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  • 1. ITEC 2010 “Systems Analysis and Design, I” Lecture 1.b Introduction to Systems Analysis. Basic Concepts 1 Prof. Peter Khaiter
  • 2. III. Systems Analysis and Design. Systems Analyst 1. The analyst as a business problem solver IS are crucial to the success of modern business organization, and new systems are constantly being developed to make businesses more competitive. The key to successful system development is thorough systems analysis and design. Def. Systems Analysis (SA) is the process of understanding and specifying in detail what the information system should do. Systems Design (SD) is the process of specifying in detail how the many components of the information system should be physically implemented. Systems Analyst (SAn) is a business professional who uses analysis and design techniques to solve business problems using information technology and who develops IS. • Developing IS is not just about writing programs. IS are developed to solve problems for organizations, and systems analyst is often thought of as a problem solver rather than a programmer (see Figure 1-12). 2
  • 3. The analyst as a business problem solver (cont’d) FIGURE 1-12 The analyst’s approach to problem solving. 3
  • 4. The analyst as a business problem solver (cont’d) • To thoroughly understand the problem, the analyst must learn everything possible about it – who is involved, what business processes come into play, what data need to be stored and used, what other systems would be affected when solving this problem. • Then the analyst needs to confirm for management that the benefits of solving the problem outweigh the cost. • If solving the problem is feasible, the analyst develops a set of possible solutions and decides, in consultation with management, which possible solution is the best alternative overall. • Once the systems analyst has decided which alternative to recommend and management has approved the recommendation, the details must be worked out. These details include databases, user interface, networks, operating procedures, conversion plans, and, of course, program modules. After that, the actual construction of the system can begin. • Systems analysts need a great variety of special skills. First, they need to be able to understand how to build ISs, and this requires quite a bit of technical knowledge. Then, they have to understand business they are working for. Finally, the analyst needs to understand quite a bit about people and the way they work. 4
  • 5. 2. Required skills of the system analyst Technical Knowledge and Skills No one person can be an expert at all types of technology; there are technical specialist to consult for the details. But a systems analyst should understand the fundamentals about: • Computers and how they work • Devices that interact with computers, including input devices, storage devices, and output devices • Communications networks that connect computers • Databases and database management systems • Programming languages • Operating systems and utilities 5
  • 6. Required skills … (cont’d) A systems analyst also needs to know a lot about tools and techniques for developing systems. (1) Tools are software products that help develop analysis or design specifications and completed systems components. Some tools used in system development include: • Software packages such as Microsoft Access and PowerBuilder that can be used to develop systems • Integrated development environment(IDEs) for specific programming languages, such as Sun Java Workshop or Microsoft C++ • Computer-aided system engineering (CASE) tools that store information about system specifications created by analyst and sometimes generate program code • Program code generators, testing tools,configuration management tools, software library management tools, documentation support tools, project management tools, and so on. 6
  • 7. Required skills … (cont’d) (2)Techniques are used to complete specific system development activities. They include: • Project planning techniques • System analysis techniques • System design techniques • Systems construction and implementation techniques • System support techniques. Business Knowledge and Skills An analyst should understand business organization in general. It may include the following examples: • What activities and processes do organizations perform? • How are organizations structured? • How are organizations managed? • What type of work goes on in organization – finance, manufacturing, marketing, customer service, and so on? It is also important to understand a specific company, that is: • What the specific organization does? • What makes it successful? • What its strategies and plans are? 7 • What its traditions and values are?
  • 8. Required skills … (cont’d) People Knowledge and Skills An analyst spends a lot of time working with people. It is critical that analyst understand: • How people think? • How people learn? • How people react to changes? • How people communicate? • How people work? Integrity and Ethics A systems analyst gets an access to information in many different parts of an organization. It might be • very private information, such as salary, health, job performance. • confidential corporate information about products, strategic plans or tactics • top-secret information involving government, police, army, etc. A systems analyst is expected to have the integrity to keep this information and to uphold the highest ethical standards. Any appearance of impropriety can destroy an analyst’s career. 8
  • 9. 3. The Environment Surrounding the Analyst Types of Technology Encountered Most students are familiar with personal computers. But not all business functions can be realized with desktop. IS in the “real-world” range from small desktop systems to huge database systems with thousands of users spread over hundreds of locations. We could mark out the following types of IS: • Desktop systems • Networked desktop systems that share data • Client-server systems • Large-scale centralized mainframe systems • Systems using Internet, intranet, and extranet technology The changes in technology are very rapidly. Thus, it is so important to upgrade knowledge and skills continually. 9
  • 10. The Environment … (cont’d) Typical Job Titles and Places of Employment In fact, many different people do systems analysis and design work. They may have various job titles: • Programmer analyst • Business systems analyst • End-user analyst • Business consultant • Systems consultant • System support analyst • System designer • Software engineer • System architect Sometimes systems analysts might also be called project leader or project manager. 10
  • 11. The Environment … (cont’d) Places of Employment Not all analysts work directly for the company. It may be different work arrangements, including: • Programmer analysts working for the company • Systems analysts working for the company • Independent contractors • Outsource provider employees • Consultants • Software development firm employees 11
  • 12. The Environment … (cont’d) Typical Job Ad: Systems Analyst – Distribution Centre We are the world’s leading manufacturer of women’s apparel products. Our organization in the Far East has openings for a Systems Analyst Requirements: • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Business Administration or closely related field with 5 (+) years of working experience • In-depth understanding of Distribution and Manufacturing concepts (Allocation, Replenishment, Floor Control, Production Scheduling) • Working knowledge of project management and all phases of the software development life cycle • Experience with CASE tools, PC and Bar Code equipment • Working knowledge of AS/400 and/or UNIX environment with the languages C, RPG400 and/or COBOL are desirable The successful candidate will provide primary interface for all user problems, answer technical questions and requests within the applications development group; work with user areas to establish priorities; and provide recommendations and directions for process improvement through automation. Please forward your resume, along with salary expectations to: 12
  • 13. 4. The Analyst’s Role in Strategic Planning A systems analyst is not only someone who solves specific business problems by developing or maintaining IS. The analyst might also be involved alone with senior managers in strategic management problems. It happens in several ways: Special Projects The analyst may be working to solve a problem that affects executives (e.g. designing an executive information system) The analyst may be involved in business process reengineering – a technique that seeks to alter the nature of work done in a business function with the objective of radically improving performance. Therefore, the analyst might be asked to participate in a study of existing business processes and procedures and then to propose IS solution that can have a radical impact. Strategic Planning Processes A strategic plan typically covers five or more years in the future. It serves to answer fundamental questions about the company (e.g. where is it now, where does it want to be, what does it have to do to get there) A typical strategic planning process can take months or years and involve many people in the company Once set, the strategic plan drives all the organization’s processes 13
  • 14. The Analyst’s Role … (cont’d) Information Systems Strategic Planning The information systems strategic planning is one of the major components of the strategic plan. In most organizations today, nearly all planned changes involve new or improved information systems. Very often, the IS themselves drive the strategic plan. In the Internet era, many new companies have come to existence (,, etc) and many others have changed the way they compete. Usually at the recommendation of the chief information systems executive, top management will authorize a major project to plan the IS for the entire organization. A consulting firm might be called to help with the project. Consultants can offer experience with strategic planning techniques and train managers and analysts to complete the planning project. Many documents and existing systems are reviewed to create a model of the organization in terms of the business functions it performs alone with another model that shows the types of data the organization uses. 14
  • 15. The Analyst’s Role … (cont’d) Based on these two models, an application architecture plan is created: • a description of the integrated information systems needed for the organization to carry out its business functions. After that, the team outlines the sequence of steps needed to implement the required systems. Then, the team creates a technology architecture plan: • A description of the hardware, software and communications networks required to implement planned IS. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) an increasing number of organizations are applying an approach called enterprise resource planning by which an organization commits to using an integrated set of software packages for key information processing (e.g. PeopleSoft). Software vendors such as PeopleSoft offer package solutions for companies in specific industries. To adopt an ERP solution, the company must carefully study its existing processes and information needs and then determine which ERP vendor provides the best match. 15
  • 16. IV. Running Case Study: Rocky Mountains Outfitters (RMO) We will be using a system development project for a company named Rocky Mountain Outfitters (RMO) as a continuing example. Overview of the RMO • Began in 1978 as dream of John and Liz Blankens of Park City, Utah • First started as direct mail-order sales to customers using a small catalog (see Fig. 1-13) • By the early 2000s has grown to a large regional sports clothing distributor in the Rocky Mountain and Western states; a line of casual and active wear was added. The current catalog offers extensive selection (see Fig. 1-14) • RMO now employs over 600 people and has almost $100 million annually in sales • Mail order is still the major source of revenue at $60 million • In the early 1990s, a phone-order operation was added; now it accounts for $30 million in sales. • RMO was one of the first clothing distributors to provide a simple Web presence (on- line catalog, but placing the orders only by mail or by phone) • In the late 1990s, considered to move to B2C (business-to-consumer) e-commerce. 16
  • 17. RMO Case Study (cont’d) FIGURE 1-13 Early RMO catalog cover (Spring 1978). 17
  • 18. RMO Case Study (cont’d) FIGURE 1-14 Current RMO catalog cover (Spring 2003). 18
  • 19. RMO Case Study (cont’d) • Invited consulting firm recommended focusing on two key strategic issues: Supply chain management Customer relationship management Supply chain management (SCM) is a process that integrates product development, product acquisition, manufacturing, and inventory management Customer relationship management (CRM) is processes that support marketing, sales, and service operations involving direct and indirect customer interaction Organization and location • The RMO is still managed on a daily basis by John (as president) and Liz (as vice president of merchandising and distribution) • Other top managers are William McDougal, vice president of marketing and sales, and JoAnn White, vice president of finance and systems. The systems department reports to JoAnn Fig.1-15 shows the RMO’s organizational structure, Fig.1-16 shows the RMO locations. 19
  • 20. RMO Case Study (cont’d) FIGURE 1-15 Organizational structure of the RMO. 20
  • 21. RMO Case Study (cont’d) FIGURE 1-16 The RMO locations. 21
  • 22. RMO Case Study (cont’d) Information Systems Department at RMO • Headed by Mac Preston, an assistant vice president • Includes nearly 50 employees (see Figure 1-17) • Organized into two areas: System support (director Ann Hamilton) Includes telecommunications, database administration, operations and user support System development (director John MacMurty) 4 project managers, 6 systems analysts and 10 programmer analysts. 22
  • 23. RMO Case Study (cont’d) FIGURE 1-17 RMO IS Department staffing. 23
  • 24. RMO Case Study (cont’d) Existing Systems Small mainframe computer runs various tasks . The existing information technology includes: • Retail store system (a package with point-of-sale processing and overnight batch inventory update with the mainframe, implemented 8 years ago) • Office systems (a local area network with office software, Internet access and e- mail services , implemented 3 years ago) • Merchandising/Distribution (a mainframe application using COBOL with DB2 database, implemented 12 years ago) • Mail Order (a mainframe application using COBOL, implemented 14 years ago) • Phone Order (a modest Windows application developed using VB and Oracle database, implemented 6 years ago) • Human resources (an in-house application for payroll and benefits running on the mainframe, implemented 13 years ago) • Accounting/Finance (a mainframe package, implemented 10 years ago) 24
  • 25. RMO Case Study (cont’d) The Information Systems Strategic Plan at RMO The strategic thrust of RMO is to build more direct customer contact. One strategy is to expand the phone-order capability, and the another one is to add direct customer access through the Internet. This strategic plan resulted in the following decisions: • Technology Architecture Plan Distribute business applications across multiple locations (move business applications to client-server architecture) Move towards conducting business via the Internet (first supporting supply chain management, next supporting direct customer ordering on the Web site, and finally supporting additional customer relationship management (CRM) functions that link internal systems and databases) Eventually move to intranet solutions for business functions such as human resources, accounting, finance and information management) 25
  • 26. RMO Case Study (cont’d) • Application Architecture Plan Supply chain management (SCM): implement system that integrate product development, product acquisition, manufacturing, and inventory management in anticipation of rapid sales growth. Custom development. Customer Support System (CSS): implement an order-processing and fulfillment system that integrates with the SCM systems to support the three order-processing requirements: mail order, phone order and direct customer access via the Internet. Custom development. Strategic information management system (SIMS): can extract and analyze SC and CS information for strategic and operational decision making and control. Package solution. Retail store system (RSS): integrates store management system with the CSS. Package solution Accounting/finance: purchase a package solution with the client-server architecture Human resources: purchase a package solution as intranet application Time frames are presented in Figure 1-18. 26
  • 27. RMO Case Study (cont’d) FIGURE 1-18 The timetable for RMO’s application 27 architecture plan.
  • 28. RMO Case Study (cont’d) The Customer Support System The application architecture plan detailed some specific objectives for the CSS, such as: • Customer inquiries/catalog requests • Order entry • Order tracking • Shipping • Back ordering • Returns • Sales analysis The memo on CSS is shown in Fig. 1-19. 28
  • 29. RMO Case Study (cont’d) FIGURE 1-19 29
  • 30. Readings • Chapter 1 – The World of the Modern Systems Analyst (covered today) • Next lecture: Chapter 2 – The Analyst as a Project Manager • Lecture notes available at class web site (downloadable as PowerPoint slides) 30