‘Who’s on First.’*
Naturally, this classic gag would have never come to fruition had there been digital readouts of the players’ names and positions back in the 1930s. Software makes information readily available and easier to understand so that everyone knows “What’s on second.”
Looking through stacks of paperwork to find information is slow, and if the filing system is the product of someone’s twisted sense of organization (or worse, imagination), then that person’s absence may make it virtually impossible to find an important document.
With software, the computer can do the searching for us, but more importantly, it ensures that information is filed logically, consistently and accessibly to any user who has permission. Of course, there is also the cost and space-saving that comes with not needing stacks and stacks of paper or a place to stack it.
Software has the added benefit of improving communications. Technologies such as e-mail and instant/text messaging all run on software. Fabricators who take advantage of these options get messages to one another more quickly, effortlessly and clearly. They also create a digital paper trail that can be referenced later.
Another often overlooked feature of software is that of reporting. Software is constantly capturing valuable data about how a particular business is functioning. That data can be used to identify problems and areas of improvement. It can identify trends in purchasing, marketing, scheduling, production and many other key disciplines that can then be used to increase revenue and decrease costs.
Thus, software keeps “I Don’t Know” on the bench.
‘Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.’*
According to Moore’s Law, the maximum speed of a computer processor doubles approximately every 18 months, so that flying DeLorean may not be as far away as one might think. Software evolves just as rapidly, and thanks to the Information Superhighway, it gets easier and easier for that evolution to reach us.
With each upgrade of the software, its ability to save money, prevent mistakes and capture data increases. Errors and quirks are eliminated, processes are refined and new features are added.
This evolution allows many software packages to grow into and connect with other business activities. A simple quoting tool soon transforms into and order entry system. New links to other software also allow these tools to integrate with new programs and better integrate with existing ones, and soon the order entry system delivers information directly to accounting, inventory management and scheduling.
In this way, software will not need a flux capacitor to see the future because it will be alive and well when the future gets here.