He Stumbles Upon a Pill
In a recent movie entitled "Limitless," Bradley Cooper plays a down-on-his-luck fiction writer who only sees the limits of his life. He is alone in a small New York City apartment. He talks to no one. Writes little and submits even less to his editor. He stumbles upon a pill and suddenly has 100% access to all memories and data in his brain upon command, his limits disappear and he becomes an amazingly rich successful man overnight.
Pieces of Paper
Before, it was as if he wrote down on pieces of paper everything he knew and hid them in places he forgot. What kind of system would that be? If you're thinking that sounds like paper crew timesheets or employee timesheets read on. If you're not thinking this, humor us and read on anyway. Storing information once on paper only means you have to transfer it into another media to allow for access and use of that information. This is true for sticky notes, phone messages, paper address books, phone numbers on slips of paper. You only write it down to transfer it to somewhere more permanent and useful. In business, it's called "double data entry," that is, recording information on paper sheets and then having data entry clerks re-enter the data again into a computer system, might seem like a limiting practice, but it's still very common. What's more, what kind of system is the data being entered into? Is that data then easily accessible? Ever write something on xerox paper, put it own your desk, later enter it into a spreadsheet, then attach it to an email and send it to someone else. Now you're cooking with gas (around 1995). Points of failure are everywhere. Did you write down on paper correctly? Did you copy it to the spreadsheet right? Did the email attachment make it through the spam filter at the other end? Could the recipient open it up with his XP computer when your file was in Vista (around 2007). In 2011, is this anyway to run an airline, a railroad or your life? Your just like Bradley Cooper's character with his slips of paper hidden in places he can't remember. Paralyzing. Static. No movement. Slow.
Web-based systems are essentially "limitless." They capture data in real time and ensure greater accuracy. They allow for real time processing of validation and other rules to ensure that data is valid. They allow for real time reporting and remove the severe "limits" of paper-based systems:
- no ability to access data on demand
- no ability to perform "what if" analysis
- maybe worst of all, a structured-in "limit" or lower expectation of what is possible.