Are computers dead? well, yes and no. you still need them to run your business. But they are a means to an end. Increasingly, the world of computing has become less about computing and more about services and applications.
Much of how you run a business has (or will) become Web-based. In addition, consumers are (or will) be running parts of their lives over the Web. And every college graduate with a dream and a slight knowledge of the Web sensed that. That's why last year we had a gazillion dot-com start-ups. Companies like our magazine's parent company were losing good employee candidates to the promise of six figure bases and stock options. But you know what? The candidates are returning. We are in the midst of a dot-com fallout that was both predictable and inevitable.
But what are the reasons? Is it that everyone overestimated the public's desire to have all of their daily tasks handled over the Web, or was it simply that there were too damn many dot-coms? I suspect it was a little of both. The good news for you is that you can reap the rewards of the survival of the fittest. In the not-too-distant future we will be left with only the best and brightest vendors to handle your needs. We have warned you in the past about the fly-by-night nature of many application service providers. But the ones that continue to make it are bound to be safer bets.
On a slightly unrelated note I wanted to congratulate all of the companies we mention in our salute to the most tech-savvy businesses. Because the world of technology is changing so rapidly we tried very hard this year to find companies that best exemplify emerging trends. Turn to page 42 and be inspired.
If in the course of being inspired you begin to feel competitive, feel free to enter for next year's salute. In 100 words or less tell us how you are leveraging technology to grow your business. Or feel free to nominate a friend's business. Send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org.