Feasibility Analysis in System Development Process

Objectives of Feasibility Analysis

  • The main objectives of feasibility analysis are –
  • To identify the deficiencies in the current system.
  • To determine objectives of the proposed system.
  • To acquire a sense of scope of the system.
  • To identify the responsible users.
  • To determine whether it is feasible to develop the new system.

Steps in Feasibility Analysis

Feasibility analysis is carried out in following steps:

  1. Form a Project Team and Appoint a Project Leader: First of all project management group of the organization forms separate teams for independent projects. Each project team comprises of one or more systems analysts and programmers with a project leader. The project leader is responsible for planning and managing the development activities of the system.
  2. Start Preliminary Investigation: The systems analyst of each project team starts    preliminary investigations through different fact finding techniques.
  3. Prepare the Current Systems Flowchart: After preliminary investigations, the analysts prepare the systems flowchart of the current system. These charts describe the general working of the system in a graphical way.
  4. Describe the Deficiencies in the Current System: On studying the systems flowcharts, the analysts identify and describe the deficiencies in the current system.
  5. Determine Objectives of the Proposed System: The major objectives of the proposed systems are listed by each analyst and are discussed with the project leader.
  6. Prepare the Proposed Systems Flowchart: After determining the major objectives of the proposed system, the analysts prepare their systems flowcharts. Systems flowcharts of the proposed system are compared with those of current system in order to ensure that they meet the objectives.
  7. Determine the Technical Feasibility: The existing computer systems (hardware and software) of the concerned department are identified and their technical specifications are noted down. The analysts decide whether the existing systems are sufficient for the technical requirements of the proposed system or not.
  8. Determine the Economic Feasibility: The analysts determine the costs and benefits of proposed system in order to ensure that the project is economically feasible.
  9. Determine the Operational Feasibility: After determining the economic feasibility, the analysts identify the responsible users of the system and hence determine the operational feasibility of the project.
  10. Presentation of Feasibility Analysis: During the feasibility study, the analysts also keep on preparing the feasibility study report. At the end of feasibility analysis, the feasibility analysis report is given to the management along with the oral presentation.

Types of Feasibility

During feasibility analysis, the analyst considers the three main types of feasibility – technical, economical and operational feasibility, all of which are interrelated.

  • Technical Feasibility: During this study, the analyst identifies the existing computer systems (hardware and software) of the concerned department and determines whether these technical resources are sufficient for the proposed system or not. If they are not sufficient, the analyst suggests the configuration of the computer systems that are required. The analyst generally pursues two or three different configurations which satisfy the key technical requirements but which represent different costs. During technical feasibility study, financial resources and budget is also considered. The main objective of technical feasibility is to determine whether the project is technically feasible, provided it is economically feasible.
  • Economic Feasibility: Economic feasibility is the most important study that determines the cost and benefits of the proposed system and compares with the budget. The cost of the project should not outweigh the budget. The cost of the project includes the cost of hardware, software, development and implementation. Cost/benefit analysis is the common method to determine the benefits that are expected from the proposed system and compare them with the costs expected to spend on development of the system. If benefits are found to be more than costs, then the analyst decides to continue the development of the proposed system otherwise considers it economically not feasible. The feasibility study presents both tangible (e.g., increased productivity, low operating cost, etc.) and intangible benefits (e.g., improved organizational planning, improved asset utilization, etc.) in a formal way. We will discuss the cost/benefit analysis in a subsequent sub-section.
  • Operational Feasibility: When it is found that the project is both economic and technical feasible, the next step is to determine whether it is operationally feasible or not. During operational feasibility study, it is determined whether the system will operate in the way that user wants. Operational feasibility depends upon human resources for the development and implementation of the system. It is considered whether the qualified and experienced manpower is available for development and implementation of the system. User involvement is more required in determining the operational feasibility.
  • Social Feasibility: Social feasibility is a determination of whether a proposed project will be acceptable to the people or not. This determination typically examines the probability of the project being accepted by the group directly affected by the proposed system change.
  • Management feasibility: It is a determination of whether a proposed project will be acceptable to management. If management does not accept a project or gives a negligible support to it, the analyst will tend to view the project as a non-feasible one.
  • Legal feasibility: Legal feasibility is a determination of whether a proposed project infringes on known Acts, Statutes, as well as any pending legislation. Although in some instances the project might appear sound, on closer investigation it may be found to infringe on several legal areas.
  • Time feasibility: Time feasibility is a determination of whether a proposed project can be implemented fully within a stipulated time frame. If a project takes too much time it is likely to be rejected.

After the feasibility study, a document is prepared that is known as ‘Feasibility Study Report’. Besides this report, the analyst also gives the oral presentation of feasibility study to the management.

Read More : System Development Life Cycle