To evaluate and select hardware and software, computer-using organizations typically:
• Require suppliers to present bids and proposals based on system specifications developed during the design stage of systems development.
• Establish minimum acceptable physical and performance characteristics for all hardware and software requirements.
• Government agencies and most large businesses use a document called an RFP (request for proposal) or RFQ (request for quotation), which lists all the required specifications.
• When several competing proposals for hardware or software acquisition need to be evaluated, a scoring system may be used, giving a numerical score for each of several evaluation factors. Each competing proposal is assigned points for each factor, depending on how well it meets the specifications of the computer user.
• Hardware and software should be demonstrated and evaluated.
• Using special benchmark test programs and test data to evaluate proposed hardware and software. Special software simulators may also be available that simulate the processing of typical jobs on several computers and evaluate their performances.
• Other users are frequently the best source of information needed to evaluate the claims of manufacturers and suppliers. Good example: Internet newsgroups.
Hardware Evaluation Factors: When evaluating computer hardware, you should investigate specific physical and performance characteristics for each hardware component to be acquired. This is true whether you are evaluating mainframes, microcomputers, or peripheral devices. Hardware evaluation factors include:
Software Evaluation Factors: You should evaluate software according to many factors that are similar to those used for hardware evaluation. Thus, the factors of performance, cost, reliability, availability, compatibility, modularity, technology, ergonomics, and support should be used to evaluate proposed software acquisition. In addition, however, software evaluation factors should also include evaluating:
• Other factors (performance, cost, reliability etc.)