Whether you work for a small nonprofit organization or a multibillion-dollar international business, your work is affected by business systems. Your personal information is kept in some type of human resource management (HRM) system; you get paid via a payroll system; and you communicate with others via an e-mail system. You would not be able to do your work without these systems, but have you ever asked yourself where these systems came from? How were they selected? How effectively do they function in your organization? Do they need upgrading?
Business analysts, systems analysts, project managers, and many other specialty employees all contribute to locating, developing, and implementing these systems.
Virtually all aspects of today’s companies are influenced by, if not outright controlled by, information systems. Although some of these are small, stand-alone packages, most have been integrated into enterprise-wide systems. Understanding how these systems interact with one another and how they comply with the missions of the business is key to properly analyzing and designing modifications for them.
Ask yourself what your corporate standard for the SDLC (systems development life cycle) is, if any. How does it compare to other SDLCs? Does it function effectively for your organization? Why or why not? Additionally, think about what enterprise-wide systems you currently have, which additional ones might benefit you, and why or how that might be.
Enterprise business systems development is the process of answering these questions, then coming up with a solution to the business’ needs and implementing that solution. This is the transformation from ‘smoke stack’ systems, where one department keeps adding to its own system, to The Big Picture. The systems analyst will take a birds-eye view of the company and find a solution wherein as many departments as can will share data and apply it to their own needs. The overall plan will probably include particular stand-alone applications for business-specific needs.
Whether you work in IT or in a management role in another department of your organization, it is likely you will be involved in updating and replacing information systems. Understanding the SDLC process and the major categories of systems within the organization is key to effectively functioning in either of those roles.