Building New Information Systems

How does building new systems produce organizational change?

Building new information systems is used to enhance the identification of the business’ direction and the assessment of the current situation through radically and constructively changing the organizational structure. The changes occur mainly in four aspects. First, the procedures are mechanized, speeding up the completion of tasks. Second, the business process is reengineered, which facilitates the reorganization of workflow and cuts back on tasks that are repeated.

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This way, the management does not have to waste time on excessive documentation and the business has a chance to perform more rationally. The documents are effectively moved around in a streamlined fashion. Also, new information systems cause the shift of paradigm: the very nature of the establishment is reconceptualized.

What are the core activities in the systems development process? Distinguish between systems analysis and systems design. Describe the activities for each

The core activities in the systems development process that do into providing solutions for organizational problems or help develop better ways of using opportunities are systems analysis, systems design, programming, testing, conversion, and production and maintenance.

Systems analysis deals with problems to be solved by new systems, while systems design describes the means and tools for solving the problems singled out during the analysis. The activities for systems analysis include problem definition and identification of the causes of it, outlining specific solutions and examination of alternative solutions, and, finally, identification of the requirements of information.

Systems analysis can also include feasibility studies. The study defines whether the solution is achievable and worthy of investment and whether the skills and technologies required for this solution are available at the moment. Systems design provides a detailed description of tools, mainly the managerial, organizational, and technological ones.

What are the principal methodologies for modeling and designing systems? Compare object-oriented and traditional structured approaches for modeling and designing systems

The main methodologies for modeling and designing systems include traditional structured methodology and object-oriented methodology.

The structured approach is characterized by step-by-step linear techniques and process-orientedness. Such an approach draws a line between the data and the process, focusing primarily on the latter. In contrast to such an approach, object-orientedness implies a focus on the data. At the same time, the object-oriented methodology does not distinguish between the data and the processes that operate it. The reason is that the data (which is embedded in the object) can only be accessed and operated via certain operations. Also, object-oriented modeling is based on the concepts of class and inheritance. The idea is that objects are classified and contain the features attributed generally to their classes. Besides, the generalized features can be hereditary, attributable to an object from a “younger” class from an “ancestor” class.

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What are the alternative methods for building information systems? Define the traditional systems life cycle. Describe each of its steps and its advantages and disadvantages for systems building

Some alternative methods for information system building include traditional systems life cycle, prototyping, end-user development, application software packages, and outsourcing.

Traditional systems life cycle is the oldest method of information system building. It employs a phased approach, which means that development is divided into stages. Every stage has to be fully completed before the next stage starts to be implemented (“waterfall” approach). Traditional systems life cycle also subsumes that the tasks of end-users and information systems specialists should not be mixed up; the processes should rely on formal specifications and be adequately documented.

The main advantage of such a method is that the waterfall approach sets clear tasks for each stage. Consequently, the phases of development are placed in order and do not overlap. The fact that such a method emphasizes documenting makes the procedure understandable. The main disadvantage is inflexibility because it is difficult to implement changes in a stage that has already been completed. Because the system is phased and each phase is dependent on the others, a small error can cause trouble. Also, such a method takes up much time.

What are new approaches for system building in the digital firm era? Define rapid application development (RAD) and agile development and explain how they can speed up system-building?

New approaches include rapid application development (RAD), joint application design (JAD), and also agile, component-based, and mobile application developments.

RAD (rapid application development) is a process of quickly creating systems that work. Agile development delivers functioning software by breaking large projects into smaller ones, treating them as separate projects, and completing them one by one. RAD speeds up system building by creating comprehensive and friendly graphic user interfaces, automating the generation of program codes, creating iterative prototypes of the key elements of the system, and facilitating teamwork between the end-users and system specialists. Agile development adds up to the speed by assuring the small projects are completed quickly and facilitating collective decision-making via face-to-face discussions: through constant feedback and monitoring, decisions are made faster and collaboratively.

Why is selecting a systems development approach an important business decision? Who should participate in the selection process?

Selecting a systems development approach is an important decision since it affects the level of competitiveness of a business, as well as the time, price, and result of the development both short-term and in the long run. To make a decision, a multitude of factors should be taken into consideration. For example, the levels of risk and return are important matters to address, as well as the human resources and task distribution.

The selection process should involve all stakeholders because the requirements include the necessity of every department’s awareness. For instance, the management should come to acknowledge the approaches to system building, make their evaluations, and choose the most optimal one, mainly relying on the structure of their establishment and how well the processes can be controlled.

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Some have said that the best way to reduce system development costs is to use application software packages or user-friendly tools. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Using software packages or user-friendly tools can be cost-effective, but some factors have to be considered. One such condition is that an establishment does not possess or has limited internal resources. Another factor is that its procedures are standard and can be implemented in a software package without much difficulty. Finally, the choice of a vendor is probably the most important factor. Vendors with a specialization in a particular industry can set their system solutions on default.

To customize the packages, therefore, can be expensive. It can lead to even further expenditures and put obstacles to the effective maintenance of such software. Consequently, such vendors cannot be suitable for establishments whose requirements are non-standard. Thus, if an organization wants to cut costs by using packages or user-friendly tools, it has to consider its resources and requirements and choose the nest vendor – this is the only way to cut costs. Otherwise, system development is likely to result in more expenses.

Why is it so important to understand how a business process works when trying to develop a new information system?

Before implementing any improvements into information systems, it is important to be aware of the business’ procedures. The reason is that the information system is supposed to comply with the organization’s business strategies and bring profit to this business. The information system is a tool to realize the business’ vision and mission. Also, an information system is a useful tool to achieve higher efficiency, to outsource and develop new products and services, enhance decision-making through faster data retrieval and processing, and advancing over the competitors. Information systems focus on the areas of function and execution of the processes, which is why their importance is tremendous.

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