Hardware may consist of a single laptop or multiple workstations linked to a remote server. Peripheral devices such as plotters and scanners may also make up the hardware requirements. The bigger the system the more likely it is able to have the necessary speed to respond to the needs in computing complex queries.
Software may include desktop, mainframe and web based solutions depending on the particular applications involved solving the problems of a specific organisation. These solutions may be running on a variety of operating systems such as windows, unix, linux or mac. The bigger the system the more likely there is for a requirement for a relational database solution such as Oracle, MySQL or PostgreSQL.
The need to ensure that there are suitably trained users of the GIS is vital to the success of the system. For example, GIS analysts should be capable of structuring SQL queries which answer the needs within their organisation. They can only achieve this success by being able to fully understand all of the key features of the GIS to obtain results which are of value and relevance in providing effective mapping solutions.
Decisions will have to made within each individual organisation to ensure that the best GIS solution is available to meet their requirements. Having chosen a solution the next question is to decide whether the organisation has the capacity to internally create data to meet their needs. Whilst there are many free sources of data sometimes it is necessary to use the expertise of external agencies to provide maps and databases to answer the needs of a specific organisation. Often such external solutions, whilst perhaps seen as an expensive overhead, are critical to the ongoing success of the GIS in providing the company's goals.
All of the above factors go together to ensure that a successful implementation of a GIS solution is obtained to meet the specific requirements of an enterprise.
If you would like to further explore how GIS could be of benefit to your organisation jps services offers one and two day introductory training courses in QGIS, ArcGIS and MapInfo.