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Gates to CEOs: Gain Knowledge Management

Facing what may be his most adversarial audience, CEO Bill Gates shared his vision on knowledge management at the Microsoft CEO Summit in Redmond today.

Citing an example from advisory firm KPMG Intl. (www.kpmg.com), Gates talked about the firm's own efforts to tap into its corporate memory bank to provide the right data to the right people.

KPMG developed KWorld, the company's own intranet. It tracks the attributes of workers based on their business area, industry focus and location, and relates it to information from internal and external sources so that employees are provided with one snapshot of all the information and people related to their jobs

Gates calls this portal a "digital dashboard," a place to go for all personal information such as e-mail, schedule and tasks, as well as external data from Web sites and corporate data. Gates says instead of creating a new infrastructure, solutions should be designed to lay over and relate to the existing one.

Gates also went on to discuss the advances in wireless technology and how it will allow all types of data, including e-mail, voice messages, news and Web sites to be accessed from any device in a format that's easily understood by the user. Using the Windows CE platform, Gates says the Redmond campus will adopt wireless devices to make their jobs easier.

Next, the Microsoft CEO advanced on the company's ClearType initiatives to make the monitor easier on the eyes. Gates says ClearType will increase on-screen resolution from 90 dpi to 270 dpi, making it more comfortable to read documents online, as it is on paper.

CEOs need to take the first steps to a "digital nervous system" says Gates. They can do this by implementing e-mail and electronic forms, as well as creating a single place to store and access corporate memory. Gates also recommended that the CEOs make mobility a priority for their workforce.

What was most interesting was not what Gates did talk about but what he didn't. With a corporate audience who may be footing the bill for Windows 2000 Server in its impending release later this year, Gates balked at broaching the subject, favoring to focus on the subject of knowledge management, a field Microsoft has yet to get a firm foothold in. -- Brian Ploskina

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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