Celebrating the top business innovators

Every year at InfoWorld we take pride in saluting the InfoWorld 100, which consists of 100 IT organisations that have used technology in an innovative way to give their companies a competitive edge.

In good times or bad times, it's always about innovation. In flush times, we are struggling to keep up with the rate of growth in the business. We can't find enough qualified people to service all the demands created by the business. As a result, tools or applications that might help expand the business get our undivided attention.

When times are bad, however, it's not like anybody in IT gets a break because the pendulum swings to the other extreme. Due to cutbacks, we don't have enough people to maintain operations, and the business is screaming for tools that help create more efficient processes. The order of the day is to do more with less.

Every year at InfoWorld we take pride in saluting the InfoWorld 100, which consists of 100 IT organisations that have used technology in an innovative way to give their companies a competitive edge.

The top three companies on our list this year, JP Morgan Chase, Procter & Gamble, and Fannie Mae, exemplify the applied use of innovative technology to support a business goal.

In the case of JP Morgan Chase, the IT organisation was the key group in the combined companies that facilitated the integration of one of the financial industry's larger mergers when Chase Manhattan merged with JP Morgan. The application integration projects that needed to be done so the combined companies could benefit quickly from the merger were -- and continue to be -- staggering. Without the expertise of an IT organisation capable of building a flexible IT infrastructure that could absorb new business units, the merging of these two organisations and the business value that it creates would be virtually impossible.

Integration is a big theme in the 2001 InfoWorld 100. For example, Procter & Gamble has also taken on a major integration challenge that spans all its business partners. The company recognises that the value of information is perishable and the sooner information is shared and processed within the organisation and with a supporting business partner, the more value it has. To accomplish that goal, Procter & Gamble is creating an IT architecture that allows information to be shared across its supply chain in real time. That architecture should not only cut down on inventory shipping costs for goods that are not selling, it will also allow Procter & Gamble to sell more of the goods that are selling.

Nothing excites hard-core IT people more than being an agent for fundamental change. For the IT folks at Fannie Mae, that opportunity came with a new online system for mortgage brokers that cut weeks off the process of buying a home. Not only did this system change the way mortgage brokers work, it made the whole process of buying a house less painful for an untold number of people.

Vizard is editor in chief of InfoWorld and InfoWorld.com. Send email to Michael Vizard. Send letters for publication in Computerworld NZ to Computerworld Letters.

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