One hundred. Not 101. Not 99.
Does our list mean that there are only 100 companies that matter in KM? Of course not. We figure there are more than 1,500 companies in our loosely defined space, and each one brings something of value to the table.
So why these 100 companies (plus the shorter list of consultants/ analysts)? Well, they are the ones upon which our panel agree, and it is a nice round number. As I’ve frequently mentioned, these companies have helped create, enhance or define a market, and they all share a remarkable capacity for agile, customer-driven innovation.
When we first presented our list of 100 companies in 2000, many of the firms were noted for their dazzling technology—you remember what things were like six years ago. Some of the software was simply breathtaking in its design. But, in fact, some of the technology was all shine and no substance. A number of the companies on our first list are no longer doing business.
I don’t expect that to be the case with the companies mentioned below, because this year, more than ever, we heard from customers, which, after all, is clearly the most important constituency for consideration. One company in particular, Quantum Art, a San Francisco-based Web content management firm, had remarkable support from its customers, with almost a dozen writing to me with their success stories—pretty hard not to take a long look at that company. While Quantum Art may be an extreme example (but certainly laudable), customer stories weighed heavily in the decision-making process.
I’m sure I’ll hear from those companies that appeared on previous lists, but not this year’s. In no way whatsoever should they consider that they no longer “matter.” Far from it. In most cases, their stories didn’t register as compelling with our panel this time around. One way to get those stories out is hearing directly from their customers, because that approach always get our attention.