When Claude Shannon defined our measure of information, he focused on its ability to surprise us. That’s not bad, but I prefer a different perspective: if it doesn’t change my behavior, I didn’t need to know it.

By that measure, there’s way too much stuff being pumped around by enterprise IT that is, at best, merely entertaining; at worst, a total waste of bandwidth. I’m here in New York today because enterprise IT is finally ready, by my measure, to be actually informative.

We’ve been using Chatter internally at salesforce.com for only a few weeks now — but even within the first few days, I was doing things that I would not have done if Chatter’s real-time connections had not been active. Since Chatter went live, almost every out-of-town trip has accomplished at least one thing that would not have happened if Chatter hadn’t told someone that I’d be in their city. Real collaboration is taking place in a far more natural, far more immediate way than in that previous era of emails and attachments.

I’ll be joining you shortly by live video feed from today’s event, and hope that you’ll tune in to see why this is more than data processing; more than mere migration of IT to the cloud; but is, by any measure, information that actually informs.

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