Are Global Directories Even Relevant Anymore?

On average, an employee’s name appears 16 different times across myriad corporate systems, says small business planner website It’s more than likely Joe Doak’s payroll records, human resource dossier and travel preferences are all completely separate. Each instance of Doak’s name is unaware of the others. If Doak’s name appears 16 times inside the company, imagine the havoc wrought by a simple change of address.

We all know what happens. The address gets changed in one or two places, with the other records trailing by years or, worse, never catching up. And the likelihood of all records ever containing the same basic information is slim to none. What’s the answer? The Holy Grail, of course–global directories.

No one disputes the huge advantage of global …

U Of Miami Found IBM’s Servers To Be The Best

ibmsBack in 1997, IT managers at Miami University set out to make their system Y2K compliant–and their technology overhaul snowballed shortly thereafter.

“We realized that the amount we were willing to invest for Y2K could bring us a whole new system that would grow with our future technology needs,” says Kristin Froehlke, associate provost for computing and information services and CIO at Miami University. “We knew it was time to seize the moment.”

Their first need was for a more robust software solution to handle the school’s many administrative duties. They had been operating with a patchwork of commercial, custom and homegrown legacy systems and applications running on an IBM 9672 R21 mainframe under OS/390 MVS and CICS.

“We had a hybrid of homegrown and vendor-supplied …

Getting That Data Back!

rhddAFTER WEEKS OF BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL, you’re finally wrapping up an important project. While envisioning yourself stretched out on a tropical beach with a Mai Tai in your hand, you click on File/Save, and make a note to call your travel agent in the morning.

A screech jolts you back to reality, followed by an alarming crunching noise and a sickening thud as your hard disk grinds to a halt. You threaten, cajole, and beg your PC to come back to life. Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, you remember what else is entombed on that disk–your customer database, accounting records, marketing materials, and more. Do you know what to do next?

Data disappears from our desktops for a variety of reasons: According to Hard Drive Recovery Group, an Irvine, California-based data recovery service (, 44 percent of data is lost to mechanical failures, 32 percent to human error (which includes fire), 14 percent to software problems, 7 percent to viruses, and 3 percent to natural disasters. While the best defense against data loss is regular backup, backups aren’t foolproof, nor can they protect your data against physical damage to your hardware.

Our data recovery guide introduces software tools and services that can bring your data back from the dead, offers strategies for recovering lost files, Continue reading →

Let Your Website Sound Off!

wsdIN DESIGNING YOUR WEB SITE YOU followed all the rules, jettisoned slow-loading graphics, and provided visitors with handy search and even polling and chat features. The next step is to wow them with audio.

You can use sound to enhance your site in a variety of ways–to inform visitors about a product or service, to talk about an important cause, to entertain them as they navigate your site, or as vehicle for communicating with you in real time. Although adding an audio component has always been possible, tricky code and hefty downloads have made it tough for all but the most tech-savvy Webmasters to implement. Now, a new wave of tools makes it easy.

“A Web site without sound is like watching The X-Files with

Finances: Keeping ‘Em Separated

fkesWhether it’s a corporate credit card, a business checking account, an entry in Intuit’s QuickBooks, or just a pouchful of business receipts kept in her purse–and later stapled to an expense report–April Spring has drawn a broad demilitarized zone between her personal and business finances.

“I treat myself as if I were the CFO or the president of a large corporation,” says Spring, principal with Spring & Associates LLC, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based corporate administration and investor relations firm. “I learned years ago that if you want to be like those at the top, you have to act like those at the top.”

Many home office workers commingle their finances, drawing business and personal expenses from the same till. Business checks are deposited into a personal …

Database It, If You Haven’t Already

dyhrTO PROPERLY TARGET YOUR PRODUCTS OR SERVICES to existing customers, you need to know who your customers are. In other words, you need a database that contains as much detail as you can get about them–what they buy and how often, or which promotions are most successful and which customers participate in them. You can then save time and money by targeting events and products more accurately.

There are several ways to create a customer database. An obvious option is to build one from scratch using a database program such as Microsoft Access, Lotus Approach, or FileMaker Pro. If you’re not comfortable with the program’s design and report-generation features, you might consider having the database designed by a subcontractor or professional with experience in business applications.…

Microsoft’s Early Browser War Was A Sign Of Things To Come

mebJudge Thomas Penfield Jackson’s ruling that Microsoft cannot force OEMs to buy Internet Explorer as a condition of their Windows license raises more questions than it answers. But the questions, at first blush, seem either unanswerable or unimportant from a pure force-of-impact standpoint.

While the media can’t have enough of this story, the ruling will hardly be felt by anybody except the main players, spinmeisters, and some programmers and marketers at Microsoft. Let’s walk through it:

There are only two browsers that matter: Netscape’s and Microsoft’s. The judge’s decision won’t change that. What he seemed to be saying is that Microsoft cannot tie the potential success of a rising product to an established monopoly. But he also wrote, “Microsoft demonstrated, at the very least, the …