Both of these topics are very closely related -you could even say, system design is a part of the System Development Life Cycle or SDLC which you may remember from Cathal’s lectures.
Firstly you have to understand what a “system” is. First of all, information systems are all around us. Think about your local supermarket, they have a system which tracks inventory levels and reorders stock as required. They also have a system which looks after the financial side of the organisation; how much money has been made from a day of trading. These systems don’t just include computers and software. They also include the people that use the system and procedures. So in short, an information system is a collection of hardware, software, data, human and procedural components intended to give the right data and information to the right person at the right time.
Systems Analysis deal with the process in which analysts go through to decide how a system should run – that is deciding what roles the system should perform, whether it’s viable for the system to be developed (such as financial feasibility; do the benefits of the system outweigh the costs of developing the system?), what data is going to be collected and stored. In essence, Systems Analysis is concerned with problem solving and having a system that will solve an organisations problems.
This is a interesting video which tells us how important system analysts are
Systems Design is actually the third step of the SDLC – it’s where the analysis designs how the system will operate. The physical components of the system are defined here which specifies how the problem at hand will be solved.
This video gives a more detailed view on System Design: