Information Week has a column by Bill Gates:
We’re only beginning to realize computing’s potential. I believe that we’re entering an era when software will fundamentally transform almost everything we do. The continued growth of processing power, storage, networking, and graphics is making it possible to create almost any device imaginable. But it’s the magic of software that will connect these devices into a seamless whole, making them an indispensable part of our everyday lives.
In the workplace, we’re already moving from personally focused software, such as word processors and spreadsheets, to truly collaborative tools that bring teams together and drive a quantum leap in business productivity. Today’s productivity software does a good job helping people collaborate, with shared workspaces and management software that helps teams and projects work efficiently. But a coming generation of software will take collaboration a step further, capturing the knowledge and experience of an entire organization, enabling individuals and teams to draw on that information to make better, more strategic decisions.
In the back office, software standards are driving a more model-based approach to developing applications. With the growth of XML and Web services, we’re getting closer to being able to visualize any kind of business process and quickly develop software that can adapt to companies’ changing needs. For example, today when a firm makes an acquisition or changes a key business process, the IT department often must embark on the time-consuming and expensive task of rewriting and testing the underlying software. But as we move toward a world of rich Web services and development tools that instinctively understand business processes, businesses can simply make the changes they want and the code will take care of itself.