A computer user might buy hardware and software direct from the vendors. Given that the expense is often considerable, the purchasing procedure must be carefully controlled.
In a sequential narrative, name and describe the procedure of acquiring hardware and software.
Procedure of acquiring hardware and software:
Hardware refers to all physical or tangible devices involved in the process of data processing. These may be the mechanical, electric mechanical or electronic devices for input, output, processing and storage of data.
Software refers to all programs, instruction and control devices which influence or facilitate the data processing work. They include application packages operating instructions or programming languages. For a computer user to acquire hardware and software, the following procedure needs to be followed:
1. Feasibility study
The aim of a feasibility study is to make informed decisions whether or not resources should be committed to development or acquisition of the required hardware and software facilities. It must reach some conclusions about the hardware and software requirements for the system. Requirements can only be established from an investigation of the current system. The most important questions or matters to be resolved during a feasibility study are:
i) What equipment is needed to handle the software and what software is needed to handle the equipment
ii) Should the equipment and software be bought, rented or leased.
2. Vendor hardware and software proposals
The stage invoices the selection of the suppliers of the hardware and software required. In making the decision of the most appropriate supplier the following points may be borne in mind.
i) How well established is the supplier‘s company. A firm with a reasonably long history of trading would generally be the most appropriate supplier.
ii) Do the supplier‘s staff appear to have a good knowledge of the application to which the software relates? For example, a firm that sells accounts software packages ought to have staff who know something about accounts as well as computers.
iii) Can the supplier introduce the customer to any other users of the hardware or software who would be willing to demonstrate it and recommend it
Vendors proposals are then obtained through an invitation to tender to a range of suppliers or simply shopping around. An invitation to tender sets out the specifications for the required system explaining hot it is to be used and setting out the time scale for implementation. The target price will also be stated. Supplier are required to submit tenders and if they require further information before submitting their tenders, they will be able to contact the organisation to obtain further details.
Once vendor proposals are obtained they are evaluated using such procedures as bench making as simulation tests. The customer needs to be aware of other factors such as the cost of the equipment, availability of utility software and software tours supplied with the hardware; warranty and maintenance contract, software support the supplier, training offered to the customer‘s staff the supplier and tailor made amendments to software packages.
3. Delivery and installation of equipment
The supplier after delivering the equipment to the customer may agree to install them for the customer. If he does not, the customer may have to install the hardware himself. In this case, he should carefully follow the manufacturer‘s instruction manual provided.
The system installed should then be thoroughly tested before its use starts otherwise there is a danger that the new system will run with faults that might prove costly.