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Computerization At Work Essay

1827 words - 8 pages

Computerization at Work

Work is a major component of many people's lives. Wage income is the primary way that most people between the ages of 22 and 65 obtain money for food, housing, clothing, transportation, and so on. The United States' population is about 260,000,000, and well over 110,000,000 work for a living. So, major changes in the nature of work - the number of jobs, the nature of jobs, career opportunities, job content, social relationships at work, working conditions of various kinds - affect a significant segment of society.

Computer-based systems are organized to enhance the quality of working life for clerks, administrative staff, professionals, and managers. ...view middle of the document...

Clerks filled in paper forms with information about a firm's clients, and the forms were then periodically sent to a special group of keypunchers to translate the data onto cardboard card. These card each stored one line of data, up to eighty characters. They were punched with a series of holes for each character or number. Keypunch machines were clanky devices with a typewriter-style keyboard, a bin for storing blank card, and a holder for the card being punched. There was no simple way for a keypunch operator to correct an error. Cards containing errors had to be completely repunched. The punched cards were then taken to a data-processing department for a weekly or monthly run, during which time records were updated and reports were produced. It often took a few cycles-sometimes weeks or months-to identify and correct errors. Using these early computerized systems required immense precision and care, since inaccuracies were detected and corrected slowly. In addition, the data from one information system were usually formatted in a way that did not make them accessible to other systems. Professionals and managers often waited a few months for a new kind of report, and reports that required merging data from several separate systems were often viewed as prohibitively complex, time-consuming, and expensive to create. The earliest computer systems were speedier than the hand in processing large volumes of highly specialized transactions. But they were also rigid and cumbersome for many people who used them.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, virtually every organization bought PCs and workstations. But the PC revolution did not merely change the nature of office equipment - it expanded the range of people who use computers routinely to include a much larger fraction of professionals-managers of all kinds, architects, accountants, lawyers, and so on. Many larger organizations are beginning to use computerized communication systems, like electronic mail, to help managers and professionals keep in contact when they are out of the office. And a few organizations are experimenting with pushing some of their staff out of regular offices and creating virtual offices in locations close to their clients, their homes (telecommuting), and other more convenient or less costly location.

I worked in the trading support department of a merchant bank in the late 1980's. My main responsibility was to write computer programs so the front office (referring to traders) and the back office (referring to personnel that process tickets or orders for traders) of the trading department could operate smoothly and at the same time facilitate the communication of the two offices through computer systems. My department supported foreign currency traders, government bond and municipal bond traders. Unlike retail banks, merchant bank is the so called wholesale bank, their clients are other banks, institutions, pension funds, or trust funds. Client lists may not be large,...

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