In our September 2003 issue, we introduced the first list of trend-setting products. At the time, we thought sorting the products into specific categories-document management, business process management, enterprise search, content management, portals, smart enterprise suites, etc.-was appropriate, and we’d help bring order to the landscape. But even then the lines were blurring, of course, so we abandoned that strategy in 2004. They are even more blurry now.
The juggernaut of consolidation keeps charging along, so what were single-point solutions a decade ago now include a broad spectrum of capabilities. A Web content management system, for example, contains functionality for, say, collaboration, social media, analytics, records management, etc. Enterprise search is a tool for text mining, sentiment analysis, legal discovery, big data and more. So, as we continue to emphasize, knowledge management isn’t an application per se, it’s an attitude, an approach to delivering the right information to the right people throughout the entire constituency chain, users and customers alike.
For this year’s list, the judging panel of colleagues, analysts, system integrators and users evaluated more than 800 products. Although the products on the list cover a host of technology areas, they share one thing in common: Each has helped create, define, enhance or sustain a market.
As in years past, assembling the list involves a yearlong collaborative effort that culminates with a series of conference calls to finalize the list that follows. It’s a big job and a certainly lively and sometime contentious process. All of us have our prejudices based on specific areas of interest/expertise, and because the panel requests anonymity to avoid the onslaught of e-mail, I make the final decision. Trust me, people have tried to bully their way on the list, which isn’t a good strategy. Receiving unsolicited recommendations from customers is, however. After all, it’s the needs of the market that should identify a trend. Further descriptions of selected Trend-Setting Products begin on Page 18, September KMWorld 2011, Vol 20, Issue #8 and are also linked online within the company description: