Call Me a Laggard, But I'll Miss Print - InformationWeek

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2/2/2007
09:20 AM
Cindi Howson
Cindi Howson
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Call Me a Laggard, But I'll Miss Print

It might seem odd that a technology analyst and evaluator like myself does not whole-heartedly embrace all the latest technical innovations. As an example, let's take the recent decision by CMP to cease the print version of Intelligent Enterprise. In many respects, I like the online experience of Intelligent Enterprise... But here is the catch: Online media is in its infancy.

It might seem odd that a technology analyst and evaluator like myself does not whole-heartedly embrace all the latest technical innovations. In some respects, I'm a laggard. As an example, let's take the recent decision by CMP to cease the print version of Intelligent Enterprise. In many respects, I like the online experience of Intelligent Enterprise: I can readily search for reviews, articles and the like, as opposed to saving every last issue for the past five years (okay, I do that too -- packrat and laggard is a bad combination). I can also readily see how often someone reads one of my articles and clicks through to BIScorecard, something not possible with the print magazine and a capability every writer and advertiser wants.But here is the catch: Online media is in its infancy. BI, while more mature, is also in its infancy as far as adoption rates go (an average of 25 percent of employees have a BI license). This tells me there is much more room for education and awareness, in addition to technical innovation. High quality, vendor-neutral media like Intelligent Enterprise helps enormously. Long before I wrote for this magazine, I devoured the articles from such luminaries as Kimball, Raden, Smith and Dyche, to name just a few.

On the road to greater BI awareness, print media has two critical characteristics that online media lacks: portability and push. Most of my discretionary reading is in snippets of time - at the airport, on the treadmill, between appointments. Magazines are an ideal medium for such convenience. I suspect few of the many overscheduled BI professionals dedicate a "reading" time that online media requires.

Print also has the benefit of "pushing" things to my attention. Nothing like a full page color ad for me to notice something of import or a bold headline enticing me to read further (about technical innovations that can speed BI adoption!). As a case in point, my SQL Server magazine (in print) just arrived, boasting a cover card about Microsoft's first ever BI user conference. Maybe there is a tile ad somewhere on Intelligent Enterprise's web site. I suspect I got a few emails on the subject too, filtered as spam. It took print media for me to take notice.

Call me a laggard, but I think BI advertisers and CMP have pulled the plug too early on print. As a print reader, I'm not yet sure what this change means for me - giving up reading on my treadmill or staying as informed? As a writer, I'm grateful for the broader reach and tracking on-line brings me. Yet I worry about the print readers (out there but nameless) that I will no longer reach. Unfortunately, they are the ones who don't even read this blog to know that what has been a trusted source will no longer arrive in their mailbox.It might seem odd that a technology analyst and evaluator like myself does not whole-heartedly embrace all the latest technical innovations. As an example, let's take the recent decision by CMP to cease the print version of Intelligent Enterprise. In many respects, I like the online experience of Intelligent Enterprise... But here is the catch: Online media is in its infancy.

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