Posted: May 25th, 2022
Business Information System
This report is an add-on to the analysis of a work-related project using a systems analysis tool for the implementation of a specific business and information system. This specific focuses on the actual implementation stage of the development process. The typical implementation process entails a project team installing applications and systems on a customer’s or organization’s production platform which usually is followed up with whatever training and acceptance testing is needed and therefore leads to customer sign-off on the application or system. This implementation is for International Lumberyards, Inc., who first did a detailed needs assessment which verified that the implementation of a new and more modern software and hardware approach was in order that could be financially justified in regard to the organization’s overall return on investment. The company had successfully completed the necessary information-gathering as well as utilizing various other techniques in the reengineering project and was prepared to implement the new code and equipment. Insights into the six major activities of the implementation stage will therefore be described: coding, testing, installation, documentation, training, and support. Each of these six activities is broken down to describe specifically how each activity was planned for and how the various aspects of the software and hardware upgrades were affected. In addition, a brief discussion about the benefits of using a well defined and repeatable process for meeting implementation objectives is provided and details the workflow application categories as to their importance.
During the coding phase, the newly formed development teams are responsible for many activities which include all activities that lead up to an operational system or program. Consider that International Lumberyards, Inc., will be implementing four new processes simultaneously and each must work with the other so as to truly be successful. In other words, the Web site must be integrated into the new branding process, the new hardware which also entails a new operating system and Local Area Networking communications technology as the overhaul of the new computerized business functions such as lumber yard inventory. Implementation of one of these functions is difficult enough and International Lumberyards is implementing four.
The Web Page may seem as the most difficult but in actuality the coding aspects of Internet bound software is fairly easy in the sense of professional programmers spitting out code. The true difficult aspects of the Web page would have already been worked out in the design phase. Creating the output of the design blueprint is actually not difficult at all because coding in languages such as HTML, Pearl, JAVA Script and other web-based languages is quite easy for professional programmers to manipulate.
The true difficulty in regard to coding and implementation will be the Local Area Network and operating system for the organizational network layer and hardware systems. The project consisted of linking the various departments and sites with more than fifty nodes or devices. The objective would be to provide the proper Internet Protocol (IP) address schemes for the routers and also to provide a sound communication protocol for the internal network or intranet. The hardware would be complex. The system would require: Transmission Facilities such as Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), communications hardware such as CISCO routers, DELL servers and token ring equipment, miles of cabling; Internet addressing with the appropriate subnet addressing schemes to support the internal nodes and external communications for the various departments or locations; routing protocols which include routing tables, DNS servers and an AT&T ATM cloud for the Peer-to-Peer topology.
Testing and Installation
The physical writing of software code entails many more steps of actual testing which would be performed before, during and after each small programming task is accomplished. The key here would be to utilize a process of testing that is specific, detailed and measurable. Testing systems and projects as well as predetermined and predefined test plans allow for repeatable processes to occur. Utilizing repeatable and measurable processes helps reduce the rate of programming and testing errors and also helps enforce quality controls at many levels of the coding phase of implementation. In other words, as coding begins, testing begins and continues as a parallel process to the coding activity. Even when the installation process has begun, testing should continue.
Installation is the process of actually replacing the current system or programs with the new system or programs. Thus, coding, testing, and installation processes create several deliverables that can be used as signoff points for management. The testing and implementation process should allow for back out points where new direction or error and bug elimination can occur. The deliverables are fail safes in a sense because a next task should not be started until a previous task has been given the okay by management. This process therefore puts a system of checks and balances in place.
Documentation and Training
Most people think that coding and testing are the only crucial aspects of implementation. Ironically, one of the more critical things to accomplish in the implementation phase is related to the understanding of the new system or program. Code documentation may be one of the most important steps in the entire process yet is often either overlooked, done poorly or worse, not done at all. The reason documentation is so crucial to a processes success is because it helps everyone get a grasp of exactly what is or was expected to happen in a system or program, develops blueprints for training and support and provides a diary like history, if done properly, which can be used to maintain the system. In addition, detailed documentation helps for future designs with expansions, upgrades or abolishment of some aspects of the system. Program and system testing results in conjunction with design blueprints or specifications that are well documented can be used to:
develop a user’s guide develop a training plan develop an installation and conversion plans develop hardware or software installation schedules develop and alter data or database conversion plans develop a plans for facility remodeling
Training usually receives the needed attention during the implementation and operation phase. If the employees can not use the new system the system is a hindrance to organizational success. Training and documentation should focus on two audiences: information systems personnel maintaining the system and the end users of the system.
Maintenance and Support
Maintaining the system entails reviewing the entire System Development Life Cycle and then cyclically repeating the development steps for the existing system. Maintaining the system requires the organization to obtain maintenance requests from end users, transform these requests into coding programming or system and hardware changes, design the necessary changes and implementing those changes. Of course the same rigorous testing and documentation steps should be incorporated into the maintenance implementation changes.
In conclusion, this report was an add-on to the analysis of a work-related project using a systems analysis tool for the implementation of a specific business and information system. The focus was on the implementation stage of the development process. The typical implementation process is based on a project team installing applications and systems on a customer’s or organization’s production platform. This implementation was for International Lumberyards, Inc., who already completed the previous steps and financially justified the events based on the forecast return on investment. Insights into the six major activities of the implementation stage were described and each of the activities was broken down. In addition, a brief discussion about the benefits of using a well defined and repeatable process for meeting implementation objectives was provided.
Canberra. (n.d.). System Implementation. Retrieved on January 27, 2005, at http://www.ise.canberra.edu.au/u8310/l17.htm
Grabski, Severin V. (2002). International Lumberyards, Inc.: An Information System Consulting Case. Journal of Information Systems, 9/22.
Knight, Ph.D., Linda V. (2001, November 1). System Development Methodologies for Web Enabled E-Business: A Customization Paradigm. Retrieved January 16, 2005, at http://www.kellen.net/SysDev.htm
Peacock, Eileen (2004). Accounting for the development costs of internal-use software. Journal of Information Systems, 3/22.
Wikopedia. (n.d.). System Development Life Cycle. Retrieved January 16, 2005, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_Development_Life_Cycle
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