Changing Concepts in EDP Feasibility Studies
by ROBERT G. WRIGHT Partner, Chicago Office
Presented before the Accounting Symposium sponsored by the National
Association of Accountants, National Machine Accountants Association, and National Office Management Association at the University of Florida, Gainesville—April 1961, and before the Rock-ford Chapter of the National Association of Accountants—May 1961
A COMPUTER feasibility study should develop answers to two major questions:
What is the best way of utilizing EDP?
Which computer, if any, best meets the company's requirements? The factors that govern the development of the answers to these questions are subject to continuous refinement and change.
Technological improvements are being developed continuously by the computer manufacturers.
Equally important developments are being made in application concepts. Gradually, users are learning that full utilization of EDP requires extension beyond routine bread-and-butter applications.
Broad, company-wide applications are beginning to materialize. These cross departmental lines and mechanize decision
processes that previously were performed more or less intuitively by human beings.
As a result of these improvements, feasibility studies today are apt to develop positive conclusions that could not have been developed a few years ago. Many companies that initially were merely bystanders
now find they can profitably apply EDP to their business needs. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to review current trends in the two factors mentioned above—technological developments
and changing application concepts—for these factors weigh heavily in any consideration of computer feasibility.
The most significant development in the past year or so was the introduction of solid-state computers, the so-called "second generation"
of machines. This break-through served as a needed stimulant to the industry, and the computer manufacturers and their customers were quick to respond. Several hundred machines have already been