legacy systems up in new software.
It is not always possible to leave legacy systems as they are and
simply wrap them in new code. It was not possible to ignore the problems that
faced companies at the turn of the century when it was realized that many systems
were in danger of catastrophic collapse as a result of the decision to use two
decimal digits to store the year. However, the process of changing the program
code in such systems is a matter of understanding the internal working of existing
systems rather than gathering information about the way the organization works
and the way that people do their jobs.
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