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.

No one can do it all alone, but someone has to go first. While many vendors are worthy, only 60 rank at the top, with an elite 12 leading the charge: enabling customers to build and manage intelligent enterprises.

Welcome to the seventh annual Editors' Choice Awards. Every year, we sift through our research, reviews and conversations within the IE community to shine a spotlight on 60 companies that provide exceptional vision, technology innovation and customer leadership in attaining the objectives of the intelligent enterprise. Out of those 60 we choose the IE Dozen.

We present this year's selections within our nine core coverage areas plus three new categories: vanguard companies pushing the envelope, innovators in on-demand applications and trendsetters in deriving value from "unstructured" content sources. Each winner is followed by four Companies to Watch.

Choosing the top companies kept us up at night. Let us know if you agree with our picks. We also look forward to hearing which companies you think belong in next year's IE Dozen. Write to us at [email protected].


The Intelligent Enterprise Dozen for 2005

  1. IBM
  2. SAP
  3. Tibco Software
  4. Business Objects
  5. Cognos
  6. FileNet
  7. NCR/Teradata
  8. MetaMatrix
  9. Mercury Interactive
  10. Fair Isaac
  11. Salesforce.com
  12. SAS

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.


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.


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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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

Application Integration

The advent of SOA dramatically increases the options for organizations looking to solve enterprise application integration (EAI) problems. Enterprise service bus (ESB) technology uses Web standards to reinvent message-oriented middleware. Portals are part of this story as well; while portals focus on integration “at the glass,” they depend not only on underlying EAI but also process and data integration. In fact, formerly separate worlds of application, data and process integration are proving interdependent. Leading vendors in this category can’t afford to wear blinders.

Tibco Software

Tibco's mission is to make real time a reality for mainstream businesses. With its acquisition of business process management (BPM) specialist Staffware, Tibco stepped up from mere application to "business" integration. Blue-chip customers turn to Tibco to integrate and manage processes involving multiple applications, data sources and content types. Imbued with SOA religion, Tibco will be important as composite applications take shape.

Companies to Watch in 2005

Ascential Software. Application and data integration shouldn't be dealt with separately. Already a data integration leader, Ascential is guiding customers to a holistic view of enterprise integration.

BEA Systems. BEA finds a way to ride each successive computing wave to success. "Diablo," the next BEA WebLogic Server, will bring enterprise qualities to fledgling SOA implementations.

Cape Clear. Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) is a revolutionary standard, defining the open integration model for process integration. Cape Clear's latest enterprise service bus (ESB) technology looks like BPEL's best comrade.

Sonic Software. ESB is hardly just the next version of EAI. Rather, it is the "bus" that drives SOA to new heights of business integration. Sonic is driving that bus.

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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

Business Intelligence

This category covers primarily data access, querying and reporting tools. Ah, but there’s so much more: Enabling enterprises to improve the speed and depth of their decision-making requires analytics, including OLAP and data mining. Plus, as BI moves out into more “operational” contexts, the technology must work within business processes and different user interfaces and desktop applications.

Consolidation is the big BI trend: and like a game of musical chairs, no vendor wants to be the one left standing. Among the handful of solid top players, each one has significant strengths and faithful users. (Note that we decided to highlight some familiar BI names in the Customer Intelligence, Performance Management and Unstructured Intelligence categories.)

Despite the consolidation fervor, technology buyers would be wise to check out smaller innovators. BI isn’t a field that can ever hit stasis; it serves decision-making. Everyone still learning what works best for decision makers when it comes to analyzing, visualizing and sharing information.

Business Objects

The proof had to be in the pudding. The company's 2003 acquisition of Crystal Decisions brought out plenty of doomsayers. What in fact seems to have happened is a Crystal infusion. Crystal's technology contributions shine brightly in Business Objects XI and give the company momentum again in the enterprise BI race.

Companies to Watch in 2005

Information Builders. Business intelligence isn't much without underlying data integration. Combining the two is IBI's strong suit. The private company reports robust customer growth, especially among organizations looking to consolidate.

MicroStrategy. Product innovation is the secret to MicroStrategy's loyal following. Prestigious customers are now getting in gear with MicroStrategy 8, which sports an adaptable user interface.

Qliktech. As memory costs decline, Qliktech's fortunes could rise. The company breaks the mold of preset cubes, aggregations and views to let users be more creative in their analyses.

ProClarity. The business savvy of ProClarity's analytic applications gains a new dimension in Analytics Platform 6: speed.

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Performance Management

BI’s expansion is fueled by a desire to leverage information to improve business performance. Financial metrics dominate the field of performance management—and traditional planning and forecasting processes are in dire need of a makeover. However, broader management metrics are becoming part of enterprise scorecards. Technology buyers have a varied selection of products from which to choose; innovative smaller vendors continue to make progress, while established BI and enterprise application vendors shape their software suites to hit key verticals


Racing quickly to the forefront of enterprise reporting, Cognos' service-oriented ReportNet has been a big success. Brought together with the company's analytic software, Cognos makes the short list when companies look to consolidate onto an enterprise BI platform.

Yet, all of this has been but a prelude to a decided turn toward performance management (PM). Marrying its strength in Web-based BI with new releases for planning and consolidation, metrics and scorecards, Cognos is positioned to be the pied piper of operational PM.

Companies to Watch in 2005

arcplan. Drawing on a large set of native gateways, arcplan offers speedy data access. Drag-and-drop customization enables business users to set up their own PM analysis.

Applix. Financial planning in most organizations is a slow, error-filled distraction. Applix enables companies to fix the whole process.

Hyperion. It's tough to beat Hyperion for financial PM. The company's BI platform and analytic applications are popular solutions for addressing corporate governance accountability requirements.

Outlooksoft. Prospering as the full-featured PM package on the Microsoft platform, Outlooksoft is keeping customers interested with new predictive analytics.

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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

Business Execution

Software companies must help their customers win victories in the endless battle against complexity and inefficiency. Thus, business process management (BPM) is the rising star, promising to let companies integrate multiple functions for end-to-end success. BPM dominated our selections, although supply chain management, workflow and business rules engines are included in this category. A key influence on business execution is the current need for regulatory compliance; this has been a successful focus for some of the vendors featured here.


Strong workflow and content management are critical to business execution. The smartest enterprise content management (ECM) players are thus moving adroitly toward BPM leadership. With its P8 architecture, FileNet infuses content management applications with process management. Launched by business events, collaborative content or records management applications can trigger additional workflows. Cleanly automated processes that can change when business conditions change: That's the objective FileNet is assembling its software to help companies achieve.

Companies to Watch in 2005

Action Technologies. Action's business interaction solutions enable large organizations to automate hundreds of mission-critical processes. Embracing performance management, the company has added modules for getting processes in sync with business goals.

IDS Scheer. "Thought leader" comes to mind to describe IDS Scheer. The company has a strong relationship with SAP, making its ARIS tools and methods standard for many business execution platforms.

Metastorm. A workflow veteran with an eye for ease of use, Metastorm has more than 700 customers. Its process management suite supports strong business/IT alignment.

Savvion. Embracing a plug-and-play SOA, Savvion's BPM software helps customers unshackle processes from legacy systems and point them toward an agile future.

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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

Customer Intelligence

With greater knowledge, companies can focus resources on gaining and retaining customers that generate the most value. Predictive analytics—what we used to call “data mining”—is an important technology that’s about finding the right customers and shaping their experiences. But it all hinges on good data, which makes the enterprise data warehouse a vital enabler—at least until more distributed customer data integration options mature.

Customer intelligence solutions must provide strong visualization and interactivity that go beyond what traditional power users require. And finally, solutions must hit the nail on the head by putting higher customer intelligence at the service of real business problems, such as campaign management.


Waste no data: When it comes to learning how to improve the customer experience, that's a commandment. Teradata, a division of NCR, provides the platform for many a mighty enterprise data warehouse. Plus, Teradata is no stranger to real time. The company's "active" data warehouse concepts and business integration technology partnerships keep Teradata's customers on the cutting edge.

Companies to Watch in 2005

Netezza. Offering an "appliance" that bundles advanced database, storage and server technology, Netezza creates affordable customer intelligence.

Spotfire. Focusing on the hot biotechnology industry, Spotfire marries advanced data visualization with analytic depth. Marketing and sales performance have never been clearer.

SPSS. Patterns discovered in customer behavior will lead the way to an enlightened future. The force is with SPSS, a proven provider of predictive analytics software.

Unica. Customer-centric marketing depends on predictive analytics, data integration and streamlined campaign and lead management--all behind a friendly interface. Unica's Affinium puts it together.

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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 Management

Companies are in hot pursuit of the “single view”—of customers, products and other objects of interest—and that means information silo walls must be breached. Our search for leaders focused on integration. However, all the heat on integration shouldn’t desensitize us to other data and information management problems. Companies are under pressure to reduce data management costs by automating as many tasks as possible and giving expert administrators the ability to manage more—and more varied—data resources. Key to reducing cost and raising productivity is better synchronization with business objectives and understanding the full data life cycle through models.


With BI's growing role in enabling companies to manage business performance, improve customer interaction and understand quickly how to act on security threats, time is of the essence for information delivery. Traditional data warehousing has to make room for enterprise information integration (EII).

The competition is intense, but MetaMatrix shows the stuff of a leader. Backed by top-drawer venture capitalists, this EII provider has impressive customers. The metadata-rich virtual layer MetaMatrix hides data source complexity from users, revealing the information they seek when they need it.

Companies to Watch in 2005

Informatica. Now led by former Oracle executive Sohaib Abbasi, Informatica has its groove back. The new SOA-based Universal Data Services shows off the company's technology depth.

Kalido. Making business sense out the information life cycle should be a prerequisite to data warehousing. Kalido's model-driven approach has proven invaluable.

Pervasive. Last year's merger with Data Junction put Pervasive on the map as a rising star in data infrastructure management.

Embarcadero. Whether the challenge is to manage one database or many, Embarcadero's pace-setting tools answer the call.

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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

Application Management

Developing and managing applications to take advantage of new technologies are critical activities if organizations expect to expand return on software investment. We considered vendors that are not only driving technology advancement but are also guiding alignment of application management with business objectives.

Mercury Interactive

Growing up as a cost center, IT is now being asked to transform itself into a business-savvy service provider. Mercury saw this shift coming in 2000, when it rebuilt its application management and testing tools to help customers meet end-user performance expectations. The company has prospered.

Mercury is a true visionary when it comes to what some call "IT governance," others call "business technology optimization" but all agree is an overdue reorientation that applies performance analytics and process management to the cobbler's children who have no shoes: IT itself. Mercury has the technology goods to make it all work.

Companies to Watch in 2005

BMC Software. "Business service management" is BMC's term for the IT infrastructure paradigm now guiding its expansive toolset. BMC's steak can back up its sizzle.

CAST Software. Offshoring application development puts a premium on portfolio management. CAST's ability to get at the source of problems puts it in a league by itself.

Computer Associates. CA is a leader in enhancing application and asset management with autonomous agents, reporting and analysis tools to give IT actionable intelligence.

Popkin Software. Enterprise architects and business process modelers are hot commodities. Popkin is the top independent provider of tools for this trade.

The Vanguard

In this special topic area, we feature five companies that are helping businesses push the envelope in leveraging information for greater agility and smarter business processes. These activities include applying business rules to better synchronize strategic objectives with operational performance; taking a different perspective on BI through activity monitoring and a greater awareness of business “events” rather than just data; and using intelligence and analytics in new ways to improve security and protection against fraud.

Fair Isaac

Fair Isaac provides the brains behind credit risk evaluation and many related functions, including fraud and identity theft detection. With Blaze Advisor and Enterprise Decision Manager, the company brings together predictive analytics and business rules engines, two technology areas that veritably shimmer with potential for advanced BI, performance management and intelligent process execution.

Companies to Watch in 2005

Celequest. To survive on the frontiers of operational efficiency, businesses need active, real-time visibility. Celequest's Activity Server and dashboard merit attention.

Guardium. High-profile hacker attacks have exposed the dire state of data security in a heterogeneous world. Guardium's analytic approach is coming to the rescue.

Ilog. Business agility means being responsive to customers, regulatory threats and rapid market changes. Ilog is a leading developer of business rules management systems, which can turn agility into something enduring and repeatable.

KXEN. In a risky world, the stakes are enormous even without the added pressure of regulatory swords dangling overhead. Predictive analytics must be fast, flexible and produce results. KXEN is changing the game.

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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

On-Demand Leadership

While more and more vendors are making the jump, here are five innovators that are ahead of the pack. Hosted, service provider relationships might cover entire IT functions or just focus on certain business areas or processes. The most successful are breaking the software mold to reduce cost and complexity in areas that are difficult for IT to address rapidly.


The end of software is near! So claims Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com's chairman and CEO. The company is expanding its services rapidly, including through partnerships with major contact centers, which produced Supportforce.com last fall. As competitors join the hosted services race, the test for Salesforce.com is to provide customers with competitive advantages through analytics and a greater ability to customize. Strong business growth indicates that the company is succeeding.

Companies to Watch in 2005

Omniture. The Web analytics business is hotly competitive. We highlight Omniture for giving users the power to create their own report metrics through multiple styles of interaction with information.

RightNow Technologies. Arriving as a knowledge management player focused on customer self-service, RightNow is gaining traction as a hosted CRM provider with richer analytics than the rest.

Nsite. Low-cost process automation for dynamic, people-to-people workflows is Nsite's specialty. Its system learns the process rather than forcing you to model and test, ensuring fast deployment.

Grand Central Communications. Application integration as a hosted service? The company's expertise promises to make the headaches go away.

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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

Unstructured Intelligence

This special topic area recognizes five companies that are helping organizations accomplish objectives so strategic that they’d rather not talk about it. Our leader is better known in the BI and performance management fields, which is a clue to our judgment. Expertise in text mining and other fields is valuable, but the convergence of structured and unstructured intelligence solutions is what organizations really need.


The release of SAS 9 is a major milestone in the company's quest to be the premier enterprise BI platform provider. Here, however, we highlight SAS's move to provide text mining tools alongside structured data analysis as a means of gaining powerful insight into customer behavior.

Companies to Watch in 2005

Adobe. With PDF the de facto standard, Intelligent Document Platform gives Adobe an opportunity to step out of its shrink-wrapped identity and into enterprise BPM.

Autonomy. While other vendors have succeeded in attacking narrow problems, Autonomy is making headway by addressing a wider spectrum of content analysis.

Mark Logic. What if documents were treated just like databases? That's Mark Logic's premise. The founders, experts in database and search technology, see great possibilities in leaving behind outmoded technology boundaries.

Verity. Building on strong customer and OEM relationships, Verity is expanding through acquisition into document and data capture, automation and business process management, bringing together multiple technologies aimed at exploiting the value of content.

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