Plenty of Room Left to Put Web to Better Use

Companies should use the web to make records visible to all -rather than a deceitful few.

One of the great promises of the Internet was to make hidden business practices visible. By using the Web and Web-based publishing tools, a company could give the small investor immediate access to a companys fiscal reports at the same time the big investors got it. While the tools were there to make this happen, very often the will to fully disclose a companys financial picture was overwhelmed by greed and back-room dealing. The WorldCom collapse is the latest, most repugnant example of unmitigated greed hidden under the cloak of accounting deception. While our Page 1 story details WorldComs fall from grace, maybe companies will once again renew their efforts to use standard accounting practices to reveal rather than deceive and once again use the Internet to make accounting records visible to all rather than the purview of a deceitful few. I dont think you are going to get a renewed faith in corporations until people feel they can get a real, immediate view into a companys fiscal structure. The Web can help make that happen.

The Web was also championed as the place where meetings and learning could take place at the users schedule and convenience. In this area, there has been much more progress than in using the Web for companies to display their accounting procedures and records. In this weeks issue, our Labs analysts and members of our Corporate Partner advisory board traveled to Madison, Wis., to test the latest virtual meeting products from nine vendors. The eWEEK Labs eValuation was conducted in three days of testing the offerings with the help of nine organizations interested in Web-based conferences. These eVal tests are a big undertaking for us, but they consistently prove to be the type of real-world Labs analysis that helps our readers make the best product decisions. I spent a few days last week trudging through the swelter of New York at the TechXNY show, which left me more than ready for Web-based trade shows to take over.

Despite all the advantages of using the Web for eliminating the hassles of travel for meetings, there is a lot to be said for face-to-face meetings and interviews. One request we consistently get from readers is for interviews with senior executives to detail a vendors product directions. In this weeks eWEEK Interview, Executive Editor Stan Gibson and Senior Writer Evan Koblentz interview Quantum CEO Michael Brown about Quantums strategy for its storage product lines and overall trends in the storage market.

Web meetings or face to face? Tell me at