After conducting interviews, reviewing company records, observing operations and analyzing the current software, we've created a systems requirements checklist that meets the needs of Personal Trainer. We considered some of the items on their wish list, but those items would have increased the budget and possibly terminated the entire project. We wanted to focus on their needs first and their wants second.
Conducting interviews is productive for the interviewer because he or she will get input from the users and further understand what the system currently does compared to what they need it to do. The systems analyst must listen carefully to understand the difference between a need and a want so that they can give Personal Trainer what they want within their budget. When analysts try to give the customer everything on their wish list the budget can quickly get out of control. Furthermore, the analyst should wipe the wish list from their memory during the implementation stage or scope creep will bite into their budget sooner than they realize.
Once the systems analyst gathers input from users they can review the company records to see what it will take to give them what they need. Personal Trainer's system is currently creating a few reports that need to be improved with additional details instead of totals. There are also a few more reports that were mentioned such as monthly accounts receivable reports and daily sales reports with more information on each transaction.
The systems analyst can now observe company operations to see if there are any processes that can be automated by technology. The analyst isn't looking to eliminate jobs, but to make the process faster in order for the employees to conduct more business each day. When payments are mailed in by members, the employees need to manually apply the funds to the members account. Offering a portal for members to pay online will put less of a burden on that function because the member must sign in and the payment will be automatically applied to their account.
Analyzing the software should be done near the end of the requirements checklist because the systems analyst will already have a good idea of what the users and the company are looking to get out of the new system. As the analyst goes through the software they can put a dollar amount on each of the needs and wants of the employees to see what the budget can handle. If the members are able to pay online there should also be an automatically generated email to the member thanking them for the payment and assuring them that it has been applied.
It's important for the systems analyst to complete these steps in order because each piece of the process reacts off of the previous step. Once all of the steps are completed the analyst can determine what will work and what won't work. It can be a good idea to help interviewees understand that their wants may not make their way into the system depending on the budget of the company. It's normal for users to request more than they already know the company can afford.
Rosenblatt, H. (2014). Systems Planning. In Systems Analysis and Design (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.