Summer is in full swing, and two of my favorite things about the season are the energy and excitement in the air as people make the most of the warmer weather and take time to carry out annual summer traditions.

In this issue, we introduce what will surely become an annual tradition: our list of 40 vendors we're watching. We talk with so many users, vendors, consultants and analysts throughout the year, and it is inspiring for us to hear what technological developments excite the people we talk with. It's only natural we'd share some of this enthusiasm with you as we highlight some of the most noteworthy companies we've come across.

The 40 companies on the list are only a segment of the vendors creating buzz at the moment. But at the very least the list is a starting point for discussion, so chime in with your opinions at

Another of our summer traditions is our annual product review roundup - now an online component of the issue. Check out the customer-written testimonials at ProductRoundup2010.

But summer isn't all about fun traditions, and it is important to stay focused on more serious topics as well - fundamentals like communication, collaboration and common understanding that keep our organizations working together. In our cover story this month, Tom Krieger addresses the age-old challenge of communication between IT and business by offering strategies to establish common data definitions - thus bridging the gap between the groups and unlocking the value in our data. Read his advice beginning on page 20.


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