Module Review Questions and Module Practice
The systems development life cycle has several phases that are carried out for its completion. The first phase is investigation. In this phase, there is an investigation of the chance of the existence of a business problem or opportunity. This is done by a feasibility study in order to determine if a new or improved system is required in the organization. The second phase involves analysis. In this phase, there is a detailed analysis of the information needs of end users and also the organizational environment including the system that is presently used. The third phase is the systems design. It involves the logical input and processing of the information followed by the output, storage and then control. In this phase, both the hardware and software specifications are developed. In addition, people – specialists and end users, data resources and information products are integrated.
The next phase is the implementation phase. At this point, there is acquisition and installation of hardware and software components to apply the output of the systems design phase. To add onto this, test and documentation of the system are done. The other element is that people are trained on the operation and also use the system. This phase ends in the conversion to the new system. Maintenance is the final phase of SDLC. It involves a post implementation review process to monitor, evaluate and also modify the system in line with the requirements.
Discuss the alternative approaches of SDLC and the benefits of alternatives
One of the alternative SDLC approaches is prototyping. In this case, analysis and design phases are left out. It involves the implementation of a prototype of the actual system with a major focus on data input and also output. Therefore, the functionality of the system to the users is demonstrated. After this, the feedback given by users is applied in converting the prototype into a full scale system. The other approach is end user development. In this approach, users are trained to develop their own applications. As a result, the systems reflect of the needs of the users.
Alternative approaches to SDLC have several benefits. Prototyping has the benefit of effectiveness with user interactive systems since the prototype is converted into a full scale system eventually. On the other hand, end user development benefits the users with user friendly applications which are very effective since they are developed by the users themselves.
Compare and contrast the three major ERP implementation categories
The three major ERP implementation categories include comprehensive, middle of the road and vanilla. The first comparison is a similarity between comprehensive and middle of the road categories. The similarity between these implementation categories is that they business process reengineering is involved. In addition, comprehensive and vanilla implementation categories utilize the ERP software functionality. However, there are also several contrasts between these categories. The first contrast is that the comprehensive category requires a high level of business process reengineering while the middle of the road category requires only a significant amount of business process reengineering. In addition, the comprehensive category requires a full functionality of the ERP software while the middle of the road functionality involves a number of changes in the core ERP modules. Another contrast is that vanilla implementation category eliminates business process reengineering while the other categories utilize it.
What is ERP implementation methodology? Give examples
ERP implementation methodology is a systematic approach to the implementation of ERP software in a highly dynamic and resource limited organizational setting. One example of ERP implementation methodology is the traditional ERP lifecycle. In this case, the accomplishment is done one step at a time. In addition, it requires milestone approvals that are formal before approaching the next stage. The other example is the rapid ERP life cycle. In this case, the organization commits to the implementation and employees are empowered to decision making so that the project may move forward.
What is the role of change management in the ERP life cycle?
Change management is needed in the ERP lifecycle to prevent the occurrence of system failures. Due to this need, the vision for change management is articulated from the first stage and then revised, monitored and also frequently implemented. In this case, SMEs and other internal users work as a team to guide the implementation team on all change management activities. Therefore, the activities if the ERP lifecycle is enhanced when change management is articulated in the entire cycle. Support of top management, as well as skills of the change management team, are very essential for successful implementation in the organization.
Deduce two diagrams illustrating the major differences between ERP life cycle and SDLC
The first difference between ERP and SDLC is that ERP uses millions of dollars whereas SDLC uses hundreds up to thousands of dollars. The second difference is that ERP is a critical mission for any organization while SDLC is applied for supporting or improving productivity. The third difference is that ERP takes one to several years while SDLC occurs almost instantly. In addition, ERP requires a significant alternation of management strategy from the initial stages to completion. These changes involve changes in business processes, training and also communications. However, SDLC does not require such changes but some training and support is needed. The final difference is that ERP requires some in-house employee time and the support by consultants and vendors to the tune of millions of dollars. On the other hand, SDLC requires minimal or no consulting support. Vendor technical support is also not needed.
These diagrams indicate the differences between ERP and SDLC. The ERP diagram indicates that it is a mega project which consumes millions of dollars. This is because it touches all sections and departments of the organization. They include manufacturing, finance and supply chain management. This implies that the whole organization has to be involved and hence the high budget. Contrastingly, the SDLC is cyclical hence it has a smaller budget. The second difference indicated by these diagrams is the criticality of ERP versus the supporting role of SDLC. This difference is indicated by the extent to which ERP affects all the departments of the business. However, SDLC revolves around its primary activities which result in a system applied in one section of the organization.
The third difference indicated by the images is a long time taken by ERP versus the fast execution of SDLC. Given the extent of ERP – that include human resources and project management, the process takes a long time since it affects such organizational roles. However, SDLC is fast given its straightforward nature and its limitation in terms of organizational activities. The other indication is that ERP calls for alteration of management strategy from the initial stages to completion. However, such changes are not required for SDLC since it is narrow and limited in terms of organizational effects. Finally, the technical support is required by ERP since it is wide and affects the running of the organization. However, SDLC is a single cycle as indicated by the diagram and hence such support is not needed.
Motiwalla, L., & Thompson, J. (2012). Enterprise Systems for Management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Neal, A. (2013). ERP and SDLC Strategies. The New York Times, 65-67.