Customer Service

By CIOinsight

Sites to See



Welcome to CIO Insight's Sites to See, a compendium of recommended Web sites aimed at increasing knowledge of business processes and technology. We've organized these sites into multiple categories: Benchmarking, Business Continuity, Customer Service, Data Management, e-Commerce, Emerging Technologies and Outsourcing.

Check back as we continue to add the latest resources to this section.


The Benchmarking Exchange
Affiliation: The Benchmarking Exchange
Registration: An annual subscription is $99 (individual), $395 (10 users) or $995 (unlimited users).
Big Picture: This subscription-based benchmarking service is accessed exclusively over the Internet.
Our Take: Subscribers can download surveys to assess their own organization or benchmark against other companies. The surveys cover information systems topics, e-business strategy, e-procurement and other issues.

The Benchmarking Network
Affiliation: The Benchmarking Network, Inc.
Registration: Free, but there are fees for survey participation.
Big Picture: This is a portal to other benchmarking sites that offer reports, and opportunities for site visits and roundtables.
Our Take: CIOs who are members may join in benchmarking studies involving other members or initiate their own. Connected sites focus on information systems management (www.ismbc.org), IT asset management (www.itamba.com) and IT procurement (www.itpba.com), among others.

Best Practices, LLC
Affiliation: Best Practices, LLC
Registration: Database access costs between $3 and $50 per single document, $1,000 for a single subject and $4,000 for full access.
Big Picture: The firm sells benchmarking services, reports and access to a database of benchmarking articles.
Our Take: This benchmarking firm offers reports on CRM, supply chain management, knowledge management and other IT topics, and in-depth studies featuring interviews with executives.

Affiliation: American Productivity & Quality Center
Registration: None.
Big Picture: This nonprofit organization with about 500 members offers benchmarking services to members, and some free reports and papers on the site.
Our Take: This well-organized site provides members access to 3,000 abstracts, a calendar of training sessions and articles, case studies and white papers on benchmarking.

Business Continuity

Business Continuity

Affiliation: Algonquin College
Registration: Free
Big Picture: This site was started by college students studying information system security and now attracts professionals in the field. According to the site, it hosts 450,000 unique visitors a month.
Our Take: This security-oriented site has much to offer on business continuity. The site provides a wealth of links to vendor alerts, patches, security newsgroups and forums, along with a comprehensive list of news sites, a number of specialized search templates and tools, and world travel, health and weather warnings. Its business continuity page links to several dozen articles and other resources. We encountered a few dead links, but consider it a site worth visiting and bookmarking.

Affiliation: The Neverfail Group
Registration: Free
Big Picture: This site, sponsored by a business continuity consultancy in Britain, offers news, articles and other resources on the topic.
Our Take: A good source of information—news, feature articles, surveys, lists of events, and courses of instruction on business continuity, security management, disaster recovery and such issues as air quality. Its feature articles are a good source of "how to" information.

Customer Service

Customer Service

Affiliation: Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals in Business
Registration: $100 to $225
Big Picture: This organization has nearly 3,000 members, including IT executives, from 1,500 companies, most listed in the Fortune 1,000. Executives are from all disciplines, including IT.
Our Take: Members can access articles and research, receive a newsletter and participate in forums. Two sections track technology trends, and the site offers tech-related resources, including sample RFPs and checklists such as one on assessing whether to update a consumer-affairs database.

Affiliation: eCustomerServiceWorld.com
Registration: Free
Big Picture: In addition to its Web site, this group publishes the online magazine Customer Republic and sponsors conferences.
Our Take: This site offers access to news, research, a vendors list and more than 250 articles, including several dozen on measurement and customer satisfaction. Topics covered include CRM, call centers and e-customer service.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index
Affiliation: University of Michigan Business School, American Society for Quality (ASQ) and consultancy CFI Group
Registration: Free for basic site; $30,000 for corporate subscriptions
Big Picture: This site reports the top-line results of quarterly consumer surveys in 35 industries.
Our Take: Subscribers get software and more detailed data, allowing them to benchmark their company's customer efforts.

Data Management

Data Management

DM Review
Affiliation: EC Media Group, a division of The Thompson Corp.
Registration: None
Big Picture: The Web site of the magazine DM Review offers its articles and columns pertaining to data management.
Our Take: This site offers extensive coverage of the field with news, features and columnists, as well as a search engine, free online newsletter, an "Ask the Expert" feature, interactive forum and events calendar. A "Resource Portal" quickly gets you to readings and resources on major topics.

Affiliation: TechTarget Inc.
Registration: Free
Big Picture: A comprehensive site of news, information and advice.
Our Take: In addition to providing news and links to articles and Web sites screened by its staff, SearchDatabase.com offers active forums and tips submitted by site visitors.

Affiliation: Information Technology Toolbox, Inc.
Registration: Free
Big Picture: A networking, support and information site for IT professionals, organized by specialty.
Our Take: Click on "Database" under "Data Management and Analysis" for links on database design, data warehousing and other data management topics. The site offers news, events, discussion groups and free newsletters.

DAMA International
Affiliation: DAMA International
Registration: Free
Big Picture: This is the site of DAMA, an international not-for-profit organization consisting of thousands of data management professionals.
Our Take: While the site's primary focus is the organization's activities, it does offer information on academic programs, research, training, employment, books and other publications, events and forums.




HBS Working Knowledge
Affiliation: Harvard Business School
Big Picture: Updated weekly, this site offers resources, data and articles from Harvard professors and industry consultants on topics such as "E-commerce and the Marketspace" and "Innovation and Change."
Our Take: This is the place to see how IT fits into the big e-picture from the likes of Michael Porter, Rosabeth Moss Kanter and John Seely Brown. Many of the articles are taken from the Harvard Business Review.

EIU E-business Forum
Affiliation: The Economist Intelligence Unit
Big Picture: This site by the publisher of The Economist targets senior international executives.
Our Take: For CIOs who do e-business around the globe, this site is unbeatable. A wealth of EIU information is offered here for free, including international news and analysis, case studies, research, and the latest thinking from pundits, analysts and economist writers. A section called "Doing Business In" offers in-depth information on e-business in 60 countries.

The Internet Economy Indicators
Affiliation: The Center for Research on Electronic Commerce at the University of Texas at Austin
Big Picture: A major academic center's attempt to measure the Internet economy.
Our Take: This is a good point of reference for CIOs helping to plot an e-business strategy. The site, sponsored by Cisco Systems, provides data, analysis, case studies and links to online publications, government Web sites and other Internet organizations. The site provides quarterly statistics on the Internet Economy's sales volume, growth, employment and impact.

Center for eBusiness@MIT
Affiliation: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Big Picture: This site by the MIT Sloan School of Management is meant for faculty, students and businesspeople.
Our Take: An assortment of scholarly but potentially useful papers on e-business topics can be found here. Subscribe to the MIT E-Commerce Research Forum for current research abstracts on e-commerce, Internet marketing and related areas.

Emerging Technologies

Emerging Technologies

Affiliation: Hot Neuron LLC
Registration: Free
Big Picture: This site's Science & Technology/Future Trends page collects articles on the future of technology from a variety of periodicals, including Technology Review and Scientific American.
Our Take: A good way to quickly survey current magazine articles on advanced technology. Users can save articles for later reading or find articles similar to those of interest. Listed articles change daily.

Information Systems Research Centers
Affiliation: ISWorld Net
Registration: Free
Big Picture: A portal to information systems research centers around the world. Our Take: A handy way to locate about 300 Web sites for academic, corporate and government information systems research centers. Most focus on technology; some also investigate IT management.

Advanced Technology Program www.atp.nist.gov/atp/
Affiliation: National Institute of Standards and Technology
Registration: Free
Big Picture: This federal agency sponsors research on projects deemed of interest to the nation but which industry cannot or will not undertake alone.
Our Take: Use this site to apply for federal research funding or to find out what others are doing through its funded projects database. The homepage links to the Information Technology & Applications Office, where information specific to IT projects can be found.

Affiliation: RAND
Registration: $100 to $2,500 for individuals, depending on affiliation
Big Picture: A database of all federally sponsored research and development efforts now under way.
Our Take: Developed by RAND and the National Science Foundation, this database covers all of the $75 billion in federally sponsored research and development. RAND touts it as a tool for benchmarking technologies, identifying transferable technologies, finding potential R&D partners and optimizing R&D investments.



The Outsourcing Institute
Affiliation: The Outsourcing Institute (a professional association)
Registration: Free registration required
Big Picture: Marketplace for buyers and sellers of outsourcing services, plus news, events, reports and services.
Our Take: In addition to free content, members get access to a variety of tools, including a Web-based collaboration tool for IT departments, a vendor locator and a template that automatically compiles data and generates RFPs.

Affiliation: Michael F. Corbett & Associates, Ltd.
Registration: Free registration required
Big Picture: Original articles, many produced by Corbett & Associates; a primer; news focused on deals and trends; and a legal center.
Our Take: Topic areas are broken down by both industry and business function. There is also a 12-step program for companies featuring outsourcers of all persuasions, and interactive tools.

Affiliation: Entrepreneurial
Registration: None
Big Picture: Outsourcing from soup to nuts: articles, forums, exchanges, experts, research, events and jobs.
Our Take: The site slices and dices the outsourcing landscape, from academics and ASPs through transportation and travel. The articles are somewhat superficial, but the breadth of information on the site, including a glossary, job listings and supplier database, make this worth a visit.

Outsourcing Exchange Center
Affiliation: Everest Group (an outsourcing consulting firm)
Registration: Free registration through 2001
Big Picture: An online business exchange with a secure environment for bidding and negotiating contracts. Offers tools for assessment, building requests for quotes, managing the outsourcing process and negotiating service-level agreements.
Our Take: This site offers remarkably clear organization and information that's both substantive and easily scanned.

This article was originally published on 01-28-2003