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Chapter 26. Integrating with InfoPath an... > In the Real World—Data-Centric Colla...

In the Real World—Data-Centric Collaboration

Collaboration is the watchword of Office System 2003 and its members. A Google search of the microsoft.com site returns about 15,100 instances of the word. Similarly, Bill Gates and Microsoft marketing folk use phrases such as “knowledge workers without limits” and “empower[ing] knowledge workers.” More than 800 microsoft.com pages contain both “collaboration” and “knowledge worker.” Most of this book’s readers probably are knowledge workers or persons responsible for assisting knowledge workers.

The role of corporate knowledge workers is to produce information that’s useful to other organization members, customers, suppliers, other “business partners,” or all of these groups. The usefulness of the information is related directly to the workers’ knowledge and skill set. The problem is that most such information—whether generated by computer or handwritten on a business form—is unstructured or—at best—semi-structured. Some analysts suggest that more information resides in Excel worksheet files than in all the world’s databases. If you add Word document files to the mix, the conclusion is undoubtedly correct. Business email contains an enormous amount of unstructured information, especially if your organization is required to archive messages for several years.


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