What is a System Anyway?
By Russ Finney
的基本方法只有很小的区别，大量的非自身独有的（off the self 的意思，用英文
来解释就是available without self,or on the other envirement－－方雨)自动化替代方案
What is a System Anyway?
By Russ Finney
A system is a set of manual and automated procedures devised for conducting
business. Some procedures may support monthly information gathering, others may
consist of calculations, summarizations, and report creation, and still others
may center on picking from a series of known alternatives, each with a
respective set of required decisions. A system can be a totally manual process,
a completely automated process, or a combination somewhere in between. But all
systems at one time or another seem to be rooted in one or more of the following
Systems which are developed within companies with long operating histories and
stable product or service lines, tend to be based on slowly evolving business
procedures. Within these companies, a mix of manual and automated practices may
exist which, over time, become "institutionalized". If the company is large and
bureaucratic, the masses of business clients become focused on small
individualized tasks, and only a handful of long term employees may really have
any idea of the "big picture" of what is really occurring.
Companies which have their business practices regulated by governmental
entities, tend to have systems, procedures, and individuals who are adaptive and
reactive to the various changing rules and regulations. Depending on the
regulatory pace and the amount of advance notification given the company,
systems may either smoothly evolve to the new regulatory environment, or they
may degrade into "piecemeal" temporary solutions which seem to live on
Some systems are simply based on accepted business principles. An established
and well defined way of conducting business exists, and all companies follow
this model. Accounting (G/L, A/P, A/R, etc.), payroll, and financial reporting
systems all fit into this category. Since only minor differences exist in the
fundamental way in which these systems operate from company to company, and from
industry to industry, numerous "off the self" automation alternatives exist
which suit the largest to the smallest business enterprise. Other than when
sweeping business principle changes occur, these systems are by far the most
stable and the least dynamic in the organization. Usually a company "grows" out
their current systems, and this is the situation which triggers change.
Every industry has unique characteristics which define the organization's
approach to conducting business. These industry practices become embodied in the
systems which evolve within the company. These systems also tend to be the most
closely guarded since they are perceived to represent a competitive advantage.
Any type of significant organizational, procedural, or system advance which
provides higher quality, lower costs, or better customer service can give the
company an important competitive "edge". Changes to these types of systems are
no trivial matter since they represent the "lifeblood" of the enterprise.
The last group of systems are those born from innovation. They are created when
a new organization is formed or a new product or service is offered. As these
systems develop and evolve, an awareness of the overall short term risks and the
long term benefits should be the prime concern of the organization. Since the
creation of the procedures and the associated system infrastructure tends to be
from "scratch", a company is well advised to harness as much expertise and
experience as possible during the process. This insures that a solid foundation
is created for both current business requirements as well support for future
Understanding both the history, character, and source of a particular new or
existing system is a vital requirement of the business analyst. System
implementation and support options vary in each of the above situations. The
business analyst and system designer must be keenly aware of the business
sensitivities surrounding system implementation or change effort. Understanding
these "roots" of the particular system is the first step.