Volume 1 No. 5 November 1974
IF IT'S A BETTER WAY- SHARE IT
In the short time that I have been an employee of the state, I have seen large amounts of effort and money spent in the search for more efficient and effective DP methods. The major items are being addressed through the Data Processing Authority and they are not the subject of this article. I am concerned with one part of the picture, which, although not the greatest part, still greatly affects the operation of all DP installations - the source language used to write our application programs. The Common Business Oriented Language was designated as the language standard for the state. I can't believe that it was chosen because it is best or even most desirable, but simply because it was most common and already in use. Even in the stating of the standard, the recognition of Cobol's ponderous inefficiency is shown in the exceptions which are allowed by cost justification. The fact that the programmer questionnaire used by the Personnel Department asks about experience in five other languages. The proliferation of these supplemental languages, the effort and money spent in learning to use them, the defeat of one of the reasons for standard languages, the exchange capability, is what concerns me. Because there is a language which will satisfy the need for simple coding for simple jobs, yet is capable of the most complex applications in a manner which makes it practical to have one language to do all of the jobs as easily as is now done with various special but limited languages. That language is "ADPAC." A proprietary language written and distributed by the ADPAC Corporations of San Francisco, which I have been using since 1966 in the varied environment of a large service center. I will present some statements about ADPAC which backed by experience are not claims, but facts. Comparisons are made to the same job being done in Cobol.
1. The time from coding through testing to installation is reduced at least 50%, sometimes more. This means productivity doubles.
2. Computer assembly and test time reduced at least 25%.
3. One fifth the pencil strokes and hence keypunching strokes. What does that do to the probability of inadvertent errors? The coding which is done is so much simpler and straightforward errors are reduced even more.
4. Machine independence. The same source deck which may have been first used on a 1401 will run on any IBM machine I have used through 360/65-OS, and I'm told thru 370/165-V52.
5. Exchange programs. Convert your ADPAC program to ANS-Cobol at less cost than coding it in cobol to begin with, if it should ever be necessary.
6. Modifications are much easier because the coding and logic is more visible and very easy to follow.
7. Easier to learn. An experienced programmer can learn ADPAC in a few weeks and become proficient in its use in 3-4 months. They all become enthusiastic supporters once they have used the language.
If these things indicate to you a lessening of the frustrations of getting a project operational, if you are result oriented, then perhaps you should consider using not 5 or 6 languages, but one. If you are interested, I can show you why this is possible.
MINUTES OF ADPM MEETING
WASHINGTON STATE ASSOCIATION OF DATA PROCESSING MANAGERS
Minutes of the November 7, 1974 Meeting
The meeting was called to order by the Chairman, Bob Payne, at 12:35. There were no guests present at this meeting.
There were no corrections or additions to the minutes of the last meeting. The Treasurer's report showed a beginning balance of $223.14, expenditures of $3.00 for the Speaker's lunch, and an ending balance of $220.14.
Dick Applestone next reported that the job matrix committee had held one meeting for a presentation by the systems development and programming group. The management group now is the only one yet to be presented to the committee as a whole.
Dan McNamara reported in absentia that an insufficient return of the by-laws revision ballots precluded a vote tally. Don Brown will be leaving the Resource Committee, Wayne Cebell the new Chairman, and Gwen Timm the new member.
Bob Payne read a letter from Mr. Clint DeGabrielle expressing appreciation to the members of our association who served on the Task 18 committee. The committee report was approved by the DPA Board at their November meeting. This committee is now dissolved, having served with credit to our Association.
Tony Veldhuizen next stated that the need for agency reporters, to funnel news items and articles to him, is critical to the continuance of our Newsletter.
Don Smith reported in absentia that the Training Survey has been mailed to all agencies. Don suggested that the Training Committee remain in existence to coordinate training activities with the Interagency Training Division. This suggestion will be discussed at the December meeting. Pat Mailey thanked this committee for their very active participation in the development of the survey. Pat then explained the survey itself, and indicated that this survey would serve as a pilot for surveys of all job classes. Pat emphasized the need for return of the survey from all data processing installations, so a complete statement of training needs can be presented in the budget to the Legislature.
Cliff Cotey reported in absentia that the test categories for the Programmer II written test have been developed. The commit- tee will next develop the specific questions for that test. Bob Payne announced that now the Department of Personnel has reverted to the original criteria for minimum qualifications for Programmer II, an appropriate college degree, or voc/tech certificate, plus one year experience.
Terry Wold next reported on DPA activities. Three tasks (task 18 - common application, task 14 - resource requirements reporting, task 17 - operational standards for data centers) were virtually completed with approval of the reports by the Board. Terry thanked the members who worked with him on the Task 17 committee.
Bob Payne next read excerpts froma letter to the association form John Barnes of the Department of Personnel regarding the Salary Survey. Bob asked if the Association should take a position in regards to the survey. Because of the short notice, Bob indicated that those members with suggestions should contact him within the next few days, as per a motion by Dick Applestone to that effect.
Dick Nelson reminded everyone that the Party would be held November 16 at Capitol Pavilion.
There was no new business.
Dick then introduced the Guest Speaker, Mr. Ray Ryan, Executive Coordinator of the Governor's Productivity Program. Mr. Ryan defined productivity as the combination of efficiency, effectiveness, and cost efficiency in doing things right, effectiveness in doing the right things, all in relation to cost.
The program itself is concerned first with the establishment of the Advisory Council, made up of a wide range of representatives of the public and private sector. The other area of activity in the first six month of the Program is the communication of the goals of the Program to the agencies.
Ray discussed some of the feedback from the agencies, and stated that the Council would sift this feedback and establish the long and short term plans for increasing productivity in state government. He stressed the problems of lack of communication prevalent in government now. He also stated that systems to measure efficiency and effectiveness within the cost structure must be established. The Program Decision System is one tool geared to this effort. Once productivity can be measured, the door is open to incentive reward based upon performance.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:35.
D. P. A. C 0 R N E R
Key to Disk
Computer Machinery Corporation has been selected as the apparent successful vendor for the state-wide master contract related to equipment with one through eight keystations.
Four Phase Systems is the apparent successful vendor for that equipment which requires eight through sixty keystations.
A special thanks is in order for the many hours given by the technical evaluation team, specifically to Don Brown, Highways; Jerry Gow, DSHS; Keith Morse, Employment Security; and Bob Purcell, WSDPSC.
DPA PLANNING CONFERENCE
The DPA members and staff held a planning conference at the Alderbrook Inn on November 18 and 19, 1974 to discuss the long- range data processing plan for the State of Washington.
A great deal of discussion centered upon two conceptual approaches (5 center or 3 center) to consolidation in the Olympia area. The Authority decided on the 3 center approach. The direction for consolidation in Olympia has been determined but such details as the composition of each center and the implementation timetable have not been developed.
In Higher Education, the Authority decided that administrative and academic batch work should be processed at designated service centers. The concept of secondary processing center was not approved.
The Authority reaffirmed its approval of the community college plan developed by WISC (a commission representing all area of the community college system) which includes two consortium processing centers.
Several other items were discussed at this planning conference and will be included in the Task 19 report.
At the November 6, 1974 Data Processing Authority meeting, Task 17 (Standards for Data Center Operations):..received final approval. These products were the direct results of the Task 17 Steering Committee's efforts. The Authority thanks each of you for your individual contributions along the way.
The following is the Resolution which was passed:
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Washington Data Processing Authority, HEREBY, approves and adopts the following, as modified, for all designated State Data Processing Service Centers, to be established as Guidelines effective January 1, 1975, and to be fully implemented as Standards governing all processes and for all users as of July 1, 1975. The following will also serve as Guidelines effective January 1, 1975 to all other data centers throughout the State of Washington:
User Bill of Rights
Service Centers and Users Manual
Service Center Computer Scheduling
Service Center Performance Measurement
Service Center Production Processing
Service Center Remedial Procedure
Service Center Service Agreement
Service Center User Statement of Work
The Task 18 Report (Definition of Common Application Systems) received final approval at the November 6, 1974 Data Processing Authority meeting. The Task 18 report was developed by the state data processing community. Three committees were formed with membership compiled of representatives from the community colleges, the Olympia-based agencies and the four-year colleges and universities. The Authority acted as project coordinator while the committees identified, briefly defined, and then prioritized the systems within their own areas. The Authority appreciates the valuable contributions made to this project by the individual committee members.
Listed below are the potential common application systems which were included in the Task 18 report:
Personnel/Payroll System (WSDPA)
Library System (Library Automation Committee
Warrant Processing System
Vendor Payments System
Equipment Inventory System
Record and Forms Management System
Financial Modeling System
Traffic Accident Records System (DMV, Highways)
Retirement Reporting System
Property Tax Administration System
Budgeting Accounting Reporting System
Revolving Fund Accounting System
Citizen Name and Address File
Environmental Impact Information System
Common Business Identifier System (Revenue, L&I, Epl. Sec.)
Property Management System
Building Inventory System
Courts Inventory System (Administrator for the Courts)
Criminal Justice System
Environmental Coordination Procedures Act System
Stolen Articles System
Teacher Records Maintenance System
Pension Benefits Payments System
Photo Composition System
RETIREMENT SYSTEM STUDY
Senate Resolution 151 directed that the House and Senate Ways and Means committees and the members of the Public Pension Commission make a comprehensive joint study of all public retirement programs. The Legislative Select Committee has requested the Data Processing Authority to review the current data processing fiscal and clerical operations within the state's retirement systems and to conduct a review and feasibility study to determine: 1) potential for merger and consolidation of the administrative function of the retirement systems; 2) development of compatible and readily accessible membership and financial data and 3) development of compatible and available data for actuarial review.
With the cooperation of the agencies involved, this project has just begun.
Department of Printing
Not a complete profile, but a look at new equipment and its application.
The MCD metroreader Optical Character Recognition Scanner, recently arrived, adds to the line which is somewhat different than most people in business DP consider familiar. The end result of most activity is to feed the typesetting machines with paper tape properly formatted. Before getting the scanner, there were two methods for inputting data - pardon me, to the printer it isn't "data," it's "text." Text was input either by cards, or by a paper tape produced by a keytape machine. Along with the text are lots of mysterious looking control characters to tell all the machines how to format the print. This data is massaged by an unobtrusive looking IBM 1130, hidden over in the corner, which then spits out the completed paper tape which feeds the typesetting machines. The 1130 is also shared by the people at UW who reciprocate by sharing their photographic typesetter for other specialized jobs.
It's easy to see how the scanner fits into all this. Replacing the key to tape process by transferring type written text to paper tape quickly and efficiently. The capability of accurately recognizing marked deletions, insertions and changes, as will as reading only selected portions of a document, means that the use of the scanner is limited only by one's imagination. The documents must be typed with an OCR-A typing element which is simple for those agencies using HATS since there is a terminal sitting there next to the scanner waiting for your output. Seems like an easy way to get things into print.
Bill Sheldon is always willing and anxious to discuss and demonstrate all of this and ways of using it will become obvious when you see how it works. Give him a buzz on 234-6820.
Editor: Bill, let's see what we can do with this newsletter.
ADPM LUNCHEON SPEAKER
Do you have any ideas for guest speakers? If so, call or drop a note to:
Richard C. Nelson, DPMA Program Chairman
Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission
Olympia, WA 98504
Each month, at the Washington Data Processing Managers Association luncheon, there is a guest speaker.
The speaker talks on subjects relating to data processing, or of general interest.
If you have any suggestions for a speaker, please let us know. We are interested.
Wed. December 4th
Washington State Data Processing Authority. On the agenda along with the usual staff business are status reports on Tasks 10, 14, 16 and 19.
Thurs. December 5th
ADPM luncheon meeting at the Brown Derby. Speaker: Mr. Clinton DeGabrielle of the Data Processing Authority.