Where I.T. Matters: How 10 Technologies Transformed 10 Industries

Over the last five years, there haven’t been any great technological breakthroughs on the order of the personal computer or the Internet. Yet organizations around the country continue to embrace new technologies, such as Web services, digital supply chains, open systems, wireless communications, and self-service and collaborative technologies. And the net result is that technology is having as much of an impact, if not more so, on how business operates than at any other time.

In this, Baseline‘s fifth anniversary issue, we take a look back over the last five or so years and examine 10 major industries to see how leading companies in each of those sectors used information technology to boost not only themselves, but the entire market in which they do business.

While each of the companies and technologies examined in our industry profiles is different, there is a common theme: Behind each technology implementation stood a team of people confronting a business or organizational challenge. And, in more than one instance, they had to overcome several hurdles to implement their systems. But they succeeded. For, in the end, technology doesn¹t change anything until people with vision and determination do something with it. And that¹s been the case for not just the last five years—but since companies started using information technology.

SOA: TD Banknorth Is Banking on It
Service-oriented architecture has helped financial firms such as TD Banknorth neutralize integration headaches and make their legacy applications more responsive to customer needs.

GPS and Business Intelligence: Rubenacker Farms Makes Hay With I.T.
Crop farmers wield global positioning systems and business intelligence tools to nurture profits in the field.

ERP: Gaming Company Hits Jackpot
International Game Technology, a maker of slot machines, uses an enterprise resource planning system to tilt the odds in its favor by cutting production turnarounds and streamlining staff access to company information.

Digital Supply Chain: Warner Bros.’ Next Big Release
The entertainment industry is rushing to replace an outdated film production and distribution system with a nimble digital supply chain.

Digital Networking: Hannaford Bros. is a Cut Above
Retailers including the $3.4 billion supermarket chain are using consolidated, faster data networks to make key business decisions—such as how much ribeye to put out on a Wednesday.

Electronic Medical Records: Charting Mayo Clinic’s Progress
After maintaining paper records for decades, the renowned health-care provider has embraced digitized health information systems to better manage patient care and trim costs. Adoption has brought some pain.

Content Management: Dow Jones Makes Headlines
The publisher wrestled with content management systems and online delivery tools to build The Wall Street Journal into the Web’s biggest subscription-based site.

Information Sharing: LAPD Starts to Connect the Dots
Can federal, state, county and local authorities effectively collect and share information? An initiative launched in the wake of 9/11 aims to break old habits and better protect the homeland.

VoIP: Grandpa Bell Meets the Future
The advance of voice-over Internet Protocol technology increases AT&T’s efficiency.

Customer Self-Service: US Airways Eliminates Customer Drag
The struggling airline business sees the merger of US Airways and America West—fueled by enhanced customer-service technology—as a strategy for revenue growth.

5 Most Important Technologies: Yesterday and Tomorrow
As part of its 5 Year Anniversary special report, Baseline asked two longtime information-technology market watchers—David F. Carr, Baseline‘s technology editor, and Michael Vizard, editorial director of the Ziff Davis Enterprise Group—to, respectively, tell us what five technologies had the biggest impact on business over the past five years and what five technologies might have the biggest impact over the next five. Here’s what they had to say:

View Slide Show: 5 Most Important Technologies of the Last Five Years

View Slide Show: 5 Most Important Technologies for the Next Five Years