Subject: Re: SGML
From: Gary Merrill <merrill -at- HYPERION -dot- PDIAL -dot- INTERPATH -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 00:43:22 GMT

> Chet Ensign <Chet_Ensign%LDS -at- notes -dot- worldcom -dot- com> writes:
> Gary Merrill writes...

> > Could this have been because the same result (from the point
> > of view of the client) could have been achieved more quickly and
> > in a less costly manner by using well known publishing packages ...
> > How exactly *do* you estimate the "future savings" and measure this
> > agains the "up-front processes"?

> This is a major problem. The cost accounting models that are used today do
> show the costs of processes. They show the costs of departments. It is
> literally impossible to find out what it really costs to produce information
> products and make meaningful comparisons between alternative approaches.

Then why do we see it claimed so often that SGML will result in these sorts
of savings?

> As part of the Pinnacles initiative, Intel did an indepth analysis of the
> book for the Pentium Pro processor. They discovered that the document cost
> $500,000 to produce. And they found that more than half that was the cost to
> find, convert and rekey information between one system and another.

> These kinds of expenses are typically hidden costs that are invisible on the
> corporate expense sheets. We need new accounting models that will show the
> people charged with making decisions the real costs of their products.

Note, again, that the claims made in this thread (and similar ones) are
that there are certain *methods* or general *methodologies* that would save
money in this way, but that *using SGML* would save money in this way. Indeed,
the Intel study -- which now seems to have had nothing to do with SGML or its
use -- was introduced into this thread in an explicit and direct attempt to
the use of SGML. Do note that the name of the thread is "Re: SGML".
I believe that "non sequitur" is the obvious (and most charitable) description
of this
rhetorical move. And then when someone challanges the citation of such a study
and asks for hard evidence and the precise link between the study and the
conclusions claimed about the use of SGML, we are told that "we need new
accounting models". We certainly need something more than unsubstantiated

Gary Merrill

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