Recent Developments In Data Processing
BY PAUL W. PINKERTON Partner, New York Office
Presented before the Delaware Accountants Association, Wilmington—April 1958
WHENEVER I do that, or see it done, I think of the two good
friends who had been engaged in good natured kidding about each other's religion for many years. Finally they agreed that as intelligent men they should at least attend service at each other's church. On the next Sunday they attended Mass together at the Catholic's church. They sat in the back, and all during the service the Catholic explained in whispers the significance of the various parts of the ceremony. The Sunday after that, they attended the Baptist church, where the Protestant worshipped. Again they sat in the back and the Protestant explained in whispers the significance of the different parts of the service. When the lights in the sanctuary were turned off, the minister stepped up to the pulpit and took off his watch, just as I did, and placed it before him on the rostrum. The Protestant said nothing so the Catholic leaned over and whispered, "What does that mean?" The Protestant whispered back, "That doesn't mean a damn thing."
In the last few years we have witnessed a tremendous increase in mechanization of the office. Many factors have contributed to this increase. We have all seen or heard the figures representing the growth in the number of clerical employees, both in absolute terms and relative to the number of factory workers. It is popular to blame government for part of this increase and to attribute the rest to management's need for a paper substitute for direct observation and to the lag in improvements in office machinery. It is easy to overlook the startling growth in service industries, such as insurance and banking, the advances in management techniques that require clerical activity in the interest of additional profits, and the need for accounting
for the sharply expanded volume of credit, both personal and commercial.
The increase in clerical costs has occurred over many years. What was the spark that ignited the sudden interest in mechanization ? Perhaps it was the application of electronics to the processing of data that has focused attention on the problem which has been growing
GROWTH OF BUSINESS DATA PROCESSING