Tech Monitor draws good rating

Tech Monitor

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Since its launch in October 2001, a Web-based service that offers analyses of technology and telecommunications companies and their products is also getting good marks from users.

Nearly 75 municipalities and agencies from at least 48 states and the federal government have access to more than 270 vendor assessments, 220 product assessments and nearly 60 vendor ratings through subscription-based Tech Monitor, which was developed jointly by Public Technology Inc. (www.pti.org) and Sterling, Va.-based Current Analysis.

Although Richard Wilken, San Diego's information technology and communications director, said he hasn't made "heavy use" of the service, it has helped in understanding "vendors' prospects both substantively and economically."

"It really made it a lot easier and quicker for us to really get a handle on whom the vendors were, what their strengths and weaknesses are, helped us in developing [request for proposals] and helped us in the evaluation process as well," he said. "There's just so many new players that are coming and going nowadays in the IT arena that trying to research them and look for data on this such rapidly changing industry is a struggle."

That's a big reason for Tech Monitor, said Tom Davies, Current Analysis' senior vice president.

"In this sense there was a gap and the gap is the need for current intelligence on what's happening with the companies and their products, the current meaning like today," he said. "Some of the traditional research firms and analysis firms are very good, but they're more focused on where the companies are going a year from now or two years from now."

He said Tech Monitor provides tactical rather than strategic analyses. "A lot of traditional firms focus on basic strategy that the buyers should be adopting in terms of long-term direction, what standards they should be using for their technology, what their enterprise architecture should be," Davies said. "What we do is tactical. It says today for those who are really having to make a down to earth decision today, what are the kind of most important intelligence that you need to help you in your job today."

In addition to analyses of companies and their products, subscribers also get analyses of major company announcements, how products satisfy RFP requirements, and tutorials on how to purchase products, questions users should ask vendors, answers vendors likely will give, and objections users should raise to vendors, he said.

Davies said Tech Monitor soon would include government commentary on customer relationship management and content management companies and products, two hot topics among governments. It is also developing analyses specific to homeland security as well as to public safety, transportation and the environment.

An intelligence database of wireless products and services - including plans offered by wireless companies, promotions, handsets being offered, price, features and whether they have Web connectivity - offered in all metropolitan areas will be launched in 30 to 60 days, he said.

Annual cost for Tech Monitor is $600 for one password, $1,650 for two to three passwords, $5,500 for four to 10 passwords, and $9,000 for 11 to 20 passwords.

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