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4 Steps To An Effective Outsourcing Strategy

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Beating Down The Doors To The Customer Service Hall Of Shame
2. Today's Top Story
    - Outsourcing To Win: 4 Steps To An Effective Strategy
3. Breaking News
    - Google Engineers Never Sleep, They Just Keep Adding New Features
    - Check Your Local Listings: TiVo Recorders Could Be Flummoxed By Daylight-Saving Switch
    - Apple May Use Flash Memory For Notebooks
    - FBI Misused Patriot Act On U.S. Citizens, Internal Probe Finds
    - A Scarlet Letter For Second Life
    - Intel Unveils Two Low-Voltage Server Processors
    - Human Error More Dangerous Than Hackers
    - Security Pros Lax At Protecting Their Own Computers
    - Is DRM Doomed? The Case Against Digital-Rights Management
    - Census Bureau Mistakenly Reveals Personal Data On 302 Families
    - MySpace Age-Check Bill Debated In Connecticut
    - Red Hat Readying Open Source Software Store: Source
4. The Latest Digital Life Blog Posts
    - Young And Naked On The Internet
    - Net Neutrality Is Too Important To Leave To The Government
5. White Papers
    - Performance Management
6. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
7. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush." -- Doug Larson


1. Editor's Note: Beating Down The Doors To The Customer Service Hall Of Shame

InformationWeek writers Mitch Wagner and Cory Doctorow in recent days have shared horror stories about PC and PC retailer customer service. Their troubles sounded familiar.

I recently bought an HP Pavilion notebook at CompUSA, complete with a $250 service plan. The purchase was remarkably difficult considering it's a commodity product that CompUSA sells lots of every single day. Roughly a month later, my store became part of a massive downsizing by CompUSA; while the company's still around, I viewed the warranty as useless. I had to jump through hoops to request a refund, getting bounced back and forth between CompUSA and the company that manages its credit cards ("Please enter your 16-digit account number on your touch-tone phone"; customer service rep's first question: "Can I have your 16-digit account number please?"). I ultimately submitted all the necessary paperwork but never have gotten confirmation or acknowledgment; I'm hopeful the refund will come through.

Then I reached out to HP to buy an extended two-year service plan. Prior to this experience, buying from HP over the Web and the phone was painless. For this issue, however, I fell somewhere between a retail purchase and a support call, and it wasn't pretty. HP has its own special brand of IVR hell, which I noted more than once in discussions with the three or four live people I spoke to before I found someone willing to take my money.

I particularly enjoyed Cory's anecdote about the five Sony execs contacting his girlfriend to fix her PC problem, only *after* the company had been called out on Doctorow's blog. My experience was nowhere near the "abusive contempt" he cites, but it was far from pleasant.

What vendors have made your customer service hall of fame/shame? What's the most irritating customer experience you've had? Weigh in at my blog entry, and I'll share the most colorful anecdotes with the InformationWeek community.

Tom Smith
tasmith@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story: Outsourcing Management

Outsourcing To Win: 4 Steps To An Effective Strategy
Here's what experts say CIOs and managers need to know to effectively manage a team of outsourcers and get the biggest bang for their IT dollars.


3. Breaking News

Google Engineers Never Sleep, They Just Keep Adding New Features
And those engineers at Yahoo and Microsoft also have been busy enhancing a bunch of their own products.

Check Your Local Listings: TiVo Recorders Could Be Flummoxed By Daylight-Saving Switch
Users who have set their boxes to manually record shows on a certain time and date need to roll back the recording time by one hour between March 11 and April 1, when daylight-saving time would ordinarily have kicked in.

Apple May Use Flash Memory For Notebooks
A shift to flash memory in place of slower hard-disk drives would eliminate one headache for consumers: lengthy startup times when turning on computers.

FBI Misused Patriot Act On U.S. Citizens, Internal Probe Finds
Several of the probes requested were for non-U.S. residents, although their files stated that the targets were believed to be legally residing in the United States.

A Scarlet Letter For Second Life
Residents of Second Life will be able share their opinions of people in the form of a five-star rating, which is designed to establish which individuals are commerce-worthy.

Intel Unveils Two Low-Voltage Server Processors
The 50-watt, dual-core L5320 and L5310 operate at 1.86 GHz and 1.60 GHz, respectively, and feature 8 Mbytes of on-die cache for faster memory data communication.

Human Error More Dangerous Than Hackers
A new survey also shows that 68% of organizations experience six losses of sensitive data every year, and 20% suffer from 22 or more.

Security Pros Lax At Protecting Their Own Computers
A survey of security and IT managers at the recent RSA conference shows that one-third don't secure their home files or communications.

Is DRM Doomed? The Case Against Digital-Rights Management
In the wake of Steve Jobs' call to eliminate anti-copying technology, are the music and movie industries poised to move from protection to monitoring?

Census Bureau Mistakenly Reveals Personal Data On 302 Families
A file with personal data -- names, addresses, phone numbers, and income ranges -- on 302 families was posted on a public Web site.

MySpace Age-Check Bill Debated In Connecticut
Intended to protect children from sexual predators, the bill proposed by state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal would be the first of its kind in the United States to impose strict regulations on social-networking sites.

Red Hat Readying Open Source Software Store: Source
The company is reportedly set to announce the strategy this week when it releases the first major upgrade in two years to its core Linux-based operating system.

All Our Latest News

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4. The Latest Digital Life Blog Posts
http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/digital_life/index.html

Young And Naked On The Internet
New York magazine has an outstanding feature on teenagers and 20-somethings living lives on the Internet. This is a generation that takes it as normal to document its innermost thoughts, mood swings, romantic relationships, and even sex lives on the Internet. Privacy? They've heard of it -- it's something that their parents talk about.

Net Neutrality Is Too Important To Leave To The Government
Techdirt takes a look at net neutrality and blasts the telecom lobby group Hands Off the Internet and its pernicious lie that big content providers like Google are freeloaders who don't pay for their bandwidth. That is simply not true: Any popular Web site pays colossal bandwidth charges to its Internet service provider. What the anti-net neutrality telcos want is the right to charge content providers like Google twice for the same service. Which is a good racket if you can get into it.


5. White Papers: Performance Management

The Performance Manager: Turning Information Into Higher Business Performance
Why partnerships between decision-makers and the people who provide the supporting information inevitably drive better decisions.


6. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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