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Shenton College

Systems Analysis

Preliminary Investigation

Stage One : Preliminary Investigation


A preliminary investigation begins with the impetus or desire to Change The impetus for change can come from a variety of sources including Internal Sources External Sources The users of the system The Management Legal advice Personnel needs Analysis of the system Customers Government Competition (seizing opportunities) External Audits Unions

From a management point of view, a new system may be inspired by a range of possibilities including Increased productivity this could be from Bar code readers at checkouts, Robots in assembly lines, etc Improved Management decision making based on better data provided by the new system. Real time data can be accessed, and data from various areas can be cross-referenced or linked giving the opportunity for better management decisions. Strengthening System Control: eg using computer systems to track baggage more completely at international airports, Student cards with bar codes on them that are read by readers in every classroom to keep track of students attendance. Improve Customer Service: Better and more accurate Bill paying, Better and more accurate Invoices to Customers. Provide special services or discounts to categories or customers identified under various criteria by the system

For a Systems Analyst to become involved in looking at the existing System they must have the necessary Management support and authority to proceed. See the King Books Story H.L. Capron Page 81-2 Key issues in the Preliminary Investigation 1. Emphasis on the User (those who use the system) a. One of the main objectives is to provide adequately for the needs of the user as without the involvement and co-operation of the user any new system will never work. b. c. d. The User must be involved at the very beginning and at every stage. Some users may have a high level of computer knowledge, others may have none but in either case they must be involved from the onset. The users are needed to provide the authority to find out how the system works. They are also vital at the point when a new system is being designed, developed and later tested. They will also be involved in the training of other users, and their own training

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If the user is a full partner during the whole cycle they will then have the confidence to implement and use the new system and make it a success rather than jack up Begin with the Organization Chart. a. b. If there is no chart then the Systems Analysis must create one. It is a hierarchical chart showing management by name and by title (See King Book Organization Chart p84) The Analysis must also be aware also that there is an informal organization with its own organisational chart with political influences on what might occur. The informal organization is how the people sort themselves out in alliances, pecking orders and factions and something the informal organization has more influence than the formal one.

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Mike Graham

Page 1

April 2001

Shenton College

Systems Analysis

Preliminary Investigation

3.

Problem Definition a. The Analyst and the users of the system must come to a common agreement on what the Problem is. This is no easy feat as often the problem turns out to be something different that initially envisaged. b. There also must be an agreement on the Scope of the problem this means what are the clearly defined limits to the problem and/or what is going to be done about it. If the scope is too broad the project may never be finished, if too narrow it may not meet the users needs. c. Establish what the User Needs these will be the Objectives of the new system and this will lead to a solution to the problem What follows is a subset of the entire Systems Analysis cycle but at a lees rigorous level than the real thing. The preliminary Investigation is basically a feasibility study from which the decision about whether to proceed further or not will be made.

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Evaluation of Preliminary Investigation. The decision on whether to proceed with the solution or not will be made according to 3 criteria a. Is a proposed solution Technically feasible- are the resources that are needed actually available and will they do the job? b. Will the solution be workable for the organization? This is called Operational feasibility. Do the Users agree that it would meet the Objectives of the organization. c. Is it Cost Effective ? The bottom line is can the organization afford the new system both for development, training and at an operational level.

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Courses of Action: These are the courses of action based on the feasibility study a. Do nothing. Keep the current system for various reasons, which could include the cost of the new system may be too large b. c. Modify the Existing System. Perhaps new technology may help. Develop an entirely New System This means a custom system be created to replace the existing system. This would involve the development of custom programs and applications (software) and the purchasing of new hardware. Use off the shelf software that is customised to achieve the Objectives or the organization. An example of this might be the MS Access Database customised for a specific function. Companies with an IT department may contain personnel who can do the customisation of Access or other program, or an outside company can be used for this purpose.

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The Plan the plan must contain all of the following a. The schedule in other words the envisaged time line for the project b. The budget how much it will cost. The costs for the next stage the detailed investigation should be quite accurate and will mainly be labour costs, but the rest of the costing would by necessity be quite rough and labelled as such. The personnel costs for the business this means the their staff how mush of their time will be needed etc Note that the do nothing option also has its costs through missed opportunities etc

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Mike Graham

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April 2001

Shenton College

Systems Analysis

Preliminary Investigation

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The Benefits a. b. c. d. The perceived benefits produce the drive/energy to change the system and they can be in the form of opportunities that can be seized more completely Another perceived benefit is the reverse of the original problem There can be tangible benefits which would take the form or more sales, more productivity etc. These can be measured and counted. There can be intangible benefits like more customer satisfaction, higher staff morale

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The Preliminary Investigation Report should contain the following parts a. b. c. A Title Page including names of key personnel, lines for signatures, and a prcis of the project subject matter A Project Overview which is a short sharp summary of the project that will give someone who is very busy a grasp of what is going on. Like an executive summary. Problem Definition: This is very important to correctly identify the problem and to communicate this effectively. A statement should also be made concerning re scope of the problem in other words how mush of it is being dealt with Main text: Contains all the details of the preliminary investigation from users, people on the organisational chart, others from the informal organization. This Text will also contain a summary of the findings at the end together with a description of the solution, expected benefits and recommendations Costs, Personnel and Schedules An Appendix containing Charts, Diagrams, Tables mentioned in the report From this Report a decision will be made as whether to proceed

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The Systems Team: - this is also called a Project team. a. The systems Team obviously will only operate if the go ahead is given by the decision makers for whom the Report or Presentation was made b. This will involve the Systems Analyst and at least one user from the organization How many others are involved will depend on the size and nature of the organization.. c. d. There should be a project leader who has good communication and technical skills. If the organization is large there should be representatives from all major departments

Ref: H.L Capron : Systems Analysis and Design

Mike Graham

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April 2001