And We Said, Let There Be Light

It’s hard to deal with an everyday task, much less a crisis, when you’re literally in the dark.

When the World Trade Center was attacked on Sept. 11, many companies’ attempts to recover from the disaster were hampered by the fact that they hadn’t one of the most basic tools they needed on hand.


Baseline magazine is a flashlight. It was born this spring, long before the nature of life and business changed irrevocably on that ill-fated Tuesday morning.

But some things don’t change. One of them is the need for companies and their information technology executives to set technical and financial goals for themselves—and have at their hands the tools they need to get them there.

Baseline is about how companies set those goals for themselves; and, the paths they take to achieve them, through technology and business sense. A signature line—the Baseline—will even let you see the objectives companies set for themselves and how actual results measure up.

As you will find in our centerpiece Case Dissection this month on Avon Products, Baseline will give you well- researched, well-written journalism. The story of the way Avon looked at how to best manage its relationships with customers—and decided to stick with its Avon ladies for the personalization of its services—is compelling in and of itself.

But Baseline is not just about detailed narrative of the nit and grit of accomplishing corporate goals through smart choices about use—or non-use—of technology. Our cover story shows we’re about the bottom line in information technology, no matter what it is. In the case of how we think about crisis management, the most critical change now is how to plan for the impact of a disaster on your people.

On an issue-in, issue-out basis, Baseline will be a starter kit for technology and business leaders who are tackling complex information systems projects.

You’ll find useful tools such as a project planner, detailing the line items of costs you have to consider—with usable cost estimates. You’ll find a Baseline model, showing the ways a company sets financial targets for its business and technology staff, how it has fared in reaching those targets, and key events along the way that affected those results.

Since you, our audience of technology and business leaders, keeps saying you want to learn from your peers, we not only will focus on real companies tackling real projects, we let you know who your peers are and how to interact with them. There are player rosters, so you know who had a hand in the results and how to contact them, if you want. There are dossiers on suppliers, so you have in your hand all the key information you need to undertake due diligence on what may be the biggest decision you make in any project: The choice of partners.

The Hands On: section lets you find out who the experts are in different areas of technical expertise (Community), and figure out how to do such things as calculate returns on projects (Workbook).

Yes, there’s news (as long as it has meaning for technology and business leaders trying to get things done). Yes, there’s analysis (as long as it helps overcome hurdles or accomplish tasks). And, yes, there’s depth. But there’s more to Baseline than that.

This is a new kind of magazine, a crossbreed of in-the-field reporting, project templates, instructional takeaway and practical reference work.

It’s a flashlight.

And one we hope you’ll find indispensable.

Tell us what you think. Help us to see better, too. This is not just our magazine; it’s yours as well.