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Database Coursework on a Vehicle Rental System: Analysis

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Introduction I am a student starting my second year of A levels at a College of Further and Higher Education and one of these A levels is ICT. The A2 part of the ICT A level consists of three modules, one of which is coursework and it is worth 40% of my overall A2 grade. The coursework requires me to identify and conduct research into an open-ended problem that exists for a real end-user. From results of this preliminary research, I must design an appropriate ICT-based solution for the problem using the skills and knowledge that I have acquired throughout the duration of my course. After designing such a solution, I will develop the actual software to be used to address the problem along with the technical documentation. This software will then undergo extensive testing so that I may identify and correct any bugs that may be present within the system. Plans on how the system will be implemented will then be made, including any training the staff will need and how existing data will be transferred into the new system. Finally, the User Documentation will be produced and I will evaluate the system on a number of various criteria to see if it meets the requirements outlined at the analysis stage. Throughout the whole process, I will be using the skills and experience that I've acquired in the first year of the course (and what I will be learning this year) to incorporate a wide range of advanced features and functions into the system, and to complete the project to the best of my ability. Background Information The business that I will be developing a database for is a car rental firm known as Fred's Car Rentals. It is a small, family-run business that rents out automobiles to customers for a period of time in exchange for a fee. Its customers include travellers from other countries that need a set of wheels to get around for the duration of their stay and owners of destroyed or damaged vehicles that are waiting on repairs to be conducted or insurance compensation. ...read more.

Middle

However, this means that theoretically anyone could just walk in and help themselves to the company's data. Furthermore, in the event of a break-in, a criminal with appropriate tools would not have much of a problem breaking through a flimsily locked filing-cabinet. However, with a computerised system, the criminal would have to guess a password and username, which, whilst there are ways it can be done, is significantly more difficult than smashing a lock. * Inaccurate Data: - For a multitude of reasons (many of which are mentioned above) data in this system can be inaccurate. One reason that data can be inaccurate is due to plain human error. Although we have come along leaps and bounds since our tree swinging days, and achieved so much collectively as a species; the human animal is fundamentally flawed as an information processor. This is because we make mistakes, varying in folly and severity, on a regular basis. Mistakes such as transcription errors, or the misreading or mishearing of information when recording data lead to inaccurate data being entered into the system. In a computerised system, these mistakes can be minimised using data validation methods that narrow the field of acceptable data that can be entered into the system. * Inconsistent and Redundant Data: - Data in the current system can be inconsistent and redundant, because the same data may have been entered into the system more than once. In a computerised relational database system, data has only to be entered once and then linked to the other entities via relationships between the files. End-User Requirements During the interview with Fred, and my hours of observing the working environment of Fred's Car Rentals, a number of user requirements have been identified, which I shall now list below. The system must: UR1: enable manufacturer details to be added/edited/deleted/ displayed onscreen/printed; UR2: enable staff details to be added/edited/deleted/ displayed onscreen/printed; UR3: enable the return date of the rental to be calculated automatically; UR4: enable rental details to be added/edited/deleted/ ...read more.

Conclusion

There will be a user guide produced at a later stage in this project that will assist the users in their understanding of how the system works and the acquisition of the skills necessary to operate it. This will include step by step instructions on how to perform reports, queries and input data into the system via forms as well as a troubleshooting section to assist the user with commonly encountered errors. In the event that the user guide is not sufficient in teaching the users how to use the system, or that the basic ICT skills of the staff are simply not up to scratch, it has been arranged with Fred that a series of one day training sessions will be provided at a cost of �500 per day. Breakdown of Completed Tasks Description of Task Date of Completion Identify Problem 20th September Investigate Current System 25th September Analyse Findings 30th September Analyse Current User Activities/Data 2nd September Analyse Problems with Current System 6th September Identify End-User Requirements 8th September Identify System Requirements 12th October Create Performance Criteria 17th October Consult with User 18th October Breakdown of Completed Tasks Analysis Agreement with End-User Now that the analysis stage has been completed, I am presenting it to Fred, the manager of Fred's Car Rentals, so that he can inspect it to see whether it meets the standard that he expects. If Fred does not agree that this section is completed to the standard that he expects, then my assignment will end here. Having studied the analysis: I agree that the analysis section of the project is completed to my satisfaction and to the standard that I expect, with all of the features included. I want you to design this system for Fred's Car Rentals. I am unsatisfied with the analysis part of the project and I don't feel that it has been completed properly. I do not want you to design this system for Fred's Car Rentals. Signed: _______________________ Date: _____________ Manager of Fred's Car Rentals ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

5 star(s)

Summary

Undoubtedly this is an A grade analysis. It contains the various components that are required and goes into a great deal of detail about all the elements one would expect to find in an analysis. The student has also avoided the pitfall of waffling and most of what is written is succinct, accurate and relevant.

Some suggestions for improvements to perfect this...

1. Depending on the specification requirements (and these could be easily checked) the following things need to be checked:

a) Is there a requirement to evaluate other solutions to the problem? For example, the assumption all the way through is that this is going to be a database (and obviously this is the case) but some boards expect to see evaluation of other techniques for example, a spreadhseet to solve this.
b) Whilst the field lists for each table are shown there are no entity-relationship diagrams and there is quite a "jump" to the list of fields. It would be useful to highlight the key fields in each table but I suggest that this is tricky without the aforementioned ER diagrams; for example, there may be some combined key fields.

The writer has clearly got a grasp of the systems life cycle process and I have every confidence that they will complete the rest of the project successfully provided they continue as they have started. The URs and QOs give a good opportunity to underpin the development of the system with real criteria that are meaningful and provided they are referred to throughout (along with frequent discussions with the client) the finished solution should be one that is exactly what they are looking for.

Overall this is a 5 star piece of work.

Marked by teacher Ad Son 04/10/2013

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