by Michael Weil, executive editor
The term, information technology, or IT as it is known today, has a substantially different meaning than it did four or five years ago. Back then, it was all about the technology. It was about broadband Internet access, fast servers, and smart software. Products that would do everything except write the checks. Each year software vendors came out with faster, better products to help contractors manage assets, dollars, people, time. The buzz was all about wireless technology, the paperless office, and the efficiencies that would improve productivity and thus the bottom line.
Today, the technology isn’t as much the focus. The focus is on how to best use that technology. It’s about innovation. And according to CIO magazine (April 2004, p 36), innovative use of technology is often the most difficult.
Innovation means using technology in some new and unexpected way. This doesn’t necessarily require expenditures of more cash, or huge changes in how you run your business. It’s often as subtle as learning all the ins and outs of the software and hardware systems already in place. It means continual training of the people who work with those systems. And it means taking the time to figure out better uses for the information those systems manipulate for you.
In IT circles this is called “data mining,” and it’s the key to innovation today. How quickly can you access information already in your systems and how many different ways can you put it to work for you? Whether that means using the data for marketing, sales tool creation, customer identification, tracking, etc., data mining is the area where the most innovation can be squeezed from your IT systems.
The Best on the Market
Of course, to data mine, you still need great software. So welcome to Contracting Business’ annual shopping guide to IT products and services geared to the HVACR industry. The guide is divided into two parts: an advertising section and a comparative listing section that highlights the features and benefits of each product. The listings specifically highlight the features of those vendors that appear in the advertising section.
Please keep in mind that these listings don’t compare all the software’s attributes and are not inclusive of all the software available in the marketplace. It’s a starting point from which you can begin your quest for the products that will help make your business more successful. Shop on!
We’re interested on hearing your views on the usefulness of this guide. Please send your thoughts, comments, and suggestions to me at [email protected].