Different levels of computing require different computer hardware and software according to the computing requirements. This implies that the selection of computer hardware and software should be done by the changing needs of the larger organization and its respective information systems at the various computing levels including personal, workgroup, and enterprise computing according to the sphere of influence (Effy, 2008). The computer hardware for personal computing should be based on a single-user platform, while workgroup computing hardware and software should be able to support a multi-user environment (Effy, 2008). The enterprise computing hardware and software are normally customized following the information needs of the organization. This paper researches the computer hardware and software that are used to support personal, workgroup, and enterprise computing in an organization.
For the case of personal computing, the hardware comprises mainly personal computers, with a mix of desktops, laptops, and other handheld computing devices such as Personal Digital Assistants and smartphones (Effy, 2008). Other peripheral devices that support personal computing include printers, scanners, and projectors, which are mainly used to facilitate presentation sessions within the organization. The software used to support personal computing within the organization comprises personal computers and workstation operating systems and a wide range of application programs (Stair & Reynolds, 2008). Examples of operating systems that are used to support personal computing include the Mac OS X, UNIX, Solaris, Palm OS, Red Hat Linux, and Windows operating systems, which comprised of Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Mobile, Windows Automotive, and Windows Embedded. Palm OS is used for handheld computing devices and smartphones, Windows Embedded is specifically designed for small computer devices while Windows Mobile is an operating system that functions with smartphones and Personal Digital Assistants. The application software used to support personal computing enables the users to undertake specific tasks (Stair & Reynolds, 2008). They include applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentation graphics, and database management (Stair & Reynolds, 2008). Examples include the Microsoft Office Suite, Lotus Symphony, Corel Word Perfect office, Sun Star office, and online software platforms that are delivered as services such as Google Docs and Microsoft Office Online suite. In addition, there are utility programs that are used to enhance the performance of the workstation such as antivirus and spyware applications (Stair & Reynolds, 2008).
Workgroup computing is supported by hardware and software that can function in a multi-user environment that supports communication and sharing of resources. The hardware that supports workgroup computing comprises mainly networking devices such as routers, switches, shared devices such as printers and scanners, internet connection, access points, and firewall devices. The system software for workgroup computing comprises Network Operating Systems, which include Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Server 2008, Mac OS X Server, UNIX, Solaris, Netware, Red Hat Linux, HP-UX 11i, and IBM i5/OS and z/OS (Stair & Reynolds, 2008). The network operating systems are primarily used for managing the network and shared resources. The application software that supports workgroup computing includes Electronic mail, group scheduling, shared work, and collaboration. The utility programs that support workgroup computing are mainly used for providing detailed reports concerning the activity of the workgroup and user accounts status, and network management. In addition, the workgroup utility applications are used for monitoring the number of login attempts that have been unsuccessful (Stair & Reynolds, 2008).
Enterprise computing serves to meet the information needs of an organization, as a result, it requires the use of powerful computer hardware and specialized application programs. The hardware comprises mainframe computers and mid-range computer systems, servers, and other peripheral components that are interlinked by a network, resulting in a computing facility that has been centralized (Effy, 2008). The system software that supports enterprise computing includes mid-range and mainframe operating systems, which in most cases are similar to the ones used for supporting workgroup computing. The application programs for enterprise computing include software for payroll processing, human resource management, supply chain management software, order entry, and dataset management. In addition, utility programs are used for archiving the contents of the database; virtualization software and utility software for reporting the condition of a given job (Stair & Reynolds, 2008).
Effy, O. (2008). Management Information Systems. New York: Cengage Learning.
Stair, R., & Reynolds, G. (2008). Fundamentals of Information Systems. New York: Cengage Learning.