In which phase of the System Life Cycle the following are performed? Defining the problem, identifying its causes, specifying the solution and identifying the information requirements.
One must know what the problem it can be solved. The basis for a candidate system is recognition of a need for improving an information system or a procedure. For example, a supervisor may want to investigate the system flow in purchasing, or a bank president has been getting complaints about the long lines in the drive in. This need leads to a preliminary survey or an initial investigation to determine whether an alternative system can solve the problem. We require to look into the duplication of efforts, bottlenecks, inefficient existing procedures, or whether parts of the existing system would be candidates for computerization.
Key question: What is the Problem or opportunity?
If the problem is serious enough, management may want to have an analyst look at it. Such,an assignment implies a commitment, especially if the analyst is hired from the outside. In larger environments, where format procedures are the norm, the analyst’s first task is to prepare a statement specifying the scope and objectives of the problem. He/she then reviews it with the user for accuracy. At this stage, only a rough “ball park” estimate of the development cost of.the project may be reached.
Impetus for System-Change.
The idea for change originates in the environment or from within the firm. Environment-based ideas originate from customers, vendors, government sources, and the like. For example, new unemployment compensation regulations may make it necessary to change the reporting procedure, format, and content of various reports, as well as file structures. Customer’s complaints about the delivery of orders may prompt an investigation of the delivery schedule, the experience of truck drivers, or the volume of orders to be delivered. When investigated, each of these ideas may lead to a problem definition as a first step in the system life cycle process.
Here are some examples:
- An organization acquires another organization.
- A local bank branches into the suburbs.
- A department spends 80 per cent of its budget in one month.
- Two departments are doing essentially the same work, and each department head insists the other department should be eliminated.
- A request for a new form discloses the use of booting (unauthorized) forms.
Serious problems in operations, a high rate of labor turnover, labor intensive activities, and high reject rates of finished goods, also prompt top management to initiate an investigation. Other examples are:
- A report reaches a senior vice president and she suspects the figures.
- The company comptroller reads an IRS audit report and starts thinking.
- An executive read about decision support systems for sales forecasting and it gives him an idea.
User-originated ideas also prompt initial investigations. For example, a bank’s head teller has been noticing long customer lines in the lobby. She wants to know whether they are due to the computer’s slow response to inquiries, the new tellers limited training, or just a sudden increase in bank business. To what extent and how quickly a user-originated idea is converted to a feasibility study depend on several factors:
- The risks and potential returns.
- Management’s bias towards the user.
- Financial costs and the funds available for system work.
- Priorities of other projects in the firm.
- The persuasive ability of the user.