There are a number of things that finally made seamless workflow accounting and information systems possible to create,but, critical to all that it is and of all that is so unique, is the fact that the end result is now what we call bubble technology which gave us a new erp software definition- unERP. Bubble technology made possible high speed instant data access, it made possible massive amounts of data retention and it is the leading answer to some of the most powerfull information systems we will see emerging in the coming years. This article is a brief explanation of that technology.
Finding the phrase “Bubble Technology” in a computer or technical dictionary could prove somewhat of a challenge. A recent visit to TechWeb.com, boasting over 20,000 such words and phrases revealed nothing and their site probably hosts one of the most comprehensive on line technical dictionaries available. Visits to several other sites produced similar results.
As a consequence, the following definition is drawn from our own experiences and personal concepts of otherwise generally accepted computing terminology and, as with all words and phrases, the meaning can and probably will change over time.
Bubble Technology: The concept of loading everything the user requires, programs and data, into a form of rapid access memory thereby allowing virtually instant access to everything the user might wish to create, read, use or update.
This bubble technology concept was conceived over 25 years ago when programmers considered themselves fortunate to have 64K of memory in which to execute programs. The concepts of erp definition were not even yet fully realized and the erp enterprise was still a distant dream. We were still struggling with finding ways to pack 128 character records into 64 character formats and disk access, by current standards, still plodded along at a snail’s pace. A program compilation still took twenty minutes and an aged analysis report, even a small company, might take as long as half an hour or more to execute. The consensus among programmers was that bubble technology would provide a fantastic way to dramatically increase processing speeds. At the time, at best, the concept was just a pipe dream, probably still light years away.
As time marched on, computers became highly superior in memory capacity, disk storage capacity, processing speed and disk access. All these factors attributed to the fading of the perceived requirement for empowerment of concepts in bubble technology because, as a rule, we were almost all quite simply mesmerized into believing that things were great and, at these speeds, “Really, how could things get any better?”
Ironically, the developments in technology which led us to drift away from the concept are the same that have made it possible to embrace this long forgotten concept. A host of other factors now attest to the fact that the concept has “come of age”.
The laws of physics are not man made laws and it has been proven that, with present materials, 15,000 RPM is about the maximum speed at which we can spin platters and still maintain data integrity. By recent reports, we are already there and therefore we cannot gain more speed by increasing disk RPM.
System disk capacities have led us into believing there are virtually no limits on the amount of data we can accumulate or the size and type of records we can assemble. Reality is, being able to store the data and being able to assemble both accurate and meaningful information out of it are two different things. Accuracy can only be attained through very high speed, on the fly, editing before the data ever gets written to disk. If we allow users to write unedited data to disk, it is already too late because the requirement for information gleaned from data is virtually instant to its capture. There is no time to “get it right” like the first time and it has been proven a thousand times over that editing after the fact is unreliable and hazardous at best.
Although we may be physically reaching outer limits on disk storage new developments in processing speeds and RAM are evolving at a tremendous pace. Our reliance on these evolving technologies alone naturally increases our requirement for bubble technology concepts.
The struggle to get more for less will never end and bubble technology will play a major role in fulfillment of this need, particularly in small and medium size business. None more so than here in North America, particularly in the service sector as it grows, while manufacturing and primary distribution move to third world countries. The need to work more accurately, faster and with planned determination has never been greater. Bubble technology allows for commonality in program use such as we have never seen before. This means shorter training curves, faster employee cross training, lower programming development costs, lower programming maintenance costs, reduced database maintenance costs, increased reporting reliability and a new tempo of change.
Imagine working with a system having virtually everything you want to view, every action you might want to take, right before your eyes – always at your immediate beck and call. Imagine the power of the information which could be unleashed by eliminating all reporting date constraints on all the transactions you may have accumulated over the past several years. Imagine all the summary and details you might chose to view, on an instant’s notice. Imagine viewing an account, and being able to create, modify or print any type of document desired, even print one ten years old, by simple selection of an instantly available function or action key. Imagine being able to view all the current activity in the account, all documents, maybe even all at the same instant, be it purchase orders, receiving slips, cheques, payments, deposits, invoices or even journal entries. Then, imagine, by simple command selection, being able to instantly view the entire history of that same account. How about viewing it right down to the minutest detail, even though the account might be comprised of many years of data of multiple transaction types?
This is the power of bubble technology.
This represents just some of the awesome powers unleashed when the concept of bubble technology became reality on the i-series server. In fact, the power of bubble technology and its benefits are far more exciting than knowing or understanding its technical wizardry because the fact is, plain and simple, real magic does not exist. Undoubtedly, bubble technology was made possible as a result of thinking “outside the box”, but its creation came only through an unending commitment to make it happen along with an unwavering dedication to our customer base.
From a purely technical perspective, fulfillment of the concept of bubble technology was impossible prior to the development of the IBM midrange e-series, now Power 7 server. True 64 bit processing, smart i-series caching techniques, high speed disk access and single level storage are the primary features, though there are others, enabling the implementation of the bubble technology powerful long-term impact on the future design and use of corporate data. New perspectives emerge on how we now create, store and use our data. It creates an exciting new necessity for both a timeliness and quality in the data we collect. It places personal ownership of personal corporate data at a heightened level of importance. At the same time it also emphasizes the need for, and amplifies the power of, the options gained through sharing data and information at all levels within the organization.
These i-series features not only allowed us to develop a powerful ERP system built on bubble technology concepts but, in turn-about, bubble technology concepts illuminated and intensified the awesome power of these i-series characteristics as we took advantage of their strengths. This comes about as no accident due to the fact that bubble technology is specifically designed to make explicit use of the power of these characteristics and the intent by the designers to give something back in return. Incidentally, for the same reasons that it had to be created on the i-series server family, it cannot be ported to other platforms but common web browser interfacing allows other existing infrastructures to take full advantage of the system on the i-series database server on which it resides. This product was not engineered as a product just for the i-series of today, far from it.
Truth is, the development of this product began long before there even was an e-series computer on the market. We knew the software would not function until the e-series became a reality but we continued development anyway. Even today, what we consider to eventually be the ultimate power of the bubble technology concept is not yet available, and it really was engineered for IBM midrange servers still yet to come. The great thing is that, even though the system is intended for evolving technologies for years to come, companies can take advantage of it today on the i and i5 series servers which already allow bubble technology to excel with extreme functionality and reliability. Not only can they choose to move to it today, to take advantage of its powerful characteristics, but they can do it with confidence, knowing their chosen programming technology will not soon be outstripped and their growing database of information will only increase in value. When technology gets there we will all be there together, ready and waiting.
Experience with our existing customers has shown that Its hidden power is revealed, in the outward blossoming of those who use it, by their desire to encourage evolutionary or zooming tactics to satisfy the never ending need to create new winning strategies. For most companies, it is no great secret that zooming is key to corporate survival. Oddly enough though, it is often ignored. Even worse, often to our folly, we tend to wait on others to lead the way, but that’s really another story for a different day.
Accounting methodology, workflow control, database evaluation, security and fraud detection, all acquire new meaning in a bubble environment. New meaning because of the fact that the bubble concept let us develop “Application on Demand” for applications at the back office level. The beauty of this is that we now have an affordable, simple ERP for the ERP marketplace, an ERP in which the business selects the appropriate functionality and designs his or her own ERP document work flow structure to meet his or her own corporate requirements.