The initial task of the preliminary design is to review the system requirements and then consider some of the major aspects of a system.
These preliminary procedures of system design are:
- Should the system be centralized or distributed?
- Should the system be on-line?
- Can the system be run on the user’s personal computers?
- How will input data be captured?
- What kind of reports will be needed?
The procedures of system design
The questions can go on and on. A key question that should be answered early on is whether packaged software should be purchased, as opposed to having programmers write custom software.
That is, instead of designing, developing, and implementing a new system from scratch, analysts may be able to obtain an existing system that meets requirements. This may be tricky because clients often think that their problems are unique.
However, if the new system falls into one of several major categories, such as accounting or inventory control, then many software vendors offer packaged solutions. A packaged solution should meet at least 75% of client requirements.
For the remaining 25%, the client can adjust ways of doing business to match the packaged software or, more expensively, customize, or alter, the packaged software to meet the client’s special needs.
Finally, some systems analysts, especially those who work independently as consultants, specialize in certain types of problems and become experts in acquiring and implementing certain commercial software packages to solve these problems.
However, if the analyst proceeds with in-house design, then, together with key personnel from the user organization, he/she has to determine an overall plan.
In fact, it is common to offer alternative plans, called candidates. Each candidate meets the user’s requirements but with variations in features and costs.
The chosen candidate is usually the one that best meets the user’s current needs and is flexible enough to meet future needs. The selected plan is expanded and described so that it can be understood by both the user and the analyst.
At this stage, it is wise to make a formal presentation of the selected plan or possible alternatives.
The point is that analyst does not want to commit time and energy to-not does the user wants to pay for a detailed design until the analyst and the user agree on the basic design.
Such presentations often include a drawing of the system from a user’s perspective.
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