The Software Information Industry Association's annual gathering of information industry executives, the Information Industry Summit, wrapped up on Wednesday in New York City. For the first time since they were established in 1986, the association's annual CODiE Awards Program for its Content Division, showcasing the best and brightest in the eContent world as judged by a peer voting process, were presented at IIS on a Tuesday night dinner at Cipriani 42nd Street.
In discussing the decision to shake up the format by moving the awards program from its traditional home during the sprfing NetGain conference in San Francisco, SIIA Content Division vice president Ed Keating noted that "there's not much difference between a rut and a groove." That premise of breaking out of a rut was certainly in evidence in the product strategies of the 15 winning companies, winnowed from more than one hundred nominees through two rounds of voting.
The products that rose to the top came from a mix of established and newer information industry companies; what they have in common is design that leverages social media technologies and adapts to rapidly changing customer expectations, both key themes of the two-day IIS conference.
For instance, Cision, a company founded in 1932 ago as a clipping service, won "Best Social Media Aggregation Service" for its Cision Social Media Dashboard, which provides desktop widgets to PR professionals for social media tracking and analysis. Alacra Pulse, which launched a year ago, which won both for "Best Online Business Information Service" and "Best Online News Service," incorporates business and financial news from traditional sources as well as the blogosphere. Dow Jones Investment Banker received recognition as the "Best Online Professional Financial Information Service." The platform incorporates news, opinion, research, data visualization with people connections to meet the information demands of specialized bankers.
Other category winners stake their claim as disrupters to traditional media players--like Jigsaw's win in "Best Online Directory and Business Leads Service." Jigsaw's crowd-sourcing and "data as service" approach upends the traditional business models of its competitors. Similarly, Encyclopedia.com, winner of "Best Online Consumer Information Service," provides a free reference of entries from credible, published sources like Oxford University Press under an advertising-supported business model. Spiceworks, winner in the "Best Vertical Market Business Content Solution" category also leverages ad revenue to provide its free tools to manage IT and IT networks in for small- and medium-sized businesses.
Collexis Review Finder, which identifies the best STM reviewers based on their research profile, took home top honors in the "Best Solution Integrating Content into Workflow" category, but winners in other categories are also working hard to make access to their content solutions seamless. Medzio, a mobile health application from A.D.A.M. Inc. which won for "Best Medical and Health Information Product" is a personal, portable health library app for the iPhone. The award for "Best Content Aggregation Service" went to Reuters Insider, a new service that enables clients in the global financial community to more easily view financial video content as part of their workflow. Knovel, a Web-based application that integrates technical information with analytical and context-specific search tools, took honors for Best Online Science or Technology Service.
Aggregated, high-quality content still wins its share of respect, as evidenced by Factiva.com's CODiE for "Best Content Aggregation Service." ProQuest Central took home the award for "Best Online General Reference Service" for its aggregated full-text database of more than 12,665 titles. Similarly, Business and Legal Reports' product HR.BLR. com won for "Best Online Government Information Service," for its comprehensive collection of human resource information.
Changing the venue of the Content Division CODiEs to the IIS meeting had one noticeable benefit over prior years, when the awards were co-presented along with those of the Software and Education division (in 2009, that meant nearly 80 awards were handed out). The narrower focus meant that those in attendance at the dinner, sponsored by Cognizant, were familiar with the finalists in each category and likely to have participated in the voting process, lending real meaning to the results.
Nancy Davis Kho is the Product Reviews Editor for VIP Magazine from FreePint Publishing and a frequent contributor and columnist for EContent Magazine. She was a first-round judge for the "Best Online Business Information Service" CODiE category.