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SYSTEM TECHNOLOGY, PRESENT AND TRENDS David Lyons IBM Corporation Ladies and gentlemen, I have been looking forward to the opportunity of being part of your symposium. At the outset, as Dr. Licklider was talking about the crucial need for planning the office of the future, it reminded me of a short story that Bill Moyers used to tell about a college student. He was having some trouble in school and he didn't know whether or not he should leave college to make his fortune in the world. What he did was he went out to see a fortune teller. The fortune teller studied his hand for awhile and then she looked up at him. She said, "Young man, you will be poor and you will be unhappy until you are 30." He then asked, very quizzically, "What happens after I am 30?" After that, she said, "You will get used to it." I think that kind of fits into our subject today. You will be hearing from others on why the area of office systems is of such critical importance. We have rising costs, decreasing productivity, and work force imbalancing problems that are placing severe strains on our economic health and our ability to compete in world markets today. You will also hear from three leading edge organizations who have begun to install what has been generically called the "office of the future". What I would like to discuss with you today are four topics: First, what is happening with technology and its potential to provide solutions for office systems; second, what I see as the office application and where we are today; third, the challenges we face in the future both as vendors and as organizations implementing office systems; and lastly, the potential I see for totally integrated office systems in the future. As you can see, in Figure l, the annual decrease in cost of computer and related technology over the past 20 years has been significant. More importantly, not only have these costs decreased, but our ability to use them has increased. For example, pocket calculators of today are more sophisticated and powerful and easier to 2l

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use than computers of twenty years ago. Watches are available today that can maintain multiple time zones concurrently. In the area of home appliances, microwave ovens today have mutilevels of programming capability on microcomputers. In fact, if other costs had gone the same way a sirloin steak today would cost nine cents a pound and a standard sized car would cost $2OO. In addition to all of that, our ability to manufacuture technology has increased at an astounding rate. Within IBM, in l97O it took us 2OO man-hours to manufacture 32,OOO bits of computer memory. In l980, it takes us 2O minutes to manufacture 32,OOO bits of computer memory, However, this technology evolution and our capability to utilize it is only one side of the equation. On the other side is the applications that those technologies will be used to address. Let me talk for a few minutes about how I think the office of the future might evolve. I have depicted this in Figure 2. It begins with secretarial productivity. Starting there to pick up the justification due to the fact that the average business letter now costs over eight dollars to prepare. Starting there, because capturing the key strokes is essential to an office system. These secretarial systems will start in departments where the paper workload is the heaviest. In fact, word processing is really what our typical customers are implementing today. But that, as was discussed earlier, is really just a beginning. The incentive for automating text preparation is so that it can be combined with the data processing systems already installed. As an example, an insurance proposal can be prepared in a remote agency on a word processing workstation with access to actuarial information on the computer system at corporate headquarters. Our customers tell us consistently that the next step that they want to take is the integration of text with data. The next phase of system evolution will be the storage and the retrieval of documents, or more simply put, electronic filing. Now, the prospects of running a business with all our vital records stored in magnetic form may initially appear frightening to some. However, it is reassuring to remember that in many application areas, such as airline reservations, we have really been doing that for years. You don't have to look very far to recognize that electronic filing offers massive productivity benefits. The average secretary makes over 5,OOO copies of documents per year, many of which end up in redundant files which must be maintained, updated, purged, and stored away in archives. Recent surveys have told us that secretaries spend over l0 percent of their 22

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time filing and retrieving information and professionals seeking information spend 25 percent of their time seeking this information. The next step will be to tie systems together into electronic mail networks. You will be able to get many of the benefits of electronic mail quickly, for our studies show that the greatest majority of written communications stay within the establishment, often within the same functional area. The economic benefits of being able to eliminate labor-intensive manual mail systems coupled with the productivity gains — and that is key — of moving messages between departments and locations in seconds rather than days will make electronic mail a high priority for most organizations. The next step will be to place terminals directly on professionals' and managers' desks. Professional terminals will be a standard fixture in the office of tomorrow as the telephone is today. They will bring to the professional, who all too often is the forgotten individual in the office, support that exceeds what any executive now receives from a dedicated secretary. Profesional productivity is the real pot of gold at the end of the office systems rainbow. There are, in a typical company today, four professionals to every clerk or secretary. Professionals are paid two to two-and-a-half times in salary and benefits what the secretaries are paid. So, that results in a ten-to-one cost leverage by saving a small percentage of each professional's time, which is of major economic significance in most of our organizations. We also see a comparable evolution in the workstations and the equipment used to automate these office functions. From the original mechanical typewriter came the electronic typewriter and the ability to store key strokes electronically on magnetic cards or on disks. Recent technology has implemented display based word processing systems. These primarily are stand alone-single work stations or shared logic-controllers with multiple workstations and printers attached. These are being enhanced by providing communication capability, allowing them to talk to comparable cluster controllers or to nost application computer systems. Other technologies within the industry are also evolving, but they are not yet here as generally available components. These would provide the capability to store, forward, and retrieve digital facsimile information in the same manner as a document entered from a word processor. Another major thrust in the industry is the ability to store and forward captured voice information (in digital form) so that we would leave voice messages. At our Watson Research Center we are testing an experimental, computer-controlled, voice communication system. It is based on the telephone as the most standard component of business communications, 23

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but designed with the realization of how difficult telephone communications can be. If you are anything like me, you often don't get a party on a first try and sometimes days go by before you finally do. Now, using a standard touch-tone set and the speech system, a user can record messages, edit them, and then route them to an individual or a group based on pre-identified distribution lists. The computer maintains the equivalent of a voice "in basket". You can call it from wherever you are for your messages or it will call you twice a day if it hasn't heard from you. It calls back in a few minutes if your line is busy, and every ten minutes if it has a priority message for you. Utilization of this system, like most new sytems, started slowly, but now it is an integral communications medium among the users. It is used for very complete messages and those messages are being relayed and responses received in hours rather than days or weeks. Given that as an applications oriented scenario and as a view of where the products are in support of the application, where are we really today? Well, there are over eight million electric typewriters installed today and over 350,OOO display based word processors. However, of those display based word processors, over 92 percent are non-commu n ica t i ng. In the application area, we are mostly seeing the implementation of word processing, but other phases are emerging. You will hear today from three organizations who have begun to tie together the various components of the integrated office and implement solutions. However, most organizations are in the planning and the piloting phase where they are preparing for rapid growth in the '8l and "84 time frame. Surveys show that a large majority of orgnizations have expanded their planning and piloting activities. An IBM customer survey showed that from l978 to l979 the number of those customers planning to place automation into offices had doubled. A guide survey in l980 showed that planning is at a high level with 64 percent of the respondents developing a top-down organization-wide plan. However, there is more to this application area than just piloting and planning to make it become a reality. Both we as vendors, and you as customers and users, face significant challenges in the future. (Figure 3) . As vendors our challenge is to take today's technology in data, text, and graphics, and the emerging technologies of digitally stored image and voice and integrate these various forms of information to provide you with a system that is capable of delivering information to the people who really need it. 24

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Now, what does this really mean? Another way of looking at our goal of integrating the separate pieces of information found in a memo is that we want and need the ability to put all the different forms of information into a single document. For example, in the upper left-hand side of Figure 4 is a logo, which is graphical information; data, the name and address from a host data file; the text that has been keyed in by the secretary; business graphics that are created by the system as a result of complex calculations performed by a computer program, and an image which is the individual's signature; and a voice annotation or a buck slip, because a professional needs the ability to electronically pass a document he has received to someone else with his comments annoted by voice. He would also electronically file the document with the voice message. However, you too face a challenge in realizing the utlimate goal of improved office productivity. As new products are announced and installed, office systems will evolve, but not without top level direction and support. If we don't have that top level direction and support, fragmentation can result, making it difficult, if not impossible, to integrate the individual pieces. We talked about that earlier this morning. Organizational placement of the office systems operation will be a key factor in the success of a function which has to cross organization lines. The total office system of the office systems operation will be a key factor in the success of a function which has to cross organization lines. The total office system represents a long-term and an evolutionary process requiring a formal, long-range plan as depicted in Figure 5. It is a major project with significant return on investment, but it requires a substantial up-front investment and firm commitment to some agreed-to goals. It has widespread organizational implications and it requires high-level executive support, direction, and most importantly, involvement. It is a complex implementation. It is a process that requires strong professional leadership across your organizations and across what are many, usually separate, disciplines. Finally, and most importantly, it requires an understanding and a recognition of the organization and the personnel impacts of automating what is to many of us a very personal activity, that is, our office and how we run it. In summary, then, I see our joint goal as to improve overall office production, especially in the area of the professional user, to use the technology provided by data processing to automate the manual tasks in the overall office process, and to integrate the separate forms of information that are required to run our business and agencies. This is graphically portrayed in Figure 6. While the 25

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technologies may be complex, the overriding theme will have to be to make the office systems simple to learn, easy to use, and geared to the utlimate end-user. Therefore, if we the vendors meet our challenge of providing the individual technology, the application support products designed for end-users' ease of use, and the tools and guidance in planning to address your requirements; and you develop the plans to address those requirements and needs: then we can achieve our joint goal of improving the office environment and our productivity. My message this morning has been a simple one, to ask you to take a view of the office beyond the paper-shuffling, beyond the faster typing and the clean-up-the-files approach; to view the office of the future in terms of the administration of our businesses. Efforts to restructure our business offices, already started by some and contemplated by most everyone, offer dramatic potential for increased productivity. There is no doubt that those organizations who are willing to commit the time and resources necessary to implement these sophisticated systems will gain a substantial edge in the efficiency and in the cost of doing business. With that perspective, I think our joint mission is clear. It is to capitalize on the technology. Apply it quickly, broadly and effectively to make the productive power of the computer as useful and accessible as possible to the secretary, the scientists and the clerk, as well as the controller. Tomorrow the questions will be much tougher. What will it be worth to find some needed information in seconds rather than hours? What will it be worth to send messages to someone across the building or across the country in minutes rather than days? Or, to help the professionals to do their job better? Your contributions, I believe, will be in direct proportion to your ability to get involved: to be thoughtful and creative, and, to add value to the decision-making process in your organization. 26

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