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Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon

Using the Systems Approach in Problem Solving

The systems approach to problem solving involves the following steps: Define the problem Gather data describing the problem Identify alternative solutions Evaluate the alternatives Select and implement the best alternative Follow up to determine if the solution is working
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Obtaining Information System

Organizations can obtain new information systems in one of the following ways: Build the IS themselves Buy a prepackaged system from a software development company or consulting firm Ask an outside organization or consultant custom build a system to an organizations specification

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon

Systems Development: An Overview

Activities involved in producing an IS solution to an

organizational problem or opportunity are called systems development This is a structured kind of problem solving with distinct activities moving from one step to the other The process of designing, building and maintaining information systems is known as systems analysis and design The term systems development life cycle (SDLC) is used to describe the life of an information system right from its conception till its retirement
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Large complex problems are decomposed into smaller once to arrive at better solutions These smaller problems are solved through small computer programs The final system is built by combining these smaller computer program Systems development process starts when management realize that a particular business system needs


Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon

Approaches to IS Development
Traditional Systems Development Approach (SDLC)
Prototyping Rapid Application Development

Object Oriented Approach

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon

Systems Development Life Cycle Implementation Preliminary

Training Conversion Evaluation Maintenance Investigation Problem Definition

Development Scheduling Programming Testing

Ongoing Activities Project Management Feasibility Assessment Documentation Information Gathering.

Analysis Gather data Analyze data Develop requirements

Design Preliminary design Detail design


Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon

Alternate Representation of SDLC

Six-phase problem-solving procedure for examining and improving an information system

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon

Preliminary Investigation

A brief study of the problem to determine whether the project should be pursued Also called the feasibility study or system survey Defines the problem The nature of the problem The scope (boundaries) of the problem Also involves working with the users

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


Understand the existing system Two tasks are involved Data gathering Data analysis This also involves feasibility study Technical : Assess hardware, software, technical resources Economic: Will benefits outweigh costs? Operational : Is solution desirable within existing conditions?
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Data Gathering

A number of techniques can be used Written documents Interviews with users and managers Structured interview includes only questions that have been written out in advance Unstructured interview interviewer has a general goal but few, if any questions prepared Questionnaires Observation Sampling
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Data Analysis

Typical tools for data analysis Data flow diagram Decision table/Tree Checklist Top-down analysis method Grid chart Structured English Automated design tools CASE Create system requirements Report to management
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Data Flow Diagram

A map that graphically shows the flow of data through a system Used to diagram existing procedures and data flows

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


Basic Symbols used in DFD

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon




Customer Order


Receive and transform Customer Food Order

Goods Sold Inventory Data

Food Order

Update Goods Sold file

Update Inventory file
Inventory Data

Goods Sold Data


Goods Sold File

Produce Management Reports


Inventory File

Daily Goods Sold Amount

Daily Inventory Depletion Amounts

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon

Management Reports


Other Data Analysis Tools

Grid chart

System flowchart
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Decision Tree
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Decision Tables

Show the table of logical decisions that must be made Useful in cases that involve a series of interrelated decisions Help to ensure no alternatives are overlooked
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Structured English
Common Statements Action Statement Example Profits = Revenues - Expenses Generate Inventory - Report Add Product record to Product Data Store IF Customer Not in Customer Data Store THEN Add Customer record to Customer Data Store ELSE Add Current-Sale to Customers Total-Sales Update Customer record in Customer Data Store FOR all Customers in Customer Data Store Generate a new line in the Customer-Report Add Customers Total-Sales to Report-Total CASE

If Statement

For Statement

Case Statement

If Income < 10,000: Marginal-tax-rate = 10% If Income < 20,000: Marginal-tax-rate = 20% If Income < 30,000: Marginal-tax-rate = 31% If Income < 40,000: Marginal-tax-rate = 35% ELSE Marginal-tax-rate = 38% ENDCASE

Individuals Involved in Systems Analysis

Systems analyst performs analysis and design May perform some programming as well Client the person or organization contracting to have the work done User the people who will have contact with the system

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


Systems Design
The new system is actually planned Divided into two sub phases

Preliminary design Several key decisions must be made Build a prototype Detail design specifications Output requirements Input requirements Files and databases System processing System controls and backups
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Build or Buy?

Custom Software Developed by user Developed at user request by outside vendor

Packaged Software Horizontal Many org types Vertical Industry specific

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


Systems Development
Schedule and monitor the two principal activities

Programming Testing There are several project scheduling tools available

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


Specifications prepared in the design phase are then translated into the software program codes in this

stage Prepare program design specifications Use logic flowcharts and pseudocode to facilitate code development Following two approaches are followed for this: - Software programs are written within the organization itself - Application software packages are purchased for this
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This stage is very important to ensure that the system developed is capable of producing the right results under known circumstances This involves the following aspects:
Unit testing verifies that individual program units work Perform testing with test data System testing determines whether all program units work

together as planned Volume testing uses real data in large amounts

Determines whether the system can handle a large volume of data

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


Steps involved in starting the new system

Training Equipment conversion File conversion System conversion Auditing Evaluation Maintenance
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Teach users how to use the system The system will do no better than the people using it Develop users manual to aid users who are not familiar

with the system Hands-on training is best Equipment Conversion Delivery schedules must be coordinated Terminals or personal computers must be networked Devices on the system must be compatible

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


File conversion:
If existing files are manual, they must be keyed in or scanned into the

system If existing files are computer-based, programs must be written to convert the files into the format needed for the new system System Conversion: Four approaches Direct conversion the user simply stops using the old system and starts using the new one Phased conversion the system is implemented one part at a time Pilot conversion the entire system is used by a designated set of users Parallel conversion the old and new systems are both used until users are satisfied the new system works
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Systems maintenance is very important and is an ongoing activity

Two parts:
Systems Audit

Systems to trace data in the system back to a source document Very helpful in tracing security violations Periodic evaluation Determines how well the system is meeting the original requirements, benefits, and budgets

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The system maintenance process is parallel to the process of initial development of the IS During this phase the largest part of the systems

development effort occurs Maintenance activity could be of one of the following types: - Corrective maintenance - Adaptive maintenance - Perfective maintenance - Preventive maintenance

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


Prototyping : An Overview
Prototype refers to a working model of an information

system application But it does not contain all the features or perform all the necessary functions of the final system However, it includes sufficient elements to enable individuals to determine what they like or dont like and also to identify features to be added or changed It is a process of building experimental system quickly and inexpensively for demonstration and evaluation

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


Characteristics of Prototypes
The prototype is a live, working application The purpose is to test the assumptions made by

analysts and the users about required system features

These are created quickly They evolve through an iterative process Prototypes are relatively inexpensive to build
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Uses of Prototyping
Prototyping has the following two primary uses: Acts as an effective device for clarifying user requirements It is used for verifying the feasibility of a system design

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


Steps in Prototype Method

Identify known requirements
Develop working model

Use prototype
Review prototype

Repeat as needed

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


Alternative Uses of Prototype

Abandon application Implement prototype Redevelop prototype Begin new prototype

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


Rapid Application Development (RAD Approach)

Process for developing systems in short time period Uses prototyping, fourth-generation tools, and close teamwork to move progressively closer to correct design A prototype is a small-scale representative or working model of the proposed system Iterative (or spiral) process of developing demo or working models

Refined based upon user review

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


Rapid Application Development (RAD)

Develop system rapidly:
Prototyping 4th GENERATION TOOLS Close teamwork among users & specialists

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon




Helps users define requirements Encourages active user participation Errors and omissions tend to be detected earlier Builds enthusiasm and acceptance for system

Prototype may meet requirements but not be best design Systems specifications often not adequately spelled out

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


The Object Oriented Approach

OO approach
This approach views an information system as a collection of

interacting objects that work together to accomplish tasks

A component in the computer system that can respond to


OO Design Defining all of the types of objects necessary to communicate

with people and devices in the system and refining the definition of each type of object so it can be implemented with a specific language or environment

OO Programming
Writing statements in a programming language to define what

each type of object does, including the messages that objects send and receive.
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Object - Oriented Software Development

De-emphasizes procedures
Shifts focus from models & data To objects, which combine data & procedures

Objects reusable
SYSTEM: classes, objects, relationships

Reduces development time & cost

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


Alternative System-building Approaches

Application software packages
End-user development


Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


Application Software Packages

Prewritten, pre-coded application software, commercially available for sale or lease Geared to common requirements Customization: modification of software to meet organizations needs Must weigh costs / benefits Request For Proposal (RFP): detailed questions sent to vendors

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


End-user Development
End-users develop information system with little help

from technical specialists using 4th generation tools STRENGTHS Improved requirements determination, increased user involvement & satisfaction, reduced application backlog WEAKNESSES Relatively inefficient, slow transaction processing, may carry high cost, large files can degrade performance, nonprocedural approach may hamper logic & updating requirements

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


Contracting: Computer center operations Telecommunications networks Application development To external vendors

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon


When to outsource???? If firm wont distinguish itself by developing application If predictability of uninterrupted service not important If existing system is limited, ineffective, inferior

Prof. Nivedita Roy, IBS-Gurgaon