100 companies that matter in DM, WM, CM, KM and BI

Any editor who creates a list of companies for any purpose is asking to be pilloried for both the co- and omissions that occur.

When we decided in February that there was a need to organize the developers, vendors and providers of knowledge management-related products and services, what I most wanted to accomplish is the building of signposts that would point the varied directions and routes developers take to fulfilling their part of the document, work, collaboration and knowledge management and business intelligence reference model that makes up the ever-expanding KM universe.

The 100 Companies Who Matter in KM is just such a (nearly completed) list. It’s not an awards program (but may become one). It’s not a conferring of nobility on a chosen few. It’s a plaque to hang in the company foyer.

Having tried to make that clear, companies who are omitted will sic their press and PR flaks on us to find out why they’re not listed and who they should muscle to force their way in. We’ll undoubtedly have omitted some great companies. So our ear will be tuned to hearing what it is that could qualify them for this list. No list is ever complete.

Likewise, we’ll let readers vote on the companies in each category that they think are the real "winners." These companies will be receiving the Companies Who Matter Readers’ Choice Awards at KMWorld 2000 Conference (Santa Clara, September 13-15). While we haven’t entirely finished the research for this project, it’s certainly fair to tell you what kind of fuzzy logic was applied to selecting companies for the list.

Our criteria is as follows: First, the company should exhibit the qualities that we consider to be (a) market makers, (b) solutions technology makers, (c) solutions service makers (d) infrastructure technology makers.

Makers in this sense are those developers, vendors and service providers who are positioned to influence markets in the way rudders, flaps or trim tabs on boats or planes influence the direction of the entire craft.

A "maker" may not be the best marketer or innovator, but may, because of sheer mass, have inordinate influence over technology adoption and market penetration.

However, in some cases, it may truly be that the "maker" has leading-edge technology or market savvy.

We’re releasing the list now in advance of a series of articles on these companies beginning in the July-August KMWorld print and .com, the special pre-Conference & Expo issue. Here we’ll detail how these companies fit in the KM universe model; how their technologies and strategies point the way in both vertical and horizontal solutions.

We’ll explain the relevance of each company to users and markets. In some cases this may relate to a customer-experience posture. In others it could relate to the leverage customers can get from unique technology. In a number of cases, as stated earlier, it will simply be by critical mass and velocity. Finally, a number of designations to the list will reflect business and technology combinations and integrations that result in powerful networks and solutions. One thing is certain, however, our eye will always be on the customer.

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