The year 2000 was an amazing one for U.S. businesses. With Y2K safely behind us, companies were free to focus on exploiting the Internet. And with the economy booming, most companies had the money to invest in the technology and expertise to get themselves on the Web.The mantra for developing online business initiatives was speed, speed, speed. Weren\u2019t sure what the right move was for your business? Didn\u2019t matter?you had to get something out there fast, damn the costs. This attitude made multimillionaires of Internet consultants, who couldn\u2019t pull in the money fast enough. (One fellow I know considered buying a private jet so that he wouldn\u2019t waste time waiting in airports. "If I can close another piece of business instead of waiting for a flight, it\u2019s worth the cost," he declared.)Last October, we gathered in Boston\u2019s historic Faneuil Hall to choose the winners of this year\u2019s Enterprise Value Awards. Given the party atmosphere in the economy, I wondered whether the judges might be less demanding in their quest for value?if they too might be swept up in the sheer glory of cool new innovations, regardless of the value proposition. I needn\u2019t have worried. If anything, the judges were more demanding than ever.It\u2019s not that they don\u2019t recognize or appreciate innovation (or efficiency or pure technical accomplishment, for that matter); they do, and they noted that appreciation. But this award, they unequivocally declared, is first and foremost about value to the enterprise. If an applicant couldn\u2019t prove the real and significant value of its IT investment, it had no place winning this award. Not only did the judges demand real value, if a company hadn\u2019t transformed its business?and even influenced its industry?it shouldn\u2019t win either.This year\u2019s process worked well, as always, thanks to the efforts of a handful of people: Rick Swanborg, my cochair on the awards, and the review board he heads (see "Getting Tough," Page 136); Mindy Blodgett, CIO\u2019s special projects editor; Senior Editor Elana Varon, who led this year\u2019s issue team; Chandra Tallman, our design coordinator; Editorial Operations Coordinator Karen Zirpola, who orchestrated the judging event; Marketing Communications Director Sue Yanovitch, who organized the film crew to capture the proceedings for this year\u2019s awards ceremony; and Special Projects Assistant Cristina Sousa, who took care of our winners once they were selected. There are many more people (the judges, writers and editors, and, of course, the applicants) whose interest, talents and dedication to excellence took this year\u2019s awards program and this issue to a new level. My thanks to you all.