Implementation of an Information System in Business

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  • 0:00 What Is an Information System?
  • 1:36 A System Development…
  • 4:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Whitsett

David has taught computer applications, computer fundamentals, computer networking, and marketing at the college level. He has a MBA in marketing.

Rolling out a new software program or computer system in a business requires careful planning. In this lesson, we'll examine a series of common steps you can use that will lead to the successful implementation of a new information system.

What Is an Information System?

Remember when you tried to build the do-it-yourself entertainment center right out of the box without looking at the directions? You probably had parts left over and something on it didn't work as it should. Wouldn't you have been better off reading the directions and following the steps in order?

Like many things in life, following a series of steps is also key for implementing a new information system. Too much is at stake in a business to do something incorrectly or skip steps. But before we get too far ahead, let's define what we mean by information system. An information system is a linked series of parts (hardware and software) designed to gather, keep, and process data. It can provide the business with a tool for research, generate useful information through application software and produce digital products (that is, documents, spreadsheets, etc.).

Information systems are used to communicate with clients and vendors, manage operations, process financial transactions, and for many other important purposes. Both businesses and governments rely heavily on information systems. Imagine a business that doesn't use any information systems. That's happening less often because it's becoming increasingly difficult to function without them. When something changes within a business (maybe it develops new products or has a new location), it often triggers the need for a new information system.

For an example scenario, imagine a warehouse where personnel have been manually tracking parts via a clipboard, then typing the data into a computer system. The proposal is to install a barcode scanning system to ease data entry and cut back on errors.

A System Development Life Cycle

When people began writing custom computer programs to achieve a particular objective in the 1960s, the nucleus of what we now know as the systems development life cycle came into being. The systems development life cycle (SDLC) is a series of steps involved in creating an information system. There have been variations developed over time, and sometimes different models are combined into a hybrid, but the basic steps involved remain pretty consistent.

1. Planning

First, we define the problem we're trying to solve, in our case the installation and integration of a warehouse tracking system using barcodes. We consider the resources, time and cost involved to make sure solving the problem is viable. A project plan is then created and submitted to management for approval. Sometimes this step is also referred to as a feasibility study.

2. Systems Analysis & Requirements

This is the phase where the project team determines what end-users need out of the new system. In this scenario, end-users would need handheld or fixed scanners. There's usually a series of meetings which culminate in the development of a design document. The design document is then approved by the end-users and management, and things move to the next step.

3. Design

During the design stage, we figure out just what it takes to accomplish our goals; the specifications, necessary hardware, programming, features, how it will operate, etc. In our warehouse case, we might evaluate different manufacturers of barcode scanning systems and also different configuration options.

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