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Systems Operation and Support

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1 Systems Operation and Support
Chapter 10 Systems Operation and Support

2 Phase Description Systems Operation and Support is the final phase in the systems development life cycle (SDLC) During the systems operation and support phase, you will be supporting a functioning information system, and you will be alert to any signs of system obsolescence, which would indicate that the system has reached the end of its useful life

3 Chapter Objectives Explain how the systems operation and support phase relates to the rest of the system development process Describe user support activities, including user training and help desks Discuss the four main types of system maintenance: corrective, adaptive, perfective, and preventive 3

4 Chapter Objectives Explain techniques for managing systems operation and support, including maintenance teams, maintenance request procedures, configuration management, maintenance releases, version control, and baselines Describe techniques for managing system performance, including performance and workload measurement, and capacity planning 3

5 Chapter Objectives List factors indicating that a system has reached the end of its useful life Assess future challenges and opportunities that IT professionals will face as technology continues to reshape the workplace

6 Introduction Now that the system is operational, the real test begins. The key question is whether or not the system meets user expectations and provides support for business objectives Systems must be maintained and improved continuously to meet changing business demands, and users constantly require assistance 4

7 Overview of Systems Support and Maintenance
The systems operation and support phase begins when a system becomes operational and continues until the system reaches the end of its useful life After delivering the system, the analyst has two other important tasks: he or she must support users and provide necessary maintenance to keep the system operating properly

8 User Support Activities
User Training You already are familiar with initial user training that is performed when a new system is introduced In addition, new employees must learn how to use the company’s information systems User training package Training users about system changes is similar to initial training

9 User Support Activities
Help Desk Also called information center (IC) Enhance productivity and improve utilization of a company’s information resources

10 User Support Activities
Help Desk Might have to perform the following tasks: Show a user how to create a data query or report that displays specific business information Resolve network access or password problems Demonstrate an advanced feature of a system or a commercial package Help a user recover damaged data

11 User Support Activities
Help Desk In addition to functioning as a valuable link between IT staff and users, the help desk is a central contact point for all IT maintenance activities Interactive support also can be delivered in the form of an online chat Virtual Classroom

12 Maintenance Activities
The systems operation and support phase is an important component of TCO (total cost of ownership) because ongoing maintenance expenses can determine the economic life of a system Operational costs Maintenance expenses Maintenance activities

13 Maintenance Activities
Four types of maintenance tasks can be identified Corrective maintenance Adaptive maintenance Perfective maintenance Preventive maintenance

14 Maintenance Activities

15 Maintenance Activities
Corrective Maintenance Diagnoses and corrects errors in an operational system You can respond to errors in various ways, depending on nature and severity of the problem For more serious situations, a user submits a systems request with supporting evidence

16 Maintenance Activities
Adaptive Maintenance Adds enhancements to an operational system and makes the system easier to use The procedure for minor adaptive maintenance is similar to routine corrective maintenance Can be more difficult than new systems development because the enhancements must work within constraints of an existing system

17 Maintenance Activities
Perfective Maintenance Involves changing an operational system to make it more efficient, reliable or maintainable Can improve system reliability Cost-effective during the middle of the system’s operational life Two techniques you can use in perfective maintenance are reverse engineering and reengineering

18 Maintenance Activities
Preventative Maintenance Reverse engineering includes changes to an operational system that reduce the possibility of future problems Preventive maintenance requires analysis of areas where trouble is likely to occur Competes for IT resources along with other projects, and sometimes does not receive the high priority that it deserves

19 Managing Systems Operation and Support
During this phase, companies use various strategies, which can include a maintenance team, a process for managing maintenance requests and priorities, a configuration management process, and a maintenance release procedure In addition, firms can use version control and baselines to track system releases and analyze the system’s life cycle

20 Managing Systems Operation and Support
Maintenance Team Analysis Synthesis Some organizations that have separate maintenance and new systems groups rotate people from one area to the other One disadvantage of rotation is that it increases overhead costs The training value of maintenance work outweighs the other factors

21 Managing Systems Operation and Support
Managing Maintenance Requests System administrator Step 1: maintenance request Step 2: initial determination Step 3: final disposition of the request Step 4: assignment of maintenance tasks Step 5: user notification

22 Managing Systems Operation and Support
Managing Maintenance Requests

23 Managing Systems Operation and Support
Establishing Priorities Systems review committee separates maintenance requests from new systems development requests when evaluating requests and setting priorities Many believe that evaluating projects together leads to the best possible decisions Neither approach guarantees an ideal allocation between maintenance and new systems development

24 Managing Systems Operation and Support
Configuration Management Configuration management (CM) As enterprise-wide information systems grow more complex, configuration management becomes critical Most maintenance projects require documentation changes

25 Managing Systems Operation and Support
Maintenance Releases Maintenance release methodology Maintenance release A numbering pattern distinguishes the different releases Reduces the documentation burden But new features or upgrades are available less often Service packs

26 Managing Systems Operation and Support
Version Control Version control is the process of tracking system releases Systems librarian Many companies use software such as Merant’s PVCS Version Manager

27 Managing Systems Operation and Support
Baseline The three types of baselines are: Functional baseline Allocated baseline Product baseline

28 Managing System Performance
A system’s performance directly affects users who rely on it to perform their job functions To ensure satisfactory support for business operations, the IT department monitors current system performance and anticipates future needs Benchmark testing

29 Managing System Performance
Performance and Workload Measurement Response time Bandwidth and throughput Kbps (kilobits per second) Mbps (megabits per second) Gbps (gigabits per second)

30 Managing System Performance
Performance and Workload Measurement Turnaround time The IT department often measures response time, bandwidth, throughput, and turnaround time to evaluate system performance both before and after changes to the system or business information requirements Management uses current performance and workload data as input for the capacity planning process

31 Managing System Performance
Capacity Planning What-if analysis You need detailed information about the number of transactions; the daily, weekly, or monthly transaction patterns; the number of queries; and the number, type, and size of all generated reports

32 Managing System Performance
Capacity Planning Most important, you need an accurate forecast of future business activities If new business functions or requirements are predicted, you should develop contingency plans based on input from users and management

33 Managing System Performance
System Maintenance Tools Many CASE tools include system evaluation and maintenance features In addition to CASE tools, you also can use spreadsheet and presentation software to calculate trends, perform what-if analyses, and create attractive charts and graphs to display the results

34 System Obsolescence Even with solid support, at some point every system becomes obsolete Signs: The system’s maintenance history indicates that adaptive and corrective maintenance is increasing steadily. Operational costs or execution times are increasing rapidly, and routine perfective maintenance does not reverse or slow the trend

35 System Obsolescence

36 System Obsolescence Signs:
A software package is available that provides the same or additional services faster, better, and less expensively than the current system New technology offers a way to perform the same or additional functions more efficiently Maintenance changes or additions are difficult and expensive to perform Users request significant new features to support business requirements

37 System Obsolescence Systems operation and support continues until a replacement system is installed At some point in a system’s operational life, maintenance costs start to increase, users begin to ask for more features and capability, new systems requests are submitted, and the SDLC begins again

38 Facing the Future: Challenges and Opportunities
The only thing that is certain about the future is continuous change Change itself is neither good nor bad — the real issue is how people and companies deal with the challenges and opportunities that are bound to occur

39 Facing the Future: Challenges and Opportunities
Predictions It is clear that companies will continue to face intense competition and global change, especially in the wake of economic, social, and political uncertainty Although disruptions will occur, technology advances will spur business growth and productivity

40 Facing the Future: Challenges and Opportunities
Predictions It is interesting to note that some firms, such as ZONAR Corporation, believe that computer systems eventually will become so powerful and user-friendly that people will create information applications easily and without technical assistance What does seem clear is that the future world of IT must be envisioned, planned, and created by skilled professionals

41 Strategic Planning for IT Professionals
An IT professional should think of himself or herself as a business corporation that has certain assets, potential liabilities, and specific goals Working backwards from your long-term goals, you can develop intermediate mile-stones and begin to manage your career just as you would manage an IT project Planning a career is not unlike planting a tree that takes several years to reach a certain height

42 IT Credentials and Certification
Many IT industry leaders offer certification, including Cisco, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems

43 A Microsoft Certification Example
Analyzing Requirements and Defining Solution Architectures (Exam ) Individuals who pass this exam achieve Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) status and earn credit toward the Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) certification

44 Chapter Summary Systems operation and support covers the entire period from the implementation of an information system until the system no longer is used A systems analyst’s primary involvement with an operational system is to manage and solve user support requests

45 Chapter Summary A maintenance team consists of one or more systems analysts and programmers Systems analysts need the same talents and abilities for maintenance work as they use when developing a new system Configuration management is necessary to handle maintenance requests System performance measurements include response time, bandwidth, throughput, and turnaround time 49

46 Chapter Summary All information systems eventually become obsolete
An IT professional should have a strategic career plan that includes long-term goals and intermediate milestones An important element of a personal strategic plan is the acquisition of IT credentials and certifications that document specific knowledge and skills 49

47 Chapter 10 Complete

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