Once you’ve purchased your mining hardware you will then need to download the software. Depending on your chosen hardware you will need to run the relevant software that makes it tick. If you are managing a GPU or FPGA operation you will need to be running the standard bitcoin client alongside the mining program.
The standard bitcoin client is a piece of software that connects your machine to the network, which enables you to become part of the community. This will help you to keep track of the block chain and make transactions, whilst forwarding your mining information. The bitcoin client is the middle man between you and the network.