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System Development Life Cycle

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System Development Life Cycle


Achieving organizational objectives or improving on them is typically a combination of strategic planning, tactical planning and some form of change management (Starke & Sexty, 1992, p.97-99). Goals must be defined (strategic planning); courses of action adopted and implemented (tactical planning) and ultimately reinforced, introduced or replace an existing system within the work environment (change). Firms have conducted such planning in all core business units such as Marketing, Finance, Human Resources and IT in the hopes that the aforementioned strategies translate into some degree of competitive advantage.

The process within IT to achieve objectives or improve operations can be accomplished through The Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Through a series of processes or steps as prescribed by the SDLC methodology, a firm can find the answers to a business situation and thereby improve operations and hopefully attain a competitive advantage. This paper will address the importance of the Systems Development Life Cycle Methodology to organizations.

SDLC and Benefits

The SDLC is a problem-solving process which through a series of steps helps produce a new computer information system. Each step from system planning, system analysis, system design, system implementation and to system maintenance conducted in sequence should provide the answers to a problem or opportunity (Farah, 2006). An example may be a user which employs an order system may sense a problem with that system because customers may complain that orders are late or being lost. The SDLC through the steps previously mentioned would help correct and improve the system and operations of the order entry process (real life situation at KCI Medical Canada-Vancouver office). In this example, the system planning phase determines whether a new order entry process should be developed. The system analysis phase helps the analyst study the current system in place (order taken over the phone and input to an excel spreadsheet) and determines what shortcomings the new system must overcome (why are orders lost or delivery of product so late?) to ensure smooth operations within the order entry process. During the next stage, system design, the analyst specifies how the new system will operate. This is followed by the implementation phase where programs are acquired and tested to accommodate the new order entry process. Finally the system maintenance phase reviews the new order entry system to ensure smooth operations and modifications as needed.

This brief example of the stages in the SDLC process outlines how this can impact the order entry process at KCI Medical. This also illustrates two of the many benefits of using the SDLC methodology, to improve operations and thereby potentially attaining a competitive advantage (Wolak, 2001).

Still, many other benefits exist for organizations to proceed with the use of SDLC. These include: creating solutions for existing business problems, helps firms stay competitive, (Stair, 1996, p.415-416) as well as the potential for organizational growth and enabling a firm to stay proactive with respect to the changing market (Laudon & Laudon, 1998, p.426-427).

Similar to improving operations, creating solutions for existing business problems is a benefit of using the SDLC. Employing the SDLC problem solving methodology may reduce errors, delays and system inefficiencies which can be corrected leading to a potential increase in profits or a reduction in costs caused by the previous problems.

Helping firms stay competitive is another benefit. A competitor for example may devise a new IS that provides faster and better customer service. Using the SDLC may force a company to keep pace in order to stay competitive. This too is similar to improving operations however; there may



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