AQA Information and Communication Technology/ICT5/Software
In ICT5, we cover evaluation of software.
It is performed as part of the Analysis stage of the IS lifecycle.
Software should be evaluated against evaluation criteria to see if it meets the requirements it is needed for.
- Functionality - does the software do what is required, and what we want it to do? (i.e., does it meet the specification)
- Performance - does it do it efficiently and quickly?
- Usability - can the software be used effectively by the intended end-user?
- Compatibility - can it co-exist and work alongside our existing software/can it import data from the software we're replacing?
- Robustness - is the software stable?
- User support - do we have people to turn to if it goes wrong?
- Resource requirements - does it run on our existing hardware? Can our staff be training to use it?
- Upgradability - can we continue to use it in the future?
- Cost - is it cheaper than the alternatives? Can we afford it?
- Vendor quality - what kind of reputation does the vendor have?
- Flexibility - can we alter it to do exactly what we want? (especially relevant for generic as opposed to bespoke software)
Benchmarking is a good way of discovering whether the software is suitable or not. You give each criterion a weight, and then each product being evaluated a score. You multiply the weight by the score and add up all the criteria for that product and the one with the highest total score wins.
This is what should be written once evaluation is complete to be relayed back to the board of directors.
It should consist of the following sections:
- Introduction, who and why is the report being done?
- Methodology, how was the best software decided upon?
- Evaluation, an actual breakdown of each software package showing the results
- Recommendations, which product do the report writers think we should be investing in?
- Justification for this recommendation