Final Day to Vote for Excellence in Technology Awards

Click to go to the online ballot

As the year draws to a close, we ask you put aside your 2003 year-end financials or tear yourself away from your 2004 business plan for a few minutes to reflect on the past year. Specifically, we’d like you to think about what products made the year a little more productive and, we hope, your business a little more profitable.

We know that the slickest software, the fastest CPU and the smoothest service won’t by themselves bring customers to your door or keep the creditors at bay. However, the best ones can help you, simply said, get more done with less — the litmus test of any technology.

Based on the nominations you submitted between Oct. 30 and Dec. 2 — and input from the editors of Small Business Computing, E-Commerce Guide, Webopedia and HardwareCentral — we have narrowed the field of finalists down to 61 products and services in 18 categories (see box).

Award Categories

Web Site/E-Commerce:

— Site Building/Hosted Service
— Design Tool
— Site Building Tool
— Marketing or Analysis
— Customer Support/Service


— Productivity
— Accounting/Finance
— Security
— Graphics/Multimedia
— Vertical Market Application
— Internet Service Provider
— Wireless Service Provider


— Notebook PC
— Desktop PC
— Server/Networking Product
— Printer
— Multifunction Device
— Storage Device

The finalists range from small-business software pioneers such as Intuit to relative small business newcomers, such as enterprise-software giant SAP, that targeted SMB owners not just with stripped-down version of big business ware, but with products built specifically for them.

The categories themselves also tell a story. For example, if e-commerce is a profit center for your business, the tools — ranging from design to storefront-building to analysis to customer support — are becoming as time-saving as they are diverse.

Security and wireless access are becoming as critical to small businesses as accounting and productivity software. In the realm of hardware, the elusive trifecta of “better, faster, cheaper” is becoming more of a reality with every generation of notebook, desktop PC, and printer. Of special note is the small business focus the hardware guys are taking in terms of servers, networking and storage products.

Of course, the final arbiter of good product design is you. So please take a moment and vote for the products you think are the best of the year. The polls are open until 5 p.m., Jan. 9, 2004. We’ll announce the winners Monday, Jan. 17.

Dan Muse is executive editor of’s Small Business Channel and EarthWeb’s Networking & Communications Channel.

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