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Unit 2 System Analysis and Design

Specific Objectives

a. Describe the six phases of the system life cycle

b. Discuss how problems or needs are identified during Phase 1: Preliminary


investigation

c. Explain how the current system is studied and new requirements are
specified in Phase 2: System Analysis

d. Describe how a new or alternative system is designed in Phase 3: System


Design

e. Explain how new software are acquired, developed and tested in Phase
4:Systems Development

f. Discuss how a new information system is installed and users are trained in
Phase 5: System Implementation

g. Describe Phase 6: systems Maintenance, the systems Audit and ongoing


evaluation, to see if a new system is doing what it is supposed to do

h. Describe how to select a software

i. Understand prototyping
System Analysis and Design is a six-phase problem solving procedure for
examining and improving an information system.

The process of developing information systems that effectively use hardware,


software, data, processes, and people to support the companys business
objectives.

The six phases make up the system life cycle.

1. Preliminary Investigation

6. Systems Maintenance 2. Systems Analysis

5. Systems Implementation 3. Systems Design

4 Systems Development

1. Phase 1 Preliminary Investigation - The information problems or needs are


identified.
2. Phase 2 Systems Analysis The present system is studied in depth and new
requirements are identified.
3. Phase 3 Systems Design A new or alternative information system is designed.
4. Phase 4 Systems Development New hardware and software are acquired,
developed and tested.
5. Phase 5 Systems Implementation The new information system is installed and
adapted to the old system and people are trained to use it. This is the process of
changing from the old system to the new system.
6. Phase 6 Systems Maintenance In this ongoing phase, the system is
periodically evaluated and updated as needed.
The Need for System Analysis and Design

From time to time, organisations need to change their information systems.

Some reasons include:


organisational growth,
mergers and acquisitions,
new marketing opportunities,
revisions on government regulations,
availability of new technology
And new informational needs.

In organizations, the six-phased system life cycle is used by computer professionals


known as system analyst. These people study the organizations system to determine
what actions to take and how to use the computer technology to assist them.

Phase 1 Preliminary Investigation Phase

In the Preliminary Investigation phase, the problems are briefly identified and a few
solutions suggested. This phase is a preliminary investigation of a proposed project to
determine the need for a new information system. It provides the management with a
reason to initiate the System Analysis and Design process.

This is usually requested by the end-user who wants something that is not presently
being done by the information system. This usually highlights a flaw or drawback in the
Information System.

In phase 1, the systems analyst or the end-user is concerned with three (3) tasks)

1. Briefly defining the problem


2. Suggesting alternative solutions
3. Preparing a short report

Reports will help the management to decide whether to pursue the project further.
Task 1: Briefly defining the problem

Defining the problem means examining the information system that is currently being
used, determining who needs what information, when and why. This is accomplished by
interviewing, making observations, collecting sample documents, and using
questionnaires.

If the information system is large, a systems analyst does this survey. If the information
system is small, then the survey can be done by an end-user. After examining the
system, the problems within the information system are identified.

Task 2: Suggest alternative solutions

This step is simply to suggest some possible plans as alternatives to the present
arrangement.

For instance, the organisation could hire more secretaries to ensure up-to-date
collection of information. Sometimes, changes in hardware and software can also be
suggested. It could also be that the information system is working fine but the users
need to be trained more.

Task 3: Preparing a short report

For large projects, the systems analyst writes a report summarising the results of the
preliminary investigation and suggests alternative solutions. The report may also include
schedules for further development of the project.

This document is presented to higher management along with the recommendation


whether to continue with the project or not. If only extra staffing or professional
development is needed, the project will be stopped. If hardware or software is to be
upgraded, then the System Analysis and Design process is to be recommended. Using
this report, the management decides if the project is to be financed further or
terminated.
Phase 2 Systems Analysis

In this phase, the present system is studied in depth and new requirements are
specified. Here, data is collected about the present information system. This data is
then analysed and new requirements are determined.

Analysts are not concerned with the new designs here, only with the new requirements
for the new system.

There are three (3) tasks carried out by the analyst in this phase. They are:

1. Gathering data
2. Analysing data
3. Documenting the System Analysis stage.

a. Gathering data

Here, the system analyst/ end-user doing system analysis expands on the data
gathered during phase 1. He adds details about how the current system works. Data is
obtained through observations and interviews. It is also obtained from studying
documents that decide the formal lines of authority and standard operating procedures.
One such document is the organisation chart, which shows the levels of management
and formal lines of authority. Other documents such as source documents are also
utilised.
Figure 1: Organization Chart-Fiji LDS Church College

b. Analysing data

In this step, data is analysed to learn how information currently flows and to pinpoint
why it isnt flowing appropriately. The whole point of this step is to apply logic to the
existing arrangement to see how workable it is.

Analysis of an information system is done by using several tools. Some principle ones
are
Check lists,
top-down analysis,
grid charts,
decision tables,
systems flowcharts,
data flow diagrams,
automated design tools (CASE tools).

c. Documenting the System Analysis stage.

Finally, the systems analysis phase is documented in a report for higher management.
The systems analysis report describes the current information system, the requirements
for the new information system and possible project schedules.

Tools used in Phase 2 Systems Analysis

a. Checklists - These are a list of questions, which are helpful in guiding the systems
analyst or the end-user through key issues for the present system.

b. Top-down analysis - is used to verify the top-level components of a complex


system. Each component is broken down into smaller components. This approach
makes each component easier to deal with.

Fig. 2
Payroll

Calculate Tax Calculate Pay

Read PAYE READ FNPF Calculate Gross Pay Calculate Net Pay
c. Grid charts shows the relationships between input and output documents. For
instance, a time card is one of the many inputs that produce a particular report such
as a clients bill (other inputs might be forms having to do with supplies, travel etc.)

Horizontal rows represent inputs such as time cards. Vertical rows represent output
documents such as client bills. A check mark at the intersection of the rows and
columns indicate that the associated input document/ form is used to create the
corresponding output document.

REPORTS (OUTPUTS)
FORMS (INPUT) CLIENT BILLING EXPENSE SUPPORT
Timesheet
Telephone Log
Travel Log
Overtime Log
Fig. 3

d. Decision tables shows the decision rules that apply when certain conditions
occur. It also shows what action should take place as a result. These tables used
IFTHEN rules to get results.

DECISION RULES
1 2 3 4
Conditions:
1. Project less then $10,000 Y Y N N
2. Good credit history Y N Y N
Actions:
1. Accept project
2. Require deposit
3. Reject project
Fig. 4
Systems flowcharts shows the flow input of data to processing and finally to output
or distribution of information. This is not the same as a program flowchart, which is very
detailed. The systems flowchart indicates how information flows between the various
components of the system.
Fig. 5
Data flow diagrams are used to illustrate the data or information flow within an
information system. The data is traced from its origin through processing, output and
storage. DFDs are used to show the detailed flow of information in all areas of an
organisation.
Fig. 6
e. Automated design tools/ CASE tools are software packages that evaluate
hardware and software alternatives according to the requirements given by the
systems analysts. They are also called CASE (Computer Aided Software
Engineering) tools. They enable several systems analysts and programmers to
automate and co-ordinate their efforts in a project. CASE tools are simply software
that provides its users with analysis tools such as charts, DFDs, flowcharts,
program interfaces, etc, to assist in their efforts to analyse an information system.

These tools are also used in Systems design and system development phases.
Phase 3 Systems Design

In a Systems Design phase, a new or alternative information system is designed. The


Systems Design phase is concerned with three (3) tasks:

i. Designing alternative information systems


ii. Selecting the best information system
iii. Writing a systems design report

Task 1: Designing alternative information systems

In almost all instances, more than one design can be developed to meet the information
needs of an organisation. Each alternative system that is designed is evaluated by the
systems designers for feasibility. There are three (3) types of feasibilities that are carried
out on any information system.

a. Economic feasibility
b. Technological feasibility
c. Operational feasibility

1. Economic feasibility whether the cost of the new system will be justified by the
benefits it promises?

2. Technical feasibility Are reliable hardware, software and training available to


make the system work?

3. Operational feasibility Will the system be actually made to operate in the


organisation or will the people (employees, managers, clients) resist it?

Task 2: Selecting the best information system

When choosing the best design, managers must consider these four (4) questions:

i. Will the system fit the organisations overall information systems?


ii. Will the system be flexible enough so that it can be modified in the future?
iii. Can it be made secure against unauthorised use?
iv. Are the benefits worth the cost?
Task 3: Writing a systems design report

This report is prepared for higher management and describes the alternative designs. It
presents the cost versus benefits and the outlines the effects of the alternative designs
on the organisation. It usually concludes by recommending one of the alternatives.

Phase 4 Systems Development

In the Systems Development phase, new hardware and software are developed,
acquired and tested. The development phase has three (3) steps):

v. Developing software
vi. Acquiring hardware
vii. Testing the new system
Task 1: Developing software

Application software for the new information system can be obtained in two (2) ways:

It can be purchased as off the shelf package software and if possible modify it.

It can be custom designed. If the software is being written by programmer, then


proper programming concepts need to be followed.

Application software is obtained after the operating system has being selected. This is
the most current in the market.

Task 2: Acquiring Hardware

Some new systems may not require new computer hardware but others will. The new
equipment needed for the information system and the locations at which they have to be
installed must be determined. This can be a very critical area. Switching or upgrading
equipment can a very expensive preposition and certain issues will have to be kept in
mind:

Will a microcomputer system sufficient for a company that is growing or do we need


larger computers?
Are the networks expendable?
Will people have to undergo extreme training?

Task 3: Testing the New system

After the software and the new equipment have being installed, the system should be
tested. Sample data is fed into the system; the processed information is then evaluated
to see if the results are correct. Testing may take several months if the new system is
complex.

The system must also be tested with users. It must be seen that the software is correct
enough to allow for minute data. If possible the software should be modified so that it
displays improved user entry screens. After the system has been thoroughly tested and
revised, you are ready to put it to use.

Phase 5 Systems Implementation

In this phase, the new information system is installed and people are trained to use it.
Another name for this phase is the Systems Conversion Phase. Conversion is the
process of changing/ converting from the old information system to the new information
system.

Task 1: Types of Conversion

There are four (4) approaches to conversion:

i. Direct Approach
ii. Parallel Approach
iii. Pilot Approach
iv. Phased/ Modular Approach

1. Direct Approach

In the direct approach, the conversion is done simply by abandoning the old system
totally and starting up the new one. This can be risky if anything is still wrong with the
new system the old system will no longer be available to fall back on.

The direct approach is not recommended precisely because of this risk. Problems, big
or small, invariably crop up in a new system, in a large system; the occurrence of a
problem could spell catastrophe.

2. Pilot Approach

The new system is tried out in only part of the organisation. Once the system is working
smoothly in that part, it is implemented throughout the rest of the organisation.

The pilot approach is certainly less expensive than the parallel approach. It is also
somewhat riskier. However, these risks can be controlled because the problems will be
confined to only certain areas of the organisation. Difficulties will not affect the entire
organisation.
3. Parallel Approach

In the parallel approach, the old and new system are operated side by sided until the
new system has shown that it is reliable enough until it is clear that no operating
problems are occurring in the new system.

This approach is low-risk. If the new system fails, the organisation can just switch back
to the old system and keep going. However, keep enough people and equipment active
to mange two (2) systems at the same time can be very expensive.

Thus, parallel approach is used only in cases in which the cost of failure or of
interrupted operation is great.

4. Phased/ Modular Approach

In this approach, the new system is implemented gradually over a period of time. The
entire implementation is broken down into parts and phases. Implementation begins
with the first phase and once it is successfully completed, the second phase begins.
This process continues until all the phases are operating smoothly.

This is an expensive preposition because the implementation is done slowly. However, it


is one of the least-riskier approaches.

In general, the pilot and the phased approach are the most favourable. Pilot approach is
preferred when there are many people in the organisation performing similar operations
e.g. department store sales section.

A phased approach is more appropriate for organisations in which people are


performing different operations

SUMMARY of the Conversion Types

a. Direct Approach

1. The old system is abandoned and the new system is started.

2. This can be risky because the old system will no longer be available to fall back
on.

b. Parallel Approach

1. The old and new systems are operated side by side until new one is shown
reliable.
2. This is low-risk.

3. If new system fails, the old system can still be used to keep going.

c. Pilot Approach

1. The new system is tried out, first in one part of the organization.

2. Then it is tried throughout the rest of the organization.

3. It is less expensive than the parallel approach but somewhat riskier.

4. Risks may be controlled.

5. Difficulties will not affect the entire organization.

d. Phased Approach

1. The new system is implemented gradually over a period of time.

2. This is the least risky approach.

3. It is more expensive to implement than others because it is done slowly.

Task 2: Train Users


Users must be trained before they can use a new system. Training begins while the
system is being completed and before it is installed. Unfortunately it is one of the most
overlooked activities. Starting to train users early allows them to adjust to the new
information system. In some cases a professional software trainer maybe brought in to
show people how to operate the system. Training may also be conducted by the
system analyst or in-house experts.

Phase 6 Systems Maintenance

The Systems Maintenance is the last step in the systems Life Cycle. This phase is very important
and an on-going activity. Most organizations spend more money on this phase than any of the
others.
Systems Maintenance phase is a step procedure:

i. A Systems Audit and then


ii. An On-going Evaluation/ Periodic Evaluation (to see whether the system is performing
productively)

Task 1: Systems Audit

In the systems audit, systems performance is compared to the original design specifications. This
is to determine if the new procedures are actually performing productively. If they are not, then
further re-designing may be necessary.

Task 2: Periodic Evaluation/ On-going evaluation

After the systems audit, the new information system is periodically evaluated and further
modified if necessary. All systems should be evaluated from time to time to see if they are
meeting goals and providing services they are supposed to.

Software Evaluation

The process of buying a personal computer has less to do with the actual computer or
hardware than it has to do with the application software. The process of selecting
software is as follows:

1. Gather information (including price about available packages)


2. Narrow the field down by rejecting unsuitable packages.
3. Evaluate and compare the remaining packages.
4. Talk to other users.
5. Conduct a hands-on-test

When selecting application software, a useful technique involves making lists of


questions and obtaining answers to organise your evaluation. Do not buy any software
unless it meets your current needs. Do not rely on promises of future enhancements.

One of the most important aspects of software is usability. If you cannot figure out how
to use an application, then all the fancy features will do you no good. Therefore, some
form of training must be available for you to learn the software either through books or
other means.
Remember that you are licensing the right to use a copy of the software and not buying
it outright. Copying software for any purpose other than a backup is illegal.

6. Operating systems

By choosing your application software, you wind up choosing an operating system.


Features you would bear in mind when choosing an operating system are as follows:

i. User interface
ii. Ease of installation
iii. Performance
iv. Documentation
v. Buying the suite of applications
vi. Support
vii. Cost

Prototyping

Prototyping consists of devising a new system for users to try out.

Is it necessary for an organisation to follow every of the six phases of the systems life
cycle?

It may be desirable but often there is no time to do so. For instance, hardware may
change so fast that there is no opportunity for evaluation, design and testing. To
overcome this, a faster alternative is designed.
Prototyping means to build a model or a prototype that can be modified before the
actual system is installed. Prototyping is considered to be a quickie when building a
system. It allows users to find out right away how a change in a system can help their
work.

In prototyping, the model is usually devised on paper and then using current hardware
technology a physical model is set up to be tried out. However, relying on prototyping
alone may be risky. It might lead to a system being changed or installed without all
costs and other matters being considered.

A prototype is an experimental or a trial version of an information system. Often a


prototype is not a fully functional system because it is designed to demonstrate selected
features that might be incorporated into a new information system.
Future Trends

Rapid Application Development (RAD)

The Systems Life Cycle may be shortened if a method called RAD is used. The
traditional Systems Life Cycle can take a long time for large organisations. Because the
pace of business is increasing and also competition, businesses must shorten the
Systems Life Cycle so that information systems can be designed more quickly.

RAD uses powerful development software such as CASE (Computer Aided Software
Engineering) tools. CASE tools are used by small groups of highly trained people to
produce applications and information systems at a much faster rate with a higher
quality.
Project Management

Project management provides time management, job scheduling, resource (personal


and material) management and cost estimation.
1. Gantt Chart

Gantt charts track multiple tasks associated with systems development projects and
situations in which there are resource conflicts in terms of equipment and people. They
show the series of timescales of a task. They use bars and lines to indicate the
timescales for a series of tasks.

Progress on a project is recorded onto a chart for the benefit of other members. An
example of project management software is Microsoft Project. This software is
designed around the principles of Gantt charts.
2. PERT Charts (Program Evaluation and Review Technique)

PERT is a key element in project management software. PERT charts show the order
and time requirements for each task in a project as boxes connected by lines. The
critical path shows the combination of events requiring the most time. Often, several
tasks are independent of others. This chart shows the timing of a project and the
relationships between the tasks. It identifies which tasks are to be completed first
before others can begin.
In what situation is it beneficial to use Project Management Software?

This software is best used in complex projects that involve many steps projects taking
place in many locations simultaneously and projects with new mangers who need the
help of experienced managers not on site.