Magazine article Information Management

Book Review: Business @ the Speed of Thought: Using a Digital Nervous System

Magazine article Information Management

Book Review: Business @ the Speed of Thought: Using a Digital Nervous System

Article excerpt

There is no doubt that Bill Gates's Business @ the Speed of Thought is an excellent book to better understand the application of technology in business. Since its publication in 1999, the hardcover has been a total success. Now the paperback, which carries the revised subtitle of Succeeding in the Digital Economy, appears certain to reach a worldwide audience, and the audio versions are enjoying solid sales. Sales of these two books support the fact that in today's economy, business technology is a business focus.

This follow-up to The Road Ahead initially captured my attention because of the extraordinary multimedia companions to the book, including a Web site (www.speed-of that features an insightful 45-minute video recorded by Gates and a charitable program, "Young Minds in Motion." This program, which is funded from the book proceeds, was established to aid worldwide public charities in projects that promote the educational and skills advancement of underprivileged children through the creative use of technology. Warner Books has also donated a portion of their proceeds, and the program has benefited from the corporate assistance of Microsoft.

Gates strongly adheres to the premise that organizations will either live or die by the methods in which they gather, manage, and use information.

This publication will not provide much new to the technically sophisticated, but most readers should gain valuable insight into the management of technology as a strategic asset. While Business @ the Speed of Thought does not provide a records management perspective, the information in this book brings insights that can lend support to the argument that technology has given records managers improved tools to do their jobs while actively changing the perception of their profession.

Records and information management professionals may take particular interest in Gates' thoughts about creating a paperless office. The author's view on this issue is realistic, and Microsoft's corporate operations is an interesting case study. In addition, the recommendations for making better use of an organization's information technology department should be extremely pertinent to any information or knowledge professional.

Gates' book suffers from a lack of astonishing or new material, but it does offer considerable value because of his unique perspective on the subject. Interestingly, Microsoft has initiated an extensive [paper] records management program within the last year. Is the company's digital nervous system integral to this endeavor? …

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