Since computer terminology can often be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to understanding the world of personal computers,I've tried to make things a bit easier by defining new terms at the beginning of the chapter in they first appear

Thursday, 19 January 2012


Despite all the advertising showing personal computers performing a multitude of tasks, most systems operating in businesses in the mid-1980s will not approach their full potential. It is estimated that up to 60 percent of all people who use a personal computer on the job work with only one or two specific applications. For the overwhelming majority this means a spreadsheet and word processing.There are a multitude of software packages to be found in most organizations, but people aren’t making full use of all the functions available to them. User experts, or gurus, who can make their systems all but dance across a desk and who push their programs to the absolute limits, can be found just about any place that uses computers. In most jobs, however, the role of the personal computer is limited by a lack of knowledge and experience as to exactly what to do with it. Most companies simply don’t have, or at least haven’t committed, the resources needed to support more than a few standard selections. In addition to the spreadsheet and word processing functions already mentioned, the standard choices usually include some form of data management program. Spreadsheets are far and away the most used programs run on personal computers. This is particularly true among managers who have accessed to a personal computer, and who have come to see the spreadsheet as having as almost magical qualities. When many people becoming talk about becoming computer literate, they really are thinking about learning how to use a spreadsheet. In— deed, most formal training found in business or industry is built not around the capabilities of the technology, hut around teaching people about spreadsheets. Arthur Young, a consulting firm, conducted a survey in 1984 of 453 companies that use personal computers. The survey which was reported in the July 1984 edition of Data Training Newspaper found that training in using personal computers ranked far below using specific software packages. Only 25 percent of the companies surveyed offered training of any kind. Of these, 80 percent trained users on spreadsheets and 49 percent included word processing.One major corporation that claims to have trained over 4000 of its employees on personal computers admits to a curriculum consisting solely of three hour courses in the use of spreadsheets. Given these statistics it’s not difficult to find individuals who believe that personal computers exist solely to run spreadsheets, or serve as very fancy typewriters. There are other reasons for the spreadsheet’s dominance. Statistics show the banking, accounting, and insurance industries are the leaders in acquiring personal computers. Most office workers can perform at least one part of their job on a spreadsheet. Many of the nation’s business schools have added spreadsheet preparation and analysis to their curriculums. Therefore, it is easy for people to relate to the spreadsheet concept during product demonstrations.
Most of the work done on personal computers is financial in nature. Among the most popular uses are:
Financial analysis
Cash flow management
Employee records
Mailing lists
Report writing
Presentation graphics
Production scheduling
Economic projections
Accounts payable and receivable
Despite the best efforts of promoters to portray them as total business solutions, most personal computers remain single-purpose tools limited primarily to being report machines.

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