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Topic 4 Combined Soft/Hard Approaches to the Analysis of

Information Systems

Information Systems Analysis

Information Systems
Analysis
Topic 4:
Combined Soft/Hard Approaches to the
Analysis of Information Systems

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Scope and Coverage


This topic will cover:

Combined soft/hard approach methodologies


The purpose and potential of Multiview
Advantages and disadvantages of Multiview
Comparison and contrast of soft, hard and
combined approaches to information systems
analysis

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Learning Outcomes - 1
By the end of this topic students will be able to:
Define and explain the term combined soft/hard
approach to systems analysis
Identify examples of combined soft/hard approach
methodologies
Identify business situations where a combined
soft/hard approach to information systems analysis
might be appropriate

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Topic 4 Combined Soft/Hard Approaches to the Analysis of


Information Systems

Information Systems Analysis

Combined Soft/Hard Approaches to the Analysis of Information Systems Topic 4 - 4.4

Learning Outcomes - 2
By the end of this topic students will be able to:

Define and explain the term Multiview


Identify and discuss the advantages of Multiview
Identify and discuss the disadvantages of Multiview
Provide solutions to business problems using
Multiview
Compare and contrast soft, hard and combined
approaches to information systems analysis

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Terminology
Terminology will be explained in the lecture,
seminar and tutorial and you should take notes.
Ask questions if you there is anything that you dont
don t
understand.

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Combined Soft/Hard Approach to


Information Systems Analysis
Although SSADM can be used solely as a
methodology for analysis, it is not usual for SSM to
be used alone.
For a system to be developed that is complete in
both technical and human aspects, a combined
approach of hard and soft methods can be used for
analysis.

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Topic 4 Combined Soft/Hard Approaches to the Analysis of


Information Systems

Information Systems Analysis

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When a Combined Approach might


be Appropriate
A combined approach is suitable for both small and
large systems.

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Examples of Combined Approach


Methodologies
Multiview its procedures ensure that the analysis
of an information system refers to the:
- human and social activity and needs
- technical functions and requirements

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Multiview
Multiview helps to provide answers to the following
questions:
- How does the information system further the aims of
the organisation?
- What
Wh t information
i f
ti processing
i functions
f
ti
does
d
it
perform?
- How does it fit into the working lives of the users?
- How do the users relate to the interface?
- What is its technical specification?

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Topic 4 Combined Soft/Hard Approaches to the Analysis of


Information Systems

Information Systems Analysis

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Steps when Undertaking Multiview


There are a number of stages to be undertaken
when using the Multiview approach:
1.
2
2.
3.
4.
5.

Analysis of human activity


Analysis of information and information modelling
Analysis and design of socio-technical aspects
Design of the human-computer interface
Design of technical aspects (hardware, software,
computers, databases, control and maintenance)

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Stage 1 - Analysis of Human


Activity
Human activity refers to an individual, organisation,
department, etc.
The analyst
y constructs a rich picture
p
of the whole
system, including the human and social aspects.
A root definition and conceptual model of a potential
system is then produced.

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Stage 2 - Analysis of Information -1


Here the entities and functions of the information
system are analysed.
The rich picture, the root definition and conceptual
model p
produced in Stage
g 1 are referred to.
The following developments are undertaken:
- the development of a functional model
- the development of an entity model
- interactions of the functions and entities

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Topic 4 Combined Soft/Hard Approaches to the Analysis of


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Information Systems Analysis

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Stage 2 - Analysis of Information - 2


Development of a functional model
- The main function is identified.
- The main function is then broken down into sub
functions normally about three or four,
functions,
four depending on
the functions complexity.

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Stage 2 - Analysis of Information - 3


The events are defined that initiate the activities
specified in the functional modelling.
A series of DFDs are developed.
The functional model and DFDs are used in the
next stage.

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Stage 2 - Analysis of Information - 4


Development of an entity model:
- Entities are identified.
- Entity relationships are identified.
- The rich picture
picture, root definition and conceptual
model should contribute to this development.
- An entity model can then be constructed.

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Topic 4 Combined Soft/Hard Approaches to the Analysis of


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Information Systems Analysis

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Stage 3 - Analysis and Design of


the Socio-Technical Aspects - 1
Analyst constructs a design that takes into account:
-

users and their roles


the working environment
the structure of the organisation
h d
hardware
and
d software
ft
ttasks
k
work-related tasks

These are described as socio-technical alternatives and


are ranked in order of their fulfilment of the system
objectives and in terms of how feasible they are, e.g.
costs, resources and any constraints.

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Stage 3 - Analysis and Design of


the Socio-Technical Aspects - 2
These alternatives then become inputs for the
design of the human-computer interface

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Stage 4 Design of the HumanComputer Interface - 1


This stage is concerned with the technical design of
the human-computer interface .
It takes into account the entity model, hardware and
software tasks, users and their roles and workrelated tasks.

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Topic 4 Combined Soft/Hard Approaches to the Analysis of


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Information Systems Analysis

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Stage 4 Design of the HumanComputer Interface - 2


The decisions taken on how to display the
information, generate user responses and interact
with users will be based on the information gathered
during the first two stages
stages.
The technical requirements become the output of
this stage and the input of the next stage which is
the design of the technical subsystems.

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Stage 5 Design of the Technical


Aspects
The inputs to this stage are the entity model from
stage 2 and the technical requirements from stage
4.
Th
The entity
tit model
d ld
describes
ib th
the entities
titi and
d th
their
i
relationships for the whole system.
The technical requirements describe the specific
hardware, software and human computer interface
interaction requirements.

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Advantages of Multiview
It includes both the human and technical aspects of
information systems analysis.
It facilitates user participation in the analysis and
design of the system.
It enables the input of user knowledge and skills.
It considers job satisfaction an important aspect of
the overall system.
It offers the analyst flexibility in approach.

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Topic 4 Combined Soft/Hard Approaches to the Analysis of


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Information Systems Analysis

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Disadvantages of Multiview
It does not offer the structured approach provided
by SSADM.
Some stages of the methodology are not always
undertaken and some others are followed in a
different sequence.
q
It is essential that as many people as possible
participate in order to achieve success.
Users are often reluctant to participate or may not
co-operate fully and therefore a detailed analysis of
the human activity may not be achieved.

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A Comparison and Contrast of Soft, Hard and


Combined Approaches to Information
Systems Analysis
The success of what approach is taken depends on
several factors:
-

size of the organisation and project


type of system being analysed
expertise and skills of the Analysts
participation and cooperation of all those invited to
take part in the analysis

This will be explored further and discussed in the


seminar.
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References
Avison D. and Fitzgerald G. (2002). Information
Systems Development: Methodologies, Techniques
and Tools, 3rd Edition. McGraw-Hill Education

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Topic 4 Combined Soft/Hard Approaches to the Analysis of


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Information Systems Analysis

Combined Soft/Hard Approaches to the Analysis of Information Systems Topic 4 - 4.25

Topic 4 Combined Soft/Hard Approaches


to the Analysis of Information Systems
Any Questions?

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