Redesigning a magazine is a lot like producing a movie sequel: You have to build on the original story line, while adding new wrinkles that will keep eager audiences coming back for more. I believe weve achieved that with the new Smart Partner.
Our redesign, which debuts in this issue, presented us with four key challenges. We wanted to build on our core editorial strengths, push into new areas of coverage, and deliver a more sophisticated design—all without alienating our devoted readership, which has grown 85 percent since we launched the magazine in 1998.
Our first step was contacting our readers—perhaps even you. In early April, as in months past, we surveyed readers to identify what they need most from Smart Partner. We also conducted face-to-face focus groups that included solutions providers, business and technology consultants, integrators, VARs, and service providers.
Next, we organized your requests into six content categories: quick-hit news briefs that offer our take on the industry (see our Top Line section); real-world case studies (Outside); practical advice for building and managing your internal business operations (Inside); detailed salary and certification information (Careers); expert technology coverage (Tech Horizon); and a behind-the-scenes look at industry gurus and alliance managers (Thought Leaders).
Much of this "new" content is evolutionary in nature. For instance, case studies have played a vital role in Smart Partner since day one. But from this issue forward, each case study will include greater depth (return-on-investment information, project timelines, technical diagrams, and so on). These granular details will allow you to more easily emulate the industrys most successful solutions providers.
Of course, the new Smart Partner also must please your eyes. Thats where DJ Stout, an award-winning partner at Pentagram Design, enters the picture. Stout worked closely with our graphic artists to redesign Smart Partner as a sophisticated feature magazine that has "coffee table" appeal.
Im not a critic, but I know a good sequel when I see one. Now, let me know how you feel about the new Smart Partner. Send your feedback to my e-mail address below.