Gates' Memo: 'Beyond Business Intelligence'

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-05-17 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Microsoft's chief software architect tells customers and partners what his company is doing to end information overload/underload. Read the full text of his memo here.

An executive e-mail penned by Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect, will be sent out to customers and partners on May 17 to coincide with his keynote address to more than 100 CEOs representing many of the world's leading companies at the software giant's annual CEO Summit the same day.

Below is full text of that executive e-mail, titled "Beyond Business Intelligence: Delivering a Comprehensive Approach to Enterprise Information Management."

This week, more than 100 CEOs representing many of the world's leading companies are meeting in Redmond, Washington, to discuss technology trends that promise to reshape the corporate landscape. The occasion is the Microsoft CEO Summit, an annual event that we've been hosting since 1997.

In the decade since that first CEO Summit, technology has transformed the world of business in profound ways. Back then, e-mail was just emerging as a preferred medium for business communication. E-commerce was in its infancy. Most companies still relied on faxes and phone calls to conduct business.

Today, we communicate and collaborate instantly with colleagues, customers and partners around the world. Global supply chains speed the flow of products from factory floor to store shelf. Cell phones are ubiquitous. Mobile access to e-mail is rapidly becoming the norm.

The impact on the workforce is remarkable. Productivity is higher than it's ever been. Buyers can shop the entire world without leaving their desk. Sellers have access to markets that were once beyond reach. The amount of information collected about customers, competitors and markets is unprecedented.

But there are times when it feels like all of these changes have overwhelmed the tools we use to do our day-to-day jobs.

The problem, really, is twofold. The first is information overload. Faced with the endless deluge of data that is generated every second of every day, how can we hope to keep up? And in the struggle to keep up, how can we stay focused on the tasks that are most important and deliver the greatest value?

The other problem is something I call information underload. We're flooded with information, but that doesn't mean we have tools that let us use the information effectively.

Companies pay a high price for information overload and underload. Estimates are that information workers spend as much as 30 percent of their time searching for information, at a cost of $18,000 each year per employee in lost productivity. Meanwhile, the University of California, Berkeley predicts that the volume of digital data we store will nearly double in the next two years.

That makes solving information overload/underload a critical task. Fortunately, a new generation of technology innovations is opening the door to solutions that will make it dramatically easier to find relevant information quickly; to use that information to drive intelligent decision-making; and to instantly share the knowledge that results across the enterprise and beyond. Resolving the information overload and underload problem will take more than just better search tools. What's required is a comprehensive approach to enterprise information management that spans information creation, collection and use and helps ensure that organizations can unlock the full value of their investments in both information and people.

As these solutions enter the mainstream, we will expect dramatic improvements across the key drivers of business success. Software that streamlines how we find, use and share business information will enable us to strengthen relationships with customers, speed innovation, improve operations and create more flexible connections to partners and suppliers.

Next Page: The end of information underload/overload.



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Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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