IT Innovates With the Best of Them

Many observers credit some of the top software suppliers with driving high-technology innovation. Others commend top universities like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University or the University of California at Berkeley with creating the expertise to create and build a new generation of technologies and companies.

But there is another group that seems to get little credit for innovation — the IS organizations of the world's top companies. So for the sixth year, ADT honors some unsung corporate development groups for taking the risks needed to gain a business advantage.

These enlightened organizations recognize the need to utilize risky technologies and processes to build the systems that can keep their companies ahead of the competition. Such an attitude becomes more important by the minute as technology advances continue to accelerate at frightening speeds. The buzzwords and acronyms — B2B, XML, B2C, A2A, as well as the variety of EAI offshoots — are confusing even the top veteran followers of the technology business.

Once again, our team of judges, comprising ADT editors and a group of top consultants from Boston-based Keane Inc., pored through the details of numerous interesting projects submitted by readers of this magazine. The submissions ranged from business giants such as Citi-group Inc., Fireman's Fund Insurance and the Gerber Products Co. unit of Novartis International AG, to smaller organizations like the National Marrow Donor Program, Associated New Media and Silocaf.

The decisions were difficult, but the choices were eventually made. I would especially like to thank the team of Keane judges, led by Innovator Awards competition veteran Bill Champitto, for their efforts in evaluating each proposal to determine the best of a very good lot. In this issue of Application Development Trends, our writers profile two projects in each of the six categories. These stories can help organizations see how their colleagues in other companies are dealing with the ever-changing, fast-paced world of technology.

This issue also takes a look at XML hype vs. reality ("XML is not yet a cornerstone technology," p. 55). While many observers are touting XML as the technology to solve all integration issues, consultant Peter Fischer warns that XML remains somewhat immature and that key problems must be resolved before its potential can be met. The rewards of XML can be huge, he points out, and using the technology as a key piece of development and integration projects almost ensures that its path to maturity will be short. This story can help any organization trying to get its arms around XML.

Best Regards,
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About the Author

Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.