The winners of this years eWeek Excellence Awards, announced in this issue, didnt earn those honors on "gadget appeal." They didnt win by offering unproven technologies to buyers who were panicked about being "left behind." And they certainly arent collecting their handsome trophies because they succeeded in locking IT buyers into a particular vendors vision of Web services.
This years eXcellence winners exemplify the steady evolution of e-business technologies, with three of the winners being 4.0 versions of products with strong track records. The winners tend to inhabit neither the front side of enterprise IT, where the Windows monopoly limits competitive opportunity, nor the backside, where Internet standards likewise dictate the terms. Rather, theyre largely found in the middle tiers of hardware and software, where complexity needs to be brought under control and theres still room for the product differentiation that gives buyers genuine choices.
Each year, the eXcellence Awards reflect a new e-business reality. Last years winners were products that established a foundation; this years winners build on that foundation to deliver return on investment from a sustainable business that meets the need of both internal users and external customers.
The storage buyer, for example, wants not just capacity: Theres plenty of that already. Whats needed now is the heterogeneous storage management power of a product like our Storage winner, Hewlett-Packards OpenView Storage Allocater. The Web services developer needs not just one capable set of services-oriented tools, but also a means of assuring application access to the best facilities of both the vigorous J2EE platform and the nascent .Net Framework. The developer finds that flexibility in our Application and Web Services Development winner, Ionas Orbix E2A Web Services Integration Platform. Managers who want to turn information flows into business intelligence want to work with data where it arises, not in the costly and often incomplete "silos" of earlier business analytic tools. They find that integration and real-time analytic capability in our Analytics and Reporting winner, Informaticas Applications 5.
The judges of the contest, eWeek Labs, staff and eWeek Corporate Partners, agree: Maintaining buyer choice and helping buyers administer the complexity that comes with choice are winning strategies.