Archive | February, 2013

Stage 5: Maintenance

28 Feb

At last the fifth and final phase of SDLC!!!

The final phase of SDLC is Maintenance. Since the system is up and running and in full use by the organization from the previous stage (implementation), this phase does exactly what it says… maintaining it!!!

So things that occur in this phase could be making requested changes from the users, monitoring the system and fixing and problems and perhaps software changes.

The outcomes of this phase are:

  • keeping the system live (this is necessary after developing a successful project)
  • maintaining a code
  • updating software when it is needed (three things which may happen to software include bug fixing, updating & enhancement)

I suppose you could say that this phase is never ending as it is constantly monitoring and maintaining the new existing system which is in place. That is until of course the system has to be replaced by a new system for whatever reason it may be and the cycle starts back at stage one to develop a replacement system.

Here is an example taken from , which outlines how Microsoft continually maintain and update Windows:

 “Microsoft provides continual maintenance of existing software programs throughout the life of the software through the Windows Update website. Although support for some products is gradually phased out, the maintenance phase for Microsoft software typically covers a span of several years. In the case of Microsoft Office 2007, updates to the software are released in service packs. Support for each released service pack continues for up to 24 months after the service pack is release.”

Here’s a quick overview/summary of SDLC to refresh your memory!
  • SDLC = Systems Development LifeCycle
  • The development of a new system are arranged into phases:
  • 1. Planning [ identify a problem to be solved, form a team, deliver a general problem statement]
  • 2. Analysis [study & analyse current system, define new system objectives, define user requirements, what should the IS do]
  • 3. Design [describes how the parts of the IS should be implemented, create logical design & physical design]
  • 4. Implementation [coding: convert physical system spec into working comp code, develop system, train users,test,  implement = installation]
  • 5. Maintenance [monitoring performance, fixing problems, making requested changes, updating software = keeping the system live]

Hope you found this somewhat beneficial!



Strengthening Customer/Supplier Intimacy

28 Feb

One of the trends in information systems in recent years is the increasing strength of customer/supplier intimacy. Organisations have been using information systems to increase loyalty and develop stronger relationships with customers. Having a strategy on customer/supplier intimacy makes customers and suppliers important stakeholders within the organisation and they will feel more valued.

With the increased use of the Internet, developing a strong relationship with both customers and suppliers is crucial for survival in such a competitive market where consumers have access to any information.

In relation to suppliers, information systems have enabled suppliers to have access to production schedules of the firm and so, they have more notice of when to have materials ready. On the customer side, information systems allow firms to keep track of preferences so they can make future recommendations to customers or they will not need to ask the same questions every time the customer uses their good/service. An example of this is in hotels when an information system can store information about preferred check-in times, tv programmes etc.

Getting the correct information

28 Feb

we all know the importance of information but first it is essential to get the right information. In this post I will give an introduction into the processes of getting valuable information. Hares and Royle 1994 state: “Whatever technique is used to value an investment the vital first step is to collect the right information. This entails knowing: what information to include and, just as important, what not to include; whether the information is accurate. This reveals to necessity of knowing what to do and what information is actually needed. Spending money and time on unrelated information is a waste and serves of benefit to nobody.

According to Hares and Royle there are three points to gathering information which if done correctly will result in high quality information collected and will save time and money as irrelevant information will not be gathered. These 3 points are:

1. Identifying the costs and benefits that matter. The idea is that you will avoid wasting time on data that is of no relevance or use to you. What needs to be asked is what information do I actually need to gather?

2. Evaluating those costs and benefits which are relevant to the investment decision. These costs and benefits however can be hard to predict. There are useful ways of predicting them though.

3. Monitoring the costs and benefits continuously. It is important that you pay attention to the costs and benefits of the information as they may change or new knowledge may come to light- check whether or not the information collected and decisions made were definitely the right ones.

In my next post I will elaborate on this topic further.

Reference: Hares & Royle, 1994. Measuring the Value of Information Technology.

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Information Systems in Developing Countries

28 Feb

Information systems have often been addressed with the question of whether they were relevant to developing countries- this has since been answered with a clear yes answer. The IS in question in this article was in relation to Information & Communication Technologies, or ICT’s. The question is now not whether or not they are relevant, but rather if they are beneficial. These information systems have high potential value across all sectors, in both public and private enterprises. Even in health delivery in rural villages, particularly in developing countries.

However, the implementation of these information systems have not always been successful, especially due to the lack of technology and access to these systems. Also, people in developing countries also tend to be unable to use this technology, even if they are lucky enough to have access to it.

Challenges to ICT’s in developing countries include:

  • Promoting cross-cultural working: this mentioned the difficulty in online communication when working with different cultures; those in developing countries. It also addressed the issue of avoiding the culturally inappropriate imposition of IS-some cultures prefer physical and personal communication.
  • Local adaptation and cultivation: trying to introduce the IS to rural villages and making it relevant to the needs of the communities.
  • Focusing on particular groups: While there are some software experts in developing countries such as India, they are still may find it hard to come to terms with the new technology that developed countries may be using.

To successfully introduce information systems to Developing countries and to ensure they create benefits, these issues must be addressed



Why Agile Development came about …..!!!

28 Feb

so my last blog was on the traditional spiral model of developing information systems. as previous blogs have gone through what traditional development is and most traditional methods i.e. SDLC, Waterfall and Spiral , i thought i would do my next blog on agile development. so below you will find all you need to know about Agile development ……hope you enjoy 🙂

what is Agile development …? why do we need it ..?

well when a system is being developed obviously the users give their requirements to the developer, the developer goes away and makes the system and you would think thats all there is to it.

however what if the users come up with new requiremements to put into the system …..the traditional methods of developing I.S. do not allow for change during the process and therefore costs of adding in requirements after the system is already developed are huge.

users want a system specific to them and often they do not always know what they want from the very start …..therefore learning causes change and we cannot avoid it, to combat the cost of change Agile development allows users to change their mind mid-build and still produces an effective system at the end

Agile software development promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change.its aim is to develop software in iterations which last1-4weekAgile_Software_Development_methodology.svg

Martin Fowler, Kent Beck, Ward cunningham, ken schwaber and jeff sutherland are just some of the 17 developers,system analysts etc who were known as the agile alliance that in 2001 challenged the typical ideas of systems development and so the Agile Manifesto was created.

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

they were aware that although there is value in the items on the right, the items on the left are far more valuable.

Individuals and interactions. 

when developing a system human interactions are much more important than proccess and tools. if you put people together they will form a close team relationship and figure it out themeselves.

Working software

this is the notion that it shouldn’t take 8-9 months to release a system, instead if everyone works together a prototype could be developed in 1month. there needs to be a frequent ouput of working software, its needs to be simple and the less documentation the better

Customer Collaboration

customer collaboration is essential when developing I.S. after all these are the people who at the end of the day need to be able to use the system. instead of having strict contracts co-operate with customers, deliver software quickly so users can use it ,see it and decide if they want anything else.

Responding to change 

Contracts must allow for change because in any development project change is inevitable. customers are part of the team and so they must be involved in changes.

so overall they principles of Agile Software development are

  1. Providing rapid feedback
  2. adopting simplicity
  3. changing incrementally
  4. embracing change
  5. encouraging quality work.

From this blog i hope you get a better understanding of agile development and why it came about …..just as Agile development was a new and more innovatie way of developing I.S.  people will continue to come up with new ways of developing …….my next blog will go through an extreme programming (XP) which is an agile method of developing …….:)



Information Systems as a main course!!

28 Feb

Information systems the main course to any five star meal !

Information systems are concerned with data capture, storage, analysis and retrieval. In the context the food sector and food safety management they are vital to assist decision making in a short time frame, potentially allowing decisions to be made and practices to be implemented in real time. Databases hold information on numerous items of various descriptions such as identification of pathogens, characteristics of foods and processes, supply chains etc. and these are all managed my an information system. Computer software packages a key component of any information system aid the practical application of HACCP and risk assessment to bring logical sequences to establishing and modifying food safety management practices. This particularly key in a sector such as this, a mishap or misjudgement could have harsh side effects. In addition there are many other uses of information systems that benefit food safety more globally, including: rapid communication of information on foodborne disease outbreaks through websites of many sources, including the press and interest groups, on the reasons for and consequences of foodborne disease incidents. Food supply chain management also makes use of information systems to organise and take full efficient advantage of the resources in order to get their products where they want, when they want and by the correct personnel.
National Health Programs recognize that a safe and nutritious food supply is a major contributory factor to the health of a country’s citizens and that there is a need to maintain a reputation nationally and internationally as a supplier of safe food products. Programs that ensure safe and nutritious food are receiving renewed attention in many countries and major food safety initiatives are being launched on an international scale thanks to information systems.
Food Import Management System (FIMIS) is a type of information system used by many Governments to develop things like importation policies and to guide the integration of their controls and enforcement actions. FIMIS is an authentic and reliable tool for documenting, processing and managing information related to food products. This system has optimized the prevention of consumer risk and has successfully improved the overall quality of imported foods. Furthermore, FIMIS has a built-in Online Analytical Reports (OLAP) component, which enhances decision-making processes in the food control division.

Information systems…a key part in the food sector especially when it comes to its safety. There’s just some work that should be left to a computer to manage and when dealing with the vast amount of information in this sector this is one of those times. Time is a key resource in business and is scarce at the best of times but thanks to efficient IT systems managers and key personnel have a lot more time to research, develop and implement new improvements with all this structured information at there finger tips.

A different look at information systems that I hope you enjoyed!


What is the role of a systems analyst?

28 Feb

A systems analyst designs various IS programmes with the overall goal of improving efficiency within the organisation. A systems analyst should be able to diagnose areas where the potential for greater efficiency exists and suggest ways in which  processes can be improved. Part of a systems analyst’s role  is to specify to the customer/client what the system will actually do and how the data will be viewed by the end user. In order to do this they are required to work closely with the client in order to find out exactly what they want or need. They also produce a cost analysis of the implementation of the system in order to determine whether a system is financially viable or not.

Other functions of a systems analyst include:

1.  Analysing the customers’ current systems

2. Presenting proposals to the customer

3. Ensuring that budgets are adhered to and deadlines are met

4. Writing user manuals for the system

5. Giving training to customers and employees who will be using the system


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