1. CHAPTER 1: AN OVERVIEW OF SYSTEM ANALYSIS AND DESIGN
1.0 Aims and Objectives
1.2 Definition of Terms and Concepts
1.3 Fundamental of Information System
1.4 Organizations and Information System
1.5 Approaches and Methodologies of System Development
1.6 Systems Analysis and Design (SAD)
1.0 AIMS AND OBJECTIVE
After reading this unit you should be able to:
differentiate data and information
identify and understand the different types of organizational information system
describe approaches and methodologies of system development
Information is a basic resource that individuals and organizations must have to survive and
prosper in today’s ever changing and competitive environment. Getting the right information at
the right time in a right form demands firms to develop and run appropriate information system.
Information systems have become a vital component of successful business and non-for-profit
enterprises. This course is, therefore, designed to give you about the basic concepts of
information system, and system analysis and development or design.
1.2. DEFINITIONS OF TERMS AND CONCEPTS
Information system (IS)- an information system is an organized combination of people
hardware, software, communications networks, and data resources that collects, transforms, and
disseminates information in an organization to support and improve day-to-day operations of the
2. organization as well as support the problem solving and decision making needs of management
Today’s end users rely on many types of information system (IS). They might include simply
manual, informal communications channels or sophisticated computer based system.
Data - are raw facts or observations, typically about physical phenomena or business
transactions. More specifically, data are objective measurements of the attributes or
characteristics of entities (such as people, places, things and events.) Names, quantifies, and Birr
amounts recorded on sales forms represent data about sales transactions.
Information - is defined as data that have been converted into a meaningful, and useful context
for specific end users. Thus, data are usually subjected to a value added process. This process is
known as information processing or data processing in which;
1. The data form is aggregated, manipulated, and organized.
2. The content of the data is analyzed and evaluated; and
3. The data is placed in a proper context for a human user.
For example, data contained in sales records can give meaningful sales information after it is
properly organized and manipulated such as sales by product type, sales territory, or sales
person. Information is organized and processed data, which is capable of communicating
knowledge and meaning. Relevant information is the one that increase knowledge and reduce
Information to be valuable or useful, it should fulfill some attributes or characteristics which can
be expressed in terms of three dimensions of time, content, and form.
1. Content dimension includes
3. Accuracy:- Information should be free errors. In otherwords, the correctness of the
input data and that of the processing rules should be ensured so that the resulting
information is accurate. Incorrect information is worse than no information.
Relevance:- For information to be relevant should be tailored to the needs of the user.
For example massive volumes of irrelevant information would waste a lot of
manager’s time and there is a danger of his missing important relevant information.
Completeness – The information should be complete. That is, it should include all
data and not exclude some.
Conciseness – It is essential to give brief summarized information to ensure quick
2. Form Dimension: This dimension of a good information include.
Clarity, Details, Order, Presentation and Media.
3. Time Dimension: An information to be useful should satisfy the following characteristics:
Timeliness, Currency, Frequency and Time Period
In general all information to support intelligent decision-making at all three levels in the
management hierarchy must be correct; that is accurate and complete, including all relevant data;
cost effective, meaning effectively obtained; yet understandable. It must be current; meaning
timely; yet also time sensitive, based on historical, current, or future information needs. Thus
information has three properties accuracy, timeliness, and costly.
End Users - are people who use an information system or the information it produces. They can
be accountants, sales persons, engineers, clerks, customers, or managers. It includes anyone who
4. uses an information system or the information except few number of people who are known as
information system specialists (system analysts, programmers, and computer engineers etc).
Information Technology (IT) - is a contemporary term that describes the combination of
computer technology (hardware and software) with telecommunications technology (data, image,
and voice networks).
Why study systems Analysis and Design Methods?
We are living in a very dynamic environment, where there is keen competition in the market.
Thus, many organizations consider information systems and information technology to be
essential to their ability to compete or gain a competitive advantage. It is hard to imagine any
industry or business that has not been affected by computer based information systems and
computer applications. Many businesses consider management of their information resource to
be equal in importance to managing their other key resources. Therefore, this course is designed
to help students analyze business requirements for information systems and designing
information systems that fulfill business requirements and use information technology. We are
also involved in is development whether we are computer specialists or users of the system.
1.3 FUNDAMENTALS OF INFORMATION SYSTEM
Systems theory underlie the filed of information systems. Understanding system concepts or
theories help you understand many other concepts in the technology, applications, development
and management of information systems.
What is System?
A system can be simply defined as a group of interrelated or interacting elements forming a
unified whole. A system is a group of interrelated components working together toward a
5. common goal by accepting inputs and producing outputs in an organized transformation process.
Information system is one of the several systems and has the following basic interacting
components or functions. Generally the components of IS in the model below could be classified
as activities and resources of management information system. Following is a brief description of
Activities of IS
1. Input - involves capturing and assembling data elements that enter the system to be processed
by data entry activities such as recording and editing.
2. Processing - involves transformation processes that convert input data into output
(Information). It involves manipulating data by activities of calculating,
comparing, sorting, classifying and summarizing.
3. Output - involves transforming data that have been produced by a transformation process to
their ultimate destination, that is, end users. This can be shows a diagrammatically
Data (Recording & - mathematical calculation - reliable and up to date
editing) - comparing- Summarizing information
- Sorting - storage of information
Input Process Output
6. - Classifying
Fig. 1.2 IS transformation process
4. Storage of data resources: this is the activity in which data and information are retained in an
organized manner for later use. Normally stored data is organized
into fields, records, files and data bases.
5. Control of system: An information system is expected to produce feedback about its input,
processing output and storage activities. The feedback must be monitored
and evaluated to determine if the system is meeting established
6. Resources of management information system (MIS): In order to perform the different
activities described above, MIS requires certain resources. The basic ones
i. People resource. This includes both end users of information who has to be trained,
sensitized and educated to use the information produced from the system and system
managers, operators, system analysis and programmers.
ii. Hardware resource. The computer systems, peripherals and telecommunication equipment
which are needed in order to perform the processing, storing and communication of the
7. iii. Software resource. Different instructions that interact the hardware to function and
performs its tasks. The software resources could be system software resources and
application software resources.
iv. Data resources. Depending on the complexity of the system the data resources of the
information system are typically organized into database, model base, and knowledge base.
The systems concept also considers the organization as a system, which interacts with its
environment (open system) by taking inputs and giving its outputs to the environment.
1.4 ORGANIZATIONS AND INFORMATION SYSTEM
Information whether it is computer based or not has to flow within an organization in a way that
will help managers, and the organizations, achieve their objectives. To this end, organizations
are structured with different departments responsible for different functions or activities such as
production, marketing, and research and development, finance and personnel.
Managers who are responsible to each of these functions make decision on the basis of
information available to them, at different levels in the organization hierarchy. Decision-making
is one of the great challenges of managers and needs the support of information system. The
choice of information system by organizations depends up on:
The purpose and objectives of the firm
The environment in which the form operates.
The resource inputs and outputs and
The levels of management and the nature of decision.
These factors are described briefly as follows
8. 1. Objectives of the firm
Organizations, be it private or public, large or small, profit or non-for-profit, are established to
pursue some common objectives. The objectives of the firm affect greatly the nature and types
of information system developed by these firms. The primary purpose of an organization is
survival, profit, growth, meeting satisfaction of customers and market expansion. They are
dynamic because of changes in customers, owners, and employee’s needs and wants.
2. The Environment
Organizations operate not in a vacuum. They are affected by and affect the environment in
which they are operating. The information systems appropriate to firms is also subject to the
nature of the environment that surrounds these businesses. The external environmental factors
that affect business operations include technology, socio-cultural, economic, legal and political
factors/forces. These forces affect the organization indirectly. Those factors that affect the
operations of the organizations directly are competitors, labor market, creditors, customers,
suppliers and competitors.
In general, organizational environment has three dimensions i.e., complexity, dynamism, and
degree of influence. This gives rise to both threats and opportunities. Therefore, managers must
respond to the environments of the organization by developing dynamic, flexible and sensitive
information system (IS).
Modern Business Trends and Implication
Before we begin the study of system analysis and design, it is important to briefly examine the
most important business and technical trends that affects and will affect information system
development and the various stakeholders in the near future. The following are these trends that
will impact the way everyone works in the next century.
9. 1. Automation
Automation is the substitution of machinery for human labor. The machinery includes sensing
the control devices that enable it to operate automatically. A key question in process planning is
whether to automate or not; and how much to automate (fully, or partially). Automation has its
own advantage and disadvantage.
Advantages of Automation
Automation offers a number of advantages over human labor some of these are
1. It has low variability, it is difficult for a human to perform as fast in exactly the same way,
and in the same amount of time on a repetitive basis.
2. Machines do not get bored or distracted nor do they go out on strike, ask for higher wages, or
file labor grievances.
3. It is taken as a necessary strategy for competitiveness
Automation can be costly - technology can be expensive
Usually it requires high volumes of output to offset high costs
Automation is much less flexible than human are
once process has been automated, there is substantial reason for not changing it
It often becomes an emotional issue with workers b/c of the fear of job loss
Therefore, the degree of automation must be carefully examined so that its limitation can be
10. 2. Total Quality Management (TQM)
Total quality management (TQM) is a comprehensive organization wide commitment to
continuous work and quality improvements and really meeting customer needs. Businesses have
learned that quality is critical for success. They have also learned that quality management does
not begin and end with the products and services sold by the business. Instead, it begins with a
culture that recognizes that every body in the business is responsible for quality. TQM
commitments require every business function, including information services, to identify quality
indicators, measure quality, and make appropriate changes to improve quality. TQM became
truly pervasive in the 1990’s. Helping the quality movement along is the Baldrige National
quality Award, which was started in 1986 in U.S., and the ISO 9000 certification standards put
forth by the International organization for standardization.
3. Downsizing and Outsourcing
Downsizing refers to reducing the size of an organization by eliminating workers or movement
from mainframe-based computer systems to systems linking smaller computers in networks. In
recent years many companies have had to downsize their staffs and flattened the hierarchy of
their organization structure as a result of automation and other economic factors.
Downsizing also led to another development, outsourcing, which means contracting with outside
business or services to perform the work once done by in house departments to get the work
done cheaply and efficiently.
4. Business Process re-engineering (BPR)
Business process re engineering (BPR) is the study, analysis, and redesign of fundamental
business processes to reduce cost and/or improve value added to the business. BPR works best
with big processes that really matter, such as new-product development or customer service. The
11. driving force for BPR is economic hardship and increased competition in the global economy.
BPR speeds communication and reduces costs by reducing the number of middle managers and
bureaucrats in an organization.
5. Globalization of the Economy
The 1990s will be remembered as the era of economic globalization, in which competition
become global with emerging industrial nations offering lower-cost or higher-quality alternatives
to different products. A related phenomena has been the trend toward industrial consolidation or
changes in ownership of businesses through acquisition, merger, or take over were intended to
stimulate internationalization of products and services.
Globalization affects the players in the system game. Information systems and computer
applications must be internationalized. They have to support multiple languages, currency
exchange rates international trade regulations, accepted business practices in different countries
and so on. The window of opportunity is becoming smaller and so systems must be built to
respond quickly to changing conditions.
6. Supply chain Management
Supply chain management refers to the total system approach to managing the flow of
information, materials and services from raw material suppliers through factories and
warehouses to the end customer. Recent trends such as outsourcing and mass customization are
sourcing companies to find flexible ways to meet customer demand. The focus is on optimizing
these core activities to maximize the speed of response to changes in customer expectations.
7. Employee Empowerment
Empowerment refers to giving employees the authority to act and make decisions on their own.
The old style of management was to give lower-level managers and employees only the
12. information they “needed” to know, which minimize their power to take actions. This has
affected negatively the work done because of the attitude “if it’s not part of my job, I do not do
it”. However, today’s philosophy is that information should be spread widely, not closely held
by top managers, to enable lower level employees to do their jobs better. Interestingly, the
development of computer networks has enabled the development of task oriented teams of
workers who no longer depend on individual managers for all decisions in order to achieve
8. Growth of Communication Networks
This makes it possible to perform many tasks without regards to geography. Employees can
work at home or in another part of the world and stay in constant communication with customers
and colleagues. Communication has facilitated globalization of industries.
9. Demand for Rapid Response
Increasing competition and shrinking time frames force repeated modification of systems to
respond to new competitive pressures that occur as users have new ideas and competitions pose
new threats. As a result software solutions are no longer a destination, but a journey.
10. Growth of Knowledge-based Industries
Knowledge-intensive industries will grow several times faster than resource-intensive industries.
These will need extensive computer support to share and communicate knowledge within
organizations and between partners and clients.
11. Integration of Functions and Organizations
Reengineering often reveals opportunities for elimination of functions or integration of functions
between departments or even between external business partners. This makes it much harder to
13. define the boundaries of a system and requires a more comprehensive view of the system
To summarize, the environment has changed significantly since the development of SDLC. As
discussed above, there are now many pressures for change. These pressures force developers to
find new ways of developing systems with higher quality more quickly and more economically.
3. Management Levels and Kinds of Decision
A manager’s daily job is to decide on the best course of action, based on the facts known at the
time. For each of the major functions of an organization there are three levels of management.
These are top level, middle level and lower level. Mangers on each of the three levels have
different responsibility and are therefore required to make different kinds of decisions. This is
briefly discussed as follows.
1. Top Level Managers - Strategic decisions. Top managers, such as president, chief
executive officer (CEO), vice president, are concerned with long-range planning. Their job
is to make strategic decision. Strategic decisions are complex decisions rarely based on
predetermined routine procedures, involving the subjective judgment of the decision maker.
Strategic decision determining the long-term objectives, resources and policies of an
organization. The main problem here are predicting the future of the organization and its
environment and matching the organization to its environment.
2. Middle Level Managers - Tactical decisions. Middle level managers are concerned with
the effective and efficient utilization of resources and how operational units are performance.
They are responsible to implement the goals of the organization set by top-level managers. A
tactical decision is a decision that must be made without a base of cleanly defined
informational procedures, perhaps requiring detailed analysis and computation.
14. 3. Lower Level Managers: - Operational decisions. Lower level managers, or supervisory
managers, manage or monitor non-management employee. There is to make operational
decisions. An operational decision is a predictable decision that can be made by following a
well-defined set of routine procedures. Managers at this level deal with specific tasks set
forth by strategic and middle level management decision makers/ managers. It determines
which unit carry out a particular task, establishes criteria for production and resource
utilization and evaluations outputs. As it can be seen in the above discussion managers have
different responsibilities at different levels of management. This knowledge help
organizations to design different IS to each level sine their information requirement is so
15. CHAPTER 2 - INFORMATION SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
To make the appropriate decisions (strategic, tactical, or operational) the different levels of
managers need the right kind of information structures- semi, structured and unstructured.
Organizations have many information systems serving different organizational levels and
functions. That is, no single information system (IS) can provide all the information that the
Types of Decisions and Information System within an Organization
As a result, for different levels and functions in an organization hierarchy there are five(5) basic
types of computer based information systems that provide information for decision making at all
levels of management. These include:
1. Transaction Processing Systems (TPS)
A transaction processing system (TPS) is a computer based information system that keeps track
of the transactions needed to conduct business. In most organizations, particularly business
organizations, most of what goes on takes the form of transactions; which does a recorded event
have to do with routine business activities. This includes everything concerning the product of
service in which the organization is engaged; production, distribution, sales, order etc. Today in
most organizations, the bulk of such transactions are recorded in a computer based information
system. Transport Processing systems record data but do little in the way of converting data in to
information. These system tend to have clearly defined inputs and outputs, and there is an
emphasis on efficiency and accuracy. Transaction processing systems is an operational level
information system or used by lower level managers.
Transaction processing system (TPS) has the following features:
16. The Inputs and outputs of TPS system are business transaction data such as bills, orders,
inventory levels, and the output consist of process transactions like bills, paychecks and
It is designed for lower managers: Because the TPS deals with day-to-day matters, it is
particularly of use to supervisory managers. In other words, TPS helps in making
operational decision. Such systems are not useful to middle or top managers.
It produces detail reports: managers at this level typically will receive information in the
form of detail reports containing specific information about routine activities.
One TPS is developed for each function: Each department or functional area of an
organization usually has its own TPS. Example marketing TPS handles sales order,
It is basis for MIS and DSS. The database of transactions stored in a TPS based to
support management information systems, decision support systems and other advanced
systems that provide information to top level managers. Typical example transaction
process system includes bank deposits and withdrawals, course registration in a college,
payroll, order processing etc.
2. Management Information Systems (MIS)
A management Information System (MIS) is a computer based information system that uses data
recorded by TPS as input into programs that produce routine reports as outputs. This system is
designed to serve middle level managers and support activities such as planning, controlling and
administrative activities. MIS produces summary, exception, periodic, and on demand reports
3. Decision Support System (DSS)
A decision support system (DSS) is an information system that provides a flexible tool for
analysis and helps managers focus on the future. This system is designed based on the TPS and
17. MIS of an organization. This system produces flexible, on-demand reports which a top manager
can make decisions about unstructured or complex problems. DSS is designed mainly for top
managers and it uses mathematical models. DSS provides one or more of the following types of
support to the decision maker:
Identifying decision making opportunities or problems
Identifying possible solutions to problems
Information access to solve the problem and
Conducting “what if” analysis
4. Executive Information Systems
An Executive Information System (EIS) is an easy to-use DSS made especially for top managers.
It specifically supports strategic decision making. An EIS is also known as executive support
system (ESS). It draws on data not only from the systems internal to the firm but also from those
outside. It helps top managers address strategic issues and match the changes in the external
environment with the existing organizational capability.
5. Office Automation and Expert Systems
TPSs, MISs, DSSs, and EISs are designed for managers of various levels. But there are
information systems that are intended for workers of all levels, including those who are not
managers. These are office automation systems and expert systems.
Office Automation systems (OASs) are designed to reduce the manual labor required to
operate an efficient office administration. Office automation supports range of office activities
that provide for improved workflow and communications between workers regardless of whether
or not those workers are located in the same office.
18. It is concerned with getting all relevant information to those who need it. Office automation
functions include work processing, electronic message (e-mail), work group computing, work
group scheduling, fax processing, and work flow management.
Expert systems:- An expert system is a set of interactive computer programs that help users
solve problems that would otherwise require the assistance of a human expert. Expert systems
are created on the basis of knowledge collected form human experts, and they imitate the
reasoning process of a human being.
Expert systems are used by both managers and non managers to solve specific problems. It
addresses the critical need to duplicate the expertise of experienced problem solvers, managers,
professionals, and technicians. Expert system imitates the logic and reasoning of the experts
within their respective fields.
Expert systems are implemented with artificial intelligence (AI) technology that captures, stores,
and provides access to the reasoning of the expert.
1.5. APPROACHES AND METHODOLOGIES OF SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT
Before the discussion of the approaches and methods of system development, it is important to
examine the development of information systems from a historical perspective individuals
involved in the development process and their duties. Information system development is a
process of undertaking a system study using systems approach to solve organizational
information system problems. The systems approach is a scientific approach which involves
Recognizing the phenomena in the real world,
Formulating a hypothesis about the cause and effects of the phenomena,
19. Testing the hypothesis through experimentation,
Evaluating the results of the experiment and
Drawing conclusions about the hypothesis.
When one undertakes a systems study which is simply a step by step process used to identify and
then develop specific improvements in an organizations information systems, the whole exercise
is referred as systems analysis and design.
1.5.1. Historical View of Information system Development
The development of information systems has changed dramatically over the relatively short life
span of information technology and it is expected to continue change as new development tools
and technologies and techniques evolve. Historically, information systems were developed
entirely by technically trained specialists who wrote software programs using machine,
assembly, and procedural (third generation) programming languages. The development of such
tools as electronic spreadsheets, database packages with non procedural languages (fourth
generation languages) and visual and object-oriented programming languages has enabled the
ultimate users of the systems to complete more of the development efforts (end-user computing).
For three decades, information system departments worked within an environment where all
information processing was centralized in large main frame computers and where most
application software where developed expertise working on stand alone personal computers
connected to one or more computer serves. This leads to the development of the client server
configuration (personal computers and workstation), which requires the knowledge of
telecommunications and networking and the information architecture based on decentralization
20. The broad availability of software and the range of consulting services caused IS departments to
change their focus from being a shop to develop software applications to a shop in charge of
implementing the proper information technology architecture. Today, the major responsibilities
of the typical IS department are:
1. Developing an information technology (IT) plan to support the strategic objectives of the
2. Developing, operating, and maintaining existing inter-enterprise and enterprise wide
information systems and databases.
3. Installing and maintain local and wide-area networks.
4. Evaluation, acquiring, and integrating new hardware and software products.
5. Training and supporting internal end-users
6. Negotiating with and overseeing outside Is consultants in the acquisition and
development of new information technology and systems.
The following table provides a quick overview of the historical perspective of changes in IS
Table 1. Historical perspective of is department.
Role of IS
1960s Varied and
Implementers Computer vendors Few Mainframe Assembly
1970s SAD Developers Computer and SW Several Mini mainframe 3 GL
21. central role vendors, IS
Many Pc, mini 3GL, 4GL
IS department, end
Multitude Pc, client server 4GL,
Note: SAD- System analysis and Design
3GL- 3rd generation software language
4GL- 4th generation software language
Despites all of the changes that have been seen, many of the concepts and techniques associated
with structured analysis and design are still useful and appreciable today.
1.5.2. The Process of Systems Development
Information systems have three dimensions. These are the scope of the information system
(ranging from individual to inter organizational), the complexity of the task being supported
(ranging from well-structured to unstructured), and the necessary information richness to
provide the required support.
22. Each of the three dimensions and how they affect the choice of Information system development
are discussed as follow.
Application Scope - refers to the number of people the information system will support.
Information systems that support a single individual are much easier and quicker to develop than
applications that support a large number of individuals. The primary reason is that the developer
only has to consider the needs and desires of one person; there is no conflict of interest, priorities
or preferences to deal with. But when the scope of the system moves from the individual to the
work group, additional consideration comes to play.
Task Complexity:- Task complexity refers to the degree of structure in the input to the outputs
from the decision processes of the required information system. A highly structured decision
making processes is one where the decision can be broken into a series of sequential
predetermined, well-understood steps and where the decision variables are known and charge in
a predictable manner. In general, there is an inverse relationship between the structure of the
task and the difficulty of developing information systems to support that task.
Information Richness:- Information richness is a measure of the variety of data and the
complexity of the information needed to support a certain task. Basically, the richer the
information needed, the more complex the information and communication technology required
to collect, analyze, and transmit it.
23. 1.6. SYSTEMS ANALYSIS AND DESIGN (SAD)
System analysis and design is the process of designing information system to serve the needs of
some community of users. The analyst undertakes a systems study to identify and then develop
specific improvements in an organization is information system.
1.6.1. Why Know about Systems Analysis and Design?
From time to time, organizations need to change their information systems. The reasons may be
new marketing opportunities, changes in government regulations, and introduction of new
technology, a merger with another company, or other changes. When this happens, the time is
ripe for applying systems analysis and design. Specifically, the basic reasons of knowing SAD
1. To explain the present job.
2. To improve personal productivity
3. To reduce the risks of a project’s failure, by applying the steps in SAD to an application
1.6.2. Initiating IS Project
All it takes is a single individual who believes that something badly needs changing to get the
project rolling. An employee may influence a supervisor. A customer or supplier may get the
attention of someone in higher management. Top management on its own may decide to take a
look at a system that looks inefficient. A steering committee may be formed to decide which of
the many possible projects should be worked on.
24. Regardless of the approach used to develop a new information system, certain roles must be
performed. The larger and more complex the application development project, the more
specialized the roles. The more important of these who participates in the IS project are:
1. Users: Users are persons who interact with the system when it is completed. Users
include those individuals required to input data, as well as those who use the outputs
from the system. Inadequate user involvement in analysis and design can be major cause
of a systems failing for lack of acceptance. Most projects are initiated by end-users since
they are closer to the business activities that need improvement.
2. Management: Managers within the organization should also be consulted about the
3. Technical staff: Members of the company’s information system (IS) department,
consisting of systems analysts and designers and programs, need to be involved.
System analyst: is a person responsible for describing the existing system and defining the
information requirements of the new system. He/she is an information specialist who performs
systems analysis, design and implementation. His or her job is to study the information and
communications needs of an organization and determine what changes are required to deliver
better information to people who need it. “Better” information means information that can be
summarized in the acronym “CART”-complete, accurate, relevant, and timely. The systems
analyst achieves this objectives through the problem-solving method of systems analysis and
design known as the “the systems approach.”
The analyst acts as an intermediary between two quite different groups (the end user and the
programmer) on one hand the analyst deals with users who understand the job that they have to
perform within their organization, but do not understand how a computer works or how to make
25. it do what they want. These users have indicated that they need an information system
particularly computerized one for a better performance of their organization.
Therefore, the role of the analyst is to identify the needs of users and get the system designed by
the programmers who have no knowledge of the requirements of the end-users but who has the
technical skills to produce such programs. Thus, the analyst facilitate the development of
information systems and computer applications by bridging the communication gap that exist
between non technical system owners ( those who pay for the system to be built and maintained)
and users and technical system designers and builders.
Large and complex projects usually require the services of several systems analysts who are
specialists in databases, programming and client server programming or personal computing.
Some of these are:
The System designer:- is the person responsible for using the information requirements to
generate detailed specifications for the new system.
The Programmer:- is the responsible for using the system specifications to write and test
program code, and implement the new systems. He designs the system to meet the users
The Database Analyst:- is the person responsible for defining the new data and databases when
required and ensuring compliance with existing databases and data dictionaries.
The Project Manager:- is responsible for overseeing the system development project from
beginning to end, including the post evaluation of the system.
26. Given the large amounts of money, time and other resources consumed in designing, building,
and implementing information systems, project management has become a critical and difficult
responsibility. Therefore, an important role is the one played by project managers. The project
managers need to ensure that an appropriate development approach is selected, core and key
activities are established and used to keep the project on schedule, the project team has the
appropriate set of skills and so on.
System Builder:- are those individuals responsible to construct, test, and deliver the system into
27. CHAPTER 3 – THE SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT LIFE CYCLE
When organizations develop their new information system or modify the existing information
system, they have to follow the following basic approaches. These approaches are not mutually
exclusive and firms generally employ certain aspects of each approach.
1. Ad hoc Approach: This approach is directed towards solving particular problem or the
potential for integrating applications. In this approach, the analyst does not deal with the
overall information requirements of the firm, instead it pinpoint only the trouble sports.
The major advantage of ad hoc approach is that it is important in certain emergencies and
in organizations undergoing rapid changes.
However, this approach is not without a limitation. It is inconsistent with the concept of
planning an information system. Moreover, it could result in redundant and inefficient
subsystems and database that can no be integrated or linked each other.
2. Data Modeling Approach: Data modeling attempts to develop a common data base
model. The data base should contain all the necessary information to support the
operation of the firm, but it should redundancy. Of course, the approach does no require
that all data be stored in one unit, but physical data base can be stored in several places,
but it should be planned to integrate the data bases. The emphasis of this approach is on
establishing linkages within the data base that allows common up data, common retrieval
and common manipulation.
3. Bottom-up approach: Bottom-up approach focuses on the basic transaction processing
requirements of the firm and implements systems to meet these needs or requirements.
The approach tries to identify the basic transaction of the organizations, such as payroll,
order entry and processing. This approach is important because as management
information requirement becomes more complex, it integrates the stand-alone TPS and to
28. deal with DSS and ESS. It is a dominating system development strategy because the
system development can be made in a logical revolutionary or step-by-step manner.
4. Top-down approach: This approach attempts to align information system with business
strategies and to involve top management in the information development process. It
focuses on strategies of the firm, data and information and activities necessary to
implement the strategy of an organization. This approach is not a step-by-step process.
Top management have its strategy to develop IS by analyzing the whole company
problem unlike bottom-up approach which is a step-by-step process.
The philosophy underlying the information system development in a certain organization could
be either of the above or a combination fo them. Regardless of the underlying philosophy the
actual analysis and design of an information system could be undertaken in either of the
following two ways: Prototype approach or systems development life cycle. There are different
type information systems development methods. The commonly used basic approaches are
prototype and system development life cycle approach (SDLC). They are briefly described below.
1.10.1. System development Life cycle (SDLC)
The development of information system is a complex process; usually involving many people
within a variety of special skills such are described in the previous section. The process is
traditionally broken down into stages or phases that deliver several intermediate outputs on the
way to the final system. These stages together are known as the System Development Life Cycle
(SDLC). The SDLC is defined as the step-by-step process that many organizations follow
during system analysis and design, which a problem solving procedure for examining an existing
information system and improving it or the development of new ones. The number of phases or
steps may vary from one company to another, and even the name of the process may differ but
its purpose is to reduce the risks of developing system. The basic idea of SDLC is that IS
designed has a life cycle similar to that of any living organism, and it involves a sequence of
29. activities to be performed in the cycle. A life cycle methodology is a formalized description of a
project picture for the development of an IS.
In general, the SDLC involves six phases, which are briefly discussed in the section that follows
and in a more detail in the subsequent unit (unit 2, 3, 4 and 5). The following figure summarizes
Phase1. Preliminary Investigation
Phase 6: systems maintenance
Phase 5: Systems Implementation Phase 3: systems design
Phase 2: Systems analysis
30. Fig 1.2 The systems development life cycle
Phase1. Preliminary Investigation:-
Preliminary investigation also some times known as problem definition tries to answer questions
such as: Why do we need a new or improved system? What do we want to accomplish? This
stage determines whether the organization has a problem, proposes alternative solutions,
comparing costs and benefits and finally, submit a preliminary plan to top management with
This stage determines the needs of the proposed users of the system, produces a broad outlines of
the system that identifies the activities to be performed, the technology to be used, and the
expected cost of the system. In other words, the preliminary stage defines the objectives of the
system, specifies its scope and develops a working project plan. Problem definition is the first
step in the systems development life cycle because it makes little sense to try to solve a problem
you do not understand.
Phase2: systems Analysis
After a clear problem definition, the analysis phase begins. The objective of this phase is to
determine exactly what must be done to solve the problem. It involves gathering data, analyzing
the data, and writing a report.
Phase 4: Systems development
31. In gathering data, there are a handful tools that systems analysts use, most of them not terribly
technical. They include written documents, interview, questionnaires observation and sampling.
Once the data is gathered, you need to come to grip with it and analyze it. Many analytical tools,
or modeling tools, are available, which enable a systems analyst to present graphic, or pictorial,
representations of a system. Once you have completed the analysis, you need to document this
phase so that it can be reported to top managers of the firm. This report to management should
have three parts, that is it should explain how existing system works, explain the problems with
the existing system and describe the requirements for the new system and make
recommendations on what to do next. Analysis ends with a detailed set of requirements
specifications that clearly define what the system must do.
Phase 3: Design the system
Given the approved system proposal from the decision analysis phase, you can finally design the
target system. The purpose of the design phase is to transform the business requirements
statement from the analysis phase into design specification for construction. In other words, the
design phase addresses how technology will be used in the new system. Design requires
soliciting ideas and options from users, vendors, and IT specialists. It also requires adherence to
internal technical design standards that ensure completeness, usability, reliability, performance,
Once analysis is completed, the analyst knows what must be done to solve the problem.
However, the objective of design phase is to determine how the problem will be solved. Thus,
analysis is concerned with doing the right thing, but design is concerned with doing the things
32. During design the analyst’s focus shifts from the logical to the physical. The processes are
converted to manual procedures or computer programs. Data elements are grouped to form
physical data structures, screens, reports, files, and databases.
The design of an IS is the overall plan or model for the system. It consists of all of the
specifications that give the system its form and structure. The design of an IS can be broken
down in to:
1. Conceptual (logical) design,
2. Physical design, and
Phase 4: Systems Development
After the design specifications, the next activity is creating or constructing and testing system
components for that design to build the functional system. The purposes of the construction
1. to build and test a system that fulfills business requirements and design specifications,
2. to implement the interfaces between the new system and the existing systems because
there is always an existing system, regardless of whether it currently uses a computer. So,
the new system must be integrated with other ISs,
3. Installation of new hardware and software, and
4. Preparation of end-user documentation and training of users.
One important aspect of systems development is conducting tests of both individual system
components as well as the overall system. Once tested, a system is ready for implementation.
33. The systems test programmers are derived from the requirements specification. Thus, a well-
designed test plan ensures that the system meets the user’s needs.
Phase 5: Implementation
New systems represent a departure from the way an organization is currently doing its operation.
Therefore, the analyst must provide for a smooth transition from the old system to the new
system and help users cope with normal start-up problems. At this stage the system is released to
the end users and the analyst’s formal responsibility ends, although additional end-user training
may be necessary.
To provide a smooth transition to the new system, a convention plan should be prepared. This
plan may call for an abrupt switch where the old system is terminated and replaced by the new
system on a specific date. Alternatively, the old and new systems may run in parallel until the
new system has been deemed acceptable to replace the old system.
The implementation phase also involves training individuals that will use the final system and
developing documentation to aid system users. This stage involves system activities like
acquisition, software development, training, testing, documentation and conversion.
Phase 6: Maintain the system
Even with the conversion accomplished and the users trained, the system won’t just run itself.
There is a sixth and never ending phase in which the system implemented must be evaluated and
monitored to ensure that it is successful. Maintenance is not only to keep the system functioning
at the objective of an acceptable level but also updating and upgrading the system to keep pace
with new products, services, customers, government regulations and other requirements.
34. 184.108.40.206. Problems of system Development Life Cycle
There are general principles that apply to the functioning of all systems, whether they are
biological, mechanical, organizational, or computerized. The most important ones for analysts
1. The components of a system must communicate with each other. This is done through
databases and program interfaces ofcourse in a computerized system. The proper
functioning of the system is extremely dependent on the design of the communication
2. Every system is a subsystem of a larger system and can be broken into smaller systems.
It is important to choose an appropriate system that can be implemented properly.
Choosing too large system makes it impossible to implement it in a reasonable time or
even to understand it at all or choosing too small system excludes factors that may be
important to the problem.
3. The most specialized systems are the least adaptable. A system that is designed to solve
specific problems of a specific organization is less likely to be useful in any other
organizations, likely to be useful in any other organization or in the same organization if
4. System grows and changes: When the system changes, the computer system must be
adaptable if it is to continue to match the user’s needs. The system that supports
organizations operation must be able to respond to organizational changes that take place
at different times.
System development cycle allows information systems projects to be managed in an orderly
manner by breaking down it in to smaller implementable stages and help to deliver results at a
35. predictable cost within a reasonable time. Nevertheless, the Systems Development Life Cycle
(SDLC) suffers from some problems. Some of the major ones are:
Projects are not integrated. SDLC usually promotes a narrow project orientation
that leads to fragmentation of effort and uncoordinated systems.
Slow delivery. SDLC is a step-by-step process where the whole cycle must be
completed before anything can be delivered. There are no intermediate products
other than specifications and documents.
Low user involvement. After the analysis has be conducted to identify the
requirements of the user and users sign of on the project, the rest activity is left to
the analyst and other technical staffs. The users have no connection with the
project until it is signed on and released to the users, which may take a long time.
This leads to misunderstandings between system users and developers about what
is to be delivered.
Systems are Inflexible. Since activities are performed step by step, any change at
one point affects the whole process. As a result changes will be expensive and
Error prone system.
220.127.116.11. Advantages of Using SDLC
Though using SDLC has the above mentioned limitations, using SDLC methodology has several
advantages. The major ones are:
1. The method acts as a memory aid. The environment in which we are living demands
individuals and organization to be effective and efficient otherwise the effect of minor
36. mistake is very damaging. Therefore, following the SDLC helps analysts to minimize the
risk that key elements or details will be overlooked.
2. It enhances communication. One important feature of SDLC is a consistent set of
documentation standards. Thus, if everyone follows the same approach, then the
members of analysts, design or programming team will find it relatively easy to
understand each other. Even, it will be easy for staffs who join the team after the project
3. Facilitate management control. The methodology by definition, consist of a set of
steps and well-defined exit criteria, which serves as a milestones or checkpoints and
developing a schedule and a budget.
4. It involves problem-solving tools. Another mark of a good SDLC methodology is that
the tools are compatible, with the output from one step serving as a foundation for
5. It helps to detect significant errors early. The cost of a system accelerates as work
progress. If an error is detected early, only the work performed to that point is lost. On
the contrary, if the error is not detected until just before the system is finished, the efforts
of analysts, programmers and other technical professionals might be wasted.
1.10.2 Prototype Approach
It is not always possible to obtain all the information analysts need to create a complete logical
model just by conducting interviews with the concerned body and study the existing system.
Some process by their nature is difficult to explain. In such cases, prototyping is a powerful
alternative or supplement to logical modeling. The basic idea is to build a reasonably complete,
working, physical model (or prototype) of the system.
37. Prototype is a working vision of an information system for administration and evaluation
purpose, and prototyping is the process of building an experimental system rapidly and
inexpensively for end user. Prototyping is a technique for quickly building a functioning, but
incomplete model of the information system using rapid application development tools. It has
become the design technique for choice for many system designers. Prototypes typically evolve
in to the final version of the system or application. The concept behind prototyping is building a
small working mode of the users’ requirements or a proposed design for an information system,
which is usually applied earlier in the systems development life cycle to perform fact-finding and
information requirement analysis.
The variety of software packages allows the rapid development and testing of working models,
or prototypes. If you think about it, people prototype all the time. Automobile manufactures
build prototypes of cars to demonstrate safety features. Building contractors construct models of
homes and other structures to show layout and fire exits. Your tutor may give you sample test
questions for an upcoming exam. These sample questions are a model of what you can expect.
In systems development, prototyping is an iterative process in which you build a model from
basic requirements, have other knowledge workers review the prototype and suggest changes,
and further refine and enhance the prototype to include suggestions. It is a dynamic process that
allows system analysts and end users to see, work with, and evaluate a model and suggest
changes to that model to increase the likelihood of success of the proposed system.
Prototyping makes the development process faster and easier for systems analysts, especially for
projects where end user requirements are hard to define, in addition, it opened up the application
development process to end users.
38. Prototyping is used to perform a variety of functions in the system development process. Some
1. Gathering requirements. Prototyping is a great requirements gathering tool. It starts by
simply prototyping the basic systems requirements. Then it allows system analysts and
end users to add more requirements (Information and processes) as it is revised
continuously. Most people use prototyping for this purpose.
2. Helping determine requirements. In many systems development processes, system
analysts are not sure what end users really want, they simply know that the current
system doesn’t meet their needs. In this instance, you can use prototyping to help end
users determine their exact requirements.
3. Proving that a system is technically feasible. If the system analysts are uncertain about
whether something can be done, they prototype first. A prototype can be used to prove
the technical feasibility of a proposed system is a proof-of-concept prototype.
4. Selling the idea of a proposed system. Many people resist changes in IT. The current
system seems to work fine and they see no reason to go through the process of
developing and learning to use a new system. In this ease, prototype is used to convince
them that the proposed system will be better than the current one. Because prototyping is
relatively fast, which takes short time to develop a prototype that can convince people of
the worth of the proposed system. A prototype used to convince people of the worth of a
proposed system is a selling prototype.
A. The prototyping process
Prototyping is an excellent tool in systems development. It can be used for both large and small
application systems development. Most often, IT specialists use prototyping in the SDLC to
form a technical system blueprint.
The process of prototyping can be viewed as a loop. Following preliminary analysis, a first draft
of prototype is created. The user then interacts with the prototype and identifies the strength and
weaknesses. If the first draft is less than totally acceptable, the prototype is modified to reflect
he user’s suggestions and the user interacts with the new improved version. The refined and test
cycle continues until the user is satisfied. This is given the following figure and steps are briefly
explained following the figure.
Build or refine
40. Fig 1.3 prototyping cycle
The steps in prototype approach
Step 1. Identify basic information requirements. At this step users should identify their
information needs and how the present IS fail to meet these needs, and propose
alternative IS solutions with the help of system analysts.
Step 2. Develop an Initial prototype. In this stage systems analysts design and test IS
prototype that can meet the users information needs. In the design end users are
Step 3. Test the Prototype. The IS prototype is used, evaluated and modified repeatedly until
end users find it acceptable. If the prototype is not satisfactory, it should be revised
whereas if it is acceptable, it is considered as an operational prototype.
B. Advantages of Prototype
Building an IS prototype have several benefits to firms. some of the major ones are:
1. It improves communication between the system analyst and the end user
2. It helps to determine users’ needs better. This is because it is a step-by-step process in
which analysts can learn and add the requirements of the users in the process.
3. It reduces the time and effort it takes to develop the system
4. It encourages users active involvement.
41. 5. It allows easy implementation of the system since the users are the part of the whole
process and knows what is expected of them.
C. Limitations of Prototype
Even though the benefit outweigh the limitation, prototype has the following short comings:
Large systems are unsuitable for prototyping process. The short cut development tools
used for prototyping may not be appropriate for building complex, sophisticated systems.
Prototyping is a short cut to problem definition, alternative solution and documentation.
As a result problems may not be identified in a proper manner, best alternative solution
may not be selected and decision.
Prototyping is most useful when there is some uncertainty about requirements or design solution.
It can be applied under the following circumstances:
1. When user requirements are not clear
2. When design solutions require further evaluation other words, it is used when the system
development team may be unsure of certain technical aspects of the design solution.
42. CHAPTER 4 - SYSTEM SELECTION AND PLANNING
Project is defined as a temporary sequence of unique, complex, and connected activities having
one goal or purpose and that must be completed by a specific time, within budget, and according
to specification. The key words in the definition, as applied to IS development are outlined as
A system development process or methodology defines a sequence of activities, as
mandatory and optional.
Every system development project is unique, that is, it is different from every other
system development project that preceded it.
The activities that comprise system development are relatively complex. They require
that system analysts and users be able to adapt concepts and skills to changing
environmental conditions and anticipated events.
Systems development methodology (Such as SDLC and prototyping) are generally
The development of an information system needs to meet several objectives to achieve its
Information system must satisfy the business, users, and management expectations
according to specification or requirements.
IS projects should be completed within budget and specified time period. But in reality,
most IS projects are completed later than originally projected beyond its budget.
For any systems development project, effective project planning is necessary to ensure that the
project meets the deadline, is developed within an acceptable budget, and fulfills end user
expectations and specifications.
43. In general, systems project is a decision made by managers to commit resources to transform
their organization’s operations from manual or preemptive computer based system to a more
efficient and effective computer based information system.
Before the actual project process is undertaken:
the need for such project must be identified:
the project must be defined as a solution to the current information systems problem and:
it must be tested for feasibility within the constraints imposed upon the project.
4.1. PROJECT SELECTION AND JUSTIFICATION
The basic question pertaining to project selection is “where do system projects originate?”
Projects originate or initiated by a large group of stakeholders to the firm. Some these are:
1. End Users: End users initiate most information system projects. Because they are closer
to the activities of the business and know the basic problems of their firm. Therefore,
they initiate a new project in order to solve the problem they face everyday.
2. Analysts: system analysts propose most system development projects. Because they
understand both business and computing. They study business problems and
opportunities and then transform business and information requirements into the
computer based information systems that are implemented by various technical
specialists, such as computer programmers, system designers and, system builders. A
system analyst studies the problems and needs of an organization to determine how
people, data, processes, communications, and information technology can best
accomplish improvements for the business.
3. Many projects are identified by an intensive information systems planning activities
called Information Resource Management (IRM). Using IRM methods experienced
analysts and non-computing managers chart an information system direction that mirrors
corporate plans. We have said that system owners and users initiate most projects.
44. However, the impetus for most projects is some combination of problems, opportunities,
Problems: problems are undesirable situations that prevent the organization from fully achieving
its purpose, goals, and/or objectives. Problems might be real, suspected or anticipated. For
example, a project may be initiated to achieve more responsive and timely order, which takes too
long to fulfill customer orders currently.
Opportunity: An opportunity is a chance to improve the organization even in the absence of
specific problems. For instance, management is usually receptive to cost cutting idea, even when
cost are not currently considered a problem. Opportunistic improvement is the source of many
today’s most interesting projects.
Directive: A directive is a new requirement that is imposed by management, government
agency, may mandate that a new set of reports be produced each quarter.
Most commonly, we will use the term problem to collectively refer to “problems, opportunities,
and directives.” Projects are initiated in order to solve problems, exploiting opportunities, and
There are far too many potential problems to list them here. However, there is a useful
framework for classifying problems. It is called PIECES because the letters of each of the
categories of problems spell the word pieces. The categories are:
The need to improve performance (P)
The need to improve information (I)
The need to improve economics, control casts, or increase profits (E)
The need to control or security (C)
The need to improve efficiency of people and processes.
The need to improve service to customers, suppliers, parents, employees, etc (S)
45. Projects can be either planned or unplanned. A planned project is the result of one of the
An information strategy plan that has examined the business as a whole to identify those
system development projects that will return the greatest strategic (long-term) value to
A business process redesign that has thoroughly analyzed a series of fundamental
business processes to eliminate redundancy and bureaucracy and to improve efficiency
and value-added-now it is time to redesign the supporting information system for those
A. End Users:
End users communicate the need for systems project for top managers for implementation.
Because they do not have the necessary knowledge and skills to undertake the system study. To
communicate the intention, and convince management of the firm, the initiator (end user) needs
to put his/her idea in writing. Such a report is known as system study project request proposal.
The proposal should include the following:
1. Background: This part of the proposal should describe the organization or specific work
unit where the study in proposed and the objectives and activities of the organization also
need to be incorporated. The organizational chart, manual, job description and
specification are the source of information for this part.
2. Symptoms: This section of the proposal focuses on:
Listing the problems clearly as much as possible
Showing the extent to which these problems are chambering the operations of the
organization should be stated.
Expressing the value of the problems in monetary terms.
46. 3. Objectives of the Project: The end user should specify what should be done about the
problems and he/she has to suggest what the management do and what he/she think to be
done at all.
4. Benefits and Beneficiaries: The end user should also state the significance of the study.
That means, the benefit of conducting the study and individuals or functions who benefit
from the proposed project, how much and how it benefits the stakeholders should be
B. Systems Department/Systems Analyst:
System analyst, unlike end-users, has the necessary knowledge and skills to under take the study.
Therefore, they have to convince officials that those who propose the new system are capable
and able to do the job. If preliminary investigation is undertaken, the proposal should include its
results, otherwise task of the preliminary investigation should be included.
The proposal in general could include the following:
1. Background: This provide a brief description of the organization or specific work unit or
area where the study is being proposed.
2. Symptoms: Problems are expressed through their symptoms and symptoms are
manifestation of existence of a problem. Therefore, system analysts have to identify and list
symptoms as a sort of justifying the project at its initial stage. When the project study is
advanced, later it should be justified by conducting feasibility study.
3. Objective of the project. The user must clearly specify what should be done about these
problems. Or he has to state (suggest) in clear terms of what the management has to do
and what he think should be done to solve the problem.
4. Scope and limitation of the project. In this part the proposal should define activities,
which can be included and not included or covered in the study should be stated.
5. Methodology. The clear description of the methodology to be employed should be
included in the proposal.
47. 6. Benefits and beneficiaries. The significance of studying the problem has to form one part
of his proposal. This could be done by identifying the benefit(s) of conducting the study;
those who are going to benefit and how they are going to benefit and how they are going
to benefit. Especially the benefits has to be endicated in such a manner that will arouse
the interest of the management to consider the proposal.
7. The study team: The brief description of each individual involved in the study.
8. The project schedule. This Part is focuses on identifying the major activities, time
estimates of the activities, and the whole project, personnel requirements and other
specific issues of the project. In order to communicate well, analysts can use tools like
Gantt Chart, Network diagrams (CPM and PERT).
9. Cost of the project. The cost of the project should also be indicated in detail
decomposition form not in the aggregate form.
C. Systems Project Originate from the Strategic Information Resource management
In addition to the users and knowledge workers, projects can also originate from formal
organizational plan. This requires intensive information and the involvement of the top
4.3. HANDLING AND MANAGING SYSTEMS PROJECTS
All projects proposed by the different individuals or groups may not be implemented. It need to
be evaluated and assessed in terms of its operationally. This requires organizations to establish a
screening committee to study and propose their implementation, which composed of individuals
with different experience and background selected from different departments.
An organization should adapt the following procedures in proceeding the proposed system
project. This procedure should normally covers the initial system projects management phases,
48. i.e., until the feasibility report. This is because the continuation of the project is dependent of the
feasibility study result.
1. Formulation of the steering committee
The steering committee has the following responsibility:
Oversee and control the development of the system and must have the necessary power to
Ensure the system being developed is consistent with the long term objective and
strategies of the organization.
Assign priorities to different project and will agree on different projects if it is not good it
can be rejected.
2. Setting the terms of reference. This may include the following specific tasks
Defining what is required of the system.
Investigating the existing system, estimating its costs, and identifying any
problems and shortcomings.
Exploring alternative solutions
Selecting the most suitable approaches to solving the problems.
Preparing development and operating costs.
Assessing and assigning a value to the savings and benefits of running the new
Comparing the benefits and costs of running a new project.
Commending whether the project is carried out or not.
Preparing detailed time schedule for implementing the system.
Specifying performance criteria for the system.
Recommending suitable candidate for the systems study.
Deciding on conditions and terms of payment.
49. 3. Formation of the conditions and terms of payment (formation of the study group). The
study group could be either an internal staff or external consultants. To hire external
consultants invitation or bid has to be announced.
4. Planning the Study: Project study requires a lot of cost and energy. Therefore, to ripe the
fruit of the project, the organizations should show when and by whom activities of the
project are going to be implemented.
5. Monitoring the Project based on plan. Setting a standard or timetable by itself is not
enough. The progress of the project should be assessed periodically and if there is
deviation from the plan correction actions can be taken.
6. Evaluating the preliminary. Investigation and feasibility reports and deciding on the fate
of the project. If the feasibility report justifies the project, then the steering committee
will decide to implement the project.
If the feasibility report justifies the project, then the steering committee will see to that the
project is undertaken per the schedule.
4.4. PROJECT PHASES
The number of system development phases varies from organization to organization or from
project to project. However, mostly systems development stage consists of five (5) phases (as it
is discussed in unit one page 27. Two of these phases are discussed in this unit, while others are
be covered in the upcoming chapters.
Phase1. Preliminary Investigation Phase
The purpose of the initial (preliminary) investigation or survey phase in two fold. First, it
answers the question, “Is this project worth looking at?” To answer this question, managers
must define the perceived problems, opportunities, and directives that triggered the project and
assess the risk of pursuing the systems project. Second, the preliminary investigation phase must
50. also establish the project charter that establishes scope, preliminary requirements and constraints,
project participants, budget and schedule.
The company should define how big the project is. Based on the initial scope of the project, the
analyst can staff the project team, estimate the budget for system development, and prepare a
schedule for the remaining phases. Ultimately, this phase concludes with a “go or no-go”
decision from system owners.
The major activities of analysts in the preliminary investigation phase are:
Reviewing the current system
Conducting interviews with different personnel
Preparing a preliminary report. The preliminary report may include:
1. Terms of reference
2. Existing system problem summary
3. Results of preliminary investigation
4. The advantage and deficiencies of the existing system
6. Required project cost and schedule.
Once agreement is reached on the initial investigation report the project will proceed to the next
step, that is, feasibility study stage.
Phase 2. Feasibility Study
Feasibility is the measure of how beneficial or practical the development of an information
system will be to an organization. Feasibility analysis, on the other hand, is the process by which
feasibility is measured.
51. The purpose of feasibility studies is to evaluate systems and to propose the most feasible and
desirable systems for development. It provides the steering committee with information with
which to make decision on either developing the system or back logging it for later dates. The
feasibility of the proposed system can be evaluated interims of four major categories. These are:
1. Organizational Feasibility. This refers to the question ‘how well a proposed system
supports the objectives of the organization’s strategic plans for information system?’
The new/proposed system if it is to be feasible, it should support the attainment of
organization’s objectives and plans.
2. Technical Feasibility. This evaluation is concerned with matching the system
requirements to the performance of the firm, which could be achieved, from available
hardware and software. This factor is changing rapidly with the technological progress.
The technical needs of a system might include:
The ability of the system to support a certain number of users.
A certain response time under certain operating conditions.
The ability to process certain number of transactions within a certain time.
The capability of networking with distant location.
The capacity to hold a number of records.
3. Operational Feasibility. Operational feasibility is concerned with the organizational
and human factors and policy matters. It answers questions like will the proposed
system fulfill the users’ requirements? To what degree/ how will the solution change the
users’ work environment/ how do the users feel about such a solution.
4. Economic Feasibility. The general term for economic feasibility is cost-benefit analysis.
It is a bottom line is many project. During the early phases of the project, economic
feasibility analysis amounts to little more than judging whether the possible benefits of
solving the problem are worthwhile.
52. 4.5. COSTS OF THE PROPOSED SYSTEM
A. Costs of the proposed system
Cost can be broken down into three basic categories:
Once-off cost:- This includes outlay on hardware, software, initial stock of consumable
commodities, consultancy fees, file conversion and staff training costs.
Ongoing running cost. This includes operating staff salaries and overheads, stationary
and other initial items, depreciation of purchased capital items, maintenance of hardware,
software and other equipments.
Intangible Costs. Intangible costs are one that cannot be measured directly in a financial
terms. Such as staff dissatisfaction, learning curve, opportunity costs and incompatibility
with the existing system.
Each system is unique in the benefits it offers to the users, which may fall under two categories,
i.e., direct or indirect. The direct benefits of systems project include savings resulting from the
old system no longer used in terms of staff salary, and consumable materials. It also increases
capacity and better management of capital by reducing stock level and collection of debts.
Projects have also an indirect or intangible benefits that includes:
Better and more informed decision-making.
Improved customer service, resulting in an increase in customer satisfaction.
Freedom from routine decisions
Safeguarding the customers
Getting computing advantages over competitors.
Therefore, IS projects have their own costs and benefits. This demands analysts/knowledge
workers to make a cost-benefit analysis before they attempt to implement a systems project that
53. comes to their mind. The purpose of cost-benefit analysis is to compare two or more different
projects or to see that project meets organizational requirements. Analysts can use different tools
that can help them conduct this analysis such as break-even analysis, payback period analysis,
net present value and return on investment.
The feasibility study report
After all the necessary analysis and study, the analyst or knowledge worker should produce a
document, which serves as a reference point for further analysis and evaluation of the system
proposed. This document in known as the feasibility study report. This report may include the
2. Terms of reference
3. Outline of existing system.
4. Outline of the proposed system
5. Likely benefits from the new system
6. Suggested hardware and software and vendors
7. Cost of the proposed system.
8. Staff and training requirements
9. Suggested implementation time table
10. Information about other organizations who might be using the new proposed system.
11. Ongoing costs.
4.6. THE CAUSES OF PROJECT FAILURE
What causes a systems project to succeed or fail? In unit one basic principles of systems
development that are critical success factors for all projects are discussed. From a project
management perspective, a system is considered a success if:
The resulting information system is acceptable to the customer (users)
54. The system was delivered “on time”.
The system was delivered “within budget.”
The system development process had a minimal impact on ongoing business operations.
But not all projects are successful. Failures and limited successes far out number successful
information system. The basic reasons are:
1. Failure to establish top management commitment to the project.
2. Lack of organization’s commitment to the systems development methodology
3. Taking shortcuts through or around the system development methodology
4. Poor expectations of managers and users. Over time, the expectation may change. This
can lead to two undesirable situations, scope creep and failure creep.
Scope creep is the unexpected growth of user expectations and business requirements for an
information system as the system progresses. This change affects the schedule and budget.
Where as feature creep is the uncontrolled addition of technical features to a system under
development without regard to schedule and budget.
5. Premature commitment to a fixed budget and schedule.
6. Poor estimating techniques.
7. Inadequate people management skills.
8. Failure to adapt to business change.
9. Inefficient resources.
10. Failure to “manage to the plan”.
11. Resistance to change
55. CHAPTER 5 - SYSTEM ANALYSIS
In unit one you have learned about the systems development process which are briefly explained
there. In unit two systems project and feasibility study are covered. In this unit you will take a
closer look at the systems analysis phase, is undertaken when the system project feasibility report
5.1. MEANING OF SYSTEMS ANALYSIS
System analysis is a problem-solving technique that decomposes a system in to its component
pieces that decomposes a system in to its component pieces for the purpose of studying how well
those component parts works and interacts to accomplish their purpose. Form the definition we
can understand that system analysis is a process that studies a problem to find the best solution to
the problem. It gives analysts a direction in order to subsequently perform a systems design and
implementation phases. It is a careful study of the information requirements of the new system.
Information systems analysis primarily focuses on the business problem, not on technical or
implementation concerns. It is driven by the business concerns of system owners and system
user and system users perspectives. The system analysts serve as facilitators of systems analysis.
There are four basic activities in system analysis. These are:
surveying the feasibility of the project.
studying and analyzing the current system.
defining end-user requirement for an improved system.
selecting a feasible system solution from alternatives.
5.2. PIECES FRAMEWORK ANALYSIS
James Wetherbe has developed a practical framework for identifying problems and opportunities
for improvement of a system. This framework is called PIECES. As it is described in unit two,
56. PIECES is the first letter of each of the six categories of problems (performance, information,
economics, control, efficiency and service.)
This involves studying the problems, opportunities and directives that affect the performance of
an organization both positively and negatively.
Information and Data Analysis
This involves improving the information requirements of firm. The focus is not volume
(quantity) but quality. Situations that call for information improvement include;
Lack of relevant information concerning a decision or current situation.
Lack of relevant or needed information.
Information that is not in a form useful to users at the right time
Lack of timely information
Information that is difficult produces
Problems that are frequently encountered in the analysis include:
Data redundancy. Data redundancy refers to the situation where the same data is
captured and stored in multiple places or storage devices.
Data inflexibility. Certain reports or inquires are difficult or impossible to use the for
Too much data
Difficult of capture
Inaccuracy of data
57. Economic Analysis:- is the most common motivation for projects designed to reduce
Control and Security Analysis
It is about monitoring and correcting errors. controls are installed to improve systems
performance, detect systems abuses or crime and guarantee the security of data, information and
equipment. Control should not be too few which may result in discrepancies between the
business and the information system. But a business with too many control slow the through put
(the amount of work performed over a certain period) and response time the average delay
between a transaction and responses to that transaction.
Efficiency can be confused with economy. Economy is concerned with the amount of resources
used and efficiency is concerned how those resources are used. Therefore, efficiency analysis is
done in order to increase output and decrease input.
Focuses on service improvement which include diverse categories;
better service to the business itself and its customers. It is clear that improved
service can have increased satisfaction of customers, employees or management.
It tends to solve specific problems, exploit opportunities, to improve service and
to fulfill management directive i.e., accuracy, reliability, ease of use, flexibility,
5.3. BASIC ACTIVITIES OF SYSTEMS ANALYSIS
In systems analysis phase of IS development, process analyst are engaged in the following main
activities. These are:
1. Surveying the feasibility of Projects
58. The feasibility study or preliminary investigation phase is the first phase of the classic systems
development process. It is known as the initial study phase, survey phase, or planning phase.
The preliminary investigation phase answers the question “is this project worth looking at? To
answer this question, the preliminary investigation must define the scope of the project and the
perceived problems, opportunities, and directives the triggered the project.
Survey must be made in order to see whether the IS project is feasible or not before the detail
system analysis is carried out. This is because the remaining tasks in the systems development
phases are necessary only if the project has been deemed worthy and approved to continue.
2. Studying and Analyzing the current system
There is always a current or existing system, regardless of the degree to which it is automated
with information technology. The analysis provides the analyst with a more thorough
understanding of the problems, opportunities, and/or directives that triggered the project. In this
activity, system analysts must:
Identify and understood end users in the existing system and define their roles and
interests. The specific group of users includes those who use the system and those who
are affected by system.
Analyze the business aspects of the current system. The analyst in the study phase also
should analyze the business aspect of the current system. He/she have to identify the
purpose, goals and objectives of the business, analyze how well the current system
support that business, and see whether the activities of the user are consistent with the
business. The purpose of the study phase is to isolate points at which the IS is
inconsistent with the business activities of the firm. For example, if the cost standards
exceeded, the analyst should try to determine the reason for that discrepancy.
Identify and analyze the IS functions provided by the current system. This is another
activity of system analyst in the systems study phase. They have to analyze all of the
transactions currently processed, i.e., the problems, opportunities and constraints.
59. Identify and analyze the components of the current system which includes:
1. Responsibilities of each person
2. Users interaction
3. Data capturing and processing procedure
4. Files and data base system available
5. Software and hardware requirements of the current system.
The system analyst should not analyze each component individually but also their interaction
with each other. The main question here is “are the end users satisfied with the existing
system?” If not why? The analyst studies the current system to identify problems, limitations
and constraints through brainstorming approaches. Finally, the analyst updates the feasible
estimates and presents the findings as problem statement or formal study case report.
This report should have three parts. First, it should explain how the existing system works.
Second, it should explain the problems with the existing system. Finally, it should describe the
requirements for the new system and make recommendations on what to do next.
The report should clearly indicate the cost of going forward. If the cost of going foreword seems
to be prohibitive, this is a good time for managers reading the report to call a halt. Otherwise,
they can call up on to move to the next phase of the systems development process i.e., design
Methods of searching for information
When analysts engaged in assessment and study of the existing system in order to know the
requirements of users they have to gather data. For this purpose they can use the tools like
Interviews, Observation, Questionnaire, Sampling, and review of written documents. These
tools are explained briefly as follows.
60. 1. Written document: A great deal of what the system analyst need is probably available
in written documents: reports, forms, manuals, memos, business plans, policy statements
and so on. Documents are a good place to start because they at least tell how things are
or are supposed to be. One document of particular value is the organization chart. It
shows levels of management and formal lines of authority.
2. Interviews: Personal interview is the most popular, but time consuming fact, finding
technique. Interviews with managers, workers, client’s suppliers, and competitors gives
insights. It is used to achieve any or all of the following goals: find facts, verify facts,
clarity facts, generate enthusiasm, get the end-user involved, identify requirements, and
solicit ideas and opinions. For interview to be successful, analysts should follow the
1. Make a prior appointment with the person to be interviewed and inform the
purpose of the interview.
2. Read the background material and go prepared with a checklist.
3. State again the purpose of the interview at the beginning of the interview.
4. Good manners are essential; introduce yourself, be punctual and pay attention to
what the user says.
5. Do not use jargon words, explain technical words.
6. Avoid yes/no answers; try to get both quantitative and qualitative information.
7. Do not prolong the interview
8. Summarized the information gathered by you during the interview and verifying
with the user.
There are two types of interviews, structured and unstructured.
In structured interviews: the interviewer has a specific set of questions prepared in
advance. By sticking with this script and not asking other question, you can ask
61. people identical questions and compare their answers. Most system analysis and
design interviews are structure.
Unstructured Interviews: Also includes questions prepared in advance, but you
vary from the line of questions and pursue other subjects if it seems productive.
The purpose to interview regardless of its nature is to learn a lot by asking
stakeholders of the system and analyzing the data.
3. Questionnaires: Questionnaires are useful for getting information from large group of
people when you can’t get around to interviewing everyone. Questionnaires may also
yield more information because respondents’ opinion and information can be kept
confidential. In addition, this method is convenient, less costly, and yields a lot of data.
The disadvantage of questionnaire are results may be ambiguous, failure to return the
forms, and lack of follow up with anonymous questionnaires.
4. Observation: Observation is an effective data collection technique for obtaining an
understanding of a system. It is a fact-finding technique where in the system analyst
either participates in or watches a person performing activities to learn about the system.
This technique is used when the validity of data collected through other methods is in
question or when the complexity of certain aspects of the system prevents a clear
explanation by the end-users.
Observation can be a very useful and beneficial fact finding technique provided the observer
have the ability to observe thoroughly and accurately. Observation has the following advantages
1. Data gathered by observation can be highly reliable.
2. The systems analyst is able to see exactly what is being done. Complex tasks are
sometimes difficult to clearly explain in words. Through observation, the systems analyst
62. can identify tasks that have been missed or inaccurately described by other fact-finding
3. Observation is relatively inexpensive.
4. It allows the systems analyst to do work measurements.
1. Because people usually feel uncomfortable when being watched, they may unwittingly
perform differently when being observed.
2. Some systems activities may take place at odd times, causing a scheduling inconvenience for
the systems analyst.
3. The tasks being observed are subject to various types of interruptions.
4. Some tasks may not always be performed in the manner in which they are observed by the
5. People may let you see what they want you to see temporarily but not at other times.
3. Define end-user requirements for an improved system:
This is an area where many large systems efforts go wrong and posses difficulty for the analysts.
The purpose of this phase is to identify what the new system or improved system must be able to
do. In unit one, we discussed the several phases of system development. Each phases is
important and necessary to effectively design, construct, and ultimately implement a system to
meet the users (Stakeholders) needs. But to develop such a system, we first must be able to
correctly identify, analyze, and understand what the users’ requirements are, or what the user
wants the system to do. Errors and omissions in requirements analysis results in user
dissatisfaction with the final system and costly modifications. Requirements discovery includes
those techniques to be used by systems analysts to identify or extract systems problems and
solution requirements from the user community. Essentially, the purpose of requirement analysis
is to identify the data, process and interface requirements for the users of a new system.
63. 4. Select a feasible information systems solution
After several alternative solutions are identified and they should be evaluated in terms of
operational, technical and economic feasibility. At this stage the analyst must recommend the
best solution to management for approval. The recommendation may be presented in the form of
systems proposal or feasibility report.
The purpose of this phase is to answer some of the pertinent questions like:
How much of the system should be computerized?
Should we purchase software or build it ourselves (make or buy decision)?
Should we design the system for an internal network, or should we design a web-based
What emerging information technologies might be useful for this application?
The selection phase identifies candidate solutions, analyze those candidate solutions for
feasibility, and recommend a candidate system as the target solution to be designed. After
identifying potential solutions, each possible alternative is evaluated by the following criteria.
a) Technical Feasibility:- Is a measure of the practicality of a specific technical solution and
the availability of technical resources and expertise. Today, very little is technically impossible.
Consequently, technical feasibility looks at what is practical and reasonable. Technical
feasibility addresses three major issues:
Is the proposed technology or solution practical?
Do we currently posses the necessary technology?
Do we possess the necessary technical expertise, and is the schedule reasonable?
b) Operational Feasibility:- is a measure of how well the solution will work in the organization.
It is also a measure of how people feel about the system or project. Operational feasibility
criteria measure the urgency of the problem, or the acceptability of the solution. There are two
64. aspects of operational feasibility to be considered in order to measure operational feasibility.
Is the problem worth solving, or will the solution to the problem work?
How do the end-users and management feel about the problem (solution)?
It is important not only to evaluate whether a system can work, but we must also evaluate
whether a system will work. A workable system might fail because of end-user or management
resistance. We need also determine the system’s user interface in terms of ease of learning, ease
of use and satisfaction of end users by the proposed system.
c) Economic Feasibility:- Economic feasibility is a measure of the cost effectiveness of a
project or system. This is often called a cost-benefit analysis, which is the bottom line for many
projects. How costs and benefit can be estimated? And how it is possible to compare those costs
and benefits to determine economic feasibility? Costs fall into two categories. These are costs
associated with developing the system (one time) and costs associated with operating a system,
which may be fixed or variable.
The feasibility of the proposed system also should be evaluated in terms of its benefits, either
tangible or intangible. To properly analyze economic feasibility, the value of all benefits should
d) Schedule flexibility:- is a measure of how reasonable the project timetable is. Some projects
are initiated with specific deadlines. It can be also mandatory or desirable.
A cost-benefit analysis is necessary to determine economic feasibility. It is performed by first
listing all the costs associated with the project (both direct and indirect costs). The direct costs
are those incurred in buying equipment, (computer, software etc), employing people, cost of
consumable items, rent for accommodation, cost of system analysts and programmers, cost of
training analysts and users etc. The tangible benefits are: