System analysis involves the gathering of information and facts in the study of interacting entities, which also includes computer system analysis. This is done to determine whether the needs and requirements of client are being met. There should be a recommendation made based on the results of the evaluation done the components and the requirements of the system. System analysis is a procedure that is used to analyze and attain the requirements of an end user product.
System analysts use this type of methodology in the evaluation of systems in order to form an overall product. System analysis can be used in various fields where there is a development of something (Whitten, 2007). Various tools are used in the analysis of enterprise and client environments. These tools are used to determine the strength, value, effectiveness, and usability of a system.
Use cases are one of system analysis tools used. These are very much used in system analysis as a modeling tool with the purpose of determining and expressing functional specifications of a system. Every use case is set in a business situation from which it provides a defined response. Use cases complement each other thus they should be constructed in parallel with the requirements of a desired system. Non-analysts find it easier to understand use cases as they promote communication within the requirements phase.
The use cases are made by determining system boundaries, identifying the actors based on the user's occupation and what they are aiming at when they write use cases to fulfill their desired goals. Use cases use diagrams and representations to bring out a visual effect (Rosenblatt, 2006). From a use case diagram, one can buy into a software development at an early stage and this can also help in the establishment of mutual agreements towards the requirements. The use cases ensure that all parts of the requirements have been identified. Use cases are slowly evolving from object oriented analysis, yet they are becoming common in other methodologies as modeling tools for system design and analysis.
Another method is the prototyping method. A prototype is a sample with which later stages of a desired product is judged. These are usually models used to evaluate a later design. Prototyping is building of a model within the requirements of a system. The work of a prototype is to aid a system designer to construct an information system that is easy to manipulate for the benefit of the end users. This is an iterative process in the analysis phase of a system development. According to Whitten (2007), a lot of information can be acquired through prototyping. The testing of the prototype can lead to the determination of potential enhancements in future system. The prototype paves way for system implementation because the users already know what to expect from the system. This leads to a higher user satisfaction of the product upon completion. Sometimes the developers get too attached to the prototype thus the system is left unfinished.
Storyboards are another tool used in system analysis. This is a logical description of a system's function for a specific scenario. This includes the required interaction between the users and the system. Each storyboard tells a distinct and specific story. A storyboard can explore, capture and bring to life the behavioral interaction as it is envisioned by the intended user.
The most common of all the system analysis tools are the interviews and questionnaires (Rosenblatt, 2006). These are the primary methods for gathering information at the system analysis stage in a development project. The type of questions asked are the key factors that influence the type and quality of information gathered. These tools involve a face-to-face interaction where the interviewer asks relevant questions to the client. The interviewer has to be trained on how to conduct interviews, as it will help determine the quality of information acquired. Through the interviews, one is able to get information on the current behavior of systems already in place or the requirements for which a new system will be developed.
Document analysis can also be used to as a tool in system analysis. In this method, data that has been and is still in existence by now is examined. This data is made up of documents, records as well as manuals that contain procedures that are to be used in the existing system. Through this method, an analyst can obtain realistic and actual relevant information about the system in question. In this method, one already has readymade information thus making it a faster way to get information. This method becomes void when there is little or no information that is relevant to the existing system (Whitten, 2007).
One can use the tool of observation to examine procedures whenever they are taking place. The analyst will have capability of observing how the job and its procedures are carried out within the existing system. The analyst is also able to witness first how the work is carried out first hand and the processes involved. The observation tool gives one a realistic view of the procedures involved in the designing of a system. Nevertheless, even though this method if perfect and efficient, it can be time consuming and very expensive due to the labor required. Some problems may occur frequently and may take place when the observer is not present.