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Business @ the Speed of Thought: Succeeding in the Digital Economy Hardcover – March 24, 1999
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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).
While Gates breaks no new ground--dozens of authors have been writing about competing on a digital playing field for some time, among them Carl Shapiro and Hal Varian in Information Rules and Patricia Seybold in Customers.com--businesses that want a wakeup call may find this book a ringer. With excerpts in Time magazine, a dedicated Web site, and an all-out media assault, Microsoft is working hard to push Business @ the Speed of Thought into the national dialogue, and for many it will be difficult to see the book as anything but a finely tuned marketing campaign for the forthcoming versions of Windows NT and MS Office. Nevertheless, as Gates has shown time and time again, him, Microsoft, and perhaps even this book you may ignore at your own peril. --Harry C. Edwards
Top Customer Reviews
1 Most transactions between business and consumers, business and business, and consumers and government will become self-service digital transactions. Intermediaries will evolve to add value or perish.
2 Customer service will become the primary value added function in every business. Human involvement in service will shift from routine, low value tasks to a high-value, personal consultancy on important issues -problems or desires - for the customer.
3 The pace of transactions and the need for more personalised attention to customers will drive companies to adopt digital processes internally if they have not yet adopted them for efficiency reasons. Companies will use a digital nervous system to regularly transform their internal business processes to adapt to an environment that constantly changes because of customer needs and competition.
Good book, it gave me some great ideas!
However, this book has a major down side. I purchased this book hoping that it can give me insight of where the high tech industry is headed. Gates did not do a good job of presenting this. Instead, I found a book filled with hundreds of examples of how companies integrate computers into their business. It shows how the internet helped big companies move information and expand their customer service, but it does not show what's on the road ahead.
I recommend this book because it can help you make the most out of your company using computers. However, if you are looking for the next killer application, don't expect to find it in this book.
Why? Because the issue Mr. Gates is writing about with such passion is really an old story nowadays. Let me explain. We have an "old" IT infrastructure in some places that is not good enough to support companies in a new economy, fortunately most of the corporate world also possess "new" PC and PC based devices connected to the Internet that are (according to Mr. Gates) fully capable and optimal way of supporting business in the 21st century. Hmm...I know at least couple of people that will strongly disagree with that (Larry and Scott where are you :-). The result is that corporate management is desperately looking for clues how to make the best use of this "new" technology to succeed in a new economy.
This book will help you get most of the answers, but (as usually) don't buy everything you read!
Don't get me wrong, I'm not negative about the book, in fact I learned a lot from Mr. Gates as businessperson. With his enthusiastic writing style, he kept me constantly rethinking from chapter to chapter about existing solutions in my company from business perspective and NOT from IT as usually!
Another good reason to read this book are real world examples from different companies, including Microsoft Corporation itself, on how you can gain business advantage with proper use of digital tools.
Last but not least, if you think that you know Mr. Gates and his company well then think again or better yet, read this book!
Like it or not, there's no denying that this book has reached out deep into the critical masses. But, (in less than a year), has the response to this work perhaps surpassed the actual content in importance?
Take for example Scott Rosenberg's hard-hitting perspective in which Mr. Gates is critiqued as an author with obviously passionate ideas on business management, but also as one who is either unwilling or unable to break out of a dull corporate-speak writing tone. Mr. Rosenberg cites "e"source proponents of the idea "that the Internet is rapidly transforming not just the speed but the tenor and content of business communications." He furthers the suggestions that the corporate lingua-franca is soon to be made a remnant of our popular culture, and could very well be replaced with a much more original form of thought as one of the results of the "Web lifestyle" Mr. Gates is promoting.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I got the book, it seems stolen from from some library with a Jennings county public libraryPublished 15 months ago by Mohamad altrzi
Gates is definitely a genius and listening to this (audio version of the) book 16 years after he wrote it shows his incredible prescience. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Anchorite
Each chapter delves into a different aspect of business that is affected by the information technology evolution. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Max Ohsawa