Suppose that a retail store wants to build an e-commerce website to sell its products online and you are given the responsibility to develop this website. Based on this scenario, answer the following questions:
a) How do you find the requirements to develop this website? Discuss any one requirements finding technique in detail.
b) Why do we need online payment systems? Discuss any three payment systems that are suitable for this website.
c) Discuss high availability planning to continue the operations of this website.
a) To develop a website, we first must be able to correctly identify, analyze, and understand what the users‘ requirements are or what the user wants the system to do. To know users‘ requirements, we use information gathering techniques. Information gathering techniques are also called requirements discovery techniques or fact finding techniques or data collection techniques. Information gathering includes those techniques to be used system analysts to identify or extract system problems and solution requirements from the user community. Systems analysts need an organized method for information gathering. Interview is one of the most important information gathering techniques used in information system development.
The personal interview is generally recognized as the most often used fact-finding technique. Interviews are the fact-finding techniques wherethe systems analysts collect information from individuals through face-to-face interaction.
There are two roles assumed in an interview. The systems analyst is the interviewer, responsible for organizing and conducting the interview. The system user or system owner is the interviewee, who is asked to respond to a series of questions.
There are two types of interviews: unstructured and structured. Unstructured interviews are conducted with only a general goal or subject in mind and with few, if any, specific questions. Structured interviews on the other hand are conducted with a set of specific questions to ask the interviewee.
There are two types of questions in interview: open-ended and closed-ended. Open-ended questions allow the interviewee to respond in any way that seems appropriate. But, closed-ended questions restrict answers to either specific choices or short, direct responses.
b) First Part: The emergence of e-commerce has created new financial needs that in some cases cannot be effectively fulfilled traditional payment systems. E-commerce payment systems make it easy and smooth for customers to pay while buying online. Offering online payments does not need to be a worry or expensive: numerous payment service providers now offer comprehensive, cost-effective and easy-to-implement outsourced solutions to get your
business accepting online payments quickly. E-commerce technology offers a number of possibilities for creating new payment systems that substitute for existing systems, as well as for creating enhancements to existing systems.
Second Part: The most common online payment systems are online credit card payment, digital wallet and digital cash.
• Online credit card payment: It is the dominant form of online payment system. This payment system is processed in much the same way that in-store purchases are, with the major differences being that online merchants never see the actual credit card being used, no card impression is taken, and no signature is available. These types of purchases are also called CNP (Cardholder Not Present) transactions. These payments most closely resemble MOTO (Mail Order-Telephone Order) transactions. There are five parties involved in an online credit card purchase: consumer, merchant, clearing house, merchant bank (sometimes also called the ―acquiring bank‖), and the consumer‘s card issuing bank. In order to accept payments, online merchants must have a merchant account established with a bank or financial institution. A merchant account is simply a bank account that allows companies to process credit card payments and receive funds from those transactions.
• Digital Wallets: Digital wallets (sometimes called e-wallets) are small electronic packages that automatically supply information such as credit card numbers and shipping addresses for use in conducting e-commerce transactions. They provide a means which customers may order products and services online without ever entering sensitive information and submitting it via e-mail or the World Wide Web, where it is vulnerable to theft hackers and other cyber-criminals. They allow consumers to make online purchases easily and securely. Traditionally, digital wallets were stored on the desktops of personal computers; new digital wallets are compatible with wireless and other mobile devices, and are more often stored on a central server owned a digital wallet vendor or Internet Service Provider (ISP). Digital wallet vendors maintain relationships with online merchants.
• Digital Cash: Digital cash (e-cash) is an alternate payment system developed for e-commerce in which unique, authenticated tokens representing cash value are transmitted from consumers to merchants. Banks issue digital tokens (unique encrypted numbers) for various dimensions of cash, and consumers can spend these at merchants‘ site. Merchants in turn deposit these electronic tokens in banks some examples are DigiCash, First Virtual, and Millicent.
c) Firms using online transaction processing (transactions entered online are immediately processed the computer) have traditionally used fault-tolerant computer systems to ensure
100 percent availability. Fault-tolerant computer systems contain redundant hardware, software, and power supply components that create an environment that provides continuous, uninterrupted services. These systems completely eliminate the need of recovery from crash.
High-availability computing includes tools and technologies, including backup hardware resources, to enable a system to recover quickly from crash. High-availability computing requires
an assortment of tools and technologies to ensure maximum performance of computer systems and networks, including redundant servers, mirroring, load balancing, clustering, storage area networks, and a good disaster recovery plan.
Disaster recovery plan is the plan for the restoration of computing and communication services after they have been disrupted an event such as an earthquake, flood, or terrorist attack. Load balancing distributes large number of requests for access among multiple servers so that no single device is overwhelmed. Mirroring uses a backup server that duplicates all the processes and transactions of the primary server. If primary server fails, the backup server can immediately take its place without any interruption in service. Clustering links two computers together so that the second computer can act as backup to primary computer. If the primary computer fails, the second computer picks up its processing without any pause in the system.
Many companies lack the resources to provide a high-availability computing environment on their own. In this case, management service providers (MSPs) provide network, systems, storage, and security management for subscribing clients.