Four Minnesota companies ranked among the nation’s 250 most innovative businesses when it comes to using information technology, according to a recent list from InformationWeek magazine.
 
The magazine surveyed U.S. companies with revenue of $250 million or more (or subsidiaries of parent companies with $250 million or more in revenue)—making a few exceptions to include companies just below that revenue standard that demonstrate highly IT-intensive business practices. Companies were required to complete a rigorous application regarding their business technology strategies, through which applicants earned points based on their responses to a questionnaire and were evaluated based on the achievements they outlined in an essay submission. A panel of InformationWeek editors weighed both the quantitative and qualitative results of the surveys to determine the final ranking.
 
“The theme of this year’s InformationWeek 500 is digital business,” InformationWeek Editor In Chief Rob Preston said in a statement. “It’s a movement rooted in data analytics, mobile computing, social networking, and other customer‐focused technologies that are turning companies and industries on their ear. Every enterprise is now a digital business—or needs to become one fast. The organizations in our ranking are leading the way.”
 
Eden Prairie-based Virtual Radiologic—which provides outsourced radiology solutions to its clients—ranked 15th on the list. The company reported $283 million in revenue for its latest fiscal year, according to InformationWeek. Chief Technology Officer Rick Jennings was recognized as the company’s highest-ranking IT executive.
 
Digital River, Inc., a Minnetonka-based provider of cloud-based e-commerce solutions, moved from 129th on last year’s list to 54th on this year’s. InformationWeek said Digital River’s revenue totaled f $386 million for its most recently completed fiscal year. The magazine noted Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO) Christopher Rence as Digital River’s highest-ranking IT executive. Last September, the company expanded into Canada with the $102.8 million-worth acquisition of online payment processor LML Payment Systems.
 
Coming in at 192nd on the list is Capella Education Company. According to InformationWeek, Senior Vice President and CIO Loren Brown is the organization’s highest-ranking IT executive. The Minneapolis-based online education provider, which includes the wholly owned subsidiary Capella University, reported $422 million in revenue for its most recent fiscal year. Capella University is Minnesota’s third largest university based on its number of full- and part-time students.
 
Vision-Ease Lens came in at 233rd on InformationWeek’s list of the 250 most innovative businesses using information technology. The Ramsey-based company, which manufactures corrective lenses, declined to disclose its revenue for the most recent fiscal year to the magazine. CIO Flo Kinzel was recognized as the company’s highest-ranking IT executive.
 
Pittsburgh-based health care provider UPMC, came in first on the list; it has $11 billion in revenue. According to InformationWeek, UPMC plans to develop unique technologies that it can sell to other health care providers and insurers. Houston-based energy company ConocoPhillips, which uses data analysis to increase natural gas production, came in second (it has $62 billion in revenue) and San Francisco-based clothing retailer Gap, Inc., which uses IT to connect its physical stores with its online stores and has $15.7 billion in revenue, came in third. To view the full list of the 250 most innovative businesses using information technology, click here.
 
In addition to the four Minnesota companies that made InformationWeek’s top 250 ranked list, two more local businesses appeared on a larger list of 500 unranked companies that best employ IT solutions. Minneapolis-based insurance provider Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America and St. Paul-based financial services provider Securian Financial Group, Inc., both made the 500 list. Click here to view the unranked list of the 500 most innovative businesses using information technology.
 
In August, Inc. magazine named eight Minnesota-based companies to its list of the nation’s 500 fastest-growing privately held businesses, based on each company’s three-year revenue growth rate.

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