For undergraduate and graduate-level courses in Systems Analysis and Design. This text provides a comprehensive active learning approach designed to help students acquire the theoretical base and practical tools and techniques needed in analyzing and designing systems. It presents activities in an experiential manner that integrates computer technology, role-playing, multi-criteria peer evaluation and team presentations. The activities are designed to create a realistic simulation of the social, cultural, and behavioral aspects of business problem solving.
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. . . twenty-five or thirty years ago, a conference called the "CEO
in the Wired World" would not have been possible. And twenty
years from now, it will not be necessary.
—PETER DRUCKER, EXCERPT FROM KEYNOTE ADDRESS AT THE FIRST
CEO TECHNOLOGY RETREAT IN 1994
We are witnessing the early, turbulent days of a revolution as
significant as any other in human history. A new medium of human
communication is emerging—one that may surpass the printing
press, telephone, and television in its impact on our economic and
social lives. Interactive multimedia and the information highway
are creating a new economy based on the networking of human intelligence.
— DONALD TAPSCOTT, THE DIGITAL ECONOMY
These two epigraphs, when combined in message, serve to define the role of the systems analyst in the twenty-first century. Anything that can become digital will become digital, and this means that all organizations will ultimately become irreversibly dependent on their information and automation systems and the people who design, develop, and maintain them. The core competencies for the information systems (IS) professional in this wired world are built on an understanding of the process by which a business problem or economic opportunity is identified and a successful solution is crafted.
This is exactly what this textbook is about—the core competency for the twenty-first century IS professional—systems analysis and design (SAD). As organizations increase both their awareness of IS as strategic tools and their dependency on them, they are also embracing the structured techniques, developed and refined over the last four decades, used to design and implement those systems. In this new economy, the age-old role of programmer as designer is being replaced by the professional Business Technologist, written with a capital B and a capital T. Organizations need IS professionals that both understand the intricacies of their business and can skillfully apply a technological solution to their complex problems and strategic initiatives. Although the names and the activities have changed over the last 40 years, this person has been, and will continue to be, the professional systems analyst.
In the coming decades, no stone will be left unturned with regard to the design and deployment of information technologies to capture the narrow windows of economic opportunities that present themselves to wired organizations. For the most part, these "stones" will be turned over by systems analysts who have been trained in structured problem-solving approaches and the crafting of holistic, technology-based solutions. No company of any measurable size will be able to function without a highly valued cadre of systems analysts that are always at the center of their information initiatives. A recent conversation with a bright MBA student of mine may help to make this point. We will call him Jim.
"Professor Marakas," said Jim. "I am really struggling with where to focus
my energies in getting a job when I graduate. It just seems like the really
hot technology companies are in such demand that everyone is aiming
for them, and I am worried that I will not be able to compete with the
rest of the computer geeks."
"This is quite a surprise to me, Jim," I said. "I was under the impression
that you received a rather substantial offer from United Parcel Service
just last week."
Jim's expression was clearly one of disappointment. "Oh yeah," he
said. " The offer from UPS was great, but I was counting on working for
a company that was really driven by technology so that I could get involved
in some cutting edge stuff. I really do not want to work for someone
that delivers boxes all day."
It was clear to me that Jim had missed the most important aspect of the
job offer. "Jim, what business do you think UPS is really in?" I queried.
Jim quickly informed me that, "UPS delivers boxes."
The point of this anecdote is that the world is wired and, regardless of the product or service that a company offers, it is most certainly highly dependent on IS. UPS is in more than the box delivery business; it is also a manager, provider, and procurer of reliable information about its deliveries. In a larger sense, everything it does is information—the numbers and letters written on the packages and swirling in the organization's electronic soup are just as critical to achieving the company's mission as the jets and vans that actually transport the packages. All of this information is managed by the team of IS professionals, including a large army of systems analysts, employed at UPS—a company, by the way, that has one of the largest IS budgets in the world! CONCEPT AND PURPOSE
Teaching systems analysis poses several challenges to the modern business school. Most notably, systems analysis is not something you know, it is something you do. Because of this, learning how to do systems analysis cannot be easily accomplished simply by reading a book. This text and its accompanying curriculum resources were developed using the guiding principle that when students are doing systems analysis they develop a richer understanding of the concepts, activities, tools, and techniques that are used daily by the professional systems analyst. Further, given the fierce competition for jobs at the undergraduate and MBA levels, those students, when interviewing, who can say "I have done that" or "I have used that analysis tool" will fair much better than the student who can only say "I have read about that" or "We learned about that tool in our systems class." This is the essence of this book—an active approach to systems analysis and design. WHO SHOULD USE THIS BOOK
This book is directed to business school students who aspire to a career in IS and who want to be an integral part of the strategic initiatives of their organization. The primary targets for this text are upper-level undergraduate or MBA SAD requisites or electives. These types of courses are regularly offered at both four-year universities and many community colleges. Ideally, students should have completed an introductory MIS program and, most likely, a semester of structured programming before moving toward a focus on SAD. In addition, the chapter content and organization also assumes that the student has already completed, or is concurrently completing, a database design course. Finally, the farther the student is in their business curriculum, the more relevant the structured problem-solving perspective of the text becomes. The chapters in this text are written so as to provide a good reference for both students and practitioners to use throughout the course of their daily analysis and design activities. ELEMENTS OF PEDAGOGY
This text employs a variety of pedagogical techniques intended to create a rich, realistic environment in which the student can actively pursue an understanding of the world of SAD. The combination of the various approaches to learning used in this program of study is also intended to accommodate the widest possible range of cognitive styles for both the instructor and the students.
Chapter Learning Objectives
A statement of learning objectives for each chapter is presented in both performance and behavioral terms. In other words, the objectives state what the student should be capable of understanding and doing as a result of reading the chapter.
Figures and Tables
Clear and carefully designed figures and tables have been included to aid in the student's understanding of the material. Wherever possible, the diagrams contained in each chapter are not only referenced in the body of the text but are positioned such that they can serve as a repeated visual reference for the detailed explanation that follows.
Immediately following each chapter summary is a highly detailed outline of the key concepts presented in the chapter in order of their appearance. This section can aid the student in reviewing the material contained in the chapter in preparation for either class discussion or examination.
Questions for Review
Each chapter contains a list of 10 to 20 questions intended to allow students to test their retention and understanding of the material contained in the chapter. Each question is phrased such that the answer can be readily found in the chapter and that a detailed and precise answer can be provided. Sample responses to each question are provided in the Instructor's Manual section of the CD-ROM supplement to this text.
Following the review questions, several additional questions are provided at the end of each chapter that expand on the material presented. These questions are intended to allow the student to engage in a richer thought process and discussion than would occur using only the review questions. Each of the discussion questions can be used to engage students in an open class discussion, and many of them easily can be expanded into individual or team miniprojects.
Role-Play Case Scenarios
One of the most unique aspects of this approach to doing SAD is the use of multimedia-supported role-playing scenarios. Through the use of the access-controlled Web site available when purchased with this text, the students engage in a series of team-oriented, role-play case studies that are intended to simulate the activities, episodes, and encounters typically experienced during the various phases of the systems development life cycle (SDLC). Each case and its associated role-play presentation is designed to create a realistic simulation of the technical, organizational, social, cultural, and behavioral aspects of business problem identification and solving.
Role-play as a pedagogical approach brings with it a number of benefits unavailable in other learning approaches:
It allows students to empathize with others in the various roles commonly found in a social setting. Students can experience responsibilities and burdens associated with the role of the expert. The scenarios require students to select, sort, retrieve, link, and prioritize information. The ambiguity of the role-playing scenarios requires the participants to form hypotheses and generalizations from specific evidence. The role-play presentations to the "client" participants require the students to verbally and visually summarize issues relevant to the specific stage of the process. The students are able to reflect on how, what, and why they are learning. The participants are able to experience, firsthand, the chronological order of analysis and design events. Students develop their skills with regard to listening for meaning, purpose, innuendo, and tone as a means of garnering additional information from dialogue. Most important, the students learn to work meaningfully in groups, as a whole class, and individually.
Most would agree that it is not possible to teach SAD experiences. However, students can learn the theories that underlie good analysis and design practice. If they are then given the opportunity to apply these theories to real situations (but without the pressures of failure in an actual work environment), the students can learn how the theories apply in practice. When students are given immediate feed back, asked to reflect on that feedback, and provided an opportunity to put their revised thoughts into practice, they most certainly improve their individual skills in business problem identification and the technology-based crafting of appropriate solutions.
There is a significant amount of empirical evidence in support of the role-play approach to learning found in the academic literature. Kolb's model of experiential learning (Kolb, 1984) provides the educational validity of this approach. The Teach and Govahi (1993) survey found that role-plays were the most effective method of developing conflict resolution and communication skills. Van Ments (1983) identifies negotiation, a common activity in SAD, as one of the specific areas in which role-play is most effective. Petranek, Corey, and Black (1992) provide further advice on how to best use role-plays in higher education.
Interactive Multimedia Web Site
All of the materials necessary to conduct the role-playing case studies are delivered and managed through the accompanying Web-based course management system. The site contains the case study materials; streaming-video interview sessions with the client; various software-based analysis tools; a complete course management system, including syllabus generation, presentation scheduling, and course material distribution; and an automated peer evaluation system for grading the role-play presentations by each team.
Details of the setup and use of the Web-based course management systems can be found on instructor accessible sections of the Web site. The instructor accessible sections of the Web site are password protected. To receive your username and password, please contact your local Prentice Hall representative. If you need your representative's name and contact information, call our Faculty and Field Services department at 800-526-0485. CHAPTER DESCRIPTIONS
Chapter 1—The Systems Development Environment
The opening chapter is intended to provide an overview of the environment of the modern systems analyst, as well as a conceptual understanding of the state of the art. We identify the various roles within the software development process, outline the basic skill set necessary to pursue a career in SAD, and present an initial understanding of the phased development approach.
Chapter 2—So What Is the Problem?
Chapter 2 focuses on developing an understanding of the concepts of problem recognition and problem definition. We present initial problem categorization tools, such as Ishikawa charts and Wetherbe's PIECES framework. Finally, we explain in detail the individual phases of the SDLC, along with the expected activities and deliverables from each.
Chapter 3—Identification and Selection of Development Projects
Chapter 3 acquaints the student with the processes by which organizations identify and select IS projects. In addition, we present the concept of an IS steering committee and discuss the various roles. Finally, this chapter introduces the logical versus physical building blocks of a modern IS.
Chapter 4—Systems Requirements Determination
The activities associated with gathering and organizing end users' requirements are the focus of chapter 4. Students are introduced to the various traditional and modern data gathering methods, along with examples of when each may be appropriately applied.
Chapter 5—Modeling the Processes and Logic
Chapter 5 covers the concepts, tools, and techniques associated with the construction of both process and logic models. We introduce the data flow diagram (DFD)and several logic modeling tools, including. structured English, decision trees and tables, and state-transition diagrams.
Chapter 6—Modeling the Data: Conceptual and Logical Data Modeling
In chapter 6, we turn our attention to the tools and techniques associated with data modeling by introducing the entity-relationship diagram (ERD). To insure that these concepts are well-engrained in the students' understanding, we present in review form several building blocks from their database course, including cardinality, relationship
In George Marakas' Systems Analysis and Design: An Active Approach, the student is given the theoretical base, practical tools, and critical techniques required for analyzing and designing business systems. The student gains this experience through a Web-delivered, multimedia, role-playing case study called "NOMAS."
Rather than simply reading examples of each concept, students are challenged to incorporate the concepts from the text with the "NOMAS" Web cases. The activities are designed to create a realistic simulation of the social, cultural, and behavioral aspects of business problem solving.
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