Information Systems in Organizations


SDLC vs. The Chaotic Evolution of Technology (System Development Life Cycle)

One of the topics discussed in Chapter 9 of Information Systems Today describes the systems development life cycle and its four primary stages:

  1. Systems planning and selection
  2. Systems analysis
  3. Systems design
  4. Systems implementation and operation

In the article System Development Life Cycle, written by Russel Kay, he mentions a number of system development life cycle (SDLC) models that were developed in order to make it easier to manage todays much larger and complex systems, allowing teams to work more efficiently in parallel.

The oldest and best known of these is the waterfall model, which is very similar to the process described by Valacich.  But even though this model is well understood, Kay argues that it’s not as useful as it used to be.  In a 1991 Information Center Quarterly article, Larry Runge stated that SDLC “works very well when we are automating the activities of clerks and accountants. It doesn’t work nearly as well, if at all, when building systems for knowledge workers — people at help desks, experts trying to solve problems, or executives trying to lead their company into the Fortune 100.”


Another issue is that the waterfall model operates under the assumption that the only role for users is in specifying requirements, and that the requirements can be specified in advance.  The problem here is that requirements grow and change throughout the entire process, which calls for extensive feedback and iterative consolation.

As a result of trying to solve these types of issues, these others SDLC models have been developed: waterfall, fountain, spiral, build and fix, rapid prototyping, incremental, and synchronize and stabilize.





1. Can you recall something you’ve heard or read where a company applied some sort of SDLC?

2.  Do you think more complex models of SDLC will be introduced with technologies fast paced evolution?

3.  Can you think of an example of any positions or industries where the water fall module would not be suitable?

New Personnel for Supply Chain Management

One of the main areas of focus in chapter 8 is supply chain management, and the strategy, benefits, and organization involved with it. A supply chain is a collection of companies and processes involved in moving a product from the suppliers of raw materials to the suppliers of intermediate components, then to final production, and finally, the customer. This article by Loretta Chao of the Wall Street Journal talks about the massive shift in strategy regarding the management of organization’s supply chains. This area of business is becoming increasingly dependent on technology, and is more prominently taking place on a global scale as time goes on. Due to these factors, companies are searching for people with the technological capabilities to consolidate the roles of logistics, procurement, and management all into one position. However, companies are struggling to find the right people with a broad enough background to do this, as 71% of companies are having difficulty recruiting senior leadership for their supply chains, with many believing that the current strategic thinking and problem solving skills of their supply chain managers is not up to par. Cisco Systems Inc. President of Supply Chain Operations John Kern believes that companies that do not invest in cultivating talent in this area now will “get caught flat footed two to three years down the road.”





  1. What do you think are the most important skills and/or qualities to have in managing a supply chain?


  1. In what emerging ways do you think technology will impact supply chain management in the future?


  1. Aside from technology and movement towards a global realm, do you envision any other changes to supply chain management that companies will have to prepare and recruit for?