Who is leading the charge online? InfoWorld editors take a look at companies that are innovating e-business. We looked for companies that used technology to enhance external customer or trading partner relationships, to revamp current business transactions using Internet-based technology, to reinvent the business model, or to create new market opportunities....Companies that seemed to be breaking new ground online.
When we chose to focus on e-business for this year's InfoWorld E-Business 100, we knew what we were up against. The nature of e-business is so malleable, so complex, that we wondered how we'd ever get our arms around it. But this is the challenge that you, our readers, have been dealt: Make your company's e-business successful. Our mission, then, was to understand how technology is being used to meet that objective, and to communicate those findings to you so you might extract some important nugget of information that will help you better build your e-business strategy.
Not an easy task, and as we've learned from research and from talking to companies that submitted to the E-Business 100, it's not just about the technology. This puts IT leaders in an interesting position. Obviously technology is fundamental to the success of any e-business but so is the business model, and branding, and customer service, and partnership strategies -- all of which have traditionally fallen outside of the scope of an IT leader's concerns. Well, not anymore.
The 10 e-business profiles that follow were chosen by InfoWorld features editors to represent a variety of ways in which an e-business strategy can be built or improved on. These companies were selected from a pool of applicants that responded to our published request for submissions. We looked for companies that used technology to enhance external customer or trading partner relationships, to revamp current business transactions using Internet-based technology, to reinvent the business model, or to create new market opportunities. In an effort to keep the focus on companies representing our readership, we excluded high-technology vendors. The remaining 90 companies listed in these pages were also chosen from our pool of applicants, although we also extended invitations to companies that seemed to be breaking new ground online.
In a departure from the way we've approached the InfoWorld 100 list in previous years, we chose not to rank the companies, instead shifting the focus onto the qualitative aspects of each company's strategy. This list isn't about winners and losers. We chose these companies to represent a wide diversity of e-businesses' approaches, ones that we think are innovative and viable.
The companies you will read about here are rapidly transforming in various ways, be it through key online partnerships, mergers, or site redesigns -- which only emphasizes the evolving nature of e-business. In fact, some companies appearing on this list, such as Sciquest and Sciencewise, have formed key partnerships with each other to further extend their online services. As e-business moves beyond the first generation, companies are deepening and broadening their strategies to stay competitive and to garner profit.
Our promise to our readers is that we will help them build better e-businesses. But to do that we need to develop an understanding of how e-business strategies change over time. As a result, we will follow members of the InfoWorld E-Business 100 throughout the course of 2001, periodically spotlighting their developments, adding companies of note, and removing companies that somehow fall off the radar. And, of course, we will accept submissions for next year's InfoWorld E-Business 100. Perhaps we will see your company there.