Agenda of the January 6, 1983 Meeting
Minutes of the December 2, 1982 Meeting
January Guest Speaker -- W.L. "Butch" Leondardson
FORUM 1982, A Report by Dr. Ruben L. Marti
January 6, 1983
The meeting was called to order by the chairman, Dick Applestone, at the regular meeting place, Arnold's Restaurant.
Introduction of Guest Speaker
Cliff Cotey introduced the guest speaker, Katherine Ashner, who is the founder of her own business as a consultant in office systems. She has also written a book titled, "The Word Processing Handbook", which is in its third publication, and another which will be coming out early next year.
There is no real division between office automation and data processing but rather between large batch oriented transaction processing systems and smaller scale interactive user oriented systems. Office automation enters the scene in the smaller, office oriented, on-line information retrieval and manipulation kinds of systems.
As data processing managers, we need to be aware of office automation to allow planning for changes in our systems and also for building good relationships with office automation users. Adding another dimension, more people in offices are beginning to show up with personal computers. They don't always decide wisely and could use some technical advice. Understanding how they make decisions and what it is they are looking for helps data processing managers to give them better support.
Most organizations have some kind of purchasing authority. Typically that has been the way to control the proliferation of both word processing and office automation. It must be recognized, though, that people get very creative in defining things in terms other than what they are. Today you can buy an electronic typewriter for approximately $1,500 that can be upgraded to have a display, to have diskette based storage, to have a CPM operating system, and to have communications. It isn't very hard to get that typewriter in the office. Once it is there, if you aren't careful, a lot of that upgrading can get out of hand to the point where there are no cost controls, no quality standards, and information systems aren't compatible. In order to deal with a situation like that, one of the things we really have to look at is who is the user, what is he looking for, and what does he want?
The user understands that any technical problem can be overcome given enough time and money. He doesn't understand its corollary -- there is never enough time or money. So the first thing that has to be done is to educate the user so he has rational expectations.
The user wants six things:
Powerful dialog capabilities refers to the ability to access a database. The user wants to be able to enter an English-like request to extract information, to be able to format it, to reformat it, and to sort it. In many cases, he wants to be able to replace standard reports by having exception information available on the system. He wants to be able to talk back and forth, to set up new fields of information, to change a report format very flexibly without going to a professional. Technology is really helping this along. We tend to over-emphasize that computers are getting cheaper and use that factor to account for their popularity, but it's the query language capability that is having a major impact in the way computers are proliferating in offices.
Local applications programs is basically the ability to manipulate information once it has been retrieved from the database. To do "visacalc-like" calculations, simple math applications, to do some what if's, and some comparisons. All of this without having to be a data processing professional.
Document generation at the office automation user level has to be broken into two categories -- the professional and the secretarial. The professional wants to be able to extract, for example, the results of a visacalc computation, merge them into some kind of a narrative document and produce a basic document. That doesn't mean they are going to want to finalize it. But professionals are going to want basic document capabilities. Word processing operators are going to require much more sophistication.
Graphics -- the thing that most people want to do is to perform a visicalc like computation, determine what, for example, the budget will be for the coming year and then ask the computer to automatically break that into a pie chart or a bar chart, and distribute it so the numbers can be visualized.
Document finishing -- gets into things like typesetting, mass-production to high quality document finalizing.
Users also really want broadcast communications capability. That is, the ability to very easily communicate from one or many other terminals. Local area networks are heading that way but they are really not there yet.
Word processing is where most of the office automation systems of today started. They grow from a word processing application. Typically, from there they move into data processing and from there to some kind of communications and then start to add professional work stations, decision support tools like visicalc, etc.
Word processing basically is a technology that stores text and format information. It is this emphasis on format that first differentiates word processing from data processing. The quality of the text, the appearance of the document on the paper, is as integral with the production of the document as what's actually typed with the keystrokes. There are two basic kinds of application; there is repetitive typing with standard text, a format that is used over and over again, with some precision typing. Then there is the more sophisticated revision typing, editing, the ability to reformat a document, to create automatic outlines, indices, tables of contents. List processing is data base management in word processing terms and is getting very sophisticated. To compare word processing and data processing -- word processing deals with text which is primarily narrative, sequential. It is quality oriented as it relates to the appearance of the document. Word processing is primarily communications -- communicating with management, customers, with the public.
Data processing deals with data -- that is, discreet items of information, that are incremental. They are typically meant to be sorted or extracted or compared. It is quantity oriented. Most data processing applications couldn't be handled manually anymore. Data processing relates to information.
The word processing/data processing merger that is beginning to take place is occurring because of the multi-function capabilities of the hardware and because there are needs to compile information from some kind of database or system and then reformatting it and conveying the information as narrative text.
The basic entry level word processing machine people are using today is a non-display machine, possibly with memory. It typically has excellent formatting capabilities, but very limited editing and storage capability. They are attractive in two ways. First, they are a cheap input station that can be linked to word processing systems. Second, they are also very low cost and many have an upgrade path. This gives people a way to get in without spending a lot of money and to grow as their needs and their understanding of what the system can do for them increase. The price range for non-display machines is from $1,000 to $5,000.
Personal computers are going to really change the face of the word processing market. A personal computer is one where the primary marketing thrust to non-data processing professionals. It will support word processing applications and standard types of applications programs. Most personal computers up to now have been very deficient in word processing capability and they have had very limited data processing capability. Fortune, for example, will change that.
The pricing is very attractive. You can get a 20 mega-byte system with a Unix operating system for $10,900. This includes word processing software, an attractive work station with the Unix operating system. The word processing is very good on the Fortune. It's modeled on Wang's and has office quality word processing. Eventually the word processing vendors are going to have to restructure and reprice their systems to keep up with the personal computer vendors.
After word processing is in place, the next step is often a professional work station. Studies show that professionals are beginning to use systems themselves and to do some of their own key-boarding. Boeing has done a study where their engineers do their own original entry but have support staff do the document finishing. They realized a substantial (perhaps 25 percent) increase in productivity from their engineers. The kind of equipment doesn't seem to matter. The very streamlined, expensive systems don't provide larger returns -- the important thing is giving them their own keyboard. A true professional work station has to offer more too. Things such as information retrieval, modeling, report writing, graphics, and broadcast communications are needed. As cost comes down, more and more of them will be installed; but if the quality is too low, they won't be attractive for professional use.
After professional work stations, the next jump will be to local area networks. There are a number of competing technologies. In house cost justification studies should be made before choosing. Currently most of the systems are being installed as beta test sights. There hasn't been a real market pitch for the things that could be handled like moving not only text and data but also voice, facsimile images, and even full frame video within an organization. The rationale for a local area network is very clear. Studies have indicated that around 75 percent of all communications in an organization are internal. This includes not only documents, but also phone conversations. About 75 percent of this internal communication goes no farther than 600 feet. If paper can be bypassed for that volume of your information requirements, and you can set up systems to allow users to access that information electronically, then there is great benefit to be gained by installing a local area network.
In conclusion, first recognize that it is impossible to stem the tide. The proliferation of low cost electronic typewriters, personal computers, and word processors is making it impossible to maintain central control. Second, we need to be able to think more in the users terms, that is, function rather than technology. Data processing needs to help users do intelligent needs analysis and assessment and help them match these with the vendors offerings and to plan for technological change. Dealing with office automation effectively also means moving from the complete, central service bureau approach to more of a consul ting role.
The minutes of the November 7, 1982 meeting were approved.
Last month's balance $1,867.37
Forum Speakers 200.00
Speaker Lunches 78.73
Lake Wilderness Planning Conf. 25.61
Income - October dividend 12.60
Current balance $1,575.63
ADPM Board Report:
DPA Announcements by Joe Coogan
Ruben Marti announced plans to provide a briefing on data processing concepts dedicated to productivity management in software development and maintenance. It will be addressed to high-level data processing management and their designees.
The meeting was adjourned at 2:42 p.m.
W.L. "BUTCH" LEONARDSON
Our speaker for the January 6, 1983 meeting of the ADPM is W.L. "Butch" Leonardson.
Mr. Leonardson is director of the office automation practice on the West Coast for Moss Adams, Co. He has eight years practical experience in office automation systems. His credentials include the development of the "Technology at the Point of Need" approach for designing and controlling integrated information systems.
The topic of Mr. Leonardson's address will be: Office Automation; bringing together data, word, and personal computers.
Systems Development Tools
The Evergreen State College (TESC)
November 4-5, 1982
A Report by Dr. Ruben L. Marti
This report is a statistical summary of the 40 (14%) evaluation questionnaires that were returned. All registered participants, 290 total, received a copy of the questionnaire. This is a record attendance figure as compared with the two previous years.
|FORUM '82||FORUM '81||INCREMENT (DECREMENT)|
|1. State employees||219 (76%)||179 (83%)||40|
|2. Non-state governments & private firm employees||71 (24%)||36 (17%)||35|
|Number of Agencies||35||33||2|
|1. Lead Programmer or Systems Analyst||9||(30.0%)|
|2. DP Manager||10||(33.3%)|
|3. MIS Manager or Specialist||1||(3.3%)|
|4. WP Supervisor||2||(6.7%)|
|5. Applications User or User Manager||5||(16.7%)|
|6. Lead Operator or Operations Supervisor||2||(6.7%)|
|A. Registration & Adv. Notice||0||25||14|
|B. Vendor displays or handouts||2||32||2|
|C. Conference Site/Facilities||6||23||10|
|D. Contact w/ others attending conference||0||27||11|
|l. Data Processing Service Center 3||0||18||3|
|2. Digital Equipment Corporation||0||16||5|
|3. Four-Phase Systems, Inc.||2||15||4|
|4. Harris Corporation||1||15||8|
|5. Hewlett - Packard||0||8||2|
|6. IBM Corporation||1||24||9|
|7. Perkin - Elmer||1||23||1|
|8. Prime Computer, Inc.||0||18||7|
|9. Wang Laboratories, Inc.||0||21||2|
|l0. Washington Data Processing Service Center (Service Center l)||0||13||9|
|11. Xerox Corporation||3||11||1|