Some Aspects of a 1970-Model Planning, Control, and Information System
by GORDON L. MURRAY Partner, Executive Office
Presented at Executive Management Seminar of North American Aviation, Inc., Los Angeles—April 1967
IN REVIEWING North American Aviation's annual report I noted that the Chairman's letter in discussing market development effort stated that "... the company is studying the use of information systems to handle the masses of data needed in government and in a number of professions
" At another point it was reported that "the company is
studying development of a large-scale, very low-cost electronic data file capable of storing two billion bits of information, which could find widespread
use for rapid data retrieval in the financial, medical, legal, and educational professions." I am also not unaware that a segment of the company is called the Space and Information Systems Division (emphasis added).
That I would choose a subject concerning information systems to discuss before a group in the information business may seem presumptuous—
and perhaps it is. I must say that I got no comfort from seeing references to your commitment to information technology in the annual report. Where I did get some small comfort, though, was from another passage in the report, which said: "The company continued to institute advanced management controls and new techniques in program administration
and to streamline operations and organization." Why would advanced management controls continue to be instituted? There must be some degree of dissatisfaction with what exists and a recognition that improvements can be made. Perhaps, I thought, here is a situation a little bit like the barber's son who needs shearing and the shoemaker's son who needs shoeing—there just might be some opportunity for improvement, after all.
In any event, I chose "A 1970-Model Planning, Control, and Information
System" as my subject. This is a nice "loose" title, don't you think? The sort of title you get from someone who is asked for his subject before he has prepared his material and determines what it is he is actually going to say. Another thing you might expect from someone asked to provide a synopsis of his subject before he really has a subject is an ambitious statement of what he expects to do. My reply to your