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Comparison of Information System Development Methods

Category: Business & Management Paper Type: Report Writing Reference: APA Words: 3164

Information Systems Development Methodologies - ppt video online download


            In this era of technological revolution, when everything has been influenced by information technology, the use of information systems is getting common in businesses, institutions, organizations across all industries. The trend of using information systems is increasing with the passage of time. It is vital to understand that an information system is a collection of multiple pieces of software and hardware equipment, which are used in the process of collecting information, then processing, storing, as well as, disseminating that information across the organization. If one has to look at a few simple examples of information systems, then some of the examples are smartphones, personal computers, networks, as well as, databases. The information system is used by an organization to perform a range of tasks such as interacting with the customers along with suppliers, managing their day to day operations, performing different tasks, and handling their marketing activities and campaigns. It is important to mention here that whatever the information system is being used by an organization, humans will remain to be an essential part of the process because these systems cannot work without the help of human resources. There are so many types of information systems available, and it is up to the need and requirements of an organization, what kind of information system they need(Zwass, 2020). In this report, the focus of attention will be the comparison of different information system development methods. Three information systems will be analyzed and compared with all their advantages and disadvantages to see which one is better than the others.

Comparing the advantages and disadvantages of three different Information Systems Development Method

            It is vital to understand that there are various types of information system development methods, and each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of these information system development methods are complex, whereas some others are common and easy to understand. In this report, the focus will be to discuss some easy to understand methods, and compare them on the basis of their aspects. Before moving to the next sections of this report, it is important to mention here that three information system development methods to be compared are systems development life cycle method, spiral methods, as well as, waterfall method.

1. Case Study

            There are so many types of information systems, and these information systems have proved a handful for small and large business organizations to manage their day-to-day tasks and operations in a variety of contexts. When it comes to deal with customers, an example of an information system is Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Many organizations use CRM as an important tool to manage their interaction with their customers. When it comes to looking at the operational side, there are so many information systems to help organizations to manage their operations such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Procurement, and Inventory and Stock Control. In the essence of research and development, there are various information systems, especially when the medical field is reviewed in this regard; the famous example is the Electronic Medical Record (EMR). There are various other categories in real-world scenarios, where different categories are covered by information systems such as financial, human resource, information management, productivity, business intelligence, and knowledge management (Garfield, 2017)

            To understand the role and use of information systems in a real-world application, it is necessary to look at a case study scenario to see how things happened. A study was conducted in 2014 to see customer relationship management (CRM) as an important information system to work in the context of flour mills. In this research, a case study approach was taken as flour mills were the primary source of information to see how they have used CRM, and how it has proved beneficial for them. It is a well-known fact that handling customers is one of the major concerns of every business organization, and organizations with better handling processes remain on the top in the industry. Every business organization has to interact with its customers, and if they are not able to manage this relationship effectively, it can cost them in so many ways. There was a time when there were no information systems to help organizations in this cause, and manual handling and management was done. However, now life has been made easier with the help of CRMs. In this case study, the purpose of this research was to see the use of CRM, and how these flour mills have been able to deal with their customers. To collect useful data regarding the research study was collected through a survey questionnaire method. After analyzing collected data and responses, when results were prepared, it was found that these flour mills are benefitting a lot from the CRM. It was found that flour mills, which have used and integrated CRM properly, gained a lot of benefits. It was also found that employees of these flour mills showed resistance and concerns regarding the use of CRM because they were not prepared for this kind of change in the business processes. It is vital to understand that a proper appraisal system should be developed so that employees can easily embrace CRMs. The efforts of management looked to be quite critical in this regard (Awan and Azhar, 2014). Keeping this case study in view, further sections will try to explain and compare three different information system development methods, and one considerable information system development method will be recommended for this case study.

2. Criteria for the Analysis

            It is vital to have some kind of criteria to continue with this analysis. In this report, a standard evaluation framework will be used and things will be reviewed under this evaluation criterion, where a detailed explanation and description of three information system development methods will be provided. Once these three information system development methods will be described with their own features such as advantages and disadvantages, then a comparison will be made in a table form to see the strong and weak points of these information system development methods.

3. Comparative Analysis

            In this comparative analysis section, three information system developmentmethods will be discussed in detail, and then a comparison would be provided to see, which one looks better than the others.

The Spiral Method: The first method in this comparison is the Spiral Method. It is one of the important information system development methods, which is considered great in terms of risk-driven scenarios. The most interesting thing about this method is that it is a combination of the waterfall method and the iterative method. Every method has its own processes to handle for the organizations, and the spiral method is known for its risk management capabilities. It is one of the best choices for software engineers because it proves quite effective in this regard. If an organization is looking to deal with complex, expensive, large, as well as, complicated information system projects, then using the spiral method can be quite useful in a variety of ways. There are different phases of the spiral method, and each phase has various steps. The first phase is called the planning phase. In this phase, the first thing is to do an estimation of the resources, schedule, and costs for the process of iteration. Every new system comes with a range of requirements, and this phase of planning helps to identify those requirements. It is vital to identify these requirements to develop better communication in the process. Once planning is done, a proposed design for the overall system is also developed at this stage. In the next phase, the system’s 1st prototype is developed by using the preliminary design proposed in the previous phase. This prototype is a good indication for the final product (Rouse, 2020)

            In the next phase, the most critical thing is risk analysis. When a plan is finalized with a proposed design, it is vital to identify any kinds of potential risks so that a risk mitigation strategy is developed to deal with the risks. This risk analysis process is quite crucial because these risks can become the cause of the failure of the system. When risk analysis is done, the next phase is the testing and engineering phase. At this phase, the information system is developed, codes, as well as, tested. The last phase of this process is the evaluation phase. When the spiral method is used to developed software for the customers, it is evaluated by constant monitoring, and this evaluation explains the overall performance of the system. The spiral method comes with certain advantages and disadvantages. The first advantage of the spiral method is the fact that additional functions can easily be added in this information system method. It means that if any changes are required in the later stages, one can easily make those changes. This method is also considered useful in terms of cost estimation. Risk management is one of the best advantages of this method. It is one of those methods, which is faster in its development process. There are a few disadvantages as well as this method has a risk, where it may not be able to meet the given budget or schedule. This development method is only suitable for complicated and large information systems, which means a lot of effort and resources required. It is critical to follow its given protocols, and if any protocol is missed, things become difficult to manage. There are so many phases, so a lot of documentation is required (Kalomitsines, 2006)

The Waterfall Method:It is one of the basic development methods, which has been used for decades, and it has also provided the basis for other methodologies to get things going. When its roots are traced back to the past, it is evident that the waterfall method was primarily used in the era of 1970s. It is observed that when the aim is to come up with a system that has the essence of a sequential and linear approach; the use of the waterfall method is the most appropriate thing to do. One must understand that the waterfall method also comes with different phases, and each phase has its own crucial place in the process of development of systems. When a phase ends with output, that output is used as a source for input to be used in the next phase. The first and foremost critical phase of this model is the requirement phase. At this stage, it is determined what kind of requirements are there for a system so that a proper information system is developed to handle those requirements. Once requirements are identified, now it is time to come up with a design of the system. It is critical to developing a logical design, which has the feasibility to be used in the information system of an organization. If the design is not logical, then it won’t comply with the system. Once a design is finalized, the next phase in this process is the implementation of the design as per the proposed steps. The design is implemented with the essence of the waterfall method. Verification is the next phase of this process, which is actually an evaluation phase, where system design is evaluated to verify if it is working properly or not and if it needs any improvement. The last phase in this process is the maintenance phase, where customers are provided the information system to use, and when any kind of problem is identified, those problems are noted, and maintenance is done to keep things on a right track (Avison, 1996)

            It was mentioned earlier that every system has a few advantages and disadvantages so the waterfall method also has a few of them. The best part of this information system development method is that it is quite a straightforward methodology, where a series of phases is there to follow one after the other. It means that system is not that complex to handle and understand. Another advantage of this system is its easy approach to manage, which makes it easier to manage as compared to other information system development methods. If there is a small project to be managed, then the use of the waterfall method is quite a handful, as it is easier to deal with small projects without any issues. The time management in this model is also effective as compared to another model. There are methods, which are complex and difficult to understand, but this is not the case with the waterfall method, as it is not as difficult as other methods are. Its overall management is quite simple. As far as disadvantages are concerned, the biggest disadvantage is that when the method is used to develop an information system, and later it is found that a revision is required; it does not provide the facility of doing any revision. If any requirement was missed during the initial phases, and now the product is going through the testing phase, there is no viable option to add those missing requirements (Kulkarni, Padmanabham and Baseer, 2015)

System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Method:It is one more critical method of information system development, and it is quite similar to the methods of spiral and waterfall. It is one of those development methods, which work on a gradual basis, rather than being too faster like the spiral method. Its gradual development process with its different phases continues until the best quality information system is developed in the end. It comes with an iterative process having multiple steps, and there is a structure to follow these steps. The first phase of this development method is the planning phase, where a problem is identified with its scope so that a viable solution can be proposed. The benefits, limitations, time, costs, as well as, resources are finalized at this stage. The 2nd phase of SDLC is the analysis of the system to find out relevant requirements. Here, functional requirements are determined and defined as the scope of the project. The 3rd phase in this process is system design. Two previous phases have helped to identify requirements and planning is done, so it is time to develop a system design as per needs. When the design of the system is proposed and finalized, the next phase is the development stage, where the system is actually developed. When the system is developed, it is used and tested in the 5th phase for its flaws and performance. The 6th phase is the implementation phase, where the system is practically implemented and used to see if it is performing as per expectations or not. If any issues are found, or any additional requirements are identified, in both cases, the maintenance stage would help to add new functions and capabilities (Scroggins, 2014)

            As far as advantages and disadvantages are concerned, SDLC also comes with various advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage of the system development life cycle method is that it has a series of structure steps, which means that it can be handled by following those steps one after the other. There is complete clarity in this regard and there is no confusion. The next advantage of SDLC is that it is easier to manage, and if any problem is found, then one can go back to the previous stage to remove the problem area, and then get back again on its given track. It means that when an error is noticed, it allows making some changes to deal with those errors. However, there are few limitations as well for the SDLC method. It is observed that it may not be as stable as it supposed to be, and it happens because control on such kind of method is not as efficient as it is in the other two methods of information system development. Some issues have also been noticed with its documentation process (Roebuck, 2011)

Comparative Table

System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Method

The Waterfall Method

The Spiral Method

It is one of the easy to manage information system development methods

It has series of steps to follow and easier to manager

It is difficult and complex to manage

If any problem is identified, SDLC allows users to make changes ot go back to the previous phase

In this method, if any error has been noticed at any phase, it cannot be fixed and user cannot go back to any previous stage

If an additional function or any changes are identified during the process, those changes can easily be made in this method

This method also does not include an risk assessment process

There is no risk analysis process in this method

Risk mitigation and analysis is important part of the process

It can be used for both small and large projects

This method is only used for the small kind of projects

When there are large as well as complicated projects, spiral model works best in such a scenario


4. Recommendation of the Suitable Method

            After looking at three different information system development methods, it can be said that all of them have their own pros and cons, and each one is suitable for different kinds of projects and circumstances. Keeping the aforementioned case study in context, it can be said that the spiral model can be used for the flour mills because it was found that employees resisted using new CRM as they were not prepared for it. If an organization would have used the spiral method to implement the new CRM, it would have kept this risk in view. So, risk analysis and risk mitigation are two important elements to keep in mind, when a new information system is being developed and implemented. If the project is small, then it is considerable to use the waterfall method, but here it is concluded that the spiral method looks to be the best choice among these three information system development methods.


Avison, E. (1996) 'Information systems development methodologies: a broader perspective', Method Engineering, pp. 263-277.

Awan, , and Azhar, , (2014) 'CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT SYSTEM: A CASE STUDY OF FLOUR MILLS IN BAHAWALPUR DISTRICT', British Journal of Marketing Studies, vol. 2, no. 7, pp. 1-13.

Garfield, (2017) What are examples of information systems that are needed in organizations?, [Online], Available: https://stangarfield.medium.com/what-are-examples-of-information-systems-that-are-needed-in-organizations-5dcd8e819418 [13 January 2021].

Kalomitsines, , (2006) 'The spiral method for solving problems', International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 501-505.

Kulkarni, , , Padmanabham, P. and Baseer, K.K. (2015) 'Critical Review of Extended Waterfall Model', International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, vol. 6, no. 11.

Roebuck, (2011) Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC): High-impact Strategies - What You Need to Know: Definitions, Adoptions, Impact, Benefits, Maturity, Vendors, Lightning Source.

Rouse, (2020) Spiral Model, [Online], Available: https://searchsoftwarequality.techtarget.com/definition/spiral-model [13 January 2021].

Scroggins, (2014) 'SDLC and Development Methodologies', Global Journal of Computer Science and Technology, vol. 14, no. 7.

Zwass, (2020) Information system, [Online], Available: https://www.britannica.com/topic/information-system [13 January 2021].

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