Systems Analysis & Design in Business

Instructor: Robyn O'Connell-Tatum

Robyn O’Connell-Tatum has over 15 years’ experience in business. She has earned her MBA from Kansas State University and currently works to improve business processes.

The process of systems analysis and design involves analyzing information systems to meet a set of particular needs. This course explores how systems analysis and design is used in business. Read on to learn more.

Systems Analysis and Design and How It Works for Business

How many people would love to design their own dream home? It sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it? Sure, there would be a lot planning and preparation, but it would be your dream home, your perfect oasis, and meet your precise specifications. Just like the idea of designing and building your own dream home, companies are faced with the idea of designing and analyzing information systems to meet the specific needs of their business.

Systems Analysis and Design Steps

There are four main steps involved in systems design and analysis. Let's explore these now.

Systems Analysis and Design

1. Identifying Business Needs

It is important for a company to weigh the pros and cons of changing their currents systems already in place. Identifying the value of the new system is incredibly important for this process to be successful. Just like building your dream home, you want to make sure it's an improvement from your current home.

Businesses must first identify what their needs are, and they can do this by asking the following questions:

  • What value do we want to bring to the organization?
  • Is it to improve efficiency in the workplace?
  • How do we want to change our current processes?
  • What results are we trying to achieve?
  • What are the budgetary concerns?

This stage involves all levels of the organization, to collaborate the business needs and the overall ability to develop the new information system.

2. Planning and Analyzing

Once the business needs are set, planning and analysis begins. This process should begin by identifying the extent to which they are trying to use this new system. This process is similar to a blueprint one might have for a home, where you lay out the big picture. Part of determining this is identifying who the users of the new system will be and what the system will be used for as well as addressing any privacy concerns. This initial part is important to make sure that the business objectives are being met, and it lays the foundation for the 'big picture'.

By looking into the needs of the users of the system, this helps identify the reach or span in which the new system will be used. It determines the cross functionality of the system and if it will be used for one or many departments.

Some questions one might ask include the following:

  • What data should we store, and how does that, in turn, provide information to the company?
  • Do we want the marketing department information to be integrated with the sales departments?

Asking questions like this will help to identify the 'who' and 'what' the system will be used for. Part of this stage should also address any privacy concerns the company may have as far as who should or should not have access to the information. Certain information is more sensitive than others and only certain users should be given specific access.

3. Designing a System

This phase will start by researching what necessary hardware and/or software is needed to use the system. At this point, the company will look at their physical structure and find ways to mimic this and any new changes in the new information system.

Questions asked during this phase include the following:

  • How do we want to set up and store the data we need?
  • How should we capture the data?
  • How can we ensure that the information is accurate or complete?

Once this is answered, logical design is also incredibly important to make the system logical to daily users. This system should be used to improve organization systems, and consideration for ease of use and user trainability are essential in this phase.

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