Information Systems Development

This chapter focuses on the concepts surrounding the development of information systems. It begins with a discussion of software development methodologies, then covers programming languages and tools, and finishes with a review of implementation methodologies. As you read, reflect upon all the different pieces that must come together in order for a system to be developed.

Implementation Methodologies

Once a new system is developed or purchased, the organization must determine the best method for implementation. Convincing a group of people to learn and use a new system can be a very difficult process. Asking employees to use new software as well as follow a new business process can have far reaching effects within the organization.

There are several different methodologies an organization can adopt to implement a new system. Four of the most popular are listed below.

  • Direct cutover. In the direct cutover implementation methodology, the organization selects a particular date to terminate the use of the old system. On that date users begin using the new system and the old system is unavailable. Direct cutover has the advantage of being very fast and the least expensive implementation method. However, this method has the most risk. If the new system has an operational problem or if the users are not properly prepared, it could prove disastrous for the organization.
  • Pilot implementation. In this methodology a subset of the organization known as a pilot group starts using the new system before the rest of the organization. This has a smaller impact on the company and allows the support team to focus on a smaller group of individuals. Also, problems with the new software can be contained within the group and then resolved.
  • Parallel operation. Parallel operations allow both the old and new systems to be used simultaneously for a limited period of time. This method is the least risky because the old system is still being used while the new system is essentially being tested. However, this is by far the most expensive methodology since work is duplicated and support is needed for both systems in full.
  • Phased implementation. Phased implementation provides for different functions of the new application to be gradually implemented with the corresponding functions being turned off in the old system. This approach is more conservative as it allows an organization to slowly move from one system to another.

Your choice of an implementation methodology depends on the complexity of both the old and new systems. It also depends on the degree of risk you are willing to take.