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13 Elements of Systems Design

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Systems design is the process of creating plans for information systems. The term system implies a complex implementation that provides foundational services as opposed to an application that can be reasonably simple. The following are common elements of a system design.


Defining the business and technology capabilities that the system provides.


Design and redesign of business processes.


Defining business, information and technical structures to support the design. The design of a system is often separated into an architecture that provides the high level structure and a design that provides enough detail to implement the system.


Defining data models.


Defining events and how they will be processed.

Business Rules

Considering how business rules will be implemented.


Design of applications. An application is a software component designed primarily to be used by people. A system may touch upon multiple applications.

Services & Components

Defining the system as a series of services and components.


Designing how things work together including services, processes, events and data.


Defining the technologies that will be used including infrastructure, systems, applications, components, toolsets, libraries and APIs.

Information Security

Defining how the system will be secured.


Defining how the system will be logically and physically deployed.


Additional constraints to guide implementation such as a set of principles, standards and tools.
Overview: Systems Design
A plan that provides enough detail to implement an information system.
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