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IT buyers are looking for long-term value in their purchases in terms of data integration and scalability, and are not making decisions based solely on cost, according to recent research in a Yankee Group report. "The way enterprises choose vendors is changing, with focus shifting from cost to the ability to upgrade the environment in the future," Andrew Efstathiou, Yankee Group technology management strategies program manager, says in the report. "This trend will gather momentum during the next two years, increasing demand for discretionary projects, which will create new business value." Just as IT decisions are being made based on long-term value over simple cost efficiencies, so are outsourcing deals, according to Accenture. The firm recently polled more than 800 companies and found that 86 percent of respondents claim outsourcing gives them more control over business results in a variety of critical areas, the most important being the ability to plan. The executives also reported equal levels of control in reliability, cost-variability improvements, and effective implementation of ideas.
What are the top-three skills customer service representatives must have to build customer loyalty, increase sales, and lower customer acquisition costs? According to a recent report by market research firm The Forum Corp., they are the ability to solve problems quickly, cross-selling skills, and quality assurance abilities. With a compound annual growth rate of 13 percent, outsourcing is the fastest growing technology segment within the federal government, according to a report released by INPUT, a market intelligence research firm. The report posits that U.S. federal government spending on outsourcing will increase from $8.5 billion in fiscal year 2003 to more than $15.5 billion in fiscal year 2008. "A huge percentage of the federal IT workforce is reaching retirement age within the next five years, giving federal agencies little choice but to pursue outsourcing to meet the technology needs of initiatives like e-government and information-sharing in defense of the homeland," says Lauren Jones Shu, senior analyst of federal market analysis at INPUT. Incentive-based sales compensation packages may not be driving optimal sales figures, according to a report by the human capital practice at Deloitte & Touche. Fifty-six percent of 130 companies surveyed see room for improvement in their sales compensation plans. In fact, 79 percent of companies have made six or more changes to their plan in the past two years. Despite these frequent changes, the majority of companies polled are still dissatisfied with company comp plans, and report that sales productivity goals are not being reached.
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