Systems analysis

This article is about the interdisciplinary field. For the analysis of systems in electrical engineering, see system analysis.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines systems analysis as "the process of studying a procedure or business in order to identify its goals and purposes and create systems and procedures that will achieve them in an efficient way". Another view sees systems analysis as a problem-solving technique that decomposes a system into its component pieces for the purpose of the studying how well those component parts work and interact to accomplish their purpose.[1] Analysis and synthesis, as scientific methods, always go hand in hand; they complement one another. Every synthesis builds upon the results of a preceding analysis, and every analysis requires a subsequent synthesis in order to verify and correct its results.

The field of systems analysis relates closely to requirements analysis or to operations research. It is also "an explicit formal inquiry carried out to help a decision maker identify a better course of action and make a better decision than she might otherwise have made."[2]


The terms analysis and synthesis stem from Greek, meaning "to take apart" and "to put together," respectively. These terms are used in many scientific disciplines, from mathematics and logic to economics and psychology, to denote similar investigative procedures. Analysis is defined as "the procedure by which we break down an intellectual or substantial whole into parts," while synthesis means "the procedure by which we combine separate elements or components in order to form a coherent whole." [3] Systems analysis researchers apply methodology to the systems involved, forming an overall picture. System analysis is used in every field where something is developed. Analysis can also be a series of components that perform organic functions together, such as system engineering. Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering that focuses on how complex engineering projects should be designed and managed.

Information technology

The development of a computer-based information system includes a systems analysis phase. This helps produce the data model, a precursor to creating or enhancing a database. There are a number of different approaches to system analysis. When a computer-based information system is developed, systems analysis (according to the Waterfall model) would constitute the following steps:

Another view outlines a phased approach to the process. This approach breaks systems analysis into 5 phases:

Use cases are widely used systems analysis modeling tools for identifying and expressing the functional requirements of a system. Each use case is a business scenario or event for which the system must provide a defined response. Use cases evolved from object-oriented analysis.

Policy analysis

The discipline of what is today known as policy analysis originated from the application of systems analysis when it was first instituted by United States Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.


Practitioners of systems analysis are often called up to dissect systems that have grown haphazardly to determine the current components of the system. This was shown during the year 2000 re-engineering effort as business and manufacturing processes were examined as part of the Y2K automation upgrades.[4] Employment utilizing systems analysis include systems analyst, business analyst, manufacturing engineer, systems architect, enterprise architect, software architect, etc.

While practitioners of systems analysis can be called upon to create new systems, they often modify, expand or document existing systems (processes, procedures and methods). Researchers and practitioners rely on system analysis. Activity system analysis has been already applied to various research and practice studies including business management, educational reform, educational technology, etc.

See also


  1. Systems Analysis and Design for the Global Enterprise by Lonnie D. Bentley p.160 7th edition
  3. Tom Ritchey, Analysis and Synthesis.
  4. Géza HUSI: Mechatronics Control Systems

Chess analyst

Selected publications

Look up systems analysis in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/19/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.