SAD-Activity Network For Conversion

Several procedures and documents are unique to the conversion phase.

1. Conversion begins with a review of the project plan, the system test documentation and the implementation plan. The parties involved are the user, the project team, programmers and operators.
2. The conversion portion of the implementation plan is finalized and approved
3. Files are converted
Parallel processing between the existing and the new systems is initialized.
5. Results of computer runs and operations for the new system are logged on a special form
6. Assuming no problems, parallel processing is discontinued. Implementation results are documented for reference
7. Conversion is completed. Plans for the post-implementation review are prepared. Following the review, the new system is officially operational.

1. File conversion:

File conversion involves capturing data and creating a computer file from existing files. Problems are staff shortages for loading data and the specialized training necessary to prepare records in accordance with the new system specifications. In most cases, the vendor’s staff or an outside agency performs this function for a flat fee.

Copying the old files intact for the new system is the prime concern during conversion. The programs that copy the files should produce identical files to test programs on both systems. At the outset, a decision is made to determine which files need copying.

Once it is determined that a particular file should be transferred the next step is to specify the data to be converted: current files, year-end files and so on. The files to be copied must be identified by name, programmer who will do the copying, and the methods by which the accuracy of the copying will be verified. A file – comparison program is best used for this purpose.

Test files must be created on the old system, copied on to the new system and then tested. The test file should offer the following
  •  Predictable results
  •  Previously determined output results for checking
  •  Printed results in seconds
  •  Simplified error handling routines
  •  Ability to build from a small number of records.
Systems are prone to errors .So to control frauds and detect mistakes an audit trail is to be established.

2.User Training:
An analysis of user training focuses on 2 factors

1. User capabilities
2. Nature of the system to be installed

Users range from the native to the highly sophisticated. They approach it as concrete learners, learning how to use the system without trying to understand which abstract principles determine which function. The distinction between concrete and formal (student type )learning says about what one can expect from trainees in general.

Training aids:

There are several user training aids available

1. The user manual – The user manual is prepared reflexively because it is an item that must accompany every system. There are times when a user manual is discretionary. The important point is that the manual should be prepared only if it will server the user. A manual is necessary when the user is geographically removed from the project team or when she/he cannot attend all the training sessions. If the user requests a manual, then one must be prepared.

Probably the best reason for preparing a user manual is on the recommendation of the resident expert. It should discuss, among the other things the functions available to the user and what each can do, how they are executed, and how diagnostic messages should be handled. The manual should be well organized and indexed for quick reference. Graphics, pictures and line drawings enhance the teaching value of the material

2. Help screens – This feature is now available in virtually every software package especially when it is used with a menu. The user selects a help option from a menu. The system accesses the necessary description or information for user reference. Then additional help information may be accessed, or the user returns to the menu for further action. Help offers the advantage of virtually unlimited space and since it is separate from the program, it does not interfere with system operation.

3. Data dictionary – A data dictionary is a separate place for describing data elements. It is more like an electronic one page sheet available to the user to ensure that functions are interpreted and executed properly.

4. Job aids – A job aid communicates essential information about certain jobs. It takes a number of forms. 
For example
  • Color printing in forms to accentuate headings
  • Color to identify pieces of hardware, cables etc
  • Wall charts to illustrate schematics of processing runs
  • Flow charts to guide user in detecting and handling errors, restarting the system etc
3.Forms and Displays conversion:

During this activity, old forms and displays are withdrawn and new ones are instituted. Various controls are implemented to ensure the system’s reliability, integrity and security.

4.Conversion of physical facilities:

In conjunction with these activities, the physical facilities are transformed to meet the specifications set in the candidate system design. In a recent online conversion in a medium-size bank, the installation of new teller terminals required a complete redesign of the teller cages – relocating the telephones, replacing ceiling lights with soft lighting, and building drawer spaces for additional storage. The cost of the redesign was 10 percent of the new system’s cost.

5.Conversion of Administrative Procedures:

This includes scheduling, determining job priorities on the system, and implementing personnel policies for managing the system. The user is trained to handle various emergencies and procedures. Most important, supervisors are trained on how the information is gathered, produced and presented to management.
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