This week we started our Q1 evaluations of 23 Websites, plus additional sites selected by our clients for comparison.
We’ve mixed up the siteIQ eBusiness Index for 2010. In some cases the decision was based on eliminating Websites that haven’t improved over the past year and don’t provide any good or best practices worth tracking. In other cases, sites have fallen off our list because they don’t exist anymore. That would be EDS.com which was integrated into HP.com — and Sun.com which went off the airwaves last week.
In both cases, these sites are a loss to anyone who cares about good and great practices. Don’t bother to follow them to their new homes. Their presence inside of their new parent’s sites is nothing to write home about.
Here’s some more about the new sites added to our roster – and why we’re singing “auld lang syne” to others. (If you are a siteIQ client you can read more about what we expect from these and other leading sites in 2010 in our new executive brief in the siteIntelligence Research Center).
IBM Software Group (zone): We’ve been evaluating and tracking IBM.com’s software zone for years as part of our custom client programs. This year it’s time for this zone to move onto the eBusiness roster. It should be interesting to see how this aging and oft cluttered design fares against competitors who are adopting new, highly efficient designs and Web 2.0 features that play directly to the B2B buying process. Don’t even get me started about communities — which are a blooming mess (tag: enterprise software)
SAS: We decided to replace Microsoft’s Dynamics zone with SAS.com this year for a simple reason. We’ve been tracking Microsoft’s enterprise software zone for years under the assumption that it would eventually figure out how to sell to large enterprises and step up to equal footing with the big boys. That never happened. This zone has been a step-child on this site from the get-go and it’s essentially invisible today. This year we decided to take off our miner’s helmets and replace this zone with SAS.com.
The case for SAS.com comes more from its industry presence than its Website footprint. It’s a perfectly mediocre site that seems to have missed the memos on Web 2.0 and social media marketing behaviors. If nothing else, it should be interesting to see how it stacks up against the other big boys in the enterprise software industry. If you are looking for a new leader though, I wouldn’t hold my breath. (tag: enterprise software)
EMC.com: EMC.com is new to our roster in 2010 and we’ve put it in the enterprise systems category. It’s a bit of an odd fit, but we think this is the segment that best matches its strategy and focus. Needless to say, EMC.com has come a long way over the past few years and it’s another example of a site that is maximizing Web 2.0 elements and creating standards for high impact designs. From a first blush perspective, it’s a small but mighty site in the spirit of Adobe.com. It will be interesting to see where the site excels – and where it misses the mark in 2010. (tag: enterprise systems)
Sun.com: Last week, Sun.com went off the airwaves and was stuffed into a few pages on the Oracle.com site. Thus, ends the life of one of the IT industry’s most innovative and useful Websites.
To see why, let’s look at just a few of Sun.com’s industry “firsts.” It pioneered communities on the Web; embraced Web 2.0 when it was just a spec on the horizon; was the first to deploy tab top designs to consolidate content into manageable bites; automatically discounted prices in its (public) ecommerce system based on the customer’s contractual relationship; pioneered dashboards that allowed customers to customize information to their needs: operated the industry’s largest (java.com) and most diverse range of developer portals; and designed the industry’s first contextual search engine that organized results by objective, type, or role. Oh, and one thing else. It did all of this while ranking #1 in usability over the past 6 years.
All in all, a stellar run for the record book. It’s too bad that the company’s business strategy (and the CXOs that ran it) weren’t as effective as this site.
Intel.com: Intel.com is one of the industry’s most interesting studies because it marches to the tune of a truly unique drummer. Instead of marketing Intel’s products and services with sales as the end game, this site is focused on conditioning markets to prefer (and preferably demand) products built on Intel technologies — and then reward companies that sell Intel-based products by driving buyers directly to their Websites or retail stores. In simple terms, Intel.com isn’t chartered to sell Intel’s chips; it’s responsible for making sure that Intel is the buyers’ preferred brand.
From this perspective, Intel.com has always been one of few pure play ‘brand’ Websites. It’s also one of the first sites to effectively harness communities and Web 2.0 behaviors to start a conversation with users and buyers. For these and other reasons, we’re glad to welcome Intel.com to the 2010 eBusiness Index. May the best brand player win.
Brocade.com: Has anyone else noticed that the network systems industry is consolidating like a cardboard box in the rain? If not, spend some quality time looking for a fourth network systems Website (we also evaluate Cisco.com, Nortel.com and Juniper.net twice a year. that has any best practices and is larger than a newt. After we spent some quality time considering the candidates, we flipped a coin between Brocade.com and Enterasys.com. Brocade.com won the toss.
We’ve got some real hope for Brocade.com in 2010 since it boasts a bevy of Web 2.0 behaviors, uses the same mega-menus as Juniper.net, and operates communities that show some promise. Of course, the devil’s in the details. Stay tuned for the results from our first evaluation which will be available in Q2 2010. (tag: network systems)
Deloitte.com: Deloitte’s inclusion on the 2010 eBusiness Index roster is due, in large part, to EDS.com riding into the sunset. Quite frankly, we’re glad to have a reason to shake up the professional services sites we cover. Most of them have been skating on the innovation and design fronts for too many years.
Deloitte provides a much needed breath of fresh air to our professional services roster. It’s built on a well crafted design and its lively first person voice takes much of the voodoo out of the consulting services conversation. All in all, we expect Deloitte.com to raise the bar for Accenture.com, and especially IBM Global Services. It should be interesting to see how those sites stack up now that there’s a new deputy sheriff in town. (tag: professional services)
Here’s the rest of the sites we’ll be evaluating in 2010. If you are a siteIQ client, you can read more about these sites’ strengths and challenges in our new executive brief in the siteIntelligence Research Center.
- IBM Global Services (zone)
What do you think of these sites? Sound off in comments