Making technology pay

Here's the thing about people who work in technology departments: They like technology. Some of them even love it - which means that they often lose sight of its real purpose in the business environment, which is to provide value. To help them keep that firmly in mind, and to help the chief executives and managers who often have to separate recommendations for tech that is merely cool from those for tech that is actually useful, there's In Search of Business Value: Ensuring a Return on Your Technology Investment.

Co-authored by a vice president from Microsoft, the book offers guidelines to help management cut through the whiz-bang aspect of a piece of technology and determine whether it's worth putting money into. It's also chock-full of real-life examples from companies around the world that illuminate the search for return on investment in technology.

Price: $24.95.


Idiots and customers

That may sound like a redundancy, but in this case, the idiot is, well, you. Customers may be idiots, but you need them, and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Winning Customer Loyalty is a good introduction on how to get and keep them. It aims to teach how to create an integrated strategic plan to do this, incorporating the essential elements of customer service. You'll learn how to develop a customer-driven culture; how to turn customers into clients and then advocates; how to identify and measure customer loyalty; how to create loyalty initiatives; and how to resolve problems and prevent them from re-occurring. A pretty serious agenda for idiots, when you think about it.

Price: $18.95.

Penguin Group USA

Shooting trouble

Think avalanches: One little snowflake set in motion can create a devastating cascade. Now think about your business, and how one small financial problem can snowball into - well, we won't say bankruptcy, but you get the idea. The Financial Troubleshooter takes these risks - like the short-term cash flow crunch that leads to credit problems down the road - very seriously, and aims to show managers and owners how to identify and resolve such problems before they become avalanches.

Author and finance and accounting professor Jae K. Shim has created a practical, seven-step process to help tackle the most common financial problems encountered in business, ranging from cash flow to inventory to budgeting, compensation, internal controls, tax planning and more. Snowflakes, after all, are easier to handle than avalanches.

Price: $59.95.

Texere, a Thomson company

(800) 842-3636

'Outsourcing America'

Perhaps the reason we here at New Products don't think outsourcing is a dangerous thing is because we can't imagine anyone in the developing world desperate enough to take our job. That said, there are those who think there is an outsourcing crisis, among them the authors of Outsourcing America: What's Behind Our National Crisis and How We Can Reclaim American Jobs. The book explores the recent expansion of outsourcing to include professional, white-collar jobs - like accounting - and extrapolates a world where CPAs end up slinging burgers. It then goes on to explain the (mis)incentives that lead to outsourcing, and lays out a plan for creating and keeping more jobs in the U.S. Snug in our undesirable job, we ponder the Law of Comparative Advantage.

Price: $22.


(800) 714-6395

'The Northern Lights'

The days when accounting research was a purely national pursuit are long gone, as are the days when Scandinavia was known only for horned helmets and rampaging berserkers. Between the globalization of standards and centuries of civilization around the Baltic and the North Sea, it should come as no surprise that accountants in the area are devoting deep thought to many of the same topics as U.S. accounting researchers. Accounting in Scandinavia: The Northern Lights brings together the fruit of their work, which often approaches the universal subjects from a unique perspective, and also delves into many areas that others haven't considered.

Price: $55.

Copenhagen Business School Press

(45) 3815-3960

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