During a KMWorld'99 keynote in Dallas, Microsoft's Charles Stevens revisited the concept of a digital dashboard.
The "concept," introduced this spring, has remained somewhat unclear to many. For instance, after a similar presentation this summer, analyst David Weinberger questioned "It's not a product, what is it?"
During the keynote today, Stevens, VP-Business Solutions Group, provided an answer that made the concept clearer. The Digital Dashboard represents just that: a concept--but one that can be turned into reality by linking various Microsoft products into one portal interface. And, Microsoft distributed at the event a Digital Dashboard Starter Kit, a helpful guide including code to link its products into the Digital Dashboard or portal interface.
Microsoft's Steve De Salvo brought up an onscreen demonstration of the vision. This sample portal interface was for a finance executive and displayed E-mail, Internet, pertinent team and corporate information, reports, a ticker screen of updates and a planning calendar all on one screen--no toggling between windows or launching new applications. The portal interface was demonstrated as the workspace for the executive, a sort of starting point. For instance, the executive could click through to the report screen--launch into that program--and delve into all the reports as needed. When done there, the executive would return to the Dashboard and move on.
While the programming of Microsoft's products into this Dashboard interface is quite simple, according to Stevens, the Dashboard can also easily include links to partners' products. He referenced partners who are packaging products along this Dashboard line including FileNet with links to its Panagon product and Open Text with Livelink.
Concepts like the Digital Dashboard, Meetings Without Walls through Net Meeting technology to allow knowledge workers to view and join in meetings without being physically bound to them and Smarter Computers are all part of Microsoft's knowledge management vision. Stevens, who reiterated Microsoft's stated role to be the backbone of KM with its partners developing applications off of Microsoft products, also put KM into broader context. In the Microsoft vision, KM is a management discipline and is unique to each organization. The software giant sees it as one leg of another of its concepts, Digital Nervous System. In it, KM represents the people; business operations, the process; and commerce, the customers and partners