Editor's Note: A Time For Condolences, Reflection, And Moving Ahead
For InformationWeek, September is usually a time for celebration. It's when we host our Fall Conference, bringing together some of the brightest minds in industry and academia. It's when we highlight the 500 most innovative users of technology in businesses across 24 industries--an honor for those who make the list and a benchmark for those who'd like to be on it.
This September, however, it seems almost callous to celebrate anything except life, family, friends, and heroic rescues. The horrific events of Sept. 11 have changed our lives forever. All of us on the InformationWeek team want to express our sympathies to any of you who lost someone in last week's tragedies. All of us grieve for our loved ones, country, and future while trying hard to return to our regular lives.
While I wished I was at home when the disasters occurred, I was fortunate enough to be with an extraordinary group of InformationWeek readers and co-workers in Tucson, Ariz., for our annual conference. There, I heard amazing stories of collaboration, courage, and resilience. We shared in the efforts of many of our attendees (several of whom had offices in the World Trade Center) who were helping to implement contingency plans, track disaster recovery efforts, and locate employees. A team from Owens & Minor (the No. 1 company on the InformationWeek 500) set up a command center in the hotel and worked diligently to ensure that medical supplies were being distributed to relief workers.
Discussions centered on some tough questions that lie ahead: What's the balance between individual freedom, privacy, and national security? Do we give up civil liberties to defend those liberties? Does the ease of information sharing that the Internet and collaborative business strategies afford us also make us more vulnerable by making it easier for terrorists to organize? What will it take to protect our people, buildings, and data from future threats? We address some of these topics in this week's issue, though we realize we're probably asking more questions than we're answering.
Despite all the events going on around us, we do want to applaud those companies on the InformationWeek 500 list. These businesses are innovators and influencers in collaborative strategies, customer relationships, maneuvering through an economic downturn, and more. It's worth noting that the picture of William O'Loughlin, senior VP of business technology development for Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield ("Insurers Write New Tech Policy"), was taken inside the north tower of the World Trade Center a few weeks ago. Behind him is a window and a breathtaking view of Manhattan that's now only a memory. Fortunately, Mr. O'Loughlin and his colleagues who are quoted in our story are OK.
Finally, I wanted to mention our cover art. It was inspired by images by illustrator Jack Davis. You may be familiar with Davis, whose work has often been seen in Mad magazine. InformationWeek's design director, Joe McNeill, has been a fan of Davis since childhood. While our cover conveys a lighthearted tone, somehow the relevance to a mad world seems rather appropriate right now.
The Business of Going DigitalDigital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.