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Enabling the Intelligent Enterprise: 2005 Editors' Choice Awards

Our seventh annual take on The Dozen most influential vendors driving the intelligent enterprise. Plus, we name 48 Companies to Watch in 12 categories including enterprise apps, BI and special "vanguard" company selections.

Information Strategy | Enterprise Applications | Application Integration | Business Intelligence | Performance Management | Business Execution | Customer Intelligence | Information Management | Application Management | The Vanguard | On-Demand Leadership | Unstructured Intelligence

Information Strategy

This category is about the big picture: where the pieces come together, including applications, processes, systems, services and all kinds of data and information relevant to every stakeholder. Vendors in this category are stretching past their familiar technology confines to help companies orchestrate major portions of the information strategy picture and achieve better business/IT alignment. To repeat: No one vendor can do it all, including our leader. The Companies to Watch radiate vision from key areas, including systems management, storage, content and personal computing.

IBM

What is IBM's vision? Integrated information on demand, managed by self-healing systems that "autonomically" respond to the agile business. Are we there yet? No, but we're not in Kansas anymore, either. With last year's acquisition of Venetica putting meat on IBM's content integration bones, the company's maturing business integration solutions have options for bringing all forms of information together.

DB2, Websphere and Rational development tools give innovation a practical grounding, enabling organizations to bridge their legacy systems with modern Web services and business-process architectures. It all adds up to one thing: IBM is number one in the IE Dozen.

Companies to Watch in 2005

AmberPoint. If Web services and service-oriented architectures (SOAs) are to reach their potential, companies will need to reinvent systems management. AmberPoint has introduced an intelligent approach that's catching on with leading-edge organizations.

EMC. "Storage behemoth" no longer describes EMC. Integrating its acquisitions of Documentum and Legato, EMC is making good on its information life-cycle management (ILM) vision. With ILM, structured data and content are not static; data lives in the service of business objectives.

Microsoft. The ability to deliver enterprise levels of computing to the "masses" is Microsoft's great power--and great responsibility. With .Net, Microsoft is seeking the right balance between tightly and loosely coupled worlds so that personal computing can prosper in an ecosystem of shared services.

Stellent. Acquiring Optika in 2004, Stellent has muscled up with robust imaging, workflow and the seeds of business process management. The company's Universal Content Management platform is gathering the functionality to support advanced enterprise architectures.

Enterprise Applications

In choosing the winners, we tracked how this one-time bastion of monolithic, “black box” applications for ERP, CRM and other purposes is undergoing a big change toward a more open, modular and collaborative future. Making this transition includes adapting to emerging Web service-oriented architectures (SOAs). Packaged application vendors must also keep pace with what managers and users require to derive competitive advantage and greater return on investment. The answer is analytics; all the vendors highlighted here either came to the dance with analytics or have successfully added them.

SAP

As the 800-pound gorilla, SAP's decisions have major ripple effects. The company's NetWeaver application integration and development platform lends credibility to the whole notion of service-oriented, composite applications. It also turns SAP into a more open environment for developers, which might be one reason why Microsoft showed interest in buying the company. SAP's partnership with MySQL not only keeps Oracle on its toes: It also says that it's okay for SAP's customers to troll the open-source sea. In sum, SAP's framework for how BI, content and processes come together is the most compelling vision in software today.

Companies to Watch in 2005

E.piphany. Bringing analytic and operational CRM together has always been E.piphany's specialty. With generating revenue from services a top priority, E.piphany is in demand.

Oracle. Putting its database leadership aside, Oracle's main event right now is the PeopleSoft "fusion." First steps have been positive.

Siebel Systems. CRM takes on a new meaning when infused with actionable information. Siebel's Business Analytics has the company back in the saddle.

Silvon. While BI vendors have struggled with analytic applications, Silvon has succeeded by delivering insight needed specifically for manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

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