5 things you need to know

This issue marks the sixth annual appearance of the Federal List, but it comes with a twist. In years past, this special report was all about numbers, highlighting the top vendors in the areas of systems integration, General Services Administration schedule contract sales and small business. You will still find numbers, but a lot has changed. Here's the rundown:

1. Form follows function. Every story, except for those in the news section, is in the form of a list. This is not just a gimmick. Lists are incredibly versatile for conveying facts and opinions and making information easier to scan and remember. This format made sense for an issue focused primarily on lessons learned, tips and best practices.

2. New format, familiar topics. In putting together this special issue, we wanted to capture the latest thinking about some of the hottest topics in the federal IT community. The lists include competitive sourcing, Web services, security, management strategies and enterprise architecture, found within our usual Management, Technology and Policy sections.

3. The list goes on ...online. Most sections include at least one list found only on our Web site. For more information, go to this issue's table of contents or to FCW.com Download's Data Call at www.fcw.com/download.

4. An artistic take on the hot companies. The first story in this week's feature section is "10 hot companies to watch." As always, we have surveyed market experts to determine which new or emerging companies have the best chance to make it big in the government market. But this issue also features a special foldout illustration highlighting these 10 companies and our reasons for choosing them. We've taken a little poetic license.

5. Government Integrator remains. This week's issue includes our quarterly report on the systems integration market. But in keeping with the Federal List theme, each Government Integrator story is, of course, in the form of a list.

We hope you enjoy this special issue.

THE 2004 FEDERAL LIST:

Technology

Policy

Management

Government Integrator

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