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The word survival means so much more than picking the right technology and figuring out how to justify the cost.

Next I picked up our second survivor issue from December 2001 and--reading between the lines--I started to see a bit more emphasis on the economy. We began stressing that technology purchases were being made based on the value to the bottom line--a big change from 2000. And we started to provide you with some of the "tricks of the trade," so you could get the technology you needed to solve business problems. This was a common message for us throughout this past year--make sure it matters to the business before cutting a PO.

As you'll see when you read through this, our third installment of the Survivor's Guide series, the word survival means so much more than picking the right technology to solve business problems and figuring out how to justify the cost. This time it's personal: People are fighting to keep major companies afloat, both at vendors and enterprises. All bets are off when it comes to picking a partner that has long-term viability. Although the adage "Nobody ever lost their job for buying IBM" may be true today, how do you know the same can be said in another three to five years? It's scary out there, folks.

All this gloom and doom talk makes reading this issue, cover to cover, even more important than ever. What makes our opinion so damn valuable? We get to hear it straight from the vendors' mouths: Pinning vendor CEOs to the carpet gives us unique industry insight. Everyone, except maybe your boss, knows you don't have time to research the hell out of every company and technology that comes along. That's why we're here--we do the grunt work so you can make technology decisions that let you survive and, we hope, thrive. If what you read here helps you to be successful, we don't care if you get all the credit, just as long as you keep coming back for more.

So read on and on. This is the information you need to make it through another year. And do not, I repeat, do not, skip any of the sections--whether they're in your area of expertise or not. The more information you have about how all technologies areas tie together (the Big Picture), the more valuable you'll be to your organization. Plus, with IT staff size decreasing everywhere, you might need that knowledge when new things get dumped in your lap.

Speaking of survival, I'll soon be out trying to survive with the rest of you folks. I will be leaving Network Computing the end of this month. It's been a great run over the past 2-1/2 years, an experience I'll cherish, and I'll remain close to the magazine as a contributing editor. You should know that I will never meet a more competent, professional and intelligent group of people in IT or publishing. I wish everyone the best, especially you, the loyal reader, since it's your passion for technology that keeps Network Computing relevant.

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