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Its not just high-tech power that makes the honorees in the Fifth annual Excellence Awards program worthy of praise. Its the dedicated effort of IT vendors to meet enterprise demands that increasingly fail to fit traditional product categories. Our storage standouts, for example, are also security products; our network tool selections include wireless elements; our winning development aids are also collaboration products.
The winners and finalists announced below and in the following pages are the result of more than five months of work. In November, eWEEK called for nomination of enterprise-class products that had been announced in 2004 and that would be available by the end of March 2005. (An entry fee of $150 per vendor entering products was charged, with proceeds after program expenses going to a nonprofit agency.) When the entry deadline had passed, teams comprising eWEEK Labs analysts and members of the eWEEK Corporate Partner reader advisory board began evaluating the entries, looking specifically for products innovation in a given technology category combined with potential to address emerging enterprise needs.
In this special report, we put this years winners and finalists into context, while Technology Editor Peter Coffee looks for lessons learned from the post-award sagas of some early Excellence winners. Finally, eWEEK Labs Executive Editor Debra Donston writes about some other technology winners—the recipients of proceeds from this years program, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.