Life cycle of information and knowledge systems

The life cycle of an information and knowledge system. It can be defined as the organization and performance of a set of diverse tasks and activities that range from the birth of the recognition of their need until these systems become obsolete and are replaced by others.

The most accepted approach is the cascade life cycle, made up of stages and each one has a certain result (technical documents, computer programs and other information) that feed into the next stage and without which it is not possible to start.


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  • 1 Stages of the life cycle of information and knowledge systems
  • 2 The actors of the systems project
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 See also
  • 5 External link

Stages of the life cycle of information and knowledge systems

  • Preliminary investigation. It consists of a brief investigation of the entity’s activity (productive, service, educational, curative, etc.), of its organization, its information processes, deficiencies, strengths, etc. Here the informative problems and their causes, possibilities for improvement and the main objectives of the project are identified, she will have less time if the group is made up of people from the entity with experience, otherwise it requires more time. A technical, organizational, informative and economic study must be carried out, evaluating in numbers as corresponds to the first stage of the project, both costs and tangible and intangible benefits.

Interviews will be carried out with officials, administrators and users and workers who do not have a direct relationship with the system, observations of the entity and the way in which it works to detect deficiencies manifested in existing economic problems. Study documents related to the entity and its economic, productive, financial and accounting status (financial statements, annual reports, internal audit reports, administrative work manuals such as policy, rules, procedures, systems and information) to gain understanding of the main processes of the entity, the operation of the existing information systems will be observed, questionnaires will be applied to those who cannot interview to find out their opinion on the investigated aspects.

  • Detailed analysis of the existing situation. Its main objective is to understand in detail and critically how the informationmanagement work is carried out in the entity (it collects, transmits, stores and processes the information and how it is used for management processes). It will require a lot of work, so the multidisciplinary group can be expanded with more analysts to obtain a full understanding of what information users need for the job and how they carry it out, using the methods: interviews , document analysis (manuals , financial statements, reports, minutes of the board of directors, etc); [ questionnaire surveys (to those not interviewed),observations , compilation of forms and reports, description of information flows, study of content and file design .

These methods can be complemented with the use of tools: data flow diagrams, organization charts , diagrams of procedures in an office, data flow, relationship tables, and others.

  • Design of the new system. The fundamental elements that the new system will have must be designed and it has the minimum objective of solving the informative problems, but it is possible that they may make other additional proposals. It should be discussed at all levels, and everyone should be aware of the changes that will occur so that the introduction of the new system is not blocked by human factors.

The new system that is designed at this stage may have different degrees of assimilation of computer techniques, from a completely manual processing system to an information system for management , business resource planning systems and a support system for decision-making. decisions , of very high computer component.

  • Development and documentation of the new system. It will depend on several alternatives, if a new software is developed, if it is acquired or if it is kept manual because the procedure allows it.

In the case of developing new software, the development of specific programs will be carried out, using the programming languages ​​that will be used, this is what they call “physical design of the system” and is carried out based on the technical documentation of the system of information and knowledge prepared in the previous stage.

In case of acquiring ready-made software, then the task of the multidisciplinary group of the system changes.

  • Implementation of the information and knowledge system. It consists of the introduction in the practical activity, it is necessary to carry out a phase called experimental introduction, to detect insufficiencies and deficiencies and make the necessary final adjustments. It requires the application of methods that guarantee the minimization of negative effects, among these methods are:

Parallel introduction . In this case, the new system is introduced without eliminating the old one. Introduction in pilot form . An area of ​​the entity is selected, and the new system is applied for a period of time. Instant replacement of the previous system . It is done when the previous system is very poor and its elimination will not represent a problem. Introduction in trial period . It consists when there is no previous system and the new one is introduced and its behavior is monitored during the trial period. Introduction by parts . It is used when the new system is very large.

The experimental introduction period may vary depending on the subsystem that is implanted.

  • Maintenance of the information and knowledge system. Its objective is to adapt the system to changes in the environment and the entity itself, which produce new information needs in management and higher levels, and to technical changes in hardware and software, which must be justified and approved by the entity’s management and reflected in the technical documentation of the system, so that it is kept updated and in the user manualso that it continues to reflect the reality of the system.

Unjustified changes that may affect the elements of interaction with users should be avoided: the information that goes to some output report, the stored data, etc., the most recommended is to keep the work of the multidisciplinary group of systems who should be responsible for analyzing, suggest and approve the changes. The technical part – the systems analysts, computer scientists – must be represented by the users’ committee that will be in charge of making the necessary changes and who will propose the modifications the computerized modifications that must be made.

The multidisciplinary group of systems (GMS) will be in charge of guarding the original version of the system and its documentation and the versions that emerge after the changes have been made. Each change that occurs must be recorded in a record of modifications in which the change made will be defined, the reasons that justified it, the date it was made, the technicians who executed it, those who requested it and those who approved it. It will reflect the history of the modifications made to the system, it will be very useful if there are exits from the entity of the technicians and users. The multidisciplinary group of systems should keep the costs of these changes within a reasonable limit.

It will be rolled up for its entire useful life, only ending when the system is out of date.

The actors of the systems project

  • General Manager. Main actor, is the one who must “push” the project, from its top position must be the one who gives lifeto the project , showing interest, systematically controlling the tasks of the project, managing to remove obstacles from the way, as well as with the allocation of financial resources, human and of all kinds. It is about the general manager managing to transmit a clear message “the system project is very important, I support it and you must do the same”.
  • The multidisciplinary group of systems. Assumes primary responsibility for project action, from start to finish, at all stages and tasks of the life cycle. As it is made up of systems analysts, engineers, computer scientists, programmers, accountants, financiers, auditors, administrators, they highlight the reality of a systems project: “the system is made for users and is put into function for them.”

Only the group can contribute the knowledge that processors need and cannot find without their help. This group makes the system respond to the true interests of the entity’s management and does so efficiently and effectively.

  • Systems analyst. Indicated to lead the multidisciplinary group of systems, due to the fact that the computer knowledge, the techniques of analysis and design of the information systems and certain knowledge on the financial and economic management of the entity that is computerized must come together. They must have the ability to interpret the language of different specialists and make it the lingua franca of the group. Of course you must have the necessary knowledge in relation to computing, deep and great experience.

The systems analyst must have a good team of specialists in computer systems. For the computing part of the system you must have software engineers, general computing specialists, and computer programmers. In the event that the system is acquired, they must carefully study the computerized part of it and be able to solve any problem that may arise or any modification that may be required in the future.

  • The users. They must be outstanding peoplein the economic, accounting, financial, auditing and management fields in the entity . Knowledgeable about their activity, intelligent people who can be trusted. They must be able to quickly understand the technical problems of information systems and to communicate to computer specialists the peculiarities of the sciences they master. They must ensure that the new system provides the highest level of quality with their suggestions .

The aim is for users to provide the multidisciplinary group with all the knowledge and experience that computer and system specialists do not have.

From the joint work of the GMS, between systems and computer specialists and users an osmosis (diffusion) will arise in both directions, the users will assimilate the system and computer techniques and they will learn accounting and finance.

  • Softwareselling firm . The one that should have been chosen (in the event that the software is acquired), among other factors for its seriousness, position in the market , quality of its product , price and after-sales service it offers.
  • The rest of the entity’s staff. In all likelihood, they will be the fundamental users of the information that the new system will offer, or their feeders with primary data. They must be convinced of the importance of the system and its role, they will be affected by the changes that will occur, so it is necessary to understand the inevitability of the measure.


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