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System interface questions for requirement elicitation - Business analyst/System analyst

Generic overview of questions to ask for the specification of an interface (between a system A and a system B) – Business Analyst/System Analyst


Ø Business Requirement Questions

1.     What kind of interface do you need unidirectional or bidirectional

  • Unidirectional interface: The data will be sent in one direction by the sender to the receiver.
  • Ex: System A sends data to System B and the receiver System B will read, process, write and store the data.
  • In the case of bidirectional the systems are connected such that data can be sent and received by both.
  • Ex: System A and System B can both read, process, write, and store the data within each other.

2.     What do you want to achieve with this interface?

The business needs this interface to help to fulfill and provide support.

3.     The Actions Needed by you in the interface?

  • The data is required to be
  • Deleted (DELETE),
  • Overridden and created (PUT),
  • Overridden, created, appended (POST)
  • Read the Data (GET)

4.     How will authentication between two systems takes place?

In case of source the system wants to change something in the receiver, what will be the authentication rights provided (Ex: Read-only Access, read and write access). To be deeply thought in relation to the bidirectional interface.

Analyst humor
Analyst Humor

5.     Do you have any existing interface design and standards in mind?

6.     Does the source system have system logs, and will they be made accessible?

Ø Data Integration Questions

7.     What is the data that the target system requires to complete the integration task?

  •           Identifying the target data is an important first step.
  •          It helps in defining the objects or tables that are needed to be accessed, and the rules the data needs to comply with.

-          Typically, the target data model drives the design of a custom integration point, should one be required.

8.     Where is the data required by the target system located in the source system?

-          In Files, Objects, Database, Other third-party apps, etc.

9.     What are the probable data transformations needed?

  •          Common examples of data types that need to be transformed are numbers and dates.
  •           For example, date formats and time zones may be different between the systems and needed to be converted.

10. What is the general quality of the data? Is it accurate? Complete? Recent? Unique or redundant?


Ø Transaction Questions

11. What is considered a transaction within the integration task?

  •          A transaction is an atomic unit of work.
  •           It only changes the state of the target system if the data was successfully transferred and processed.
  •          If any failure occurs, whether it is during the transport or processing (i.e. validation), it must be ensured that the target system remains unchanged.

12. Are there any dependencies between transactions?

·         For example, if a transaction creates multiple records in the target system (i.e. an account and a contact, and the account was successfully created but the contact failed the validation), it must be ensured that the account record is removed again.

·         This way the target system has the same state at the end of the transaction as when it started.

13. Does the system facilitate recovery procedures in the event of system failure?  (For example, roll back to the last completed transaction).

System Interface
System Interface

Ø Connectivity Questions

14. How will you connect to the target system (Connectivity Constraint)?

·          The Domain name, IP, etc.

15. What security constraints apply (certificates, credentials, etc.)?

·         It is better to identify and verify them during the project start. As these can lead to various delays or blockers.

·         The reasons are manifold like missing firewall rules, required certificates, setup of new security roles and credentials, protocol incompatibilities between source and target system – just to name a few.

·         From a technical perspective, most of those issues can be resolved. But it is often the processes or additional constraints that are only identified during the validation, which add more risk and effort to the system integration project.

Ø Architecture Questions

16. What interface options do you have available (REST, SOAP, RPC, Custom, etc.)?

·         The interface options have an impact on the tools and implementation design.

·         This is because they help determine whether the solution must be entirely custom or whether productized solutions are an effective system integration method.

·         Creating the right design may not always include the path of the simplest or most straightforward solution.

17. Are there any obsolete technology being used in the Source System?

·         In case of use of an obsolete the technology of data from the source system.


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