Systems Implementation and Support
“After maintenance, the implementation phase of the systems development life cycle (SDLC) is the most expensive and time-consuming phase of the entire life cycle. Implementation is expensive because so many people are involved in the process; it is time consuming because of all the work that has to be completed. In a traditional plan-driven systems development project, physical design specifications must be turned into working computer code, and the code must be tested until most of the errors have been detected and corrected. In a systems development project governed by Agile Methodologies, design, coding, and testing are done in concert, as you learned in previous chapters. Regardless of methodology used, once coding and testing are complete and the system is ready to “go live,” it must be installed (or put into production), user sites must be prepared for the new system, and users rely on the new system rather than the existing one to get their work done.
Implementing a new information system into an organizational context is not a mechanical process. The organizational context has been shaped and reshaped by the people who work in the organization. The work habits, beliefs, interrelationships, and personal goals of an organization’s members all affect the implementation process. Although factors important to successful implementation have been identified, there are no sure recipes you can follow. During implementation, you must be attuned to key aspects of the organizational context, such as history, politics, and environmental demands—aspects that can contribute to implementation failure if ignored.
In this unit, you will learn about the many activities that the implementation phase comprises. We will discuss coding, testing, installation, documentation, user training, support for a system after it is installed, and implementation success. Our intent is not to teach you how to program and test systems—most of you have already learned about writing and testing programs in the courses you took before this one. Rather, this chapter shows you where coding and testing fit in the overall scheme of implementation, especially in a traditional, plan-driven context. The chapter stresses the view of implementation as an organizational change process that is not always successful.
In addition, you will learn about providing documentation about the new system for the information systems personnel who will maintain the system and for the system’s users. These same users must be trained to use what you have developed and installed in their workplace. Once training has ended and the system has become institutionalized, users will have questions about the system’s implementation and how to use it effectively. You must provide a means for users to get answers to these questions and to identify needs for further training.
As a member of the system development team that developed and implemented the new system, your job is winding down now that installation and conversion are complete. The end of implementation marks the time for you to begin the process of project closedown. At the end of this chapter, we will turn to the topic of formally ending the systems development project.
After a brief overview of the coding, testing, and installation processes and the deliverables and outcomes from these processes, we will talk about software application testing. We then present the four types of installation: direct, parallel, single-location, and phased. You then will read about the process of documenting systems and training and supporting users as well as the deliverables from these processes. We then discuss the various types of documentation and numerous methods available for delivering training and support services. You will read about implementation as an organizational change process, with many organizational and people issues involved in the implementation effort. You will also read about the threats to security that organizations face and some of the things that can be done to make systems more secure. Finally, you will see how the implementation of an electronic commerce application is similar to the implementation of more traditional systems”
Valacich, J. S., & George, J. F. (2017). Modern systems analysis and design (8th ed.). Boston: Pearson.
- Read: chapter 13 in Modern Systems Analysis & Design
- Participate in this week’s class and online discussions
- Complete written assignment 14.1 (WA-14.1)
- Complete practical assignment 14.1 (PA-14.1)
- Provide an overview of the system implementation process.
- Describe how software applications are tested.
- Apply four installation strategies: direct, parallel, single-location, and phased installation.
- List the deliverables for documenting the system and for training and supporting users.
- Explain why system implementation sometimes fails.
- Describe the threats to system security and remedies that can be applied.
- Show how traditional implementation issues apply to electronic commerce applications.
- System Implementation
- System Testing
- Training and Support
- Organizational Issues
- Project Closedown