Bill Gates, as Chairman of Microsoft, has been a leader of the information revolution for a quarter century now. He, in partnership with Paul Allen, founded Microsoft because they saw an opportunity to use a new technology to change the way business is done. They had a vision that computer technology could be used to benefit and transform society and, of course, the business world. I use the term business in a general sense. All aspects of modern human interaction use information technology to conduct the interaction. This is true of the business world, the non-profit world, the higher education world, and any other realm. As the increase in utility of information technology continues to rise, questions arise around cost/benefit issues. In practically any organization, large dollar amounts and large teams of personnel are utilized to facilitate the introduction and use of information technology into an organization. The questions that follow revolve around outcomes. Are we using the new resources appropriately? Are we getting our moneys worth? Bill Gates says we are not and suggests a new model he calls a digital nervous system as a way to maximize value from technology and information.
In his book, Business @ the Speed of Thought, Gates attempts to make the case that most organizations do not get the maximum out of their technology. He asserts that most organizations have the wrong mind-set about how information should be handled and distributed within an organization. We need to break out of the mind-set that getting information and moving information around is difficult and expensive (p.16). He feels that many organizations do not maximize new technology because they still have an old mind-set about which employees should have access to which types of information. Companies should spend less time protecting financial data from employees and more time teaching them to analyze and act on it (Gates, p.18). He realizes that there will be a resistance...
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