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October 12, 1998 (Vol. 20, Issue 41)

In the third and final part of our InfoWorld 100 series on the top 100 IT innovators, we describe the winning projects of companies that ranked 11 through 100.

To see the cumulative InfoWorld 100 report, go to www.infoworld.com/iw100.

No. 11

U.S. Navy/Boeing
Jacksonville, Fla./St. Louis

Supporting the Navy's T-45 training jet built by Boeing requires real-time information sharing among Boeing, Navy support teams, and a fleet located across the United States. To create an effecient, cost-effective solution, the Navy's Lisa Crawford, extranet administrator and the technical team lead, and Boeing's Jeff Maaks, Web architect, teamed up to create a secure extranet. Built using SuiteSpot servers, the extranet helped to eliminate six redundant databases and introduced action tracking across all locations. In addition, it made 300MB of critical technical information readily available to all T-45 teams.

No. 12
US Fleet
Rocky Mount, N.C.
Wholesale, retail, distribution

Gasboy robot roadside fueling sites were not designed with the Web in mind, but innovative developers at Web Point Communications worked with US Fleet, owners of the fueling sites, to add Internet capabilities. By taking advantage of the Gasboys' serial ports, meant for printing errors and status messages, Jeff Meyers, developer, was able to link the devices using modem lines and PCs running Linux to an Apache Web server. Now failures are detected instantaneously and published to a Web site, pagers are triggered, and e-mail notifications are sent out to alert technicians and the head office.

No. 13
Chevron Information Technology
San Ramon, Calif.

Two years ago Chevron's Global Lubricants division was selling a lot of products but didn't know which ones were profitable. The solution: provide 56 of the most important views of the sales data across a secure Internet connection. The company selected a NetDynamics application server to house business logic written in Java. Now sales representatives access the system using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption, IDs, and passwords. To increase security, which Price Waterhouse audited and approved, David Reese, software developer, disabled all but Web traffic on the network hardware that connects Chevron's database to the Web server, preventing potential security risks.

No. 14
Southern California (SoCal) Gas Co.
Los Angeles

Haggling for electrons from the California power grid is serious business since energy deregulation occurred in California, and suppliers and customers needed a place to find each other. SoCal Gas helped answer the need by creating Energy Marketplace, a Web site where potential customers can place bids and suppliers can review and opt to fulfill them. Built on the Windows NT Server platform, Energy Marketplace uses the NetDynamics application server and Java.

No. 15
Entrepreneurs expand business with extranet power
NewSub Services
Stamford, Conn.
Wholesale, retail, distribution
By Benjamin Keyser

Selling magazine subscriptions, gifts, and flowers is big business, and John Rovegno, vice president of operations at NewSub Services, in Stamford, Conn., realized that relying on service bureaus to handle data processing and operations was constraining the company's growth.

In an effort to remove the bottleneck, NewSub brought all data processing in-house and built an extranet application for order entry and customer service. This has allowed NewSub to outsource telemarketing services on demand without the lag time typically associated with a service-bureau's operational ramp-ups.

"It became readily apparent that our business development ... was going to be constrained by [our service bureau's] IT department's ability to keep up with our guerrilla marketing," Rovegno says.

After looking at a few larger, high-technology but pricey service bureaus, Rovegno says, "It became a rent or buy decision."

When the company checked into the possibilities of owning its own systems, the universe expanded and it decided to build.

NewSub didn't have a network at the time, let alone an IT department or the technical savvy to tackle the task,so Rovegno sought a partner to build and house the technology. Edgewater Technologies, in Wakefield, Mass., was the answer. The extranet officials decided upon serves two applications: a browser-based order-entry application, and a more complex Visual Basic customer-service application.

After a seven-month development effort, the extranet was ready for beta testing, and now it has been in production for approximately one year. Edgewater houses the equipment and performs all the administrative tasks, functions it will perform until NewSub's equipment room is complete and a staff is hired.

The extranet consists of an Oracle database containing 250GB of RAID storage on Sun Solaris and Microsoft NT applications servers. The applications were built using Microsoft's Internet Information Server, Active Server Pages, Transaction Server, and Component Object Model architecture. Components were written in Visual Basic 5.0 for both the server and client. The customer-service client application runs across a leased MCI frame-relay network.

Proof of the extranet's success can be seen in NewSub's 44 percent growth rate last year.

No. 16
McKesson Corp.
San Francisco
Wholesale, retail, distribution

Before implementing InfoLink, McKesson's remotely accessible, decision-support system, sales representatives were armed with only monthly reports about their accounts, and in essence were "walking in blind," according to Michael Kesselman, technical consultant. To provide live access to the 2.5 terabytes of invoice information (down to item level) stored in an Oracle database, McKesson implemented a multitiered solution using Netscape Enterprise Server, a Tenga application server, Java, and Visigenic's object request broker to connect to the database. Sales representatives access InfoLink with a Web browser, SSL encryption, secure IDs, and personal IDs. McKesson also made InfoLink available to key customers to provide an even higher level of service.

No. 17
State of California Department of Information Technology
Sacramento, Calif.

When Governor Pete Wilson asked John Thomas Flynn to leave Massachusetts to become the first CIO of the state of California, Flynn brought risk-assessment methodologies (RAMs) with him. With the help of contractors, including some from Andersen Consulting, Flynn created an application to help evaluate the 150 IT projects proposed each year in California's state government. First implemented as a client/server Visual Basic application, the application was recently ported to the state's intranet using Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) in conjunction with Visual Basic, Component Object Model architecture, and SQL Server. All new proposals for consideration must be entered using RAMs. Flynn says this approach has resulted in savings of more than $300 million by weeding out high-risk projects.

No. 18
Richmond Hills, Ontario
Wholesale, retail, distribution

Beamscope, a Canadian marketing and distribution company that supplies software, hardware, and video games to retailers, maxed out its customer-service capacity. In order to keep growing, the company had to increase its customer-service capacity while controlling costs. The solution was to implement a business-to-business Internet-commerce site where retail customers could tap into Beamscope's AS/400 database to create orders, check an order's status, and make other inquiries. Using Ironside's Fahrenheit I-commerce product, the company was able to increase sales from $100 million to $500 million without adding any customer-service representatives. In addition, it cut its average call time from 5 minutes to 3 minutes.

No. 19
Producers Lloyds Insurance
Amarillo, Texas

The growing season presents as many challenges to crop insurers as it does to farmers, according to Larry Latham, treasurer of Producers Lloyds, because rates and programs change so rapidly. Producers Lloyds had a DOS database for generating quotes -- an unsatisfactory solution that required six people for support during peak periods. To keep pace, Producers Lloyds Insurance, in conjunction with CNA Agriculture, which funded the effort, replaced the database with an Internet application consisting of a thin C++ client and an application server built with Emrys Visions' toolkit. Agents now connect across the Internet using SSL encryption, and Latham says support costs have decreased more than 60 percent.

No. 20
Georgia Institute of Technology Microelectronics Research Center

When the Georgia Institute of Technology called upon its cousin, the Georgia Technical Research Institute, for help to replace a decade-old, multicopy, paper-based procurement system, the result was a thin-client/server application built on Java and Oracle7 that runs on Solaris. The new system uses any Java-enabled Web browser in combination with e-mail notifications to reduce the overall workflow from between three days and five days to hours or minutes. SSL encryption and certificates from VeriSign assure remote security, a priority on the distributed Georgia Tech campus.

No. 21
Science Application International Corp.
(SAIC) Transportation Consulting Group
Tucson, Ariz.

In order to ensure a safe passage for hazardous nuclear waste, SAIC's Transportation Consulting Group experts map the route they plan to use, identifying any potential hazards along the way. This is accomplished by videotaping the intended route, making note of any hazards such as lake beds that may flood, narrow bridges, or rough roads, and finally cross-referencing the route against Global Positioning System (GPS) data. A video log of the route is then compiled by superimposing the GPS data onto the tape of the trip using a Video Toaster device from NewTek, the same device used to create special effects in the television show Babylon Five. The Video Toaster, it should be noted, is powered by the legendary Amiga computer, whose flagging business was purchased by Gateway.

No. 22
Workflow automation frees up company's creativity
DaySpring Cards
Siloam Springs, Ark.
Manufacturing, process industries
By Benjamin Keyser

Shepherding a greeting card from an idea to hard copy requires both stamina and finesse, according to Paul Nast, a systems analyst at DaySpring Cards. As a card makes its way from concept to production, so many hands contribute to the effort that it becomes difficult to figure out who did what, and when.

Entrusted with automating the process that had evolved at DaySpring, Nast and his team met with each department to document workflow. It quickly became apparent that not only was each department's flow highly unique, but also it was in constant flux.

After the interviews, Nast and his team drew diagrams in BPwin and then tacked them to the wall. Seeing the array of heterogeneous diagrams drove home the point that a monolithic, rigid application wouldn't work. Usability, adaptability, and departmental autonomy were paramount.

In its solution, the team found a unique use for the familiar file-folder hierarchy. Instead of directories and files, members designed folders to represent projects and tasks. The team designated items inside folders for specialized objects such as appointments or action items, as well as standard files such as pictures or text. Due dates and ownership now could be assigned to task objects, so users could know, in real time, what was on their to-do lists, improving communication and accountability.

The most challenging technical aspect for Nast was performance. At first the team implemented ODBC to handle connectivity to a DB2 database, but members later found a bottleneck. They instead implemented Data Queues, a transaction-management technology, which they built into their AS/400 server. They used Centura Team Developer (formerly Gupta) to develop the client application but they plan on migrating to Visual Basic for the next version.

The application has helped foster greater creativity. The group charged with overall management of new products reduced its administrative workload so that it only requires 15 percent of members' time, rather than 80 percent. Now employees can focus on what they're paid to do, which is to come up with new product ideas to keep the business growing.

No. 23
Bristol Hotels & Resorts
Hospitality, hotel management

Bristol Hotels & Resorts has grown from 40 properties to 120 properties, making scalability and remote access imperative for the company's extensive PeopleSoft implementation. Joshua Norrid, director of applications development, decided to expand by throwing away costly long-distance dial-ups, replacing them with two T1 connections to the Internet, and setting up four Citrix WinFrame servers. Users can access the WinFrame servers through a firewall using 128-bit encryption for security. Remote users simply connect through local ISPs, avoiding long-distance charges. In addition to creating a scalable architecture that will grow as Bristol grows, the new system reduced communication expenditures to $300,000 per year from a high of $1.5 million.

No. 24
North Park School District
Walden, Colo.

North Park school in rural Colorado serves 300 students, but certain classes that big school districts might take for granted, such as Spanish, advanced mathematics, or animal science, cannot be offered because of budget constraints. To address the problem, Western Slope Consortium for Excellence in Learning (WestCEL), brainchild of Chairman Ed Vandertook, was born. WestCEL connects North Park to 12 other school districts with a T1 connection hosted by US West, and with the help of video-conferencing technology, truly interactive classes can be offered to any of the schools on the network.

No. 25
Rockwell Automation
Manufacturing, process industries

In order to provide real-time data to technicians monitoring more than 100 pieces of test equipment at seven separate plants, Rockwell built an intranet application called Quality Information System (QIS), which daily uploads more than 50,000 pieces of data from the test equipment to populate a 30GB Oracle database. The plants are connected with a dedicated T1 line, and Unix machines run a special script that takes test data and inserts it into the database. Most users query QIS via a browser, and data can be returned to the requester in a Microsoft Excel-friendly format so that users can perform postprocessing or generate reports on demand.

No. 26
Square D, subsidiary of Groupe Schneider
Seneca, S.C.
Manufacturing, process industries

In order to support fabricators and engineers, Square D keeps approximately 30,000 drawings for reference, but finding the right drawing on microfiche used to take as long as 1 hour. The company scanned the entire library into a vector-based, raster-image digital format so that users could retrieve drawings from their desktops using a lightweight viewer.

No. 27
Oregon State University Department of Entomology
Corvallis, Ore.

Dissuading the coddling moth from dining on the Oregon apple crop requires a plan, and such planning requires data about weather patterns, bug levels, and computer models to predict the future. Bug central at Oregon State University, the entomology department, is lending a hand to growers in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon by doing the legwork and making the data available on the Web via a Linux Red Hat server.

No. 28
Rockwell Automation
Manufacturing, process industries

Rockwell Automation's Todd Persinger, project manager, under the guidance of Albert Thomas, helped create a master security database in Oracle to eliminate redundancy. Now, most of Rockwell's intranet users only have to sign on one time, and they are authenticated for all the intranet applications that should be available to them. The next step, Persinger says, is to issue secure cards to extend the capability to customers and remote users.

No. 29
WorkRite Ergonomic Accessories
Novato, Calif.
Wholesale, retail, distribution

WorkRite, maker of ergonomic computer accessories and furniture, couldn't keep pace with product-line changes using printed catalogs. Although Jolene Patterson, IS manager, saw the Web as the ideal solution, she discovered that her most important customers didn't like the idea of their employees surfing the Internet, and required that any Web solution be a stripped-down catalog tailored to their business to help prevent browsing. So WorkRite created custom Web sites for each major customer using a site authoring and management tool from FutureTense called Designer. It uses templates to generate self-contained Web sites that can easily be added to a customer's intranet.

No. 30
Hillsborough County
Tampa, Fla.

Florida's Sunshine Law requires that all governmental e-mail be made available for public record. Bill Kannberg, Hillsborough County network administrator, upgraded a patchy Novell network of 2,600 users to Version 4.11 in order to standardize with Novell's GroupWise mail package. With only limited time to come into compliance, Kannberg realized that Novell's upgrade tools weren't suitable, so he oversaw the building of tools that saved more than a year's worth of time and hundreds of work hours. Once GroupWise was in place, Kannberg was able to tweak the mail gateway to send a copy of every message to a Delphi application that strips out e-mail contents and adds them to a searchable database.

No. 31
The Emmes Corp.
Potomac, Md.
Medical, dental, health care

Emmes performs coordination for clinical trials such as eye and umbilical-cord-blood transplantation. In order to efficiently collect data from remote clinics, the company built a secure extranet on top of IIS using SSL with VeriSign certificates. HahtSite middleware helps generate pages and perform data validation. The extranet has brought consistency and timeliness to a previously cumbersome, manual entry process, and it has given the clinics better autonomy in maintaining data.

No. 32
Berkheimer Associates
Bangor, Pa.
Finance, banking, accounting

Berkheimer is the largest tax administrator in the state of Pennsylvania, processing more than 700,000 tax forms annually. Like the Internal Revenue Service, Berkheimer has to check the math on every form, then verify the data against employers' filings. Berkheimer officials recognized the need for automation and created a system using a fast Bell & Howell automatic feed scanner, specially designed forms, and optical character recognition (OCR) software. This past year, 39 percent of the forms, which employees previously had to check by hand, were processed without human intervention.

No. 33
Texarkana Special Education
Texarkana, Texas

In a prime example of "making lemonade," Layne Eckert, automated services assistant, was able to save a mission-critical mainframe program that was in dire need of a year-2000 tune-up, get rid of an old PC server that was outmoded, and tie together two disparate networks within this 20-building complex that provides education and housing for the disabled. He accomplished all this by installing a brand-new IBM AS/400, porting the critical billing application, and adding an optional PC server module to the box.

No. 34
Quorum Lanier
Bloomington, Minn.
Data-processing services

Quorum Lanier codes and indexes hundreds of millions of documents per year for the legal profession. In order to increase efficiency and capacity, the company installed approximately 100 Bell & Howell high-speed scanners, OCR software, and a T1 line to connect offices in Minnesota and Delaware. The documents are scanned, coded, and stored in distributed FoxPro databases where they easily are accessed in their online format.

No. 35
Oregon State University leads the way in Web accessibility
Oregon State
Corvallis, Ore.
By Benjamin Keyser

When Mario Eiland started business school at Oregon State University, his blindness -- which he describes as "an inconvenience" rather than a disability -- was creating difficulty in accessing the tools he needed. While classmates were completing assignments in applications such as Microsoft Excel and Access, or with the Web, Eiland was struggling with a DOS-based audio interpreter and depending on friends.

Accessibility tools have greatly improved, however, and Eiland, who recently graduated with a degree in IS, has seen changes at Oregon State that should eliminate for incoming students some of the frustration he experienced.

A crucial change was the hiring of Ron Stewart, a Corvallis, Ore.-based educational technologist consultant, who had been working with Oregon State to spearhead an effort to give everyone equal access to the school's computer labs.

Stewart's first task was to purchase $150,000 in tools and make them available across campus for the estimated 1,200 students who needed them. One of the tools, called Job Access with Speech (JAWS), is a Windows audio reader tuned to interpret applications such as Microsoft Word and Access, as well as Web browsers. Students navigate with audio instead of visual cues from the tool's synthetic speech generator, which can be customized to make navigation as rapid as point-and-click. JAWS reads captions, window titles, dialog boxes, menu choices, and text.

Stewart also established simple, but crucial guidelines for professors designing Web sites. He brings professors into the lab to "see" a site through an audio reader.

"It's a powerful experience for them ... most of them are very willing to change their Web sites," Stewart says.

Guidelines include writing captions to accompany streaming audio for deaf people, labeling graphics to make them visible to audio readers, and downplaying frames on Web sites. The key, Stewart says, is to include the design guidelines as part of the core curriculum of the more than 100 Web-design and programming classes offered at Oregon State.

No. 36
EMJ America
Brea, Calif.
Wholesale, retail, distribution

Like diamonds or pedigreed Shar-Peis, steel products must be accompanied by certificates that prove their history and authenticity. Without papers, manufacturers that require precise tolerances from materials, such as Boeing, won't touch the stuff. Imaging the documents and placing them online makes it possible for both EMJ and customers to check the paperwork at any time to verify the steel materials. This innovation also has allowed EMJ to consolidate all materials-verification personnel into a single office to improve efficiency.

No. 37
G. Pierce Wood Memorial Hospital
Arcadia, Fla.

Many of G. Pierce Wood Memorial Hospital's 450 clients have special dietary needs, but the hospital's paper-ticket method for tracking nutritional requirements left both clients and food servers frustrated. The solution was to hook up the hospital's client database to its kitchens. With the help of bar-coded ID cards that bear the picture and name of their owner, the staff can serve the right food to the right people. The application, written in Visual Basic, runs on Windows 95 machines with monitors located directly above the food line so that servers can see at a glance what each client needs.

No. 38
Aspen Systems
Rockville, Md.
Business services, consulting

Aspen Systems, whose customer list includes the Department of Justice, is a legal-services company that processes 5 million documents per year. Aspen digitizes documents in TIF format, adds bar codes and captioning, indexes them, and places them in an Oracle database. In order to get the documents ready for digitizing and storage, Aspen developed its own Visual Basic application. Back-end processing of the documents includes "de-skewing," cropping, and indexing. The new system has boosted the company's capacity by more than 35 percent.

No. 39
Crowder College
Neosho, Mo.

Crowder College wanted to provide an easy way for students, staff, and professors to handle that mosh pit we politely refer to as class registration. Officials are, piece by piece, replacing a complicated and slow paper process with a Web solution that will provide up-to-date information about class registration, enrollment, and requirements. Chris Bandy, Unix administrator, and Rodney Griffin, network administrator, teamed up to hook the college's Informix database to the Web using Novell's Web server. Jeff Woods, director of IT, says as they move forward they will switch gears to a Windows NT Server, with Active Server Pages, and create a fully interactive site.

No. 40
Syndicated Services
Manchester, N.H.

Insuring the big insurers such as Lloyds of London is Syndicated Service's business, but each of the company's heavyweight customers has its own preferred data format for applying for policies. Syndicated was spending more than it could afford processing and correcting these disparate applications on paper copies, so officials decided to consolidate using an extranet. Now some customers fill out forms with a browser, but many of the big customers want to simply upload electronic documents. To address this, Syndicated is building Active Server Pages that will accept the various document formats, scrub them, and intelligently rearrange the data into a single master format.

No. 41
Reliance Standard Life Insurance

A portion of Reliance Standard Life's business is to write term-life policies for individuals, but applications can take as long as three months to approve. Until recently Reliance had no way of telling customers where their applications stood in the process without sifting through stacks of files. By hooking into an electronic-imaging software package called FileNet,with a homegrown Visual Basic application, Reliance was able to store a history of the approval progress in an Oracle database. This has allowed customer-service representatives to instantaneously answer status questions from applicants.

No. 42
Encore Media Group
Englewood, Colo.
Television, entertainment

Scheduling programming for 11 24-hour movie channels is a complicated task involving six different departments at Encore, which was doing it the old-fashioned way with paper and pencil. Off-the-shelf scheduling solutions exist, but are aimed at single-channel broadcasters. Using a classic client/server approach, Encore implemented a PowerBuilder application on top of a Sybase database to provide real-time scheduling across all six departments.

No. 43
Recra Environmental
Lionville, Pa.
Construction, architecture, engineering

Recra performs gas-chromatography and data-processing services for analyzing dirt, water, rocks, and air. The system originated on a Perkin-Elmer minicomputer -- in Fortran -- but because the Perkin-Elmer stored dates with only two digits, the system could not be upgraded for year-2000 compliance. In order to solve the problem, Recra rebuilt the application using C++, SQL Server, and NT Server, thereby resolving the year-2000 problem, upgrading the network, and modernizing its core application in one fell swoop.

No. 44
Quad Tech International
Sussex, Wis.
Manufacturing, process industries

Industrial paper folders have to work in lockstep with the presses that feed them, and software running on their programmable controllers requires periodic updating as the presses are upgraded. Quad Tech's Curt Gran put together a Web site that helps field technicians maintain customer equipment profiles, which allow technicians to identify, download, and install the appropriate versions of the controller software on site. The Web site uses Linux Red Hat with an Apache Web server accessing a SQL database.

No. 45
Gennessee Valley/Wayne-Finger Lakes Educational
Technology (EduTech) Service
Newark, N.Y.

EduTech supports a network of 45 school districts, some very rural, with more than 7,500 PCs. In addition to providing equal and quality Internet access to all, it also had to resolve a mission-critical year-2000 problem on an aging mainframe, tackle the mounting costs of administering the widely distributed network, and lower the overall cost of Internet connectivity. The solution: Invest in the network. The company leased two trunk lines to avoid local phone-company double charges, deployed Novell Directory Services across the network to stabilize administration, and replaced the mainframe with distributed applications across its new WAN.

No. 46
National Technical Information Services (NTIS)
Springfield, Va.

The U.S. government, in partnership with embassies and international organizations, facilitates the exchange of scientific information to select recipients by providing a Web site that offers high-quality scientific information that originated as e-mail messages between the groups. Worldtec, a service of NTIS at worldtec.fedworld.gov, receives hundreds of e-mail messages each month, sorts through them to weed out incorrect or classified information, and then writes abstracts and publishes the data on the Web. In the future, Worldtec hopes to make available to the public a subset of this information. Worldtec employs NetObjects Fusion, Wide Area Information Servers for indexing/searching, and Java for client-interface enhancements.

No. 47
Michigan Heart
Ypsilanti, Mich.
Medical, dental, health care

Centralizing information from disparate sources on a Web site is more than just an efficiency improvement at Michigan Heart; it's a way to improve the quality of care for patients and keep more than 150 doctors and health-care workers in sync. In order to facilitate immediate access to crucial medical documentation from several data sources, Don Walters of the IS department put together an intranet using NT 4.0 with links to an IBM 320 server, a SQL database, and other document stores. The system resides on a private network, so security and confidentiality are assured.

No. 48
Mystic Seaport Museum
Mystic, Conn.
History museum

Mystic Seaport Museum, a Macintosh shop, needed to find a way to streamline its internal process for creating the quarterly calendar of upcoming events. In order to implement this solution for a modest cost, Guy Hermann, director of IS, implemented a FileMaker Pro database and hooked it up to both the existing intranet and the public Web site. Internal users create calendar items, which are published directly to the Web with the click of a check box. The database is connected to the public Web server only through AppleTalk, thereby shielding it from any potential IP-based attacks.

No. 49
The Internet Tree Guys
New Brunswick, N.J.
Wholesale, retail, distribution

Worried about sap on the upholstery? Stash the slipcover and break out a Web browser. Started by a former Rutger's student and employee, The Internet Tree Guys' service allows you to buy, right from the Web, the type and size of tree you want. The tree is packed at the farm and shipped within five business days. The service uses an Apache Web server, Perl scripts, SSL, certificates, and CyberCash's Cash Register server.

No. 50
Darby Corporate Solutions of Darby Group Companies
Jericho, N.Y.
Business services, consulting

Worrying about what could be going on in the office without him was taking the relaxation out of extended yacht trips for the owner of Darby Corporate Solutions. So the company took steps to make sure the owner had access to everything -- the company mainframe, e-mail, and video conferencing (through America Online) -- on his boat. The company managed it using satellite technology, a Cisco router, a Systems Network Architecture Server, and an ISDN Primary Rate Interface. Though the cost of usage is high, the owner can ease his mind while he travels the high seas.

No. 51
National Gallery of Art
Art museum

Ever walk through a museum and wonder what the paintings looked like before the artist was done? The researchers at the National Gallery of Art do. They once used three types of images to help them find out: visible light, X-ray, and infrared. With these techniques, they could find places where artists painted over their original image. But looking at three disparate images didn't tell them much; in order to conflate them into one working image, researchers had to painstakingly measure with a ruler to see where images lined up. Now they use Morph, off-the-shelf software from Gryphon that allows these researchers to superimpose all three images and choose what percentage of each image they want to see. They even can run movies that continuously change the percentages and show the painting gradually changing from visible light, to X-ray, to infrared, giving them the clearest possible idea of the artist's painting process.

No. 52
South Carolina State Budget and Control Board
Lexington, S.C.

The base maps that the census bureau releases every two years to four years and uses to conduct census counts are often sparse and inaccurate. At most they can be expected to have 25 percent to 30 percent of the addresses in the area accurately recorded. Any roads built in the past six years to eight years are unlikely to show up. So the Office of Research and Statistics at the South Carolina State Budget and Control Board uses ArcView software from the Environmental Systems Research Institute to load the maps with more accurate and comprehensive demographic data. Thus loaded, they become useful tools for the state in figuring out how to efficiently serve different segments of the population. The Budget and Control Board uses eight PCs networked through a Unix server, and hopes to get maps for every South Carolina resident that are address-specific.

No. 53
Osceola County Government
Kissimmee, Fla.

When Osceola County got its GenaMap database from Genasys, officials were looking at spending millions of dollars and several years to collect the data needed to fill it. But after nine months of collaboration with Genasys, Osceola County developed a converter that lets it transfer information, including census data and flood-zone information, from old Arch Info files saving the County millions in data collection costs.

No. 54
The Conference Board
New York
Research, development laboratory

The Conference Board produces more than the leading economic indicators and consumer confidence reports for which it's known. It also holds seminars, events, and conferences for global customers who need 24-hour, everyday access to a schedule of upcoming events. It outsourced hosting to publish an Access database of events using ColdFusion, a cost-effective and appropriate use of technology for the relatively small-volume, but effective, Web presence.

No. 55
Regional Office of the Education
Division of School Assistance and Support
Charleston, Ill.

The Regional Office of the Education Division of School Assistance and Support maintains a directory of teacher information, teacher assignments, and training. But maintaining a database of 3,000 teachers in 29 school districts became an overwhelming task, so officials built a self-serve Web site using Windows NT and a FileMaker Pro database. Now teachers can enter and maintain their own information, eliminating the bulk of what was once a four-month-long data-entry task.

No. 56
Richardson Brands
South Miami, Fla.
Manufacturing, process industries

When Richardson Brands, maker of pastel after-dinner mints and Bonkers fruit chews, realized its future with the "Wal-Marts" of the world depended on Internet commerce, the company simultaneously discovered that its Novell 3.12 network, manufacturing, and order-entry systems weren't year-2000 compliant. To remedy the situation, officials decided to start from scratch and adopt Windows NT 4.0. Richardson is in the process of implementing an NT network that includes a WAN to connect manufacturing in New York state to its headquarters in Florida; Microsoft Exchange for e-mail; and, eventually, a Web site to enable I-commerce.

No. 57
EDMO Distributors
Spokane, Wash.
Wholesale, retail, distribution

By adding bar coding to invoices printed out from its customer-order system, EDMO, a distributor of aircraft parts, was able to create a user-friendly link to its United Parcel Service (UPS) shipping system. Part pickers simply pack the order, then scan the code on the invoice. The UPS system finds the corresponding shipping address, calculates the correct charges, prints the shipping label, and generates a tracking number. The tracking numbers are fed hourly back to the invoicing system, thereby closing the loop. EDMO now ships 90 percent of its packages via UPS because the system has nearly eliminated addressing errors.

No. 58
University of Michigan Housing Facilities
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Construction, architecture, engineering

The housing-facilities department at the University of Michigan fields more than 30,000 requests for repairs each year that need to be distributed to 18 mechanics, nine clerical workers, and 13 tradespeople. In order to efficiently process these work orders, Richard Lewandowski, senior computer systems specialist, needed a system that would work in an environment with mixed 286, 386, and 486 PCs. Lewandowski wisely adhered to the "keep it simple" principle and distributed custom Windows icons that could be detached from GroupWise e-mails. The icons point to a Microsoft Access macro that links them to their primary database application, Maximo.

No. 59
Lorain National Bank
Lorain, Ohio
Finance, banking, accounting

When 4,800bps leased lines on antiquated equipment ceased to meet Lorain Bank's growing need for high-speed connectivity to 40 branches and automated teller machines (ATMs), the company turned to its local telecommunications company whose new frame-relay offerings promised great price advantages vs. Lorain Bank's existing provider. The company implemented redundant T1 lines from its data center to the central office, and 56Kbps lines to branches and ATMs.

No. 60
Loral Skynet
Hawley, Pa.
Communication carriers

Unfortunately for Loral Skynet, a division of Loral Space and Communication, satellite manufacturer's operating systems are like snowflakes: no two are alike. This meant that every time the company acquired a satellite from a new manufacturer, it also had to buy and maintain a new operating system and a new ground system. But then came Integral Systems' Epic 2000, a software and hardware combination that works in real time to translate ground commands into telemetry for the satellite. It then turns the telemetry from the satellite into usable information for the ground. The new system also has the flexibility to work with any spacecraft.

No. 61
Child Study and Treatment Center
Tacoma, Wash.
Medical, dental, health care

Tracking levels of patient disability and required care, and then integrating that information with staffing schedules, is a complicated task at Child Study and Treatment Center. AtWork's automated staffing uses a client/server network to correlate the amount and type of staffing required with the acuity index of the patients. It responds in real time to changes in patient acuity to keep the hospitals' staffing matched with patient need. Assistant CEO Robert Ranzenbach hopes that the savings from avoiding overstaffing and facilitating faster patient recovery with more appropriate care will save the hospital 10 percent overall. So far, the network includes two hospitals with a total of 1,148 patients.

No. 62
Frontier Health
Johnson City, Tenn.
Medical, dental, health care

Try networking 11,000 square miles, 62 buildings, and 1,100 employees using frame relay in which every hop is worth money to the phone company -- all with a paltry 128Kbps bandwidth. This dependency was unacceptable to Frontier Health, so it connected major hubs in its network with microwave transmitters and receivers. In addition to freeing itself from the local telephone company, it expanded its available bandwidth more than seven times, to a total of 900Kbps.

No. 63
Omni Orthopedic Multi-Specialty Network
Canton, Ohio
Medical, dental, health care

In order to establish baseline data about the quality and effectiveness of care being delivered by Orthopedic practitioners, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) enlisted Omni to help test an application for tracking patients progress. The test was successful, and now Omni uses the software to help manage and improve the quality of care delivered to patients, as well as help AAOS advance the field by sharing the information.

No. 64
Arkansas Electric Cooperative
Little Rock, Ark.

By switching its data from a long-distance, call-in text terminal to a new Web site, Arkansas Electric Cooperative not only has made it easier to find out electricity usage figures, it also interested many low-tech, rural Arkansas companies in ways to use the Internet. Combining an AlphaServer 800, a Digital VMS operating system, and OSU DECthreads, Arkansas Electric Cooperative's modems dial in to the state's electric meters and download information throughout the day. Users will be able to compile this up-to-date information using the Web site's report tools, an aspect of the site that will be expanded in the future. The site also allows users to monitor their electric usage during the day and, by keeping their electricity down during peak hours, save the company some cash.

No. 65
United States Property and Fiscal Office (USPFO) for Delaware
New Castle, Del.

For a company dealing with military business, time is of the essence. When USPFO found that reports were two weeks to three weeks old by the time they got to the end-users -- and the enclosed personnel information already was outdated -- a new informational database with Internet access for users proved to be an efficient solution. A team of three people implemented the application that extracts information from an Oracle database. It also uses Access 97 for the front end, Oracle 7.3 for the back end, and SequelNet.

No. 66
American Meteorological Society (AMS)

Instead of watching the skies, the AMS watched its journals move from print-only versions into multimedia creations with a little help from Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). As manuscripts are entered into the system, SGML automatically is implemented to make the text multimedia-ready. Because the AMS wanted everyone to have easy access to its information, it compiles its journals onto CD-ROMs at the end of each year for easy reference. The AMS also created an Internet-only publication to support articles that cannot be reduced to print form, such as stories with sound or movie clips.

No. 67
Strang Communications
Lake Mary, Fla.

Updating an extensive online database of books or magazines is a big job, especially for a team of only three members. So Strang Communications' Steve Gegerson decided to delegate to a computer. Now, with a homemade Perl script application running on a Unix operating system, back issues of the company's many online magazines automatically are archived and the new issues automatically are uploaded. A process that used to take a week to complete is now boiled down to a matter of 30 minutes. The two months' development time was made up for in a week, and the whole project paid for itself in the first month of operation.

No. 68
Vulcan Materials Co.
Birmingham, Ala.
Construction, architecture, engineering

With several thousand accounts and records, Vulcan Materials needed some kind of easy-access system to make that information available to the computer illiterate. Using a Hyperion database, Windows HyperText, and Excel with Delphi add-ins, Vulcan created a system that graphically displays information. The system currently has approximately 100 users, but the company plans to expand to between 300 users and 500 users by introducing the system in its manufacturing plants.

No. 69
New York Stock Exchange
New York
Finance, banking, accounting

On the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, data and numbers move faster than anyone can count. The stock exchange found that its point-to-point cable system, with many different data routes and cables, was technologically falling a bit behind. Once it moved to IP multicasting, however, data could go from source to end-user along a single cable, which improved data efficiency. Running the largest Tandem shop in the world along with HP client/server technology, the new IP multicasting fits in well with the stock exchange's other systems, and smooths out data-transfer speed bumps.

No. 70
Community College of Baltimore County

Coordinating the technological needs of one college is tough enough; the Community College of Baltimore County is merging three separate colleges and IT staffs together while dealing with the fast-approaching year 2000. Instead of upgrading its current systems, the college decided to create a strictly followed implementation/standardization schedule and replace all old systems with year-2000-compliant technology. As of now, its Unix platform, IBM RS6000, Novell NetWare, and Compaq SuperServers are quite close to becoming completely year-2000-compliant. Key to the project's quick rate of completion were the efforts of the extremely dedicated 80-person IT staff and the inclusion of several teams of users that provided real-world input to create systems everyone can use.

No. 71
United States Air Force
Dyess Air Force Base
Abilene, Texas

"The Air Force is big on year-2000 compliance," says Derek Freire, LAN administrator at the Dyess Air Force Base, as he outlines the steps in the base's basic year-2000 check program. First administrators reboot systems from a disk to find out which parts are year-2000-compliant and which are not. Once the compliance status is determined, several different solutions -- from patches and coding to total replacement -- are researched before implementing the most appropriate one. A team of two people has been testing the base's Intel Pentium 486 machines, Pentium Pro servers, Pentium laptops, and NT systems. To Freire's surprise, they discovered that some computers bought approximately one year ago were not year-2000-compliant and had to be replaced. Next up is a walk-through of the entire base to check and test anything and everything that could be affected by the year-2000 problem, "[including] the air conditioning," Freire adds.

No. 72
George Washington University

With approximately 19,000 students plus faculty to keep connected, George Washington University realized the best use of its legacy system was to get rid of it. In its place the university is building a network that uses fiber up to the desktop and has only 11 hub sites supporting the entire campus. With so few sites, this new configuration saves space and requires fewer people for maintenance. Also, the flexibility of the university's new fiber network will allow it to keep up with usage growth throughout the next 10 years.

No. 73
Texas Youth Commission
Austin, Texas

The Texas Youth Commission only can effectively match delinquent youth with the appropriate rehabilitation facility if it has up-to-date, accurate information. Printed reports took so long to disseminate that they were outdated before they were received. By using Access enhanced by ColdFusion, a rapid application development system, the commission is able to speed its information retrieval and dissemination process. Now, with a few button clicks, staff members can retrieve information that would have required numerous phone calls to procure with the old system.

No. 74
Arthur Andersen Business Consulting Knowledge Management Group
Business services, consulting

With so may people to coordinate, Arthur Andersen Business Consulting Knowledge Management Group had difficulty sharing knowledge. Now it effectively can with an extranet application running on a SQL Server, with IIS 4.0 on the front end and Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 on the back end. It allows online searching and editing, and, being object-oriented, allows users to jump between different searches. The technology has cut total labor hours by an average of 46 percent.

No. 75
Leggett & Platt
Carthage, Mo.
Manufacturing and process industries

As Leggett & Platt grew 15 percent to 20 percent per year, the cost of archiving all its documents on microfiche and microfilm grew as well. By replacing microfilm with flatbed scanning, and microfiche with computer output to laser disk (COLD) technology, the company expects to save approximately $300,000 throughout the next six years. COLD technology provides a searchable database of the documents, and scanning allows anyone to look at a document from the desktop, cutting down on time and paper waste.

No. 76
Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI) Media Services
Decatur, Ill.
Communications carriers

By the time TCI Media Services had dubbed its local cable commercials for the third time to get them ready for broadcast, they were a long way from the quality they had when first delivered by clients. With a new SeaChange system, the company now can convert client's commercials to video file and send them by wire to any of the five cities served. Aside from maintaining a much higher lever of quality, officials have eliminated transportation time: A process that might have taken 3 and one half hours now takes 15 minutes. The SeaChange software runs on an NT Server and allows the company to digitally distribute its commercials on a WAN within a 100-mile radius.

No. 77
Exchange Bank
Santa Rosa, Calif.
Finance, banking, accounting

Because Exchange Bank has been doing all of its processing in-house since 1971 company officials felt that getting rid of the bank's old mainframes was no reason to go outside for processing. Now it's using Fyserv and IBM AS/400 in a LAN/WAN system. The bank replaced much of its paper use with imaging and automated accounts so it can provide services such as Web-based banking. Also, by eliminating the high cost of operating mainframes, Exchange Bank is saving approximately $200,000 dollars each year.

No. 78
Dresdner, Kleinwort, Benson
New York
Finance, banking, accounting

To make sure financial planners aren't maintaining excessively high-risk portfolios, Dresdner, Kleinwort, Benson developed, in-house, a risk-management system written in C++ that runs on Oracle7.3 with a Visual Basic application. This system has blossomed into a comprehensive data warehouse that allows the company to link feeds from seven or eight different trading systems, all with different data formats, and link the systems to a common format load in a single transaction table.

No. 79
Reynolds & Reynolds Business
Systems Division
Dayton, Ohio
Manufacturing, process industries

As the information superhighway becomes further integrated into business processes, it can end up being only another layer of administrative hassle for the companies that use it. But not for Reynolds & Reynolds Business Systems Division, which is using Cobra from Microsoft and a relational database to give it an online document-management solution that is fully integrated with the division's legacy system. Customers now can place an order at the division's Web site and even see it on their desk that same day.

No. 80
Delphi Energy and Engine Management Systems
Flint, Mich.
Wholesale, retail, distribution

When the Flint Delphi division of General Motors gets an order for a valve or catalytic converter, it has to be able to tell customers where the part is and when it will be ready. Because the division gets its parts from hundreds of disparate model shops, coordinating information from all of them is difficult. With Glovia, a client/server product running on a Unix server, Delphi can provide much better customer service and speed the production process. Judson Davis, project manager, already foresees an expansion of the project into all six GM Delphi divisions.

No. 81
Pima Federal Credit Union
Finance, banking, accounting

Pima Federal Credit Union's new Web site provides members with up-to-the-minute information about the company, along with online bill-paying services. Because this was the first time Pima ever waded into the Internet ocean, it carefully researched several Internet hosts and Web site-creators before deciding to team up with Digital Insights. The Web site not only promotes better communication between Pima and its members, but it also relieves stress on the company's phone banks now that customers can e-mail questions.

No. 82
McLean, Va.
Nonprofit, education

KidzOnline is headed up by the Cruver family, including 15-year-old Wesley who does all of the nonprofit organization's network administration, a couple of helpful weekend engineers, and a group of approximately 50 volunteer children. KidzOnline brings inner-city kids from Washington to Virginia's suburban Fairfax County and lets local kids (who are more likely to have computers at home) share technical and Internet-communication skills with their peers. KidzOnline completely depends on donated technology, currently from companies such as IBM, Citrix, Microsoft, and UUNet. A new Sony CD-ROM "jukebox" is inspiring the creation of a digital library that will give inner-city schools with legacy systems access to hundreds of multimedia resources via wide-area networks. KidzOnline is also perfecting RealAudio/Video streaming connections.

No. 83
RT Enterprises for ARS
Parker, Colo.
Finance, banking, accounting

ARS, a collection agency, discovered that its customer-support system wasn't year-2000-compliant and immediately set out to fix that problem. Teaming up with RT Enterprises, the company upgraded almost all of its systems with year-2000-compliant hardware and software to make sure ARS would be able to track and record collections into the next millennium. Using NT, an OEM server, a DetNet control system, and ProCom 32 from Quarterdeck, ARS found itself with more user capabilities and an easier-to-use search engine. However, the best benefit has been the openness and scalability of the new system.

No. 84
Manitoba Hydro
Winnipeg, Manitoba

After consolidating its legacy systems into a single client/server solution, Manitoba Hydro needed a way to get its new software programs out to employees, including those in remote-area divisions. Rather than sending out a legion of installers, the company used Open Software Associates' NetDeploy as a tool for rollout, and managed to install everything from a central location without leaving the building. With all the information stored on a Jetform server, users can access it via the Internet and easily install new programs. Manitoba Hydro also found an unexpected benefit: NetDeploy can issue bug fixes and small repairs to users without their knowledge.

No. 85
Matthew Bender
Albany, N.Y.

Matthew Bender, a publisher of legal analysis and case law, decided to move to a thin-client/server system because of a growing employee population, an outdated LAN configuration, and underpowered desktops that began to affect the quality of service. A new system based on WinFrame technology upgraded the Pentium desktops and all software; the company also added several Compaq and NT Servers. Immediate increases in stability and manageability made the system worthwhile, as did the lowered cost of ownership and desktop maintenance.

No. 86
Texaco Global Information Services
Bellaire, Texas
Manufacturing, process industries

Push technologies, including PointCast and BackWeb, help Texaco Global Information Services get current news out in a timely manner to the people who need it most. News feeds come from large, aggregate news distributors via satellite and are moved onto a Compaq server. The news then gets placed on the Texaco intranet so users can access it with a Web browser. General news is used to track trends, identify business opportunities, and keep track of world news that may affect new markets.

No. 87
Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce
Scottsdale, Ariz.

In less than two years, the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce has jumped headfirst into the newest computer technologies. Because ease of use topped the list as most important, the Chamber held several staff meetings to get an idea of exactly what everyone wanted and needed in everyday work. A consultant from Image Networks Solutions helped determine which equipment would best serve the Chamber's needs. Instead of its former Intel 286 and 386 Novell network, the Chamber is now running a SQL Server, NT, T1 lines, and an Equinox SuperSerial Technology Modem Pool with Exchange Remote Access Service for telecommuting.

No. 88
Pinellas Document Systems
Largo, Fla.
Wholesale, retail, distribution

When Pinellas Document Systems had to create a large quantity of reports, meaning hundreds of pages, if not more, it turned to a laser-printer solution to get the job done well and on time. Applying a document printer with an imbedded Web server instead of a page printer not only provided multiple high-quality originals for distribution but also increased future efficiency. Along with the use of Windows 95, Excel, Novell, and an NT Server, the solution begets lower labor, supply, and paper costs, not to mention quicker turnaround times.

No. 89
San Diego
Manufacturing, process industries

Smooth and easy was the name of the game for Novex as it placed its customer contact information into the hands of Lotus Notes. By putting the records -- not only customers' names but also their purchases and which technical questions or problems they had experienced in the past -- into an accessible database, Novex eliminated the need for multiple records on multiple programs and streamlined the data-entry process.

No. 90
Royal Sun Alliance

Determining a "crisis" is much easier for the help-desk staff at Royal Sun Alliance with the aid of a Notes database. Staff now can prioritize problems based on a set of standard criteria rather than having frantic customers claim they're having a crisis when all that's wrong is they can't find the "on" switch. With Notes, a Novell 411 network, HP servers, and HP Vectris, Hal Allen, technology coordinator, and several other users created the database and constantly are adding more features. Most recently, users have been utilizing the database to create reports showing managers how IT time is being spent in each department.

No. 91
South Florida Water Management District
West Palm Beach, Fla.

The South Florida Water Management District found that a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) was going to be necessary for prioritizing and scheduling activities as well as finding smoother ways to report performance capabilities. The CMMS used is Synergen Series 7, a client/server technology. It runs on a Sun Server 1000E platform with a Solaris 2.6 operating system.

No. 92
Walbar, Arizona Division
Chandler, Ariz.

Walbar's use of a computerized work-order system reaches far beyond the work itself. Not only will the system track inventory of spare parts, compile job-repair histories, note repair times, and track warranties to avoid unnecessary purchases, it also lets users compile reports, chart trends, and helps top management understand the amount of time and labor that projects actually take.

No. 93
Web Counsel
White Plains, N.Y.
Legal publishing

Web Counsel is both a Web site-design and Internet-based marketing company. Focusing on helping law firms take advantage of all the Internet has to offer, Web Counsel uses Netscape Navigator Gold, Microsoft FrontPage, Excel, and Access to create Web sites that help generate interest not only in the law firm itself, but also in current events. It also makes use of the latest LSoft Listserve software to keep a list of subscribers and implement online conferencing software to create streamlined online interviews with industry experts.

No. 94
The ASU Group
Okemos, Mich.

With 42 offices in locations from northern Michigan to Texas and Florida, and a complex billing process with a range just as wide, the ASU Group needed to create software that could remember the various business rules and remain easy to use for salespeople in the field. Using Clipper language, an Advantage NetWare Loadable Module server on a Novell network, and Pentium workstations, the ASU Group created a program that not only tracks different business rules but also codes different products and services, standardizes descriptions, and tracks customer orders. Response times have improved by using e-mail reports and a character-based interface that allowed lower-bandwidth data-entry connections.

No. 95
Oregon Episcopal School
Portland, Ore.

Oregon Episcopal School realized that its frame-relay, 128Kbps Internet connection was too slow for today's constantly changing technology, especially for 1,000 users. After researching bandwidth and costs, a T1 line came up as too expensive for the school's budget. Luckily a microwave service provider offered a 784Kbps connection. The system has increased bandwidth by six times and decreased costs by 25 percent compared to the previous system. According to John McKean, a systems support specialist, the school currently is using an NT Server along with Novell Border Manager and Cyber Manager.

No. 96
Cumberland Gap Provisions
Middlesboro, Ky.
Wholesale, retail, distribution

Although most people take a bar code for granted, Cumberland Gap Provisions discovered just how much a bar code can simplify and expedite business. With programming from Fairbanks Scales, Cumberland Gap Provisions uses two networked Pentium II 156 machines -- one in production, one in shipping -- to keep perpetual inventories of its different meat shipments; a network server transfers information and tracks customers' problems or comments. The bar-coding system paid for itself in about three months by allowing the company to bill more accurately -- in 1/100-of-a-pound increments.

No. 97
Pacific Rim Import
Wholesale, retail, distribution

Pacific Rim Import often faces the problem of back-ordered items; with an inventory of approximately 10,000 items, customers sometimes wonder where their back orders are and when they will be delivered. A long paper trail and phone-call chain used to connect customers with this information, but after installing a V-Systems VSI-FAX Server, Progress database, and Compaq Intel-based server running SCO Unix, that time-consuming process became a quick dial-in and fax. "This project has more than lived up to its expectations," says Geoff Hazel, IS director. "We're looking at it now as a long-range project, as a `poor man's way' of opening the Web door and getting it going without a T1 line and all that stuff."

No. 98
Society of Travel Agents in Government (STAG)
Bethesda, Md.
Transportation, travel

The desire to stay on the "cutting edge" of I-commerce inspired STAG to implement a business plan, which included a Web site and shifting its quarterly newsletter from print to an all-electric version. "The whole purpose is to be a leader, not a follower," says Duncan Farrell, general manager. By using money previously marked for postage and printing to attract writers, articles, and links to related sites, STAG managed to move online without drastic changes. FileMaker Pro allows information to directly travel to the ISP and load onto the site -- a big timesaver compared to HTML.

No. 99
Roseville Telephone Co. (RTC)
Roseville, Calif.

As a "pretty small" telephone company, RTC ran into a problem when Pacific Bell stopped allowing access to its phone-number directory services, thereby limiting RTC's directory range to its immediate 83 square miles. By networking its services with VoltDelta, which keeps directory listings for many national telephone companies, RTC can now provide nationwide directory service from a simple 411 call. However, RTC had to add to its operator platform service. They added several more PCs on a LAN; dual-set, frame-relay database connections; and WAN routers with connections to the VoltDelta database that is located in Orange, Calif.

No. 100
Sun Seed
Bowling Green, Ohio
Manufacturing, process industries

Five new laptop computers may lead to a completely paperless sales-report system for Sun Seed. Using five CTX Pentium 166 laptops -- plus the laptops already owned by some salespeople -- and ACT 4.0 to connect remote salespeople with the Sun Seed sales office, the company immensely streamlined the report system. Instead of having reports come in various forms, from typed to written in pencil, users send everything with ACT 4.0 and receive it via e-mail or fax. The company is in the process of implementing an ethernet with direct Internet connection so remote users can simply dial in to file their sales reports.

Call for entries
Should your company be in the InfoWorld 100?
By Kathy Lou Schultz

If so, tell us your story. We're looking for top innovators who are using technology in creative ways to solve today's toughest business problems.

Entries should be submitted using the InfoWorld 100 questionnaire. To obtain a questionnaire, send e-mail to supplements@infoworld.com and note in the subject line that you are interested in the 1999 InfoWorld 100. A questionnaire will be sent to you via return e-mail.

Vendors and consultants should not submit stories that promote the use of their products or services; these entries will not qualify for the InfoWorld 100. Stories involving these products or services should be submitted by the company that derived the benefit of the consultant's work or the vendor's product. Hardware, software, and telecom vendors are ineligible for the 1999 list of InfoWorld companies.

Entries will be accepted from October through May 1999. The final application deadline is June 1, 1999.

For a full list of guidelines see InfoWorld Sept. 28, page 76, or www.infoworld.com/iw100.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Copyright (c) 1998 InfoWorld Media Group Inc.

Please direct your comments to InfoWorld Electric.

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