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By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-09-23 Print this article Print

: Microsoft to Pour $3 Billion Into Office"> Raikes said another "challenge and opportunity the industry faces" is to broaden the definition of information worker from "knowledge worker" to include any worker who is an active participant in a business information process, to anyone who uses digital or software tools as part of their daily work. Managing the process of tasks and taking action is also very underserved today, Raikes said, adding that while Microsofts thinking was currently "rather rudimentary" on the task-and-decision process front, "we need to find out the common essence of sharing the right information that leads to the insights and the decision-making."
New customer value will be unleashed through greater access and improved collaboration, including meeting facilitation, tele-meetings, note-taking and application sharing.
Authoring improvements through things like handwriting, indexing and categorizing, as well as the ability to use speech-and-voice recognition in conjunction with ink-and-pen recognition—and bringing all this together in the user interface and across applications and devices—is a huge area of opportunity going forward, he said. Raikes said that Microsoft is also working on tools to help people optimize their time usage. "How do you get the tools people commonly use connected to those disconnected islands of data and make this available to the masses? Our Microsoft Data Analyzer tool, released a year ago, is a beginning on this road, and one on which were rapidly moving forward," he said. Time-to-competence is also a key business challenge, he said. "The next version of Microsofts SharePoint Team Services software will have an increased number of templates to help" employees in new roles get up to speed as rapidly as possible, he said. Time-to-responsiveness is also very important, and new form factors that allow information to follow users wherever they go and across all their devices are vital, Raikes said, demonstrating some of the technologies found in the upcoming Tablet PC, which launches on November 7. Talking up the pervasive ink technology and note-taking ability of the Tablet as critical to addressing time issues, Raikes said these features allow notes to be handwritten on the screen, stored and searched. E-mails, planners and calendars could also all be rendered in ink and made searchable, he said. "This is a metaphor where paper converges with screen. Imagine the opportunities that cannibalizing the analog form and opening up that value proposition creates. This is going to be a very rich decade for information. "Weve made significant enhancements in Outlook 11 to help reduce e-mail glut in the Inbox and have introduced a smart search facility. The next decade will be characterized by the connection between devices, software and platforms," Raikes said. The use of Contact lists also needs to pervade the platform, he said, as users do not want numerous Contact Lists. "This is one of the core principles of the work in [the next-version of Windows code-named] Longhorn. This is also true for the buddy list and Instant Messaging," he said. Microsoft also faces challenges around voice recognition and getting the technology to work seamlessly. Educating users around this and building it into the user interface more comprehensively are challenges that lay ahead. "You will also see a lot more work on inking and handwriting recognition going forward, in Longhorn and beyond," Raikes concluded. Related Stories:
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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


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