Stories by Jon Surmacz

Turnover is expensive

It's been awhile since CIOs have had to worry about staff turnover. But as the economy picks up, it stands to reason that companies will ramp up hiring efforts and try to lure away your best performers. According to Forrester Research Inc., it can be much cheaper to start doling out pay raises and other rewards now rather than wait until staffers leave. The cost of turnover, says Craig Symons, a principal analyst at Forrester, has two major components: hiring costs and vacancy costs. Hiring costs are the hard costs associated with recruiting a new employee (advertising fees, and costs for screening, interviewing and processing candidates). Vacancy costs include the less obvious (but very real) costs of replacing the former employee (compensation for interim replacement or overtime for work assumed by current staff, productivity losses, and loss of knowledge of unfinished projects and institutional business knowledge). According to a Forrester estimate, the average cost to hire ranges from 25 percent to 100 percent of a worker's annual salary (this estimate does not include vacancy costs). In other words, if a midlevel IT manager who earns US$75,000 in annual salary decides to leave, it could cost anywhere from $18,750 to $75,000 to hire a replacement. Those figures will vary, says Symons, based on the type of job and the skills required for it, the tenure of the former employee and corporate HR policies on hiring. However, the message is clear: Turnover is expensive.

Your CEO still doesn't get IT

More than two-thirds of CIOs say that their CEOs view IT as a cost of doing business -- and not, unfortunately, as a business enabler. That's according to a survey of more than 700 CIOs by Meta Group Inc. Findings from CIO's "State of the CIO 2003" survey showed similar numbers: A whopping 84 percent of 539 respondents said IT was budgeted as a cost center, while only 16 percent said IT was budgeted as an investment center that creates new business capabilities.

Recovering data is the easy part

FRAMINGHAM (03/18/2004) - A recent study of companies with complex supply chains (like consumer products makers and retailers) by Ernst & Young LLP found that when it comes to business continuity, companies pay more attention to their data than their operations. While most respondents have established testing procedures to ensure that their data (names, addresses and SKUs) is backed up, far fewer have tested the continuity of their supply chain operations (inventory, warehousing and logistics).

Test of loyalty

FRAMINGHAM (03/18/2004) - While some say the jobless recovery is about to end, two recent surveys suggest that employment and staffing challenges will persist for U.S. companies.

Wireless pays

FRAMINGHAM (02/19/2004) - Wait-and-see time is over. Companies are prepared to pour more money into wireless in 2004 because of the success of their initial deployments, according to a recent report.

Women in IT gaining ground on male colleagues

FRAMINGHAM (02/13/2004) - For the first time in its short history, which dates back to 2000, IT job board Dice Inc. reports that women's salaries in IT have moved closer to those of their male peers. According to the Dice 2003 Annual Salary Survey, women's salaries increased 5 percent to US$62,800. Men's salaries increased 2 percent to $69,700, which narrowed the gender gap to 11 percent.

MyDoom outbreak leaves Net undisturbed

FRAMINGHAM (02/05/2004) - Virus watchers and security experts declared the MyDoom.A worm successful this week as it forced The SCO Group Inc.'s website ( to shut down, while hardly disrupting overall Web traffic even though, by one company's measurement, the worm represented nearly 10 percent of worldwide e-mail volume.

Broadband barriers are breaking

FRAMINGHAM (11/04/2003) - The promise of convergence, lower prices and convenience are driving more consumers to adopt broadband Internet services, according to a recent report. GartnerG2 (a division of Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc.) expects 46 million households to make the broadband jump by 2007, up from 18 million households in 2003.

Multi-channel complications continue

Returning a purchase used to require no more than a sales receipt and the item to be returned (unopened or in an otherwise acceptable condition). But in today’s multichannel retail world, if an item is purchased online and returned offline, things can get a little messy.

Job market settles, but future remains uncertain

The latest data suggest that the tech hiring slump in the US bottomed out during the second quarter of 2002. However, experts say, there's no evidence that hiring will rebound in the near future.