The 15 winners in our second annual excellence awards program—featured in this weeks issue—were selected from hundreds of entries by a judging team that included our eWeek Labs analysts and members of our Corporate Partners advisory board. While there are other awards competitions in our industry, as well as in others, Id like to point out why ours is different and, in my opinion, the best.
First, we try to deal with real shipping products, not products or ideas that have been hastily cobbled together for the purpose of a presentation or simply to make investors feel they are getting something for all those investment dollars. We want real products and real customer references, and we want to put the candidates through as tough a corporate scrutiny as we can develop. There is no better team of corporate scrutinizers than our Labs analysts and Corporate Partners: They live with the technologies and implementation issues every day. The Corporate Partners have bet their companies IT infrastructures on their choices and bring that insight to our judging table.
As I looked through the finalists and winners this year, I was struck by the quality of the entries. The corporate customer is demanding bug-free, secure products that adhere to open standards—the very attributes that lifted many finalists out of the pack into the final judging rounds. Corporate customers want products that can really solve a business issue, that advance a business strategy, or that bring a new level of integration and associated cost savings to a companys bottom line. These products accomplish those tasks.
This issue also features a story ("Users Uneasy as Vote Draws Near") on a study regarding customer concerns about the proposed merger of HP and Compaq. Whether the merger occurs or not (the vote is March 19), the important task for HP and Compaq right now is to maintain a strong relationship with customers. Difficult in any merger, its extraordinarily hard to do in a merger proposal thats reached the level of rancor being exhibited in the dueling advertisements in the financial press.
The economy is uncertain, and in uncertain times, customers look for certainty. They need assurance that the product directions on which their companies are built will be maintained. The corporate world is wholeheartedly embracing the idea of open systems, interconnected computing and providing exactly the information company executives need. Whether its with a merged HP-Compaq or two independent companies going their own way, customers must believe they will be offered the products and services to take them in that direction. While much of the interest is centered on the result of that merger vote, the real vote will be taken over the following months and years by corporate customers exercising their votes with budget dollars.
Had a chance to try out any of our eXcellence Awards winners for yourself? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.