• The first stage in the system development cycle is understanding the problem.• The exact nature of the problem must be determined, then there needs to be an analysis of whether an information system can be a solution.• A clear problem statement must be created at this stage.• This involves a preliminary investigation, a requirement report & (ideally) prototyping.
• A preliminary investigation is also called a requirement definition.• It determines whether a quick fix will solve the problem or a new system is necessary.• It takes in account the needs and concerns of all the participants.• Data is collected to understand the problem and develop a solution.• The requirement report is a statement about the need for a new system.
• It outlines the aims and objectives of the new system and how it will help the organisation.• It also provides an overview of the new system in terms of: • data / information • information processes • information technology• It is used to develop potential solutions to the problem.
• A prototype is a working model of a proposed information system.• They help to: • understand the requirements of the new system • define the problem to be solved • determine how an information system can help • test possible information system features
• A prototype may contain data screens, a sample database or formulae that produce approximate results.• It is often a repetitive process used to clarify issues.• As a prototype is shown to the participants they evaluate it and suggest improvements, then a new prototype is made and the process begins again.
• The three main advantages of a prototype are: • participants will understand the proposed system better • participants are more involved in decision making • the new system is easier to create from a prototype.