Gladys is a business lady who specializes in offering computer services such as typing and printing of thesis, scanning and other computer related services. In having a conversation with her, she seemed to have a lot of complaints regarding the inefficiency of computers and other hardware devices she uses to accomplish her work. She added by saying that of late, even her previous customers tend to divert to her competitors after realizing the persistent queue of customers at her business place who continues to complain of slow service delivery.
Process used to elicit information
In order to solve this problem, I decided to obtain more information from her by keenly observing the following process stages.
In this case, I realized that the main problem of the current hardware resources she used is low response time and frequent computer failure, in the middle of service delivery. This needs additional improvement on a variety of system aspects like speed of customer service.
I used the problem identification above examined diverse alternatives that might exist for the desired system of hardware. Here; I decided to establish whether the proposed hardware devices and other peripherals will result to some advantages that are anticipated. This study took the form of economic, operational and technical study. In economic study, I established whether the project aims can be realized within the resource limits and other constraints assigned to it. I further established whether the expected benefits will outweigh the costs. In the operational study, I tried to determine whether the new project if installed will work satisfactorily in accordance with the users’ expectation depending on the operational activities and the overall business behavior. In this study, I finally found out whether the existing technical resources will be able to sustain the new project.
In order to get the reliable project requirements for implementation, I mainly used oral interview for both Gladys and some of her two employees. I decided to ask direct questions so as to receive instant answers from both Gladys and the two employees, concerning their desire of the new project. During this process, I noted that Gladys and her two assistants need an overall system of hardware with quick response time and low frequency of failure in addition to stability. In addition, I also used a little bit of observation during the process of customer service in the business. I was also able to note some problems in the overall system. Eventually, I came up with a statement of a requirement that consists of the description of all user needs from all the responses I recorded.
In this case, I organized the facts and results from requirement acquisition in terms of cost analysis, robustness, reliability, utility, correctness and performance. Under cost, I analyzed both operational costs in comparison to operational benefits, as well. To certain robustness, I analyzed whether the new hardware system will respond well without crashing or whether it can gracefully recover after failure. For reliability purposes, I analyzed the frequency of a new project failure in comparison with the existing one and to project how damaging the effect will be as a result of the failure. As far as utility is concerned, I analyzed how much the users’ and customer needs will be met give a correct and better hardware than the existing one. Performance analysis involved finding out whether the new hardware project will meet its constraints in terms of time and cost. Correctness analysis involved finding out whether the new project of hardware will the target work output.
In this case, requirements specification was produced by use of requirements analysis. It specified what the hardware project is required to accomplish. Issues of main concern here include required capacity of the system, hardware reliability requirements, acceptable error rates and compatibility needs with other hardware components with respect to manufacturers and vendors.
The description of information obtained
As far as the interview and observation are concerned with the existing system users, I was able to get the following system description for the current hardware resources: Memory capacity of the current system is 1 gigabyte (GB) of random Access memory (RAM) with the processor speed of 1.5 gigahertz (GHz) of Pentium IV. The computers used also have 80 gigabytes (BG) of hard disk drive with two partitions of 35GB and 45GB for drive C: and derive D:(partition) respectively with NTFS file system–formatted partition having less than 1 GB free space. The entire businesses have a total of three desktop computers with the same level of specification. The display screens uses 1024X768 resolutions for monitor. They also have one laser jet printer that is shared among all the computers and a three- in -one hp scanner that is also used partly as a printer in the rare occasion. The computers use USB connections for basic peripherals such as mouse, keyboards and other removable devices like flash disks. In addition to this, Gladys needs away have, easy, accessing the internet to allow her send the completed work to some of her clients who prefer that work delivery means. The customers are ever queuing for a long time before they get the service they require. Most of the computers have little disk space left. Also, the computers have less free memory. There is unusually low response time by all computers used especially when loading a document to the screen and when sending a document to a printer. This is also accompanied with frequent failures and downtimes.
The process used to arrive at the resulting technical requirements
First of all, I compared the current system specification such as memory capacity (RAM) size, hard drive capacity, processor speed and type, printer speed and other hardware specifications with the proposed or new hardware requirements. The comparison was done in terms of performance and customer service satisfaction. The comparison was further done in terms of cost of purchasing the new hardware devices in respect to financial constraints of the business. Depending on the financial availability, I proposed purchase of some hardware with better specifications. However, some hardware such as three-in-one scanner/printer is to be maintained. In addition, the existing laser jet printer will also be maintained but with purchase of an extra one to cater for long printing queues. Last but not least, I also used my interview chance with the business owners to find out what standard of performance they expect or prefer for a new hardware project.
Technical requirements themselves
Using the process described above, I recommended the following hardware requirements for the business to Gladys and her employees. The recommendations were not exactly according to my proposal due to financial constraints. As a result, I recommended the following specifications, which are still above as compared to the existing ones: Processor of 2.5 GHz (minimum) Pentium IV or Pentium IV dual processors that are each 3.5 GHz or faster for recommended specification with recommended RAM of 2 gigabytes (GB). I also gave minimum hard disk requirements with NTFS file system–formatted partition with a minimum of 3 GB of free space. However, these specifications were in tandem, with recommended specification of NTFS file system–formatted partition with 3 GB of free space with super multi DVD drive. Other requirements include minimum monitor resolution of 1024 × 768 but with recommended resolution of 1024 × 768 or higher. For connection with customers, the minimum network requirements of 56 kilobits per second (Kbps) connection between client computers and server are needed but with recommended requirements of 56 Kbps or faster connection between client computers and server.
Translation of requirements into recommended equipment list
The translation of the requirements in to the recommended list was accomplished by searching price list from various sources. The sources with relatively cheap prices were selected and quoted as shown in the table. The prices and the related sources were also selected based on specifications of the hardware parts or equipment that either exactly meets the requirements or nearly meets the requirements specifications. The list shown is, therefore, just a sample of the vast available range of equipment and components which can be accessed from the sources listed.
Price List Sources