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Design Alternative Physical Systems

28 August, 2015 - 12:18

We are now at the point to describe how the new system will operate. Working with the future logical system, an analysis team could devise several physical alternatives.

  1. The first step in developing a future physical system is to decide which processes will be manual and which will be automated. For example at Peapod they must decide if the picking lists will be printed with the clerks recording the quantities picked by writing on the picking lists, or if the lists will be presented on the screen of a handheld computer with clerks recording quantities picked on the handheld’s keyboard.
  2. As a second step in developing an alternative physical design, the analyst must decide which processes will begin immediately upon occurrence of an event and which will only operate periodically (often with batches of transactions). For example, at Peapod, they must decide when they will record the movement and delivery of groceries. Will, for example, the deliveries be recorded in a batch at the end of the day or immediately recorded via handhelds as the groceries are delivered?

The final step in designing alternative physical systems is to complete specifications for the future physical system. Typically, specifications are written for each bubble in the future physical system. These specifications indicate how, where, and in what form inputs are processed; and how, where, and in what form outputs are produced. When specifying physical systems, we may choose from a host of alternatives typically dictated by alternative technologies and modes of processing.

Review Question

Why do we develop alternative physical design?