The information society

Lecture 5
Ewan Sutherland

Managing the changing computer


Computer classes

Computer generations

First generation

Second generation

Third generation

Fourth generation

Generations of language

  1. machine code
  2. assembler
  3. programming languages: COBOL, FORTRAN
  4. 4GLs:
  5. artificial intelligence: PROLOG, Lisp

Structured programming



Structured analysis

Formalisation of methods for systems analysis



Success if used as specified.

Failure if:

Design specification

Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE)

For example: CASE is not a miracle cure!.

Changes in computers

From a few isolated computers we now have a complex infrastructure to support.

Distributed systems

IT architecture


Classes of information systems

Information systems

Organisational effects

Historical perspective:

Investment rationale:


Stages of Growth

Proposed by Gibson and Nolan (1974) Harvard Business Review.

Organisational learning

Growth of specialisation

Computer efficiency

Development of applications Control and effectiveness

Database and on-line systems

Management techniques

Revised stages

Nolan (1979) Harvard Business Review.

Causes of growth

Guidelines for action

Development of a plan

Levels of risk

End user computing

Origin of EUC

Applications of EUC

Organisational control



British Computer Society idea.

To combine:

Need for someone senior to run the show.

Designation in the USA has been Chief Information Officer

Price Waterhouse

Annual survey of DP managers

Issues in 1994 were:

Expenditure on PCs is rapidly passing spending on mainframes and minicomputers.

Fall in staff numbers.

Increase in outsourcing some or all



Beaumont, J R and Sutherland, E (1992) “Information Resources Management” Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.

Friedman, A L with Cornford, D S (1989) Computer Systems Development” John Wiley & Son, Chichester.

Copyright © Ewan Sutherland, 1995.

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