The End of Information

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

Underload/Overload"> The End of Information Underload/Overload To deliver on the promise of this new generation of solutions, Microsoft is focused on creating software that addresses specific businesses priorities: Productivity: Information fatigue is one inevitable result of information overload. We are working to develop tools that help information workers prioritize their work and focus on the tasks that are truly important. At the same time, we are working to create unified communication solutions that provide a single entry point to all of the tools we use to communicate with coworkers and customers.
Collaboration: New meeting technologies will make distributed meetings simple and cost effective, and provide rich tools that enable team members to work together to create documents and plans. In addition, companies will be able to capture all of the interaction in meetings and preserve institutional knowledge that is often lost today.
Business intelligence: Powerful yet intuitive software that supports advanced visualization and modeling of information will be used every day by information workers to find meaningful patterns in the vast sea of data they collect. This software will also help employees use the insight they gain to trigger processes that enable organizations to respond quickly as business conditions change. Workflow optimization: Smarter workflow software will eliminate friction points that hamper organizational agility. These tools will automate the movement of approvals, alerts and exceptions. They will also have the intelligence to recognize inefficiencies in existing processes and make improvements. Microsoft is also devoting particular attention to the problem of enterprise information access. In a world where information can be stored on the desktop, the intranet or out on the Web, and where the right people may be located in an office halfway around the world, enabling seamless access to enterprise information is a complex problem. An important starting point is to move beyond the traditional search tools that people use today to find information on the Web and elsewhere. Instead, software needs to be tuned to better match the way information is created and stored in the enterprise so that it is capable of searching all types of structured and unstructured business content, from emails to information stored in line of business applications to data stored in corporate databases. This software needs to be built on a search engine that utilizes algorithms and incorporates features that are designed specifically to deal with business content so that relevance and ranking results meet the needs of business users. Enterprise-enabled search is just one aspect of the solution. One of the biggest barriers to information access in the enterprise is the fact that data is often stored in so many different repositories. This leads to painfully inefficient processes that force information workers to leave one application, logon to another, find a single piece of data and write it on a piece of paper, and then return to their original application, just to complete a simple task like sending an email to a customer. This is a significant drag on productivity. Microsofts goal is to deliver enterprise information access solutions that present information workers with a single, unified way to get at the information they need no matter where it resides without leaving the application they are currently working in so they can make smart decisions and take action with greater speed. In addition, finding ways to take full advantage of the knowledge that employees possess remains a challenge in all organizations. According to some estimates, 80 percent of the expertise within the average organizations is "tacit knowledge" that is undocumented and difficult to locate. Next-generation solutions will enable information workers to tap into social networks to find subject matter experts who can provide the support they need to accomplish specific tasks. Next Page: Looking ahead to the next 10 years.

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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