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Welcome to Quality Digest's first-ever Enterprisewide Quality Software Guide. Download it by clicking here. Included is a wide range of software products whose manufacturers returned our requests for information about their products that they call "enterprisewide."

 Among the hottest of all buzzwords in quality software--or in any software category, for that matter--is "enterprisewide." And as is true with most other buzzwords, it's you--the customer--whose burden it is to determine just what vendors mean when they apply this term to their latest and greatest offerings.

 One could loosely define enterprisewide software as programs capable of being used throughout a company, in various departments. Such programs often utilize a modular design, wherein each module has a specific scope (e.g., corrective actions, customer-complaint tracking and document control).

 A more popular definition of enterprisewide software also deals with the software's scope. In such cases, vendors who attribute the enterprisewide label to their products mean to convey that these products can be used by anyone in the company, even from different sites, in different countries or on different continents.

 Designed primarily to address the issues unique to a multisite organization, these products usually utilize standard Internet browsers to view, modify, send and create data stored on an online server. Other products work similarly but require client software to be installed on any computer that requires access. This option is usually less favorable, as multiple software licenses can be expensive and burdensome to install and keep updated. Moreover, most computer users are more than familiar with the workings of Internet browsers. Installing new software throughout a large company can be a bit of a Pandora's box, especially in heavily regulated industries.

 Another factor to consider when looking at enterprisewide quality software is how seamlessly it integrates with your company's existing legacy programs. More specifically, determine whether the software will work with your company's e-mail system, through which a great deal of work is done in enterprisewide solutions. Also, make sure any existing databases will integrate with the new software. Less expensive enterprisewide solutions can cost you dearly once unforeseen integration costs are included.

 One final suggestion for comparing enterprisewide quality software is to ask vendors how customizable their programs are. A truly well-fitting application should be able to adjust to the way your company does business. Don't be convinced that it's your organization that must adjust. Some enterprisewide software is easier to customize than others. Ask vendors if they have staff available to help you customize the software and if their products feature open architecture.

 As with all Quality Digest guides, the companies and products listed in the 2001 Enterprisewide Quality Software Guide have neither been evaluated nor endorsed by Quality Digest. Nevertheless, if you're looking for such a solution, the directory of more than 120 companies and 270 products is a good place to start.

 Comments or questions referring to the guide can be e-mailed to


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