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Top New IT Opportunities for 2005

For 12 years, the Crossroads A-List Award Program has recognized the best newly proven IT solutions delivering business value today.

Last winter, when we began the search for the 2005 winners, we identified and focused on the top business priorities for IT investment. Businesses were planning to:

  • Fuel profitable growth
  • Achieve regulatory compliance without tripping over red tape
  • Enhance productivity
  • Invest fewer IT dollars more wisely

Along with the new goals, we also identified a changed management climate for IT projects.

Successful businesses are becoming adept at the art of doing more with less. They are focusing more tightly on projects that target key business objectives. They have learned how to drive adoption of technology that requires a process or culture change. They aren't afraid to tackle big goals with quick-step schedules. And they are eager for the prospect of killing two birds with one stone. They want to invest minimal up-front money, spend less time for integration and expend less redundant effort. By selecting and managing technology projects better, businesses are delivering a bigger bang for the buck.

These trends reinforce a quality-over-quantity focus for the Crossroads A-List Awards in 2005. The Awards focus on a limited number of outstanding opportunities for the organization willing and able to aim high.

CROSSROADS A-LIST AWARD WINNERS 2005

Now more than ever, the value of emerging technology boils down to results relative to expenditure. Results are what we look for. And results are indeed delivered by the Crossroads A-List Award winners in 2005:

For information on each Crossroads A-List Award winning solution, see the linked Research Brief.

REFERENCE CUSTOMERS ARE THE JURY

The credibility the Awards confer stems from our process of research and validation. The Crossroads research program focuses on technology applied to business priorities and challenges. Drawing on in-depth interviews with line-of-business and IT executives, the program identifies the newly proven solutions and services that are making the strongest contribution to business results for early customers right now.

A particularly impressive group of people served as reference customers in 2005. Split about 70:30 between business professionals and IT professionals, reference customers shared a holistic knowledge of what it takes to make technology work for business. Many reference customers have had diverse work experience including jobs reporting to line-of-business functions, stints in corporate marketing or business development, and previous experience leading information technology projects.

Without exception, reference customers of Crossroads A-List Award winning companies are seasoned veterans who brought discerning judgment to the evaluation process. We appreciate their participation in the selection process.

AWARD-WINNING TECHNOLOGY DELIVERS BUSINESS IMPACT

Each Crossroads A-List Award-winning vendor is delivering, as demonstrated by reference customers achieving consistent business results. With the Crossroads A-List 2005 Award-winning products and services, reference customers have:

  • Developed unique business advantages
  • Grasped world class capabilities quickly and economically
  • Achieved impact in their vertical industries
  • Maximized labor productivity in preparation for lean, flexible growth
  • Moved to a smarter, safer IT infrastructure
  • Maximized IT productivity
  • Enjoyed the financial advantages and flexibility of hosted services delivered on demand

In 2005, every Crossroads A-List Award winning vendor delivered on several of these benefits. The Award Brief on each company contains the key details.

This document highlights a key trend across the field of winners: regulatory compliance isn't necessarily an onerous burden. The best new business and infrastructure solutions provide a new level of expense control and financial visibility right from the get go. The new, fiscally responsible solutions epitomized by Crossroads 2005 A-List Award winning products and services enable companies to achieve business goals at the same time as they improve audit preparedness and financial predictability.

AGILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ARE NOT OPPOSITES

In the mid 1980s, Toyota shocked Detroit with cars that proved a new point. Cost and quality are not two opposing forces. They could be two sides of the same coin. A lower cost approach could deliver a higher quality product. In 2005, reference customers of Crossroads A-List Award winners Omniture, Noosh and Model N have demonstrated an analogous point. Audit readiness is not necessarily synonymous with tripping over red tape. Today, investments in developing business agility can actually improve accountability and control over financial processes. For example:

  • Omniture references wanted to maximize the value of their online customers. With Site Catalyst, they are. And they have also discovered the answer to the age-old marketing conundrum: "Half of the advertising is worthless." Now, they know which half.
  • Noosh customers wanted to deliver more relevant and timely offers via direct mail. With the Noosh Direct Mail Solution, they did. And in the process, they've made print budgets visible and eliminated above-market pricing.
  • Model N's life sciences industry customers wanted to maximize the value of large private and government contracts. In so doing, they're using the Model N Revenue Management Suite to link together and automate the inter-departmental processes of pricing, contracts and settlements. Now they can track customer buying against agreed goals, and avoid inadvertently leaving money on the table when the volume does not materialize as expected. They also now have the business systems and facts required for regulatory compliance reporting.
Why such dramatic dual benefits for customers of Omniture, Noosh, and Model N? In each case, the technology enables a major step up from prior approaches in timeliness, granularity, and accuracy.

Web merchants had struggled to correlate online traffic and purchasing patterns with known customer-segment behavior. Omniture customers are delighted with SiteCatalyst's new capabilities for ad-hoc tagging of marketing campaigns and joining this information to data in the warehouse. SiteCatalyst now enables marketers to test the hunch of the moment by creating and monitoring segments on the fly, comparing what is happening now to what is known about customers from past analysis or to what happened during the last comparable period. Several Omniture reference customers use the SiteCatalyst tool on a minute-by-minute basis to drive revenue while controlling ad cost.

Prior to implementing the Noosh Direct Mail Solution, large businesses were managing direct mail campaigns in spreadsheets. With millions of pieces, hundreds of microzones or target cells, tens of combinations of formats, and several iterations of creative, there was plenty of room for error! Noosh customers have gained control of spending where havoc once reigned. This is indeed a welcome development given today's requirements for a clean audit opinion.

Reference customers of the Model N Revenue Management Suite agree with Noosh customers: it's not a good idea to manage complex business processes manually. Re-keying data into spreadsheets invites errors. And trusting that there are no transpositions or logic errors in end-user-maintained pricing macros is quite a gamblečespecially when there are large fines for breaching regulatory compliance. Life sciences companies using the Model N Revenue Management Suite are delighted finally to have the option of a best-of-breed commercial application. Their revenue management processes are now automated, auditable, and can be integrated with ERP, CRM and other core line-of-business applications.

LEAP TECHNOLOGY GENERATIONS WITHOUT THE FINANCIAL LURCH

Crossroads 2005 A-List Award winners Interwise and Hitachi Data Systems have brought conferencing and storage into the world of unified management, fiscal restraint through coexistence with earlier generations, and the easily planned expenditure levels demanded in today's post-Sarbanes Oxley world.

Some businesses had hit a wall with previous conferencing solutions, running into limitations of functionality and scalability. With Interwise ECP Connect, they've been able to phase out a hodge-podge of different approaches to voice, data and videoconferencing with a single, unified and more versatile tool that everybody can use easily. And Interwise enables organizations to use low-cost VoIP conferencing without investing in new VoIP phones. Reference customers are supporting a broad range of end users on coexisting technology generations. Those in locations with good network connections can work adequately with their less technology-advantaged colleagues ranging from road warriors on cell phones in an airport to dial-up users in low-bandwidth parts of the world. As a result of adopting Interwise ECP Connect, businesses have materially reduced overall conferencing expenditure while end users have dramatically ramped up conferencing usage. The nature of the conferencing expenditure has changed from an uncontrolled and wildly fluctuating variable cost to a fixed, predictable expense.

Hitachi Data Systems TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform has attracted a following on its strong merits as a large storage platform, delivering up to twice the speed for less money and floor space than the previous technology generation. For example, TagmaStore enabled one reference customer to implement a disaster tolerance scheme without building a new data center. Overall, not only do reference customers say TagmaStore is faster, cheaper, logically larger and physically smaller than its rivals, but they also say it's better at playing with others. This capability results in several unique new advantages. First, from the management perspective, reference customers see the TagmaStore as a foundation for virtual integration across disparate platforms. This will enable more efficient operation of heterogeneous storage environments with a consistent and repeatable management process. Second, from the financial viewpoint, businesses appreciate the ability to adopt TagmaStore without obsoleting other storage investments. Additionally, Hitachi Data Systems customers appreciate the financial implications of TagmaStore's new design. Its control unit frames can pack a huge storage capability into a small footprint without losing performance, enabling predictably priced capacity upgrades.

MAKE THESE RESULTS YOUR OWN

The outstanding results garnered from Crossroads A-List Award winning products and services didn't happen by magic. The results were obtained through vendor-customer partnerships. Without exception, reference customers of Crossroads A-List Award winning companies are veterans who managed the projects skillfully. Each reference customer shared critical success factors, important management insights and lessons learned. You'll find their most important insights crystallized in the Crossroads A-List Award Brief for each solution. Overall, the message is simple. The prize is within your reach. With management, you can grasp it.

CONCLUSION

2005 was the most competitive year in the 12-year history of the Crossroads A-List Awards. There were many well-qualified finalists that met the criteria and submitted four good references. The five winners stood alone in delivering business value on multiple dimensions. Albeit new, these solutions are already proven by highly credible reference customers exemplifying the target market. They stand on their merits, tested and proven by discriminating buyers.

Author: Nina Lytton

Published: June 2005