For the past two years, our company has been building its infrastructure on Windows NT. Now that we have our Web site, messaging, intranet, and accounting systems running, we're ready to migrate our circulation and ad management package to NT. Unfortunately, because it's a legacy DOS application, if we don't find an existing commercial solution, we've got a lot of development work to do. But how does a company find NT-based solutions for its specific business? We searched the Web but came up empty.
We didn't find an answer to our question, so we created one. To help users find NT-based applications, Windows NT Magazine has teamed up with Microsoft to develop a new Web site, the Windows NT Magazine Solutions Directory. When you point your browser to http://www.winntsolutions.com, you'll be able to search a growing database of thousands of NT applications. Whether you're looking for a manufacturing application or backup software, you'll find it in the database.
Where do we get the data? For the past several months, hundreds of NT-based software vendors have been entering information about their company and products in our vendor onramp database (http://www.winntsolutions.com/onramp). We contact each vendor and verify the information before we make it available to our readers through the Solutions Directory Web site. Every six months, we'll ask vendors to update their information to keep the database current.
In addition to the Solutions Directory, we've launched a Solutions Network forum on the same Web site to encourage dialogue among IS professionals, suppliers, and Solutions Providers. Suppose you've searched for a solution in the database, but you can't find exactly what you want. Or perhaps you've found several solutions that sound good, but you want a quick opinion from another IS manager. In either case, you can post your question to the forum and get a response from someone in the NT community. We've been doing something similar with Bob Chronister's Tricks & Traps forums for more than a year at http://www.winntmag.com/forums.
The Solutions Network forum is also a great place for software vendors to find companies that will represent products to corporate customers. Solution Providers are always looking for key software that will meet the needs of their customers. Perhaps you'll find a new partner online.
The Solutions Directory is part of an overall effort to bring solutions to our readers. The other parts of the effort include the Solution Sampler CD-ROMs and Solution Series special reports. If you've subscribed to the magazine for more than a year, you've already received an NT Workstation sampler CD-ROM, an Enterprise Management CD-ROM, and an Exchange Server sampler CD-ROM. Subscribers will be receiving a free CD-ROM in November that will feature more than 30 working (timed-edition) NT Workstation applications. These sampler CD-ROMs are a great way to demo a large number of applications in a short time. Even if you have a dedicated T-1 line, accessing the Web to download all the applications that are on the CD-ROM would take more than 3.5 hours.
Our Solution Series special reports have covered topics such as BackOffice accounting and sales force automation. This series is a good way to get familiar with existing solutions for NT and learn how they might fit in your organization. Each report includes a complete buyer's guide and feature comparison chart. A measure of the success of this series is that several of you have written to tell me that you handed the BackOffice accounting report to your company controllers and that it helped convince them to move to NT. We're glad to help.
Windows NT Magazine is committed to being a valuable technical resource as you build an infrastructure around NT-based technology. We hope that the Solutions Directory database becomes an equally important tool in your search for NT-based solutions. By the way, we're still looking for a killer subscription fulfillment system for NT. Any ideas?
P.S. A Bunch of Two-Year-Olds
This September issue marks the two-year anniversary of Windows NT Magazine. We continue to receive 1500 new subscribers per week, and our circulation has topped 100,000. I would like to thank each loyal reader for your help in making us the premier source of NT information. Thanks also, for the thousands of emails of encouragement, feedback, and suggestions. I can think of dozens of examples of how those letters have developed into article ideas and helped shape the direction of the magazine.
Corrections to this Article:
- Mark Smith mistakenly mentioned in his September editorial the "Windows NT Magazine" will ship an NT Workstation CD-ROM with the November issue. Look for CD-ROMs in future issues.