From doc OCR
BACKGROUND TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COGAR 4
Highlights of remarks by William Gall, Director of Marketing
New York, January 18, 1970
Data preparation is the point in any data processing system where the business meets the computer. Where the pro-cedures for information handling, that make good business sense, meet the procedures required for efficient computer operation. Generally, it has been the business procedures that have yielded.
It never really made good business sense to take a perfectly comprehensible document out of the hands of people who understood it, and have it re-prepared by someone who didn’t understand it. But, because the machine required punched cards or spools of magnetic tape, that’s exactly what we did.
The keypunch never did fit smoothly into the massive flow of business information. Because it took documents out of the hands of people who understood them, it caused the vast majority of critical errors for which the innocent central processor is popularly blamed. And because it centralized vast
stores of documents, it became a bottleneck through which all
data processing activities had to be squeezed.
The answer has always been to get the documents back to the source. To prepare a computer-suitable record in remote locations. But this move has always been blocked by the limitations of available data preparation equipment.
The limitations existed not so much in equipment per-formance as in equipment concepts. You could always take a keypunch/verifier into the field. But it was a bulky piece of equipment. Requiring a trained operator. And since it could do nothing but punch cards, it would be idle much of the time in most remote locations.
What the data processing manager needs is a new kind of equipment. A data recording system that can start in the keypunch room as a replacement for present keypunch or key-to-tape equipment. That can handle his present data conversion problem more efficiently and without causing any change in the data center procedures he is now employing.
At the same time, this new system must be perfectly suitable for use in remote locations. That is, it must be small, easy to operate, and must be capable of serving a variety of data handling chores other than straight data con-version.
Those requirements define what the new system must be. First and foremost, it must be fully programmable. So that it can adapt to a variety of work environments as it is moved into the field. So that it can be taught new business applications.
Secondly, it must be small. It must be desktop size if it is to fit comfortably into field offices.
Third, it must be easy to program. Really self-programming so that it makes absolutely no requirements on the operator.
Fourth, it must be simple to use. We can’t support it with a keypunch operator in field offices. A secretary will have to use it just as conveniently as she uses a typewriter.
Fifth, it must be fully competitive in cost and through-put with present keypunch, key-to-tape and key-processor systems. Otherwise, the data processing manager cannot immediately justify replacing the less flexible equipment he now has in his data preparation center.
It was to meet all these requirements that the Cogar 4