Hal’s Soft Side
Seems like computers are taking over everything. Whether you’re at home or work, on the manufacturing floor, an airplane, or up in space, computers are the tools of choice. They control, they communicate, they play chess; and they do it all—fast, reliably, and well. Just ask Hal, the computer-character in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
When I hear the term computer, though, a picture of the hardware immediately comes to mind. But it’s clear: software is what makes a computer the powerful, tool that it is. Computer hardware is like the human body, with many fascinating and well-designed systems. But just as our brain separates us high above the other creatures on our planet, it is software that makes the computer the special tool that it has become.
This is no secret and is widely recognized. But, even so, business/production software companies can still have a “hard sell” when competing for capital dollars against more tangible assets, such as new, state-of-the-art printing presses. This might be changing as is discussed in the article “Integration is the Name of the Game,” beginning on p. 54. The driver for this shift is the distinct advantage that a highly integrated flow of information throughout the supply chain can provide.
Chris Wood, VP sales and marketing for DiMS! organizing print, notes, “The leading packaging companies have recognized that it is increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to have a USP [unique selling proposition] based on under pricing the competition, and that doing so is a downward spiral. They recognize that a true integrated flow of management and production information across the entire business may be one of the few remaining areas to outshine the competition.”
If this doesn’t convince you, just ask any real estate agent to name the three keys to a successful business. You might just hear: “Information, information, information.”