INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY BLOCK REVISION QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS revision paper 4

REVISION PAPER 4

 

QUESTION ONE

  1. Describe what is involved in each stage of the systems development life cycle.

(10 marks)

 

  1. Why is it desirable to encourage end-users to participate in the systems development process?

Suggest means of encouraging and ensuring such participation by end users.  (10 marks)

(Total: 20 marks)

REVISION PAPER 4

 

QUESTION ONE

 

  1. a) System development life cycle is also known an traditional system development method or function driven method of process driven method. This method requires the analyst to follow a sequence of phases during the development and implementation of an information system. This involves people and is described as information system development project. The following stages are followed:

 

  1. Preliminary study

 

This stage involves determining whether there is need to change the existing system. It may require management requests for change of the existing system to give the firm a competitive advantage or to improve staff morale. The user department has to be involved in the definition of the problem. The objectives of the preliminary study are to understand the existing system and determine whether change is desirable. A document titled terms of reference is prepared by the steering committee. It acts as a reference document throughout the system development process. The contents of the document among other things include project title, subject of study, purpose of study, personnel departments affected, available resources and the project‘s estimated duration and schedule.

 

  1. Feasibility study

 

It involves a detailed study by the feasibility study team. Its purpose is to define the problem and decide whether or not a new system to replace the existing one is viable. Here, the analyst assesses the magnitude of the problem and attempts to restrict or at least identify the scope of the project. He/she must identify alternative solutions to the problems and recommend the most effective solution. Feasibility study objectives include:

 

  • Identification of main characteristics of the existing system.
  • Determination of the main output requirements. o  Consideration of alternative ways of meeting similar requirements.
  • Preparation of gross estimates of developments, implementation and operation costs for each probable alternative solution.
  • Documentation of the study.
  • Preparation of gross estimates of possible direct and indirect benefits for each probable alternative.

The areas of feasibility study are:

 

  • Technical feasibility

This basically involves the equipment and software e.g. whether the available hardware is adequate and purchase is to be made. Basically it involves evaluating:

 

  • The hardware required for the new system. o The software required for the new system.
  • Whether the current technology supports the systems.
  • Social feasibility

It deals with the effect of the system on the current society within the company. It involves evaluation of:

 

  • Reaction of individuals inside and outside the company to the system. o Effect of the system on the existing organizational structure. o Redundancy or retrenchment.

 

  • The effect on the current working practises and management level.
  • Legal feasibility

Here the new legal implications should be evaluated e.g. if it requires that the computer to be insured or whether the stored data should be registered with the government registrar before use. Generally, any legal aspects associated with the new system should be assessed, and adequate measures taken to protect the interests of the user company.

 

  • Economic feasibility

This involves the determination of whether or not to continue with the project, depending on whether the project is economically viable. The benefits and implementing costs of the project are to be determined to confirm the profitability of the project. A cost-benefit analysis is carried out to determine whether the new system is economically viable.

 

At the end of the feasibility study, a feasibility study report is prepared which recommends whether further funds are to be committed to the project.

 

  1. Fact finding/investigation

 

This involves collection of information about existing systems on which to base analysis in order to determine whether users‘ current needs are being met. Fact finding involves the following activities:

 

  • Fact-gathering.         o  Fact-recording.

The fact finding techniques involved are:

 

  • Use of questionnaires. o o Observation. o Document review.     oSampling.
  1. Analysis

 

Systems analysis involves evaluation of the current system using the gathered facts or information. Analysis involves detailed assessment of the components of the existing system and the requirements of the system. Activities carried out are:

 

  • Analysis of the organization environment.
  • Analysis of the present system. o Requirements analysis.

At the end of the analysis a document called the statement of requirements is produced which gives light whether or not to proceed to the next stage.

 

  1. System design

System design involves the analyst deriving a logical model of the way the existing system works. The aim of design is to arrive at a detailed statement of how the system is to be made operational. It involves the logical design, which produces specifications of major features of the new system, and physical design that involves program specification, physical files and the user interface. This stage ensures the actual design of the system. It includes the input-output design, screen design, interface design, program design and the system specification. The document prepared at this stage represents the conceptual system or logical system.

 

 

IFORMATION COMMUNICATION

Revision Question and Answers

 

  1. System development

         This involves programming, testing and documentation activities.

Programming

 

It involves translating of the system specification into program code. The user requirements are integrated into a computer system. A program specification is

         prepared which is useful in the implementation of the program. Testing

 

The programs are tested before system conversion takes place in order to check for errors and their workability. The program is tested for errors and its acceptability to the management and users. A structured walkthrough (review of development) is also

         done at this stage.

         Documentation

This involves preparing of manuals, books, description and diagrams relating to the use and operation of produced software.

 

  1. System implementation

 

This phase is concerned with putting the system‘s designs into practice. It involves the              following activities:

  • Hardware selection, acquisition and installation. o User training. o File conversion/creation.
  • Change over.

 

  1. Review and maintenance

 

This is basically done once the system is implemented and is in full operation. It is done to see if it has met the objectives set out in the original specification. Corrective measures are taken at this stage. From time to time, the requirements of the company  change and thus the system has to be examined to see whether it can cope.

  1. b) End users are encouraged to participate in the systems development process due to the following reasons:
  • The system being developed is tailored to meet specific users needs i.e. their business

priorities and information needs.

  • It increases user‘s understanding and acceptance ofthe system, reducing problems caused by power transfers, inter-group conflict, and unfamiliarity with the new system.
  • It also reduces training costs at the end of the program development as users are trained as the program is developed. o Involves improved security of the system as areas likely to be affected are identified early in the development process.

 

The end users can be encouraged to participate in the process through the following means:

 

  • Through education i.e. by educating them on the importance of their involvement.
  • Through registration and agreement. o Provision of incentives i.e. being paid for the time they are involved in the project. o By counselling the employees. o By explicit and implicit coercion i.e. where the employees are adamant. QUESTION TWO
    1. What is the distinction between system verification and validation? Illustrate your answer

    with an example in each case.                                                                         (4 marks)

    1. One way of minimizing errors in input data is to use data coding.

    (i.)State four characteristics of a good coding system.(4 marks)(ii.)Describe four commonly used coding systems.(4 marks)

     

    1. System performance reviews may vary in content from one organization to another but should cover certain key areas. Describe four key areas systems performance reviews should

    cover. (8 marks)

    (Total: 20 marks)

    QUESTION TWO

     

    1. Verification

    This refers to the process of checking that data has been correctly transcribed. It involves comparing a second transcription with a first. An example is the process of checking password changes.

    Validation

    This is an attempt to build into the computer program powers of judgement so that incorrect items of data are detected and reported. An example is before inputting data in a computer; checks are run to prevent any error from being carried forward.

     

    1. (i) Characteristics of a good coding            system: o It must be brief.
      • It must be unambiguous/distinct. o It must have capacity to expand/growth. o It must be simple and easy to remember.
      • It should not be bulky.
      • Should be unique.

    (ii) Commonly used coding              systems: o Serial coding.

    • Block/group coding.
    • Faceted coding. o Mnemonic coding.
    • Hierarchical coding.
    1. Areas that performance reviews should cover:

     

    • The staffing needs and whether they are more or less anticipated.
    • Any delays in the processing and effects of such delays.
    • Effectiveness of the inbuilt security procedures in the system. o The error rates for input data.
    • The output i.e. whether it is current, timely and distributed correctly to the relevant users.
    • Comparison of the actual system performance against the anticipated performance.

    QUESTION THREE

     

     

    1. You are a consultant to a small business organization that is considering computerising

     

    its entire operations. Explain the role of the following generic systems in such an organisation.

    • Word processing; (2 marks)
    • Spreadsheets; (2 marks)
    • Database management systems; (2 marks)

     

    1. Discuss the cost factors that should be taken into consideration in the development, installation and operation of computer systems. (9 marks)

     

    1. Explain the technique of optical disks as a method of data storage. Give appropriate

    examples. (5 marks)

    (Total: 20 marks)

    QUESTION THREE

    1. a) (i) Word processing

     

    They are special purpose packages used for the production of documents such as letters and contracts.

     

    • Spreadsheets

     

    These are computer packages that deal with computations involving inter-related rows and columns of data. They perform calculations on the value displayed in the rows and columns. They also have facilities such as pie charts and bar charts that can be used in information analysis.

     

    • Database management systems

     

    This refers to a set of software or programs that provide the interface between the logical and the physical data i.e. it manages the database. It is relevant to the decision support system in that it handles the interpretation and the processing of the statements which are commanded in the query language. In addition, it facilitates the retrieval of the required data from the data files in a manner which the user specifies and which in *****

     

    1. Costs and expenses which are incurred by a system. These costs include equipment costs, development costs, operation costs and software costs. During analysis, one should consider the cost of the proposed and existing system. These costs fall under the following categories:

     

    • The cost of running the existing system

    These are basically calculated from past records and include:

     

     

    • Manpower costs-they are extracted from manpower and payroll reports.
    • Material costs– which includes consumerables like stock.
    • Operational costs– e.g. equipment costs and replacement costs.
    • Overhead costs– direct expenses incurred by the company on behalf of alldepartments. o The intangible cost of the existing systems g. loss of sales
    • The cost of operating the new system

    This will include all the areas covered above i.e. manpower, materials, overheads and intangible costs. However there are additional costs associated with computer system, insurance of the computer system, cost of data transmission, cost of consumerables like print cartridges, ribbons, etc. All these costs should be evaluated as accurately as  possible.

    • The cost of new system development

    This will include the cost incurred for any consultancy services that may have been hired during development. Allowances to the system development team fall under this category. The overall effects of the systems development and implementation should be determined and any cost associated established. Staff training costs, recruitment costs and retrenchment costs should also be considered under system development costs. These costs are based on time and activities involved in the project.

     

    1. Optical disks

     

    They store bits as ―pits‖ and ―lands‖ on the surface of the disk that can be detected (read) by a laser beam. They use laser technology to store massive quantity of data in a highly compact form. There are several types:

     

    • CD-ROM (compact disk read only memory)- only read and cannot be

    erasedfor re-writing. Has a capacity of 650 MB.

    • CD-R (compact disk recordable/WORM (write once read many))– usuallyblank at first and can be written only once. Has a capacity of 650 MB. o CD-RW (compact disk rewritable)– can be written and read more than once. It‘s capacity is 650 MB.
    • DVD-ROM (Digital Video Disk)– they are similar to CDs except that it hashigh quality sound and high-resolution video. It has a capacity of between 4.7 GB and up to 17 GB.QUESTION FOUR
      1. Define the following terms in relation to

      systems: (i.) Symbiosis;

      (ii.) Synergy; (iii.)

      Redundancy;

      (iv.)   Factoring;                                                                                       (8 marks)

       

      1. What is meant by ‗hard‘ and ‗soft‘ properties of system approach? Describe briefly two

      features of each. (12 marks)

      (Total: 20 marks)

      QUESTION FOUR

       

      1. a) (i) Symbiosis

       

      A system is made up of subsystems. Symbiosis is a state where two systems operate as one and if one ceases to exist, the other cannot function. This implies that there exists a give and take type of relationship within the system. An example is where there is an integrated sales and purchases system where if one system fails, then the system is brought to a standstill.

       

      • Synergy

       

      It‘s also known as holism. It states that in any system, it is possible to attain more than if each of the subsystem worked individually. Synergy states that

      ―any whole is more thanthe sum of its individual parts.‖

       

      • Redundancy

       

      A redundant component within a system is said to exist if that component fails and the system is still able to attain its objectives. Redundancy is said to occur when the wholesystem continues to operate and attain its objectives even if one subsystem has ceased to exist.

       

      (iv) Factoring

       

      This is the process of disintegrating a system into sub-system units. A large system can be factored into subsystems to improve its performance. An example of factoring is in a business organization where it is sub-divided into sales and purchasing system, accounting system and others.

       

      1. b) (i) „Hard ‟ properties

       

      ‗Hard‘ properties are those properties that can be defined, measured and assessed in an objective. Examples of ‗hard ‘ properties approach are things like increase in sales, reduction in cost, etc

       

      Characteristics:

       

      • The problem can be defined.
      • Information needs are known. o The solution can be recognized once arrived at. o Hard problems are object or things oriented. o Standard solution technique.
      • Data can be objectively assessed.
      • Problems are self-contained.

      (ii) „Soft‟ properties

       

      ‗Soft properties‘ are those that are precise and matters of industrial values and tastes. Soft properties are not measured accurately. They include things such as customer goodwill, etc.

       

      Characteristics:  o  Problems are difficult to define.

      • It is impossible to know information needed in advance.
      • Unsure of what solution would look like.
      • Problems are people oriented. o  These problems involve taste, value, opinion, judgement, etc.
      • These problems have a lot of interaction e.g. motivation, satisfaction, affiliation needs, beauty, etc.

      QUESTION FIVE

      1. Describe briefly five differences between an expert system and a conventional data

      processing system.                                                                                    (10 marks)

      1. Outline five  factors  that  determine  an  application  suitability for  an  expert  system      (10 marks)

      (Total: 20 marks)

      QUESTION FIVE

      1. a) Differences between an expert system and a conventional data system:

       

      A DSS is a form of management information system, which is designed to assist management in making semi-structured and unstructured decisions. This implies that some decisions are automated and others require judgement. The decision maker will use computers to do structured tasks of decisions while the other is the rest is judgement. An example of these decisions is investment decisions where data from automated sources is required.

       

      An expert system is a system that acts as an expert consultant to the user. They are able t offer knowledge to the user through the use of knowledge base e.g. an system that diagnoses diseases.

       

      The differences between DSSs and ESs are outlined in the following table:

       

                                                                                                    

       

                   Characteristics       DSS

       

      ESS
            Objective To  assistmanagementin       To     make   unstructured
       

       

       

      making unusual or unstructured decisions

       

      decisions for users

       

       

           Who makes the decision Decisions are made by the Decisions are made by the
       

       

            managers

       

      system.

       

           Orientation The system is designed to The systems are designed
            help      managers     solve to make decisions for the
       

       

       

      problems      of         decision making

       

           user.

       

       

           Applications       The     system    can     be The system is applicable in
            applicable         in       any one  specific  area  e.g.  a
       

       

       

      functional area e.g. a spreadsheet as a DSS.

       

      medical diagnosis system

       

       

           Database       The       database used    is       The     database   used   is
       

       

            factual

       

      analytical

       

           Problem area

       

            Complex, broad

       

      Narrow domain

       

            Types of problems

       

            Ad hoc, unique

       

      Repetitive

       

       

       

      1. b) Factors which determine the suitability of ES are:

       

      1. Consistency– where an organization requires consistency in decision making, anexpert system is suitable as opposed to human experts.
      2. Few experts– expert systems are prepared to reach areas where there are no humanexperts and can be used in more than one place at a time.  SpeedES are suitable where the decision making is required to be fast.
      3. Permanency– Expert systems are useful to store knowledge permanently and giveinstant accessibility when required.
      4. Repetitive– suitable where the same decision is made over and over again.
      5. Hostile environment– where human experts cannot work, then the expert system
      6. Expenses– ESs are suitable where there is no need to reduce expert expenses/costs. QUESTION SIXA system analyst in the development of computerized information systems is defined as an agent of change.

         

        Required:

         

        1. Define the term ‗agent of change‘ and describe four roles of a system analyst in the development of computerized information systems.
        2. Outline five advantages of an external system analyst in the development of computerized information systems.QUESTION SIX
          1. An agent of change is the one who brings about change. It is through an agent of change that new things come about. This is the thing that brings or initiates the change. In systems development, a systems analyst is taken as the agent of change. A system analyst‘s role in system development can be said to be the role of designing the programs and systems as a whole to perform the data processing work. The analyst is regarded as an agent of change due to he nature of his roles. The roles of the system analyst are:

           

          • Systems analysis– involves methodological study of the current system so that asystem of user requirements is obtained and a feasibility study carried out.

           

           

          • Systems design– involves specification of input and output, storage or files, theprocessing, hardware and software and data processing security controls. At the end of systems design, a program specification is produced from flowcharts used to document the system‘s programs.
          • Program and system testing– involves uncovering errors in the programs of thesystem and in the operation of the system as a whole. Testing ensures that errors are uncovered and corrected thus guaranteeing the quality of the systems programs.
          • Training– involves educating users on the operation and security aspects of

          thesystem so as to ensure smooth changeover.

          • Post implementation review– the analyst conducts it to ensure that the system is

          asuccess.

           

          1. An analyst is the person who analyses information for the purpose of use by the organization. A systems analyst is the one who analyses the information before the development of a system. An external systems analyst is advantageous due to the following reasons:

           

          1. An external analyst will carry out his work objective i.e. without fear and favour. The external analyst does not have any interest to protect or anything to do with the

          business and thus has a higher chance of doing good work.

          1. An external analyst will carry out his work thoroughly and will not assume some aspect of the analysis. This is because he is trained for this work and hence thorough

          work will be carried out.

          1. An external analyst will be more suited for the work as this is basically his/her profession thus quality work will be done.
          2. The external analyst will possess the required expertise and employee to carry out the work more quickly.
          3. The external analyst will not use the information obtained in his favour. This is because he is bound by professional standards in addition of having an interest in the
          4. Employees will find it easier to deal with an external analyst as some may feel the selection of an internal analyst is biased and hence will not divulge the information.QUESTION SIX
            1. An agent of change is the one who brings about change. It is through an agent of change that new things come about. This is the thing that brings or initiates the change. In systems development, a systems analyst is taken as the agent of change. A system analyst‘s role in system development can be said to be the role of designing the programs and systems as a whole to perform the data processing work. The analyst is regarded as an agent of change due to he nature of his roles. The roles of the system analyst are:

             

            • Systems analysis– involves methodological study of the current system so that asystem of user requirements is obtained and a feasibility study carried out.

             

             

            • Systems design– involves specification of input and output, storage or files, theprocessing, hardware and software and data processing security controls. At the end of systems design, a program specification is produced from flowcharts used to document the system‘s programs.
            • Program and system testing– involves uncovering errors in the programs of thesystem and in the operation of the system as a whole. Testing ensures that errors are uncovered and corrected thus guaranteeing the quality of the systems programs.
            • Training– involves educating users on the operation and security aspects of

            thesystem so as to ensure smooth changeover.

            • Post implementation review– the analyst conducts it to ensure that the system is

            asuccess.

             

            1. An analyst is the person who analyses information for the purpose of use by the organization. A systems analyst is the one who analyses the information before the development of a system. An external systems analyst is advantageous due to the following reasons:

             

            1. An external analyst will carry out his work objective i.e. without fear and favour. The external analyst does not have any interest to protect or anything to do with the

            business and thus has a higher chance of doing good work.

            1. An external analyst will carry out his work thoroughly and will not assume some aspect of the analysis. This is because he is trained for this work and hence thorough

            work will be carried out.

            1. An external analyst will be more suited for the work as this is basically his/her profession thus quality work will be done.
            2. The external analyst will possess the required expertise and employee to carry out the work more quickly.
            3. The external analyst will not use the information obtained in his favour. This is because he is bound by professional standards in addition of having an interest in the
            4. Employees will find it easier to deal with an external analyst as some may feel the selection of an internal analyst is biased and hence will not divulge the information.QUESTION SEVENMost systems fail due to lack of adequate documentation than any other single reason. Discuss the categories of documentation that may be considered during systems development life cycle (SDLC). (20 marks)

              QUESTION SEVEN

               

              Documentation is the recording of the information relevant in system development. It involves the recording of information that is relevant to the systems maintenance and running of the system. The documents prepared during SDLC are:

               

              • Terms of reference

              This document is made by the steering committee in the preliminary study. The document acts as a reference document throughout system development stages. This document contains:

               

              • Project title. o Subject of study. o  Purpose of study.
              • o  Reports. o Available resources and constraints.
              • Estimate duration and schedule. It is important because:
              • It provides information about the proposed solution.
              • It acts as an authorisation document.
              • It acts as a reference document.
              • It sets out objectives of the proposed system. o It acts as a control document.

               

               

              • Feasibility study report

               

              This is the report that contains the findings and recommendation from the feasibility study. After the technical and operational feasibility and cost-benefit appraisal, a report is prepared that gives recommendations on whether or not to commit any further resources to the project. Its contents are:

               

              • Description of the alternative proposed solution in terms of the inputs, outputs,     o Quantification to justify the cost of running the proposed system.
              • Recommendation on the most effective alternative.
              • Recommendations on the new system.
              • Fact finding reports

               

              This is a report that contains information resulting from fact finding. Facts are recorded through the use of procedure charts, organization charts, decision tables, grid charts and pseudocode. These reports are relevant to the next stage of SDLC.

               

              • Statement of requirements

               

              This is a formal report prepared after analysis of facts in SDLC. It‘s contents are:

               

              • Description of initial system goals and whether they are being met.
              • Description of whether the existing system is cost effective. o Information on whether the output is effective. o Description of existing system efficiency. o This document is important as it helps the systems developer to understand the

              existing system and facilitate coming up with an efficient new system.

              ( v) System specification

              This is a document prepared at the end of the design stage. It represents the conceptual system/logical system. Its contents are:

               

              • Introduction of the existing system.
              • Description of the proposed system.
              • Justification of the proposed system as a solution to the specified problem. o Comparison of the existing and proposed systems.
              • Proposed system files descriptions. o Proposed system control specifications.QUESTION EIGHTA feasibility study attempts to establish whether a project is economically, financially, technically and socially acceptable.

                 

                a)(i) Name two ways in which a new system can realize direct savings. (2 marks)
                      (ii) Name two intangible benefits that can be realized by a new system. (2 marks)
                       (iii) Name two methods of carrying out an investment appraisal. (2 marks)
                b)(i) List three factors to be considered in technical feasibility. (3 marks)

                (ii) Mention two circumstances under which you would recommend the use of computer bureaux instead of developing a new system.      (2 marks)  c) (i) Name two factors to be considered in social feasibility study.    (2 marks)           (ii) What is the role of the user during the feasibility study stage?           (2 marks)

                1. d) You have just completed a feasibility study and you are now in the process of writing a feasibility study report. Briefly describe five main sections of your report. (5 marks)

                (Total: 20 marks)

                QUESTION EIGHT

                 

                1. a) (i) Ways in which the system can realize cost savings:

                 

                • Reduction in labour costs by reduction or elimination of clerical personnel.
                • Elimination of some specific costs e.g. stationary costs. (ii) Intangible benefits that can be realized by a new system:

                 

                • Improved customer satisfaction.
                • Better performance.
                • Improved organizational image.
                • Increased staff morale.
                • A competitive advantage to an organization.

                (iii) Methods of carrying out an investment appraisal:

                 

                • Accounting Rate of Return (ARR). o Pay back period.
                • Net Present Value (NPV).
                • Internal Rate of Return (IRR).
                1. (i) Factors considered in technical feasibility:

                 

                • The hardware required for the new system.      oThe software required for the new system.
                • Evaluation of current technology and how it‘s applicable to the new system.   oExpertise of the employees and whether further training will be required.(ii)Circumstances under which a computer bureau is preferred as opposed to developing a new system:

                 

                • When it is cheap to use computer bureaux as compared to developing new systems.
                • When the system needed is temporary.
                • When there is lack of sufficient expertise within the organization and thus the

                external experts are desirable.

                1. (i) Factors to be considered in a social feasibility study:

                 

                • Effect of the system on the existing organizational structure.
                • Effect of the system on the current working practices and management levels.
                • Redundancy or retrenchment and implication to company as a result of the new system.
                • Implication of the system on existing staff development programmers.

                (ii) Role of the user during the feasibility study stage:

                 

                The user will give information on the existing system and how the new system will affect them and how they feel.

                 

                1. d) The main sections of a feasibility study report are:

                 

                • Introduction- this gives the general description of the existing system, the people

                contacted during the study and the purpose of the report.

                • Description of the alternative proposed systems in terms of the inputs, outputs, file processed, response times, etc.
                • Quantification to justify the cost of running the proposed system. o The recommendation by the analyst on the most cost-effective alternative solution. o The author of the report. oRecommendations on the new system indicating whether to commit further resources.

                 

 



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