System analysis & Design Intro



In business, System Analysis and Design refers to the process of examining a business situation with the intent of improving it through better procedures and methods. System analysis and design relates to shaping organizations, improving performance and achieving objectives for profitability and growth. The emphasis is on systems in action, the relationships among subsystems and their contribution to meeting a common goal.

Looking at a system and determining how adequately it functions, the changes to be made and the quality of the output are parts of system analysis. Organizations are complex systems that consist of interrelated and interlocking subsystems. Changes in one part of the system have both anticipated and unanticipated consequences in other parts of the system. The systems approval is a way of thinking about the analysis and design of computer based applications.


It provides a framework for visualizing the organizational and environmental factors that operate on a system. When a computer is introduced into an organization, various functions’ and dysfunction’s operate on the user as well as on the organization. Among the positive consequences are improved performance and a feeling of achievement with quality information. Among the unanticipated consequences might be a possible threat to employees job, a decreased morale of personnel due to back of involvement and a feeling of intimidation by users due to computer illiteracy. The analyst’s role is to remove such fears and make the system a success.

System analysis and design focus on systems, processes and technology.


System concept


The word system is widely used. It has become fashionable to attach the word system to add a contemporary flair when referring to things or processes. People speak of exercise system, investment system, delivery system, information system, education system, computer system etc. System may be referred to any set of components, which function in interrelated manner for a common cause or objective.



The term system is derived form the Greek word systema, which means an organized relationship among functioning units or components. A system exists because it is designed to achieve one or more objectives.

We come into daily contact with the transportation system, the telephone system, the accounting system, the production system, and, for over two decades, the computer system. Similarly, we talk of the business system and of the organization as a system consisting of interrelated departments (subsystems) such as production, sales, personnel, and an information system.

None of these subsystems is of much use as a single, independent unit. When they are properly coordinated, however, the firm can function effectively and profitably.

There are more than a hundred definitions of the word system, but most seem to have a common thread that suggests that a system is an orderly grouping of interdependent components linked together according to a plan to achieve a specific objective. The word component may refer to physical parts (engines, wings of aircraft, car), managerial steps (planning, organizing and controlling), or a system in a multi level structure.

The component may be simple or complex, basic or advanced. They may be single computer with a keyboard, memory, and printer or a series of intelligent terminals linked to a mainframe. In either case, each component is part of the total system and has to do its share of work for the system to achieve the intended goal.

This orientation requires an orderly grouping of the components for the design of a successful system. The study of systems concepts, then, has three basic implications:

1. A system must be designed to achieve a predetermined objective.

2. Interrelationships and interdependence must exist among the components.

3. The objectives of the organization as a whole have a higher priority than the objectives of its subsystems. For example, computerizing personnel applications must conform to the organization’s policy on privacy, confidentiality and security, as will as making selected data (e.g. payroll)

available to the accounting division on request.











Characteristics of a System

Our definition of a system suggests some characteristics that are present in all systems: organization (order), interaction, interdependence, integration and a central objective.



Organization implies structure and order. It is the arrangement of components that helps to achieve objectives. In the design of a business system, for example, the hierarchical relationships starting with the president on top and leading downward to the blue – collar workers represents the organization structure. Such an arrangement portrays a system – subsystem relationship, defines the authority structure, specifies the formal flow of communication and formalizes the chain of command. Like – wise, a computer system is designed around an input device, a central processing unit, an output device and one or more storage units. When linked together they work as a whole system for producing information.



Interaction refers to the manner in which each component functions with other components of the system. In an organization, for example, purchasing must interact with production, advertising with sales and payroll with personnel. In a computer system, the central processing unit must interact with the input device to solve a problem. In turn, the main memory holds programs and data that the arithmetic unit uses for computation.

The interrelationship between these components enables the computer to perform.



Interdependence means that parts of the organization or computer system depend on one another. They are coordinated and linked together according to a plan. One subsystem depends on the input of another subsystem for proper functioning: that is, the output of one subsystem is the required input for another subsystem.

This interdependence is crucial in systems work. An integrated information system is designed to serve the needs of authorized users (department heads, managers, etc.) for quick access and retrieval via remote terminals. The interdependence between the personnel subsystem and the organization’s users is obvious.

In summary, no subsystem can function in isolation because it is dependent on the data (inputs) it receives from other subsystems to perform its required tasks. Interdependence is further illustrated by the activities and support of systems analysts, programmers, and the operations staff in a computer centre. A decision to computerize an application is initiated by the user, analyzed and designed by the analyst, programmed and tested by the programmer, and run by the computer operator. None of these persons can perform property without the required input from others in the computer center subsystem.


Figure 1-1: Organization Structure – An Example

Organization Structure


Integration refers to the holism of systems. Synthesis follows analysis to achieve the central objective of the organization. Integration is concerned with how a system is tied together. It is more than sharing a physical part or location. It means that parts of the system work together within the system even though each part performs a unique function. Successful integration will typically produce a synergistic effect and greater total impact than if each component works separately.

 Central objective

The last characteristic of a system is its central objective. Objectives may be real or stated. Although a stated objective may be the real objective, it is not uncommon for an organization to state one objective and operate to achieve another. The important point is that users must know the central objective of a computer application early in the analysis for a successful design and conversion. Political as well as organizational considerations often cloud the real objective. This means that the analyst must work around such obstacles to identify the real objective of the proposed change.




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