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Competitive Advantage Development Approach Background

At WEBAPPZ, we incorporate a combination of formal IT principles and proven leading-edge technologies. Strongly enforced object-oriented standards ensure that our solutions are easily maintainable not only by ourselves, but also by our clients. As part of the consulting process, we follow the systematic approach embodied in what is referred to as the systems development life cycle (SDLC), which generally encompasses seven phases.
  1. Identify problems, opportunities, and objectives. In this phase, we work closely with our client to determine what is occurring in their business. Then, we identify the problems, which, often times are presented by the client. Opportunities are processes or situations that we feel can be improved through the use of information technology. In some instances, seizing these opportunities may ultimately provide a competitive advantage to the client. Finally, determining objectives - it is crucial for us to assess what the client's business is attempting to achieve. Once this is identified, we can see if there is some manner in which an information systems application can be used to address the problems and opportunities discovered in the exploration phase.

  2. Determine system information requirements. This next phase involves finding out the information needs of the particular users involved. Here, we try to understand what information users require to perform their jobs. This usually entails interviews with the users, questionnaires, viewing hard data, observing workflow, and generally obtaining a good understanding of business operations.

  3. Analyze system needs. Here, we take the information gathered from phase 2 and utilize flow diagrams to display the inputs, processes, and outputs of the business's functions. In this phase, we also analyze what decisions are made and how these are structured. After the detailed analysis, we prepare a systems proposal that addresses the system requirements, provides a cost/benefit analyses of alternatives, and makes recommendations, if any, regarding what should be done to reach the client's objectives. Once the client agrees to a solution presented, then we proceed to the system design phase.

  4. Design the system. In designing the system, we capture all of what was agreed to in the recommendation, and create the graphical user interface (GUI). WEBAPPZ utilizes its LISTedit framework to expedite this process. System design also includes a well-organized database structure, and a design for the outputs. Good database design is key to any information system and this is where WEBAPPZ's team of consultants can really make the difference. With over 15 years of database design experience - this ever growing knowledge is ultimately, passed on to our clients.

  5. Develop and document the software. In the development phase, we work closely with our programmers to develop any original software that is required. If any of WEBAPPZ's past applications contain elements which can be used, these are recycled into the new application. In turn, our clients realize the cost savings due to faster development. When documenting the software, we work together with the system end-users. This process provides the client with detailed software documentation, procedure manuals, technical documentation, and technical support documentation for common queries, if desired.

  6. Test and maintain the system. This is a crucial and often times, greatest cost-savings measure for the client. Problems captured with the system here, are less expensive to resolve than post client sign-off. This testing phase, however, is significantly reduced due to the use of WEBAPPZ's software development frameworks, which have been thoroughly tested, thereby reducing the number of possible bugs in the developed system. Our frameworks are also regularly being enhanced to take advantage of new concepts in application development. In this phase, depending upon the situation, testing is done by our programmers, designers, and/or client representatives. The system is first tested with sample data, and eventually, with actual system data. If any problems are discovered here, they are discussed with the client and an action plan is devised to deal with the issues. At WEBAPPZ, our goal is to create low-maintenance systems applications. To do this, our consultants take all steps possible during the design, development and testing phases to ensure that maintenance issues are kept to a minimum. But, no matter how well the system was initially designed, a client may wish to later modify the system due to changes in the company, its business practice, or growth. If changes or enhancements are necessary, our team works with the client to perform these requirements until the system satisfies their needs.

  7. Deploy and evaluate the system. This final phase involves implementing the software application, training the users, and evaluating the system. Here, we assist the client with the transition from their old system, (if applicable), to the new one. We also directly train the users, unless the system is sold through a vendor partner, and we evaluate the system through user feedback.