The Database Design Analysis phase - Where it all starts.
The business perspective
The analysis phase of our database design website deals with early stage of a business system lifecycle. This is phase we enter after strategic requirements are in place: The scope of system, key technical requirements, and tools for each stage of development, etc. is decided. Economics are most likely also determined.
We may also (most likely) have a rudimentary information model, and we know about key functionality that is required. The main purpose of analysis phase is to bring all these pieces together to form a business model containing all entities with their attributes, domains and relations, together with a complete function model with its hierarchy, as well as domain constraints (on attributes), business rules (constraints), and events that trigger functions. The output of analysis stage will be carried over to design phase of development project.
The one most important thing to remember in analysis phase is: Our scope is to determine WHAT should be made, not HOW.
In many projects, I have overheard participants starting to talk about how a given function should behave Colors, buttons, defaults etc. However, all of that belong to design phase. You have to stop this at once: The analysis phase is about BUSINESS, not SYSTEM. The system shall reflect business, not other way around, as sometimes unfortunately happens.
Actually, analysis phase is an excellent time (and right time) to learn business in-depth. I do not insist that you know business in detail. The business itself knows its business. Therefore, your chances of failure are high without business participation. On other hand, I have witnessed failure in projects where business wanted to control whole process alone, and just use 'hired hands' to execute their demands. A balance has to be established.
As with many other things in life, neither to little nor too much of a thing is a good thing.
'Good judgments are based on experience. Experience is based on bad judgments'.
The importance of a professional Database analysis team.
The complexity and degree of computer involvement in business is constantly growing. No wonder; each 18th month, we can buy hardware with twice performance at same price. We are therefore able to put more demands on our software, until we reach some limit. However, it only takes another 18 months; then we can buy new hardware without these limits... and so on.
There is also a good reason for it: We may very well rely on a standard system for our accounting or payroll routines, we can use market standards in word processing and spreadsheets, and so on. What separates a high-performing business from a failure is way CUSTOMER is reached for, and how he is treated. That is customer marketing and customer care. The customer is always business. If you do not have customers, you do not have a business.
If such a business exists,however, please let me know.
Such systems, systems that give business an advance compared to its competitors, we may call strategic systems. If two businesses buy same strategic system from shelf, then they do not gain any system advantage towards each other. On other hand, business that is fastest to respond, and deliver, and at same time is competitive, will definitely have an advantage. In a world with rising competition and globalization, this will grow more and more important. Good news for software industry and analysis team...
In analysis stage, we need an analysis team of both business experiences as well as experienced system analysts. In addition, we need tools that can help us seeing overall picture, as well as helping us further forward.