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  • In today’s business world, it is becoming more and more apparent that analysts must learn to think like business managers. Computer applications are expanding at a record pace. Now more than ever, management expects information systems to pay for themselves. Information is a major capital investment that must be justified, just as marketing must justify a new product and manufacturing must justify a new plant or equipment. Systems Analysts are called on more than ever to help answer the following questions: Will the investment pay for itself? Are there other investments that will return even more on their expenditure? Few topics are more important. Feasibility analysis isn't really systems analysis, and it isn't systems design either. Instead, feasibility analysis is a cross life cycle activity and should be continuously performed throughout a systems project. 643
  • Figure C.1 Feasibility Checkpoints in the Systems Development Lifecycle Feasibility checkpoints can be installed into any SDLC that you are using. The figure above shows feasibility checkpoints for a typical life cycle (similar to, but not identical to, the life cycle used in this book). The checkpoints are represented by red diamonds. The diamonds indicate that a feasibility reassessment and management review should be conducted at the end of the prior phase (before the next phase). A project may be canceled or revised at any checkpoint, despite whatever resources have already been spent so far. This idea may bother you at first. Your natural inclination may be to justify continuing a project based on the time and money you've already spent. Those costs are sunk. A fundamental principle of management is never to throw good money after bad — cut your losses and move on to a more feasible project. That doesn't mean the costs already spent are not important. 643-644
  • After estimating benefits of solving the problems and opportunities, analysts will estimate costs of developing the expected system. Experienced analysts routinely increase these costs by 50 percent to 100 percent (or more) because experience tells them that the problems are rarely well-defined and that user requirements are typically understated. Do nothing! Leave the current system alone. Regardless of management's opinion or your own opinion of this option, it should be considered and analyzed as a baseline option against which all others can and should be evaluated. Reengineer the (manual) business processes, not the computer-based processes. This may involve streamlining activities, reducing duplication and unnecessary tasks, reorganizing office layouts, and eliminating redundant and unnecessary forms and processes, among others. 643-644
  • Operational and technical feasibility criteria measure the worthiness of a problem or solution. Operational feasibility is people oriented. Technical feasibility is computer oriented. Economic feasibility deals with the costs and benefits of the information system. Actually, few systems are infeasible. Instead, different options tend to be more or less feasible than others. Let's take a closer look at the four feasibility criteria. 646
  • During the systems selection and procurement phases of systems design, the systems analyst identifies candidate system solutions and then analyzes those solutions for feasibility. We discussed the criteria and techniques for analysis in this chapter. In this concluding section we evaluate a pair of documentation techniques that can greatly enhance the comparison and contrast of candidate system solutions. Both use a matrix format. We have found these matrices useful for presenting candidates and recommendations to management. The rows of the matrix represent characteristics that serve to differentiate the candidates. The breakdown is as follows: TECHNOLOGY — Brief description of the technical solution represented by the candidate system. INTERFACES — Identify how the system will interact with people and other systems. DATA — How will data stores be implemented (e.g., conventional files, relational database(s), other database structures)? How will inputs be captured (e.g., on-line, batch, etc.)? How will outputs be generated (e.g., on a schedule, on demand, printed, on screen, etc.)? PROCESSES — How will (manual) business processes be modified? How will computer processes be implemented? For the latter, we have numerous options, including on-line versus batch processes and packaged versus built-in-house software. GEOGRAPHY — How will processes and data be distributed? Once again, we might consider several alternatives — for example, centralized versus decentralized versus distributed (or duplicated) versus cooperative (client/server) solutions. 656
  • Figure C.6 Candidate Systems Matrix Template No additional notes provided. 656-657
  • Figure C.7 Sample Candidate Systems Matrix Before considering any solutions, we must consider any constraints on solutions. Solution constraints take the form for architectural decisions intended to bring order and consistency to applications. For example, a technology architecture may restrict solutions to relational databases or client/server networks. A sample, partially completed candidate system matrix listing three of the five candidates is shown in the figure above. The matrix is used to provide overview characteristics concerning the portion of the system to be computerized, the business benefits, and software tools and/or applications needed. Subsequent pages would provide additional details concerning other characteristics such as those mentioned previously. Two columns can be similar except for their entries in one or two cells. Multiple pages would be used if we were considering more than three candidates. 657-658
  • Be careful. Not all feasibility criteria are necessarily equal in importance. Before assigning final rankings, you can quickly eliminate any candidates for which any criteria is deemed ``infeasible.'' In reality, this doesn't happen very often. 657
  • Be careful. Not all feasibility criteria are necessarily equal in importance. Before assigning final rankings, you can quickly eliminate any candidates for which any criteria is deemed ``infeasible.'' In reality, this doesn't happen very often. 657
  • Figure C.8 Feasibility Analysis Matrix Template No additional notes provided. 657,659
  • Figure C.9 Sample Feasibility Analysis Matrix A completed feasibility analysis matrix is presented in the figure above. The feasibility assessment is provided for each candidate solution. In this example, a score is recorded directly in the cell for each candidate's feasibility criteria assessment. Again, this matrix format can be most useful for defending your recommendations to management. 657,659
  • Feasible

    1. 1. Project Risks and Feasibility Assessment Advanced Systems Analysis and Design
    2. 2. Project Risk Factors
    3. 3. Project Risk Classification
    4. 4.  Feasibility is the measure of how beneficial or practical the development of an information system will be to an organization. Feasibility analysis is the process by which feasibility is measured.  Feasibility should be measured throughout the life cycle.  The scope and complexity of an apparently feasible project can change after the initial problems and opportunities are fully analyzed or after the system has been designed.  Thus, a project that is feasible at one point in time may become infeasible at a later point in time.
    5. 5. Feasibility Assessment Why feasibility assessment?  Information systems are major investments  IS projects are subject to the same cost justifications as any other capital investments  Business value paradox  Avoid "black hole" projects
    6. 6. 1 2 Survey Study 3 Definition End-users 4 Configuration 9 5 6Support Design Procurement 8 7 Delivery Construction Vendors
    7. 7. Feasibility Analysis Feasibility Checkpoints During Analysis  Systems Analysis -Survey Phase  ``Do the problems (or opportunities) warrant the cost of a detailed study of the current system?  Systems Analysis - Study/Definition Phase  Better estimates of development costs and the benefits to be obtained from a new system.  Requirements often prove to be more extensive that originally stated.  If feasibility is in question, scope, schedule, and costs must be rejustified.  Systems Analysis - Selection Phase  A major feasibility analysis evaluating options for the target systems design.  Typical options that are evaluated include • Do nothing! Leave the current system alone. • Reengineer the (manual) business processes, not the computer-based processes. • Enhance existing computer processes. • Purchase a packaged application.
    8. 8. Four Tests for Feasibility Operational feasibility is a measure of how well a specific solution will work in the organization. It is also a measure of how people feel about the system/project.  Does management support the system?  How do the end-users feel about their role in the new system?  What end-users or managers may resist or not use the system? Can this problem be overcome? If so, how?  Usability analysis • Ease of use, Ease of learning, User satisfaction Technical feasibility is a measure of the practicality of a specific technical solution and the availability of technical resources and expertise.  Is the proposed technology or solution practical? Is the technology mature?  Do we currently possess the necessary technology?  Do we possess the necessary technical expertise, and is the schedule reasonable? Schedule feasibility is a measure of how reasonable the project timetable is. Economic feasibility is a measure of the cost-effectiveness of a project or solution. This is often called a cost-benefit analysis.
    9. 9. System CostsCosts Development cost Consulting fees Hardware/ software Conversion/ installation Training/ Documentation Operation/ Production costs Personnel costs System usage/ maintenance cost System upgrades Supplies
    10. 10. System BenefitsBenefits Tangible benefits Reduced processing errors Increased throughput Decreased response time Manpower reduction Cost elimination Increased sales Reduced credit losses Intangible benefits Improved customer satisfaction Improved employee morale Better decision making
    11. 11. Cost Benefit AnalysisPayback analysisReturn on investmentNet present value PV = 1(1+i)^n
    12. 12. Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO) Developed by Barry Boehm (1981) Predicts the effort & duration of a project Based on size of the system & a number of “cost drivers,”
    13. 13. Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO) CoCoMo Basic Equations Mode Description Effort ScheduleOrganic Small-Medium Size, WM= TDEV= In-house Dev. 2.4(KDSI)1.05 2.5(MM)0.38Semidetached Intermediate-Large Size, WM= TDEV= Partial In-house & 3.0(KDSI)1.12 2.5(MM)0.35 contractedEmbedded Very Large Size, WM= TDEV= Contractor developed 3.6(KDSI)1.20 2.5(MM)0.32WM = Work-Months; TDEV = Time of DevelopmentKDSI = Thousands of delivered source instruction
    14. 14. Cost Drivers in COCOMO Product attributes  software reliability, database size, software complexity Hardware/platform attributes  execution time constraints, main storage constraints, virtual machine volatility, turnaround time Personnel attributes  Analyst capability, applications experience, programmer capability, virtual machine experience, language experience Project attributes  use of modern programming practices, use of software tools, development schedule constriants
    15. 15. Factors not Included in COCOMO Application type  Amount of documentation Language level  Hardware configuration Requirements volatility  Security and privacy Personnel continuity restrictions Management quality Customer interface quality
    16. 16. Function Point Analysis Developed by Allan Albrecht at IBM (1979) Based on estimation of inputs, outputs, queries, interfaces, and files Main advantages  Possible to estimate function points early in the development life cycle  Can be estimated by non-technical personnel
    17. 17. Function Point AnalysisBasic Equation: FP = FC (PCA) PCA = 0.65 + (0.01) ΣciPCA – Processing Complexity Adjustment; C – Complexity Factors Simple Average Complex FC = Count * WeightInput 3 4 6Output (eg, reports, screens) 4 5 7Inquires 7 10 15Files 5 7 10Applications Interfaces 3 4 6
    18. 18. Feasibility Analysis of Candidate Systems Candidate Systems Matrix  The candidate systems matrix documents similarities and differences between candidate systems; however, it offers no analysis.  The columns of the matrix represent candidate solutions.  The rows of the matrix represent characteristics that serve to differentiate the candidates. The breakdown is as follows:  TECHNOLOGY  INTERFACES  DATA  PROCESSES  GEOGRAPHY
    19. 19. Candidate 1 Name Candidate 2 Name Candidate 3 NameTechnologyInterfacesDataProcessesGeography
    20. 20. Characteristics Candidate 1 Candidate 2 Candidate 3 Candidate ...Portion of System Computerized COTS package Platinum Member Services and Same as candidate 2. Plus from Entertainment warehouse operations inBrief description of that portion of the Software Solutions would be relation to order fulfillment.system that would be computerized in purchased and customized tothis candidate. satisfy Member Services required functionality.Benefits This solution can be Fully supports user required Same as candidate 2. implemented quickly business processes forBrief description of the business benefits because its a purchased Soundstage Inc. Plus morethat would be realized for this solution. efficient interaction withcandidate. member accounts.Servers and Workstations Technically architecture Same as candidate 1. Same as candidate 1. dictates Pentium pro, MSA description of the servers and Windows NT class serversworkstations needed to support this and Pentium, MS Windowscandidate. NT 4.0 workstations (clients).Software Tools Needed MS Visual C++ and MS MS Visual Basic 5.0 MS Visual Basic 5.0 ACCESS for customization System Architect 3.1 System Architect 3.1Software tools needed to design and of package to provide report Internet Explorer Internet Explorerbuild the candidate (e. g., database writing and integration.management system, emulators,operating systems, languages, etc.). Notgenerally applicable if applicationssoftware packages are to be purchased.Application Software Package Solution Custom Solution Same as candidate 2.A description of the software to bepurchased, built, accessed, or somecombination of these techniques.Method of Data Processing Client/Server Same as candidate 1. Same as candidate 1.Generally some combination of: on-line,batch, deferred batch, remote batch, andreal-time.Output Devices and Implications (2) HP4MV department (2) HP4MV department Same as candidate 2. Laser printers Laser printersA description of output devices that (2) HP5SI LAN laser (2) HP5SI LAN laserwould be used, special output printers printersrequirements, (e.g. network, preprinted (1) PRINTRONIX bar-codeforms, etc.), and output considerations printer (includes software &(e.g., timing constraints). drivers) Web pages must be designed to VGA resolution. All internal screens will be designed for SVGA resolution.Input Devices and Implications Keyboard & mouse Apple “Quick Take” digital Same as candidate 2. camera and softwareA description of Input methods to be (15) PSC Quickscan laserused, input devices (e.g., keyboard, bar-code scannersmouse, etc.), special input requirements, (1) - HP Scanjet 4C Flatbed(e.g. new or revised forms from which Scannerdata would be input), and input Keyboard & mouseconsiderations (e.g., timing of actualinputs).Storage Devices and Implications MS SQL Server DBMS with Same as candidate 1. Same as candidate 1. 100GB arrayed capability.Brief description of what data would bestored, what data would be accessedfrom existing stores, what storage mediawould be used, how much storagecapacity would be needed, and howdata would be organized.
    21. 21. Feasibility Analysis of Candidate Systems Feasibility Analysis Matrix  This matrix complements the candidate systems matrix with an analysis and ranking of the candidate systems. It is called a feasibility analysis matrix.  The columns of the matrix correspond to the same candidate solutions as shown in the candidate systems matrix.  Some rows correspond to the feasibility criteria presented in this chapter.  Rows are added to describe the general solution and a ranking of the candidates.  The cells contain the feasibility assessment notes for each candidate.
    22. 22. Feasibility Analysis of Candidate Systems Feasibility Analysis Matrix  Each row can be assigned a rank or score for each criteria (e.g., for operational feasibility, candidates can be ranked 1, 2, 3, etc.).  After ranking or scoring all candidates on each criteria, a final ranking or score is recorded in the last row.
    23. 23. Candidate 1 Name Candidate 2 Name Candidate 3 NameDescriptionOperationalFeasibilityTechnicalFeasibilityScheduleFeasibilityEconomicFeasibilityRanking
    24. 24. Feasibility Criteria Wt. Candidate 1 Candidate 2 Candidate 3 Candidate .. Operational Feasibility 30% Only supports Member Fully supports user required Same as candidate 2. Services requirements and functionality.Functionality. A description of to what current business processesdegree the candidate would benefit the would have to be modified toorganization and how well the system take advantage of softwarewould work. functionalityPolitical. A description of how wellreceived this solution would be fromboth user management, user, andorganization perspective. Score: 60 Score: 100 Score: 100 Technical Feasibility 30% Current production release of Although current technical Although current technical Platinum Plus package is staff has only Powerbuilder staff is comfortable withTechnology. An assessment of the version 1.0 and has only been experience, the senior Powerbuilder, management ismaturity, availability (or ability to on the market for 6 weeks. analysts who saw the MS concerned with recentacquire), and desirability of the Maturity of product is a risk Visual Basic demonstration acquisition of Powerbuildercomputer technology needed to support and company charges an and presentation, has agreed by Sybase Inc.this candidate. additional monthly fee for the transition will be simple MS SQL Server is a current technical support. and finding experienced VB company standard andExpertise. An assessment to the programmers will be easier competes with SYBASE intechnical expertise needed to develop, Required to hire or train C++ than finding Powerbuilder the Client/Server DBMSoperate, and maintain the candidate expertise to perform programmers and at a much market. Because of this wesystem. modifications for integration cheaper cost. have no guarantee future requirements. versions of Powerbuilder MS Visual Basic 5.0 is a will “play well” with our mature technology based on current version SQL Server. version number. Score: 50 Score: 95 Score: 60 Economic Feasibility 30%Cost to develop: Approximately $350,000. Approximately $418,040. Approximately $400,000.Payback period (discounted): Approximately 4.5 years. Approximately 3.5 years. Approximately 3.3 years.Net present value: Approximately $210,000. Approximately $306,748. Approximately $325,500.Detailed calculations: See Attachment A. See Attachment A. See Attachment A. Score: 60 Score: 85 Score: 90 Schedule Feasibility 10% Less than 3 months. 9-12 months 9 monthsAn assessment of how long the solutionwill take to design and implement. Score: 95 Score: 80 Score: 85 Ranking 100% 60.5 92 83.5
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