Problems and Exercises 1. Why is it important to use systems analysis and design methodologies when building a system? Why not just build the system in whatever way seems to be “quick and easy”? What value is provided by using an “engineering” approach? Methodologies, techniques, and tools help ensure the quality and appropriateness of the system being built. Following a systems methodology, applying techniques, and using appropriate tools provides structure to the systems development process, since they have been tested and perfected by others.
The quick and easy approach to building systems may be easier, cheaper, and quicker in the short run, but it almost always results in a poorly developed system, meaning that the system will be less than optimal and require extra work to maintain. In the long run, a poorly developed system requires more time and money to make right. Following an engineering-type approach ensures that systems analysis and design is rigorous, structured, and systematic. 10. Compare Figures 1–10 and 1–11. What similarities and differences do you see?
Figure 1–11 illustrates an evolutionary model of the SDLC, and Figure 1–10 illustrates the circular nature of the systems development life cycle. While both figures convey the iterative nature of systems analysis and design, Figure 1–11 implies that we cycle through the systems development life cycle at varying levels of detail. Case Problem 1. Pine Valley Furniture Case Exercises a. How did Pine Valley Furniture go about developing its information systems? Why do you think the company chose this option?
What other options were available? As mentioned in the scenario, Pine Valley Furniture developed its applications in-house. Many reasons are plausible for why the company chose this option. The company may have had unique processing needs that required the system to be built in-house, as opposed to purchasing a prepackaged system. The company may also have viewed its information systems as helping it achieve a competitive advantage. Pine Valley Furniture had several options, including purchasing a system off-the-shelf, mplementing an enterprise-wide system, or hiring an information technology services firm to develop its information systems. b. One option available to Pine Valley Furniture was an enterprise-wide system. What features does an enterprise-wide system, such as SAP, provide? What is the primary advantage of an enterprise-wide system? To answer this question, encourage your students to visit a Web site devoted to enterprise-wide systems. Information about SAP can be found at its Web site: http://www. ap. com. You may wish to have your students compare enterprise-wide systems, such as SAP and PeopleSoft. Information about PeopleSoft can be obtained at http://www. oracle. com/applications/peoplesoft-enterprise. html. Enterprise-wide systems enable companies of all sizes to better manage their financial, human resources, sales, production, and distribution processes. The primary advantage of an enterprise-wide system is its ability to integrate information across the organization. . Pine Valley Furniture will be hiring two systems analysts next month. Your task is to develop a job advertisement for these positions. Locate several Web sites and/or newspapers that have job advertisements for systems analysts. What skills are required? Encourage your students to classify the required skills into four categories: analytical, technical, management, and interpersonal. A good place to start looking on the Web is at http://www. monster. com.
Students should be able to find numerous systems analyst job advertisements at this Web site. d. What types of information systems are currently utilized at Pine Valley Furniture? Provide an example of each. Pine Valley Furniture is currently using transaction processing systems, management information systems, and decision support systems. Although not specified in the case scenario, students should be able to quickly identify order processing, management reporting, and forecasting as examples of the different types of information systems.