by Bill Gates with Collins Hemingway
Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (25 May 2000)
So where do you want to go tomorrow? That's the question Bill Gates tries to answer in Business @ the Speed of Thought. Gates offers a 12-step programme for companies wanting to do business in the next millennium. The book's premise: Thanks to technology, the speed of business is accelerating at an ever-increasing rate and to survive, it must develop an infrastructure--a "digital nervous system"--that allows for the unfettered movement of information inside a company. Gates writes: "The most meaningful way to differentiate your company from your competition ... is to do an outstanding job with information. How you gather, manage and use information will determine whether you win or lose."
The book is peppered with examples of companies that have already successfully engineered information networks to manage inventory, sales, and customer relationships better. The examples run from Coca-Cola's ability to download sales data from vending machines to Microsoft's own internal practices, such as its reliance on e-mail for company-wide communication and the conversion of most paper processes to digital ones (an assertion that seems somewhat at odds with the now-infamous "by hand on sheets of paper" method of tracking profits that was revealed during Microsoft's antitrust trial).
Most companies have a sizeable investment in technology but are realising only 20% of its potential benefit. BUSINESS @ THE SPEED OF THOUGHT introduces the concept of the digital nervous system which unites all systems and processes under one common infrastructure, allowing companies to make quantum leaps in efficiency, growth and profit. Using detailed tours of Microsoft and other major corporations, Gates demonstrates how integrated technology can transform any business by energizing its three major elements: customer/partner relationships, employees and process, and offers practical suggestions on how this can be achieved.
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