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The Role of Modelling in Information System Development

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Essay title: The Role of Modelling in Information System Development

“Change in artificial systems (business systems, information systems etc) is inexorably linked to design. Discuss the role of modelling in the development and use of information systems for management decision making”.

Change in artificial system

The rapid changes in market such as electronic commerce, globalization and increased competition have led to a business situation that is frequently evolving. Many information systems researchers and practitioners have come to an agreement that the development of systems at the present time is not exclusively a technical activity but that organizational factors also affect both the delivered system and the design process. (Kavalki et. Al, 2006)

Change involves the shift from an initial situation, which is inadequate in some aspect, to desired circumstances where the problem is treated. (Kavalki et. al, 2006). Both the future state and the possible ways that can be followed to attain this state have to be stipulated. In present-day firms, a high priority has been given to the issue of change management. Total quality management (TQM), Business Process Re-engineering (BPR), Continuous Process Improvement (CPI), and some other approaches have been developed to aid organizations in managing and implementing change. Many successful companies have been engaged in some of these programmes to improve productivity and gain competitive advantage. Organizational change is a classic planning and design problem of a category of problems that has been termed “ill-structured problems” (Reitman, 1965, Rittel, 1984, Simon, 1984). The problem state is not specified and there is no perfect formulation. Formulating the problem leads to an immense deal, to solving it. One needs to create assumptions as to the nature of the solution and subject these assumptions to valuation in order to gain assurance as to their validity (Aguero & Dasgupta, 1987, & 1988).

What is an information system (IS)?

Information system (IS) can be defined from two perspectives; structural and functional perspectives (Davis & Olson, 1985):

Structural point of view: it is a system that consist of a collection of people, data, procedures, technology, models, and formal language, that creates an organized structure which serves some organizational function and

Functional point of view: it is a system that is technological employed as a means for the purpose of recording, storing, and circulating linguistic terminology as well as for supporting decision making. By performing these basic functions, IS assists the creation and exchange of meaning that provides socially defined intentions such as control, sense-making and argumentation (i.e. the making and justification of claims). (Hirschheim,, 1995). From these two points of views on information systems, IS services partially depended on human capabilities and contribution. (Hirschheim,, 1995)

An information system performs three main functions (Oliver, 2000) The use of an elevation as a system was use to demonstrate these functions

Memory; maintain a consistent illustration of the state of a domain: this function is passive, in that it does not perform anything that will affect the user and domain directly, but it is required by other functions and it constrain what these other functions can do. Example in the system is the illustration of the existing elevation, its present position and state and its outstanding request.

Informative; provide information about the state of a domain: the system responds to query event which can be either generated or external. Generated query event occurs when generating conditions are satisfied while external query events are precise request from output. The state of the domain is not changed directly in both states (generated and extended). In the above example, the elevator has an indicator that shows it present position. One of the elevator control system function is to display in the indicator the last floor visited. This is informative.

Active: to perform actions that changes the state of the domain: actions performed by the system changes the state of the domain when a generating condition is fulfilled. An example of this function in the elevator control system is the issue of command to the elevator motor. This command changes the state and direction of the elevator.

An example of one of the first application, computerized information system was the payroll system (Avison 2003). When the payroll was done manually, it was very time consuming and labour intensive as the number of employees grew in an organisation. There could be trouble if the payroll was late or contained errors hence organisation

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