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System Analysis

Essay by   •  February 19, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,951 Words (8 Pages)  •  2,190 Views

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Executive Summary

Many businesses use various techniques and methods to improve their processes. To properly determine what solutions are needed to improve those business processes, the current process needs to be analyzed to determine its weaknesses. This process of system analysis is essential to the success of the project. In this paper we will go over the process of system analysis and apply it to a workplace project that redesigned a business process. Also we will review the success of the project by analyzing it with concepts from Business Process Re-engineering.

Introduction

Today's businesses are faced with a market that forces them into rethinking what processes they use to do business. Due to the ever changing faces of today's market and fast pace changes, businesses need to operate at very efficient level and they need the processes in place to be successful in this market. Many times this requires for the company to review and evaluate its business processes to determine its weaknesses and find solutions to the processes to increase its operational efficiency, one of the biggest challenges in today's businesses (Smith, 2001, 11).

To determine what's wrong in their process they look at system analysts to tell them what's wrong and how to fix them. Usually they will use various methods of information gathering and design techniques to evaluate the current process and from that determine the weakness and propose a solution. But, let's see example a work related project and see what information gathering technique was used to evaluate the business process and then determine if the solution taken is a success by analyzing and evaluating it using concepts from Business Process Re-engineering (BPR).

Project In Question

Our department needed to reevaluate the process of saving data that was created during the development of a product. This data is very critical for the project success, since it is used by different groups in the project to further develop their part of the product. Also this data is used as inputs to make many decisions during the project development, and part of project deliverables to prove product performance.

The situation before this need was first noticed was there was no central location or system that supported the project's needs. Instead each department had a local system which they used to store their data, and this made it very difficult to share data across the many functional departments within the project. Also the hardware used was very slow, old and difficult to upgrade and maintain.

Other functional departments did not have a local system to deposit their data, so they used what we had which was very limited in space. The need became more apparent when a test was conducted to determine the feasibility of an item in question. This test required to save data from three clinical instruments and other acquisition system that connected to those clinical instruments. This loaded the PC that was acting as a file server to the point that many times the study was stopped so we can actually backup the data collected and clear up the hard drives so more data could be transferred in. From that moment on we needed to find a solution to this problem.

The information-gathering techniques that were used were informal interviews and observations. Key users where asked various questions as to what they prefer. Questions were in the line of:

* The type and size of data that will be stored in the data file system.

* The amount of users that will access the data or transfer data to the file system?

* Who else will be the users? What other functional department will need access to the data server besides the core development team?

* Will all users have the same rights to the data server or do we need to specify level of security for different users?

* What is the average computer knowledge of each user?

* Who will install, configure and manage the server?

* What are the needs for backup? How often do we need to backup? What process of backup should we follow?

* Do we purchase the hardware or lease it?

* What type of hardware should we get? What configuration should the hardware have, and can added space be added without disturbing the data already in the server?

The other method of information gathering was through observation. Notes were taken as to how the lab technicians connected the clinical instruments to the PC and how to transfer the files into the server. I had the opportunity to observe how the technicians were doing these tasks and the troubles that occur with this process. As I observed the process and noted the weaknesses of the process, one repeated failure stuck out in my mind, and that was when all instruments were running at the same time, the server crawled to a point that what usually takes but a few minutes to do, increased to 20 to 30 minutes. Once the information was gathered, a list of requirements was compiled which will improve the data repository process.

Was the method used to gather information the proper way to analyze this business process? From reading in the course of class, system analysis should not be taken as lightly. The gathering of information is vital to the success of the project, because from this information the requirements of the project are set in place. The project meeting these requirements is what determines the project's success or failure (Kara, 1997, 4). Therefore many experts and leaders in the field of IT acknowledge that proper technique in information-gathering is essential to properly capture the "value and accuracy of the information" (Marakas & Elam, 1998, p40).

What is BPR?

BPR - Business Process Redesign is a technique which started in the 1990's that many companies' uses to drastically improve their business process to achieve a higher standard of efficiency. Taken from and article in the internet, this is a how many define BPR:

Business Process Redesign is "the analysis and design of workflows and processes within and between organizations" (Davenport & Short 1990). Teng et al. (1994) define BPR as "the critical analysis and radical redesign of existing business processes to achieve breakthrough improvements in performance measures." (Malhotra, 1998)

Many companies throughout the years have used this technique to clean up their

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