Back to Main Page

Email me

Bill Gates: Business at the speed of Thought

Using a digital nervous system

Intro:

 

For knowledge work:

Insist on communication flow ~ email so response is fast.

Study sales data to find patterns, trends and share insights easily.

Use data to give personalize service to customers-clients.

Use analysis to shift knowledge workers into high level thinking about products, service and profitability. 

Use digital tools to create cross department virtual teams that share knowledge and build on each others ideas. Real time, world-wide. Capture corporate data from others to apply anytime-anyplace.

Convert ALL paper to digital so workers become knowledge workers.

 

FOR BUSINESS OPERATIONS:

 

Use digital tools to eliminate single task jobs and change them into value added ones that use and make a knowledge worker.

Create a digital feedback loop to improve other processes and increase efficiency of physical processes for services and products. All employees should easily get the metrics they need.

Use the digital system to route complaints immediately to the people who can act.

Use the digital system to redefine the nature of the biz so growth or reduction can occur as needed.

 

FOR COMMERCE:

 

Trade information for time. ~ decrease cycle time by using digital for all suppliers and apply just in time ~ JIT.

Use digital to eliminate middleman. Middlemen will use digital to add value.

Use digital to help customers-all-help themselves and reserve personal contact to respond to complex, high value needs. 

 

 

 

Ch 1: Manage with force of facts:

Best route: Manage your information.

What do your customers think about your products? What do they want fixed? What new features?

What problems are your distributors and resellers having? What about your suppliers?

Where is competition winning on you?

What are the customers changing demands?

What new markets are emerging for you?

Speed is what digital can be.

 

If the railroads had been in transportation, we would be flying on union pacific airways.

 

Taking a objective, fact based approach.:

Build on the insights from the people in the organization. Regularly visit your relationships, constantly gather information, cultivate them. Remember (mine) these are not trips but educational and required info gathering assignments.

Do studies for decisions, deal with issues in an intelligent manner vs a gut feel.

Set up a standard system so others can compare their operation.

Apply an Intranet – Extranet – forecasting – analysis - accordingly.

Your people need the latest data (I mean information) for optimal results. Technical bulletins, email, other methods are applied.  

Integrate digital methods with suppliers and distributors, as well as customers.

Digital will help:

Design, use feedback, speed of improvement, marketing, management, risk mgmt, just say all.

Digital will help biz capitalize on the best thinking of all employees.

PUTTING INFORMATION TO WORK:

DERTOUZOS states that information work takes 50 to 60% of nations GNP.

(mine)~ why are you documenting the data, is it for the sake of having something to do? Who will use it? One person? No good , continue reading.

When thinking and collaboration occur with computer assisted data, a digital nervous system is present.

Think, Act, React, Adapt.

 

DIGITAL NERVOUS SYSTEM=:

Strategic thinking, basic operations, customer interaction, business reflexes.

 

Getting the numbers easily:
old school=only executives need data.

New school=everyone needs data.

EIS some years back (executives only), now it has been revamped.

EIS-Executive Information System.

Middle managers need to know where their profit and losses exist, they must act.

Companies should spend less time on protecting data and more time making it available. Managers do not need normal activity data but out of normal activity.

Plus this is a big morale booster. What if’s and the like.

 

MEETINGS:

Don’t go to meeting for information (get this ahead of time by email).

Go to meeting for solution gathering. If you have sound facts you can implement sound policies.

 

BUSINESS LESSONS:

Information flow is the primary differentiator for business now.

Most work is information work.

Middle managers need as much data (mine=information) as executives do.

Meetings with only information are signs of bad information flow.

 

DIAGNOSING YOUR DIGITAL NERVOUS SYSTEM:

Does your information enable you to answer hard questions about customers, services, production, partners, environment, marketing???

Does your system simply crunch numbers or directly solve problems??? END

 

 

 

Ch 2. CAN YOUR DIGITAL NERVOUS DO THIS?

Coordinate business processes with production, sales, finance, marketing.

Companies need good reflexes to react to crisis and opportunities.

Planned events need deliberation, strategic analysis, execution and evaluation.

Communicate a strategy to everybody in co.

Communicate effectively with customers.

FROM THIS POINT FORWARD

DNS = DIGITAL NERVOUS SYSTEM.

DNS two primary purposed:

  1. extend individuals analytical ability and.
  2. create an institutional intelligence and unified ability to ACT !!!

A DNS seeks to create a corporate excellence on behalf of the customer.

 

MAKING DATA AVAILABLE EVERYDAY:

 A outside consultant should not have access to any reports a inside person should have if needed. When you walk in everyday you should see useful data that can be shared and used by others.

 

INFORMING STRATEGIC PLANNING:

Reaching your customers by seminars, co-marketing, activities with partners. Using the internet for data is now required. Data warehouses, US census data. Analyze it in several different ways, sometimes in collaboration. Extrapolate potential values. Use indexes to carve up data. Create goodwill with partners for future needs. Make data available for later use by whoever for whatever. Sometimes later needs can and should be applied although surprises will come up and what you did not think before will become present now (mine). Pivot data to view from different perspectives.

 

MAKE AN INVESTMENT  AND DON’T RELY ON LUCK.:

Build a financial reporting system that would capture a wide variety of sales information and put it at your figure tips.

Have easy spreadsheet  access. Again use internet data and make it easily incorporated.

 

CHANGING ROLE OF DISTRICT MANAGERS:

Evaluate data, talk to others, try new things.

They become business thinkers.

DNS will help prevent large apparent success from covering up small actual failures.

 

DOING BUSINESS AT THE SPEED OF THOUGHT:

A good flow of information and good analytical observation and tools will give insight into new revenue opportunity among volumes of seemingly impenetrable amount of data. A DNS maximizes the capabilities of the human brain and minimizes human grunt data processing (my words).

 

TO BUILD YOUR DNS:

List ideal data and information needed to run and understand competitors alike. Think about the facts you need. Think about actionable facts needed by the biz to be optimized. Then demand the system returns these values. Or your competition will.

When you can function in teams like an individual can react, you are on your way to a new way of operation. Business at the speed of thought.

BUSINESS LESSONS:

Shake loose the idea that information is hard to get.

Better information will expand roles of people and use their brains instead of giving them busy work. (my words).

The right information to the right people at the right time will change everything.~my words.

It will raise your operation to a higher strategic level~the discussions.

 

YOUR ISSUES:

Is your information pulled for one time use or can it be used daily by different people and departments.

Does your information provide you with those critical list of answers on your list made earlier?

Can your system pinpoint problem areas in sales that offer good and bad facts? END 

 

 

 

Ch 3. Create a paperless office

 

Digital processes LIBERATES knowledge workers to do more productive work. 95% of data is on paper. Microsoft went from 114 forms in procurement to 1. Look at all forms used and figure a way to go digital and reengineer at this time. RE-Analysis the system. Match incoming resumes or other application to existing needs. OCR.

Use email so interviews are built on each other and not simply “redone”.

Use forms for new hires that automatically adds new voice mailboxes, name plates, mailboxes etc…

Use INTRANET to order supplies, to train, to tape meetings.

Use these forms and have them routed to the people who need to know.

Expenses are entered electronically.

Travel, training can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All employees can access stock options online 24 hours a day.

Self ability to do ones own work will increase participation by 50% with employees.

You desire brain work not physical work like filing. Spend time with customer not the filing cabinet.

Excel Pivot tables. View historic information for comparison and analysis.

Find your spend rate, how to allocate resources, or reallocate them maybe in emergencies.

See Project expenses across multiple cost centers or fiscal years.

Evaluations and interviews can be emailed with the results for the next interview so redundancy is stopped or minimized. This is capable of world wide application.

Manager time in reviews needs to be minimized for other activity. 50 % reduction.

Microsoft reduced forms from 1000 to 60.

Digitize less used forms last.

Apply INTRANET APPLICATION!!!

Accounting firms charge 145$ per transaction and electronically it can be 5 bucks.

Registration online can be reduced from 17 minutes to 5.

There will be setup, equipment and upkeep costs. Remember that next year all is in place.

If handwritten data is entered later please type it in at the beginning and stop most errors now.

SUPPLIERS get paid faster also.

Employee buying patterns can be watched also. New applications all the time.

YOU ARE PUTTING RESPONABILITY DIRECTLY INTO THE HANDS OF THE PEOPLE MOST MOTIVATED TO ACT.

Human Resources can spend more time in training and personnel issues than paper work.

 

Books and magazines still can’t be beat for portability and readability.

Start w/electronic forms and ensure consistency, easy measurement, and proper authorization.

FAQ sections on web sites help a lot.

Employee Feedback helps a lot.

WEB based forms can be changed in hours.

SCAN documents if necessary.

USE STREAMING MEDIA for viewing, training, meetings………that way you can watch later.

Improve Processes before just adding more methods.

ADD Intranet Applications.

Do not Automate a dumb method, re engineer it first.

Keep your people focused on Business.

Knowledge workers not bothered with routine tasks do better work.

Employees should spend more time with customers than playing with papers.

Digital makes happen what is impossible with paper.

GET SYNERGY not Complexity.

TALLY all paper forms and replace with digital.

Computers handle routine, and people handle exceptions.

SELF SERVICE can handle 90% of employee admin needs……………

 

CHAPTER 4

Ride the inflection rocket.

The more the tools the faster the rate of change.

Make digital information flow pervasive in your organization.

3 BUSINESS SHIFTS.

  1. Most transactions will be self service.
  2. Customer Service will become primary value.
  3. Need for personable attention to customers will drive companies to adopt digital processes. If they have not adopted them already.

Practice by using technology.

AVOID COMPLACENCY.

We always overestimate in 2 years but underestimate for 10 years.