So just how do we go about finding and ranking the top e-business innovators for the eWeek FastTrack 500?
Basically, we look at the two things that all e-businesses have in common: the Web sites through which they connect with customers, suppliers and partners and the internal IT resources they rely on to keep e-business humming.
We begin by looking at each FastTrack 500 candidate companys IT architecture. We identify key technologies that we believe reflect IT innovation. Among them this year: customer relationship management software, Web-based collaboration software, business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce applications, and high levels of networking bandwidth per employee. We then work with a partner, Harte-Hanks Market Intelligence, of La Jolla, Calif., to determine which enterprises in North America have the highest concentrations of those technologies. We do that by scanning through HHMIs extensive database of information technologies deployed at 260,000 enterprise sites.
That gives us a preliminary ranked FastTrack 500 list. We further refine the rankings by evaluating the quality and robustness of the Web sites of the top 40 companies on the first-cut FastTrack 500 list. To do that, we use a tool created by a second partner, Gartner Inc., of Stamford, Conn. The Gartner Web Evaluation Tool scores Web sites based on an extensive list of criteria, from navigation to detailed e-commerce functionality. (For more details on the Gartner tool, see www.gartner.com/ebusiness/website-ings.) Companies receiving the best combination of scores from the HHMI report and the Gartner Web Evaluation Tool analysis place highest on the FastTrack 500 list.