Having completed the task of gathering and documenting facts, an analyst knows what the new system should do and what the present system or process actually does. The analyst undertakes the second systems survey task, the preliminary feasibility study, to determine whether we can solve the problem and whether we can do so at a reasonable cost. There are three aspects of feasibility:
• Technical feasibility. A problem has a technically feasible solution if it can be solved using available hardware and software technology.
• Operational feasibility. A problem has an operationally feasible solution if it can be solved given the organization’s available personnel and procedures. In assessing this aspect of feasibility, the analyst should consider behavioural reactions to the systems change. Projects that include reengineering of existing business processes may face strong resistance because personnel may envision shifts in power, changes in day-to-day activities, and layoffs.
Timing and scheduling may also be factors. An organization may have the available resources but cannot or will not commit them to a particular project at this time. The organization may wish to scale down a project, take an alternative course of action, or break the project into smaller projects to better fit scheduling needs.
• Economic feasibility. Determining economic feasibility can be a bit more complex. A problem has an economically feasible solution if:
• Costs for this project seem reasonable. For example, the benefits exceed the costs.
• This project compares favourably to competing uses for the organization’s resources.
Determining the costs and benefits for information systems is difficult at best. And, estimating project costs and benefits this early in the SDLC might seem premature. After all, we have done very little work on the development and know very little about the new system. But, management must decide now whether to proceed. Therefore, management must know the estimated costs and benefits of the development, no matter how roughly estimated.