The words systems analysis are used in at least two senses. Whilst the general nature of the topic is well understood in the or community, the nature of the term as used by computer scientists is less familiar. In this paper, the nature of systems analysis as it relates to computer-based systems is examined from the point of view that the computer system is an automaton embedded in a human system, and some facets of this are explored. It is concluded that or analysts and computer analysts have things to learn from each other and that this ought to be reflected in their education. The important role played by change in the design of systems is also highlighted, and it is concluded that, whilst the application of techniques developed in the artificial intelligence field have considerable relevance to constructing automata able to adapt to change in the environment, study of the human factors affecting the overall systems within which the automata are embedded has an even more important role. 19 references.