Microsoft and InfoImage tackle information overload

Microsoft Corp. and InfoImage Inc. on Oct. 13 announced a strategic alliance to develop a "digital dashboard" solution that consolidates data from many sources and offers desktop computer users a single, unified view of their computing environment.

The digital dashboard, which Microsoft will unveil with the release of Office 2000, is not an application but a customized user interface. In fact, it's like a personalized World Wide Web page that enables users to quickly access data sources such as corporate databases, documents, Web sites, personal e-mail and digital calendars. The idea is to solve the problem of information overload and make it faster and easier for users to access the information they need.

Under the alliance, InfoImage and Microsoft will deliver enterprise digital dashboard solutions using InfoImage's freedom corporate portal and the Microsoft knowledge management platform, which includes Office 2000 desktop productivity software and the forthcoming Windows 2000 Server network operating system, Exchange 2000 Server client/server messaging and groupware, and Commerce Server.

InfoImage also will provide consulting, systems integration and support services. The company also plans to beef up its support services for Microsoft-based products.

Because the digital dashboard solution is based on Microsoft Office, it uses the Microsoft Outlook messaging and collaboration client. This enables users to create shared documents, discussions and project tasks. Users also can interact directly with data through Microsoft's PivotTable Web component or Microsoft Excel 2000 and SQL Server OLAP integration.

A digital dashboard also can incorporate tools such as Microsoft NetMeeting conferencing software and Microsoft Windows Media Player, which enables users to access streaming media content such as company communications, online training materials and business broadcasts from the Internet.

Jon Michaels, vice president and chief marketing officer at InfoImage, said the technology should benefit government users because they often need to be able to access information from many sources. "I see [the digital dashboard] as a way for federal government workers to access information from their own area and from other areas as well," Michaels said. "Productivity will accelerate to levels never before seen."

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