The ICT Lounge
 
Section 7.8:
Stage 6 - Evaluation
 
The final stage of the system's life cycle is to evaluate it's impact and effectiveness.

Evaluation takes place after the system has been running and in use for a while.
Key Concepts of this section:
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Understand what is meant by System Evaluation .
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Know why it is important to evaluate a system.
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Be able to describe the tasks involved when carrying out an evaluation.

Stage 6 - Evaluation
Key Words:
Evaluate, Effective, User-Friendly, Functionality.
Why is it important to evaluate a system?
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Systems are evaluated in order to determine if:
  • The system is doing the job it was designed to do
  • The system is working well with minimum errors
  • Staff can use the system properly.
Examples:
Documentation takes place during the sixth
stage of the systems lifecycle.
 
Effective systems run fast.
Effective systems should reduce waste.
The system will be evaluated and compared against the requirements specification list.
System errors will be fixed and hardware/software upgrades will be carried out.
Extra functionality can be added to the system.
 
NOTE:
The 'System's Life Cycle' is given this name because the process repeats again and again in a continuous cycle.


What does an evaluation look for?
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A good and effective evaluation of a system will ask the following questions:

Is the system effective?
  • Does the system work fast?
  • Does the system run smoothly?
  • Does the system save the company time and money?
  • Does the system reduce paper-waste?

Is the system easy to use?
  • Does the system have a user-friendly interface?
  • Can everyone use the system easily?
  • Can the system be used with minimal training?

Is the system appropriate?
  • Does the system perform the job it was designed for?
  • Are the clients happy with the system?
  • Is there anything the system can't do that it should?


How is an evaluation carried out?
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The answers to the above questions would be determined by carrying out a detailed evaluation.

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The system's analyst would evaluate the system by completing a series of tasks. These tasks include:

Comparing the system against the initial requirements
If you remember back to stage 1, the analyst asked questions and observed staff in order to figure out exactly what the client required the new system to do.

This was called a requirements specification.

The analyst will compare the completed system to each of the original requirements.

If each one of the requirements has been met, the new system can be considered a success.

Evaluating user's experiences
Users of the system will be asked their views about the performance.
  • Do they find the system easy to use?
  • Does the system help them do their job?
  • Have they experienced any errors or glitches?
People who use a system on a daily basis can sometimes find problems that testing may miss.

Identifying limitations of the new system
After evaluating the system, the analyst will make a list of system limitations.

These limitations will include anything on the requirements specification that the system cannot do.

Identifying system improvements
Based on the list of system limitations, the analyst will recommend improvements that need to be made to system.

Final improvements
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After evaluation has been carried out and the the system's success has been determined, it could be necessary to carry out some changes/improvements.

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These could include:

Error correction
Any limitations and errors identified during evaluation will be fixed and tested.

Add functionality
Users of the system may ask for extra functions to be added in order to improve performance.

For example: a company may expand into a different country and could required language translation features added to their system.

Performance improvement
Hardware or software may need to be upgraded:
  • Hardware - larger hard disk drives, faster servers
  • Software - system code changed to remove bugs etc.

What happens next?
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After evaluation and improvements have been carried out, the system's analyst will start the whole process again from the beginning:
  • The new system will be re-analysed to see if it still meets the company's requirements
  • Updated requirements specifications will be devised
  • New designs will be produced with improvements to the system
  • These improvements will be developed into the system
  • Improvements to the system will be tested, installed and then evaluated.

Activity!

Click the above task and answer the questions about
the Evaluation Stage.

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Links to Theory Units:
Section 4: Networks and the Effects of using them
Section 6: ICT Applications
Section 8: Safety and Security
Section 9: Audience
Section 10: Communication
 
Links to Practical Units:
Section 11: File Management
Section 12: Images
Section 13: layout
Section 14: Styles
Section 15: Proofing
Section 16: Graphs and Charts
Section 17: Document Production
Section 18: Data Manipulation
Section 19: Presentations
Section 20: Data Analysis
Section 21: Website Authoring