One of the deep mystical promises of modern technology has been the achievement of closed-loop systems. The Internet coupled with data warehouse technology has put that hope within reach. In order to understand why closed-loop systems have so much allure, there is a need to understand the more traditional open-loop systems.
Open-loop systems have been with us from the beginning, long before there were computers. In open loop systems, there is an infrastructure (e.g., a corporation). Based on information found in the corporation, management makes a decision. The decision is then heralded out to the world and the world reacts to the decision made by management. The reaction is measured by an event - such as a sale - which then is fed back into the infrastructure.
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