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System Analysis and Design

CHAPTER ONE

FUNDAMENTALS OF INFORMATION SYSTEM
Systems are created to solve problems. One can think of the systems approach as an
organized way of dealing with a problem. In this dynamic world, the subject System Analysis
and Design, mainly deals with the software development activities.

1.1 Data, Information, and Knowledge

According to Russell Ackoff, a systems theorist and professor of organizational change, the
content of the human mind can be classified into five categories:

1. Data: symbols

2. Information: data that are processed to be useful; provides answers to "who", "what",
"where", and "when" questions

3. Knowledge: application of data and information; answers "how" questions

4. Understanding: appreciation of "why"

5. Wisdom: evaluated understanding.

Ackoff indicates that the first four categories relate to the past; they deal with what has been or
what is known. Only the fifth category, wisdom, deals with the future because it incorporates
vision and design. With wisdom, people can create the future rather than just grasp the present
and past. But achieving wisdom isn't easy; people must move successively through the other
categories.

A further elaboration of Ackoff's definitions follows:

Data... data is raw. It simply exists and has no significance beyond its existence (in and of
itself). It can exist in any form, usable or not. It does not have meaning of itself. In computer
parlance, a spreadsheet generally starts out by holding data.

Information... information is data that has been given meaning by way of relational
connection. This "meaning" can be useful, but does not have to be. In computer parlance, a
relational database makes information from the data stored within it.

Knowledge... knowledge is the appropriate collection of information, such that it's intent is to
be useful. Knowledge is a deterministic process. When someone "memorizes" information (as
less-aspiring test-bound students often do), then they have amassed knowledge. This
knowledge has useful meaning to them, but it does not provide for, in and of itself, an
integration such as would infer further knowledge. For example, elementary school children
memorize, or amass knowledge of, the "times table". They can tell you that "2 x 2 = 4" because
they have amassed that knowledge (it being included in the times table). But when asked what
is "1267 x 300", they cannot respond correctly because that entry is not in their times table. To

Compiled by : K.N.V.Ratna Kumar, M.Tech, MCA, MBA
Lecturer, Computing Science Department,
Faculty of Engineering and Technology,
JIGJIGA UNIVERSITY
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a soul is something that. will never possess a machine). to which there can be no humanly-known answer period. it asks questions to which there is no (easily-achievable) answer. wisdom is an extrapolative and non-deterministic. for it resides as much in the heart as in the mind. M. It calls upon all the previous levels of consciousness. People who have understanding can undertake useful actions because they can synthesize new knowledge. or judge. JIGJIGA UNIVERSITY 2 . goes far beyond understanding itself. Faculty of Engineering and Technology. at least new information. wisdom requires one to have a soul. Compiled by : K. and specifically upon special types of human programming (moral. and will never have the ability to posses wisdom.. to knowledge. and finally to wisdom. In computer parlance. between right and wrong. Ex: It is raining.V. understanding is an interpolative and probabilistic process.Tech. Computing Science Department. AI systems possess understanding in the sense that they are able to synthesize new knowledge from previously stored information and knowledge. Data represents a fact or statement of event without relation to other things. and in some cases. understanding. Understanding is not a separate level of its own. good and bad.. and it is understanding that support the transition from each stage to the next.System Analysis and Design correctly answer such a question requires a true cognitive and analytical ability that is only encompassed in the next level. The difference between understanding and knowledge is the difference between "learning" and "memorizing". and in doing so. etc. In computer parlance. Wisdom is a uniquely human state. most of the applications we use (modeling. from what is previously known (and understood).).Ratna Kumar. ethical codes.N. or as I see it. It is cognitive and analytical. to information. or in some cases. understanding can build upon currently held information.. Understanding. That is.. Wisdom is therefore. Wisdom. knowledge and understanding itself. It is the essence of philosophical probing.) exercise some type of stored knowledge. It is the process by which I can take knowledge and synthesize new knowledge from the previously held knowledge.. the process by which we also discern. I personally believe that computers do not have. simulation.. MCA. in general. It beckons to give us understanding about which there has previously been no understanding. non-probabilistic process. MBA Lecturer. The following diagram represents the transitions from data. And a soul is something machines will never possess (or perhaps I should reword that to say. Unlike the previous four levels. etc.

experience or instruction. Knowledge of specific events or situations that has been gathered or received by communication. 3. and raining. Meaning and Role of Information Dictionary definition : 1. A collection of facts or data. Computer Science. Ex: The temperature dropped 15 degrees and then it started raining. changes. Processed. The objectives of the system demand that some output is produced as a result of processing the suitable inputs.N.Tech. 4. air currents. stored. In a system the different components are connected with each other and they are interdependent. Basically there are three major components in every system. which means “an organized relationship among functioning units”. JIGJIGA UNIVERSITY 3 . intelligence of news. temperature gradients. or transmitted data. possibly cause and effect.V. Knowledge represents a pattern that connects and generally provides a high level of predictability as to what is described or what will happen next.System Analysis and Design Information embodies the understanding of a relationship of some sort. Wisdom embodies more of an understanding of fundamental principles embodied within the knowledge that are essentially the basis for the knowledge being what it is. A collection of components that work together to realize some objective forms a system. evaporation.Ratna Kumar. processing and output. M. The act of informing or the condition of being informed. MBA Lecturer. We are also Compiled by : K. Computing Science Department. Human body represents a complete natural system. 2. For example. MCA. Wisdom is essentially systemic. 5. communication of knowledge. namely input. And this encompasses an understanding of all the interactions that happen between raining. Faculty of Engineering and Technology. Ex: If the humidity is very high and the temperature drops substantially the atmospheres is often unlikely to be able to hold the moisture so it rains. Definition of System The term system is derived from the Greek word systema. Ex: It rains because it rains. Knowledge derived from study.

establishes the limits of the system.V. JIGJIGA UNIVERSITY 4 .System Analysis and Design bound by many national systems such as political system. 9.system takes input from its environment. 6. Interrelated components – function of one component is related to the function of another component – output from one is input for another – dependence of a part on one or more other parts. M. some imposed within the system itself. and provides output in the form of information. gain competitive advantage. Purpose – (or goal) – all components work together to achieve the overall purpose of the system. Fundamentals of Information System What is Information System ? Definition – I An Information System is an arrangement of people. improve quality of service to the customer. Output – system returns output to its environment as a result of its functioning – to achieve the purpose. etc. Environment – everything outside the Boundary that influences and/or interacts the system. Components – one part or a number of parts grouped together – a subsystem. some by the environment (e. Computing Science Department. Characteristics of a System [characteristic = attribute/feature/something it has that makes it a system] These are 9 characteristics that a system has: 1. Compiled by : K. MBA Lecturer. processes them. Constraints – there are limits to what the system can do (capacity. interfaces. capability). educational system and so forth. processes. Definition – II An Information System (IS) is a system that accepts inputs in the form of raw data. components within the boundary can be changed but components outside cannot be changed. 7. data.Tech.N. all components within the boundary. 2. or where subsystems meet each other. networks and technology that interact for the purpose of supporting & improving both day-to-day operations in a business (sometimes called data processing) as well as supporting the problem solving and decision making needs of management (sometimes called information services). 4. Input . Organizations use information systems for improved productiveness.Ratna Kumar. profitability. Boundary – separates the system from other systems. Interfaces – the points at which the system meets the environment. 3. Faculty of Engineering and Technology. speed. IS are designed in a manner to help the managers to analyze data and make decisions. 5. deadlines). MCA. Separates the system from other systems in the organization. Output from individual subsystems may be inputs to other subsystems. economic system.g. 8. available resources.

then place the order with the inventory system. • Requires a user interface to allow decision-maker to input criteria. Compiled by : K. by applying rules to information in the way that an expert would. • Data extracted from a TPS or MIS. • Accepted transactions are stored in the system database. the system must capture the data. verify that it is a valid transaction and accept or reject it. • Help user to find problems or decide a course of action in the business. daily. and combined with models of business processes. MCA. Some of them are as follows : • Transaction Processing Systems • Management Information Systems (such as Inventory and Planning systems) • Decision Support Systems • Expert Systems • Customer Relationship Management Systems • Electronic Commerce Systems • Enterprise Resource Planning Systems • Office Automation and Enterprise Collaboration Systems Transaction Processing Systems (TPS) • Automate the handling & capture of data about transactions or business activities.V.g.N. M. by allowing them to analyze data. Decision Support Systems (DSS) • Help decision-makers with decisions. Expert Systems (ES) • Replicate the decision-making process. JIGJIGA UNIVERSITY 5 . • Reporting provides summaries of transactions (e.Tech. Computing Science Department. authorise with the credit card company. weekly). Management Information Systems (MIS) • Take the raw data from a system such as a TPS.Ratna Kumar.System Analysis and Design Types of Information System A variety of Information Systems are available to cater to the varying needs of the organizations. and convert into a more meaningful form. • Provide reports of this information to Managers. • Interactive environment to allow data to be manipulated (viewed in different ways) and to change different factors.g. • For each transaction. Faculty of Engineering and Technology. • A transaction may be passed from one process to another to reflect all steps in the business process e. where the data is aggregated (combined). MBA Lecturer. take a credit card order over the phone. answer questions etc.

by which they serve their parent environment • Ex : Network File System by Sun Microsystems. Netscape Navigator • Advantages o Less reliance on proprietary products o More competition leading to lower cost o Decreased probability of schedule delay o Tested products o Portable applications o Interoperability o Faster technology insertion o Foundation for system evaluation Closed System • It is a system which resists the inclusion and integration of new ideas. MBA Lecturer. hardware and human components designed to satisfy the stated needs • They adapt quickly to the environment in which they live by possessing preamble boundaries through which the new and viable ideas are incorporated. Open System • It is a collection of interacting software. less complex parts Compiled by : K. in order to uncover undiscovered information Types of System Systems are of two types – Open and Closed.N.Tech. • The knowledge of a human expert and how they apply that knowledge to make decisions needs to be written into the system.Ratna Kumar. medical. JIGJIGA UNIVERSITY 6 . M.g. expert systems include data warehousing and data mining: o Data warehousing is the storage of large volumes of data for organizational use o Data mining is the process of looking for patterns in the data stored in databases.V. Computing Science Department. • More recently. • Decomposition – breaking down into smaller components – to make smaller. Faculty of Engineering and Technology. • Ex : Internet Explorer Browser for proprietary Windows Operating System Some important Systems Concepts [concepts = ideas/theories/thoughts] These are some important concepts about systems that a Systems Analyst needs to understand. • They do not adapt to the new and feasible ideas and may be considered waste and unnecessary to the parent environment. MCA.System Analysis and Design • An ES is developed for a particular domain/area of knowledge & problems e.

a module should be cohesive – so that it performs only one function. a good system will have very independent subsystems with minimal flows of data between them.System Analysis and Design • Modularity – as a result of Decomposition. A theoretical view of systems Compiled by : K. the system is divided into ‘chunks’ or modules that are roughly the same size. Faculty of Engineering and Technology. this makes it easier to understand the system. JIGJIGA UNIVERSITY 7 . • Coupling – coupled subsystems depend on each other – messages are passed between subsystems. MBA Lecturer.Ratna Kumar.V. The view of a system in figure below shows 3 subsystems within the system – they are coupled because they pass messages between each other. Computing Science Department.N. • Cohesion – the extent (how much) to which a subsystem performs a single function. This makes the system more simple and also makes it easier to change just one part of the system without affecting the other parts.Tech. MCA. Generally. M.