We're making a lot of enhancements to our online products and services to help you keep up with the maddening rush of news, trends, undercurrents, and other developments in the world of business technology, <B>Bob Evans</B> says.

Bob Evans, Contributor

July 23, 2004

7 Min Read

Some media brands--magazines, Web sites, or both--take themselves very seriously; they think (always mistakenly) that it is they who are the center of the universe and that everything else revolves around them. I promise you that that is not our philosophy--quite the contrary. We don't take ourselves too seriously, but we do take very seriously the job you've entrusted us with: helping you to keep up with and understand the maddening rush of news and trends and undercurrents in the world of business technology. You, our readers--the 1 million people who use InformationWeek each week--have been and will continue to be at the center of our universe, and I'd like to share with you some new products and services aimed at helping you stay ahead of things.

We've had a busy few months here at InformationWeek as several major online initiatives have been investigated, developed, launched, refined, and optimized. And what I find most exciting about these new online information resources is that they give us more ways to hear from you: your criticisms, questions, input for ongoing stories, suggestions, and so on. Among these initiatives is a new online product that takes you inside our newsroom so you can read about stories we're working on before they're posted or published and invites you to share your perspectives on those works in progress. Our marvelous contributor and adviser C.K. Prahalad, the University of Michigan business-strategy expert, calls this the co-creation of value with your customers, and it's a concept we vigorously embrace. While we can't promise union rates for your input, we *do* promise to take all of your suggestions very seriously and to act on them as quickly as possible. We've also created a lively and timely blog containing news and updates, along with some commentary from not just us but also from you. We're inviting you to participate in a reader feedback survey to let us know what you feel we need to improve upon and what's working well and what you'd like to see added or deleted.

We've also reorganized huge volumes of content on our site so that you can now find what you're looking for more easily, and we've done this in two ways: You can look by vertical industry, or you can look by technology. We've broken out 28 vertical industries--from automotive to construction/engineering to financial services to manufacturing to distribution to government to utilities--with relevant news, analysis, and other content within each. From the technology side, you can now find what you need across more than 20 technology categories, from servers to RFID to business intelligence to open source and Linux.

We're also enhancing various tools that will allow us to analyze traffic patterns on the site in real time so that we can respond instantly to your preferences by promoting and elevating stories and other elements that are of interest to you. And you'll see more opportunities to participate in interactive functions on significant stories that allow you to share your feedback--but we promise not to shove them in your face.

All of our readers face the challenge of trying to comprehend everything going on at Microsoft. So unless you're a poker buddy of Bill Gates, you might want to check out John Foley's Windows Weblog or our Windows Tech Center. And you can also tune in to the incomparable insights and commentary of Fred Langa.

You've made it clear to us that while you continue to place great value on the broad coverage of business-technology issues InformationWeek has always offered, you also need deeper insights into your own industry. So in addition to the 28 Industry breakouts mentioned above, we'll be making available to you more expert commentary on financial services, health care, retail, and other key sectors. In particular, our financial-services coverage will be bolstered via our relationships with our three other members of the InformationWeek family: Bank Systems & Technology, Insurance & Technology, and Wall Street & Technology. Each of those brands' Web sites will deploy navigation schemes like the ones we're deploying here at InformationWeek to help you find what you need as quickly as possible.

Other Voices

"Five seconds later, Jarrah asked, 'Is that it? Shall we finish it off?' A hijacker responded, 'No. Not yet. When they all come, we finish it off.' ... According to the report, he then asked another hijacker in the cockpit, 'Is that it? I mean, shall we put it down?' ... With the sounds of the passenger counter-attack continuing, the aircraft plowed into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 580 miles per hour, about 20 minutes' flying time from Washington, D.C."

-- CNN Online on Flight 93 passengers overpowering Sept. 11, 2001, hijacker

On the emerging-technology side, we're on the verge of launching an RFID site (link goes to our current RFID page) exploring the various technologies involved, the business applications, and related security and privacy concerns, and at about the same time we'll roll out an RFID E-mail newsletter (don't worry--to subscribe, we won't require that you staple an RFID chip in your ear). We'll also be making it possible for you to set up auto-generated news alerts that allow you to select topics about which you'd like to be notified.

The point of all this is simply to give you more of what you want and need. Heck, we talk a pretty good game here at InformationWeek about the need for companies to move and evolve as rapidly as their customers and markets, and these new enhancements we're making exist for one reason only: to shorten the link between your information needs and our information delivery. If we hold up our end of the deal, you'll be better-informed about topics and trends affecting your company, your customers, and your competitors.

Let me offer an example by giving you a sample of what you can find on our Works In Progress blog posted early last week: "Microsoft plans to enter the enterprise-tools market with its upgraded Visual Studio 2005 Team System and make enterprise tools a mass-market product line. But Gates & Co. aren't the only ones. IBM's Rational unit has moved to make Java tools easier to use. IBM is also reaching out to colleges and universities in an effort to scare off Microsoft there. ... A group of pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, and retailers are experimenting with item-level use RFID, attaching tags to individual bottles of drugs. The project is testing the feasibility of RFID as a tool in tracking individual items from factory to retailer. Big Pharma wants to stop counterfeiting, improve inventory management, prevent stock outages, and make it easier to trace recalled drugs. ... At this week's federal health IT summit, dubbed "Cornerstones for Electronic Health Care," new national health IT coordinator Dr. David Brailer and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson unveiled a promised progress report and a preliminary plan on how the government plans to help fulfill President Bush's recent pledge for most Americans to have an electronic health record within the decade..."

These are stories we're working on, but we figured that although we still have some research and reporting to do on them before they're complete, you should have the opportunity to find out about them early, so we're happily casting aside some journalistic traditions in favor of getting relevant and valuable information in front of you as soon as possible. We encourage you, as with everything we do, to send us your feedback and give us your perspectives on angles we should pursue. Or tell us that one or more of our ideas stinks like an old gym bag and should be tossed.

As always, thanks for your time, and don't be shy about telling us how we can serve you more effectively--that's why we're here.

To discuss this column with other readers, please visit Bob Evans's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

About the Author(s)

Bob Evans


Bob Evans is senior VP, communications, for Oracle Corp. He is a former InformationWeek editor.

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