How to Build a Business Information System?

Building a business information system requires 6 main components which are the hardware, software, network, data, people and information. IT covers the hardware, software, network and data while IS includes all of the IT components in addition with the people and information generated.

You may not know the difference between Information Technology (IT) and Information System (IS). While IT is the study, design, implementation, support or management of data within an information system, IS is a set of interrelated components that collect (or retreive), process, store, and distribute information to support decision making and control in an organization - not only the technology involved but the people & processes as well.

IS and IT altogether helps business expand and compete. It is a vital component of successful businesses that improves efficiency and effectiveness of business processes. Both also facilitates managerial decision making and workgroup collaboration.

After knowing what the 6 main components of a business information system are, let's dive into the steps on developing a Business Information System which are:

1. Initiation

The initiation stage is the initial step in an information system development project. Its purpose is to determine whether the project is feasible or not and then prepare to ensure that the project is successful. The initiation phase contains the stimulus from which the need to develop new BIS arises.

2. Feasibility Assessment

Feasibility assessment is the activity carried out at the start of a project to ensure that the project is a viable business proposition. The feasibility report analyzes system requirements and impacts and considers alternatives for acquiring the software.

3. Systems Analysis

System analysis helps capture the business requirements of a system from speaking to or observing end users and using other sources of information such as existing system documentation. Once the proposed information system has been approved as viable, a more detailed work would be needed to assess the exact requirements the intended users have for the new system.

4. Systems Design

The System Design phase determines how the system will work in the main areas of the user interface, program modules, security, and database transactions. The input for this stage is a breakdown of the requirements delivered by the proposed information system. The task of the system design stage is to change these requirements into a number of design alternatives that will be selected at best. The next design step has to do with how the proposed information system will deliver what is needed. System design deals with things like:

  • Choosing a suitable database management system
  • Establishing general systems security standards
  • Determining the system navigation method (menu systems and graphical user interfaces)
  • General standard for the production of printed reports
  • Screen design standards for input and output
  • Data capture requirements
  • Data storage requirements

5. Systems Build

System Build is the creation of software by programmers. It involves writing software code (programming), building release versions of software, building and populating databases and testing by programmers and end users. Documentation writing and training might also take place at this stage. This step includes three substeps: physical database construction, programming, and testing.

Physical database construction involves the conversion of the database design from the previous step into the required tables and indexes of a relational database. The programming substep involves the construction of computer code that will handle data capture, storage, processing and output. In addition, it will be necessary to program various other operational attributes of the required system.

Alongside and after the programming substep, various forms of testing will be carried out. The output from the build stage will be an information system that has been tested and is available for final data conversion of take-on and live operation. If during the build phase it appears from testing that the system does not meet the original requirements as determined during the analysis step, then it will be necessary to revisit the design step to see whether any errors were made in interpreting the systems requirements. If the design brief was correctly interpreted but the system still contains errors in the delivery of the perceived requirements, it will be necessary to revisit the analysis to determine the systems requirements more precisely.

6. System Implementation & Changeover

System implementation covers practical issues such as making sure the hardware and network infrastructure for a new system are in place; testing of the system; and also human issues of how best to educate and train staff who will be using or affected by the new system. Implementation also involves the transition or changeover from the old system to the new.

7. Review & Maintenance

Once an information system is operating under live running conditions, it will be inevitable that changes will be required over time. The maintenance phase involves two different types of maintenance. The first, known as 'unproductive maintenance', stems from errors or oversights in the original systems development which, while not preventing the system operating to an acceptable level, are still necessary to correct for it to conform with the original specification. The second form of maintenance involves the addition of new features and facilities that extend the scope and functionallity of the information system.

Over the longer term, the system will be adapted and modified to meet changing business requirements. An activity known as the post-implementation review should also be undertaken. This should take place about six months after the system changeover and should review waht was planned for the information system against what actually happened. Lessons learned form this exercise will be extremely valuable when the next system is developed.

From the Lecture of Business Information System for the International Business Management Department students of Universitas Kristen Petra on November 5th, 2020 brought by our Managing Director, Donny Susanto Witono.

Tags: Business Information Systems