Stories by Meridith Levinson

Quick Tips for Negotiating a Severance Agreement

You don't have to be an executive to negotiate the terms of your severance when you get laid off. When HR presents you with a severance agreement and a pen to sign on the dotted line, ask for some time to review it: It's well within your rights, and could make all the difference to you financially. Here's how to play the severance game to your best advantage.

Recruiter's Secrets: 6 Job Hunting Tips for a Tough Market

Whether they're employed or unemployed, IT professionals are anxious about their job prospects during this recession. They want to know how to navigate the worst job market in years and how they can differentiate themselves. Here's direct advice from recruiters on job hunting, with and without a recruiter.

The Danger of Being Too Nice at Work

If you're a nice person, you probably think that being nice works to your advantage in the office. After all, how could it be any other way? Genuinely nice people are well liked. They're generally easy to work with. They care about others and tend to have good values. In a fair and just world, that sort of behavior should be rewarded. Right?

To Telecommute or Not To Telecommute?

Not every employee is chomping at the bit to telecommute. A survey commissioned by Steelcase, a manufacturer of office furniture, shows that professionals have decidedly mixed feelings about the option to work from home.

Where Everyone Works at Home

Chorus, a provider of clinical, practice management and financial software for health care providers, closed its Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., headquarters in early June and its other office, in Stafford, Texas (outside of Houston), in early July; that means all of the company's 35 employees and full-time consultants work at home.

Work-at-Home Policy Drives Hard Benefits at Software Firm

Rick Boyd used to spend US$500 a month on gas and tolls commuting 48 miles a day between his home in Westchester County, N.Y., and his office in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. Now Boyd doesn't commute any more because his company, Chorus, which provides clinical and management software for community health centers, has gone virtual.

A primer on business intelligence

Thanks to technology, companies are accumulating unparalleled amounts of data. Being a data pack rat can be a good idea in an economy where companies succeed or fail based on their ability to use information to anticipate changing business conditions and to make smart decisions quickly. But collecting reams of corporate data only makes sense if meaningful insights can be extracted from it, which is a heady challenge. Business intelligence (BI) is an umbrella term for a variety of technologies that work together to make sense of all those bits and bytes about sales and customers. It can help companies increase revenue or cut costs by providing executives with solid insights they can act on to make faster, more effective market decisions.

Brick Slayers

Online startups are stealing the established players' business. Seven executives share their survival strategies

Destructive Behaviour

To kick its e-business initiatives into high gear, GE told its unit chiefs to save their businesses by figuring out how to kill them

Customer Segmentation: Slices of Lives

In the beginning, there was mass marketing. Companies promoted new products and services to all their customers, regardless of whether those products or services were appropriate for the individuals on the company's mailing list. When a bank launched a mass marketing campaign, a 1 percent to 3 percent response rate was considered successful. Some success.

E-Business Strategies: Integrate Your Channels

When Melanie Alshab introduced herself as "the CIO of a very large landlord" to other attendees at Internet conferences back in 1997, they brushed her off like pills on a Patagonia vest. No one from the dotcom world wanted to talk to the former Simon Property Group executive because she was from the world of brick and mortar--shopping mall brick and mortar. With online shopping taking off, who needed her company's physical retail spaces anymore, anyway? Similarly, when Alshab networked at real estate conferences, her colleagues there dismissed her Internet boosterism as hot air about a passing fad. Based on what she heard at these events and from consumers, Alshab and her peers at the Indianapolis-based real estate developer couldn't imagine either channel ultimately winning out. "We believed that the physical channels would be around for the long haul as much as the Internet would be," says Alshab.

E-Business Strategies: Scenario Planning

Some executives like to conceive their company's future through strategic-planning exercises. Not Jack Welch. For him, strategic planning is too safe, too theoretical. Instead, Welch had his business units envision how the future could hurt them. He called the exercise Destroy Your Business (DYB).

The Wages of SIM

"Let's get ready to rumble!" With this boxing-inspired call to arms, 20 IS managers rally in the middle of a conference room at BASF AG's palatial North American headquarters in Mount Olive, New Jersey. These middleweights are not about to fight, though they wring their hands with Machiavellian cunning. There's no boxing ring; they gather around a long table littered with snippets of paper printed with people's names and photographs. These represent the talent that managers desperately need to recruit to staff projects already in motion. If they don't get the people they need, the projects won't get done. They'll lose customers, and they'll lose respect--oh, and money too.