Originally published in 1992 (Computer Jagat magazine)
A Zatnan Subhani
When an organization or a person go to computerize their organization and if there is no computer specialist, in that case, it’s wise to hire a computer consultant to do the job smoothly. But, sometimes the volume of business of the organization is small or medium scale and there is no provision to hire any consultant. In that case, you can ask for help to different vendors and sales professionals. To consider any automation solution there are certain criteria you should use to determine the right system for your automation needs. Each of these criteria should be used to help you determine which automation solution will best meet your needs. In brief, these criteria include:
* Main Reason for Purchasing Computer System: At first you have to identify your basic needs which types of works you have and you may arise. Do you need high quality professional output, do you have repeat work to do, etc, etc. Then find out which types of computer system suits for your business.
* How Many Computers You Need: Secondly, you have to identify the volume of your work and try to decide numbers of computer system you may require. In this regard take suggestion from different vendors and system manager/administrator using different types of system.
* Offer Collection: After primary determination collect offer/proposal from renowned S computer venders. Avoid ordinary brands of computer unless it is to be used for short span of time or looking for cheap solution.
* 32-bit Architecture : Please try to maintain compatibility of the microprocessor, which means that programmes written for 32-bit microprocessor will cause no problem when running on the other computer.
This is the industry-standard architecture for main-frame, mini and micro-computers.
* Speed: Speed of the computer is also a major considerable factor and you have to consider it very efficiently. It is observed that almost everybody asks regarding MHz/clock speed. Always prefer higher speed at a similar price but don’t try to observe whether it provides that much or not. I would like to give you some practical observation regarding speed. Run a specific volume of database file in a IBM PS/2, 80386SX, 16MHz computer and in a Singapore/Taiwan made ordinary computer with 20MHz of speed and even higher processor— definitely you will find the IBM PS/2 more speedy. Because, only the clock speed written in the catalogue is not only the criteria to justify the speed. Actually, speed also depends on bus-architecture, BIOS, speed of the processor & coprocessor, speed of drive, and overall performance of the machine etc. Secondly, speed is also depended on the environment of the operating system and software using.
* Operating System: This is one of the major things to consider. There are different types of operating system, mostly used: MS-DOS, OS/2, Windows, Macintosh OS and UNIX. In recent years, almost all the operating system manufacturing companies are towards the Graphical User Interface (GUI) and Easy to Use concept like Macintosh OS. As a result Windows 3.0 came out. It reflects on training time, training cost, ease of earning, consisting between applications, ease of upgrading operating system etc.
* Network: Consider the future provision of network facilities and its cost effectiveness.
* Training: If you first-time buyer, you have to consider the intension of the vendor about the training facilities. Complete solution including training is re-comended for the first time users.
* Reference: Please contact with few computer users using different brands of computer and vendor. In this way, you could get the reliability of the product and service facilities of different vendors.
* Warranty: Almost all the computer companies provide one year of warranty. Within the warranty period the vendors are supposed to repair the system at free of cost.
* Price: Make a comparative statement of prices you have collected from different vendors. Now, evaluate the price considering the advantages offered for their products. In this context, please note that the lowest price is not always acceptable, find behind.
* System Power: Does the system have the power, capacity and throughput to handle your productions and transactions in a responsive and timely manner?
* Comprehensiveness : Does the system have that particular feature that are critical to your business information needs?
* Flexibility: Is the system flexible enough to meet particular or special needs, and can it be reconfigured over time as your needs change?
* Expansibility: Can the system be expanded to include additional software applications, data storage and additional workstations as your business grows?
* Easy to Use: Is the system easy to learn and use, so that you can concentrate on your work without having to spend days learning how the computer operates?
* Service & Maintenance Support: Do you know that there is factory trained service and repair facility to stand behind your system in case of any complications, and can you be guaranteed your down time will be at a minimum.
* Support Staff : Do you know that there is a competent support staff to carry you through each step of the way, seeing your business is secure, not only with your investment, but satisfied with the way it is working in your operations.
The above procedures are considered for mainly hardware purchase, but when customised software will be your prime consideration, then beside the above consideration you have to consider few more things regarding the establishment of the vendor and quality of its System Analyst and Programmer,