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News Briefs

  Online News published in DM Direct Newsletter
December 20, 1999 Issue
 
  By Rachel Rasmussen

Compensation in Y2K: Which Industries Will Lead ? And Lag?

Merit increases for all corporate positions in the computer and information technology sector are projected to average 4.85 percent in the Year 2000, a new PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP survey of compensation planning practices reveals. This is the highest rate of expected increase across 23 industry sectors and comfortably exceeds the average 4 percent gain projected for all levels of employees across a broad swath of the American economy. On the opposite side of the spectrum, merit pay for health care industry professionals will most likely trail other major sectors with an anticipated rate of increase of 3.8 percent as the new millennium unfolds.

"When it comes to compensation, IT remains the place to be,'' said Paul Platten, a PricewaterhouseCoopers principal and member of the firm's National Rewards practice. "The cachet of the Internet and technology overall will translate into the highest average compensation boosts for those fortunate individuals working in this sector next year versus the rest of corporate America. We see that same trend reflected in the foreseen 5.6 percent merit increases for information technology professionals with sought-after, `hot' skills working in a cross-section of American industry: these professionals can almost write their own ticket.''

"Compensation Planning Survey: 2000'' incorporates data from a multi- industry and geographically dispersed survey population of 427 organizations. The survey presents statistics and frequencies on planned Year 2000 budgets for merit, salary and salary range increases, together with lump sum payments, short-term incentives and promotional budgets. At the same time, the survey also examines other critical compensation issues such as new program directions, severance and early retirement packages, as well as geographic pay differences. "Compensation Planning Survey: 2000'' also looks at the impact of mergers and acquisitions and downsizings on specific employee groups. The survey was conducted by the Global

For more information about the survey, visit www.pwcglobal.com.

Financial Firms Must Reinvent Themselves to Serve Net-Powered Consumers, Predicts Forrester Research

According to a new report from Forrester Research, Inc., financial services firms' prospects are clouded by a new breed of Internet-empowered consumers who don't value the traditional service provided by today's leaders. Financial firms will have to expand beyond their existing organizations to create autonomous subsidiaries, make acquisitions or find partners willing to share risk.

"Today's younger consumers are tomorrow's affluent customers and the future of financial institutions,'' said Jaime Punishill, analyst in Online Financial Services Research. "They are better informed, more self-sufficient and want to take an active role in their investing and insurance decisions. The Net generation has internalized the new rules of the Internet, where building trust doesn't require face-to-face interaction.''

To meet the changing expectations of these attractive customer segments, financial firms must undercut productive channels, products, and organizations ? a process Forrester Research calls "proactive destruction.'' This practice requires financial institutions to anticipate demand before new competitors capture the emerging market.

"Firms that dip their toes slowly into Internet waters are doomed, because the Net crowns winners more quickly than the offline world,'' added Punishill.

Additional information can be found at www.forrester.com.

Primus and Imparto Software Sign Definitive Merger Agreement

Primus, a leading provider of e-service software and services, announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement with privately held Imparto Software, Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., a leading provider of e-marketing solutions. The combination will create a leader in innovative e-service and e-marketing software for both dot- com and enterprise customers. Under the terms of the agreement, Primus will acquire all outstanding stock of Imparto in exchange for one million shares of Primus common stock. The merger is intended to be a pooling of interests and is subject to approval by the shareholders of Imparto and other customary conditions. Executives of Imparto have agreed to vote their shares in favor of the proposed transaction. As a result of the transaction, Imparto will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Primus.

The acquisition will enable Primus to expand and enhance the company's existing e-service software and service offerings, such as Primus Interchange, with the addition of the Imparto Web Marketing Suite. This combination will create a link between the marketing focus before the sale and the critical issues encountered by those same users after the sale, forming the e-service cycle essential to successful e-business. All of the key contact points between customer and business can be integrated through the Primus e-service software infrastructure.

The combined companies will have about 225 employees worldwide and more than 85 customers that span the new economy from dot-com startup to Global 2000 enterprise including such companies as 3M, 3Com, Brio Technology, Cirrus Logic, Compaq, Fair Isaac, GTE Internetworking, New Century Mortgage and Novell.

"This acquisition will create exceptional value for the employees, shareholders and customers of both companies," said Dan Rudolph, president and CEO of Imparto. "Primus and Imparto have both realized that the promise of e-service needs something beyond simple e-mail routing and stand-alone marketing campaigns to be truly successful. Our complementary product families both deliver on this promise and stand out in the market due to their powerful underlying technology and strong focus on value creation."

For more information, visit www.imparto.com and www.primus.com.


Rachel Rasmussen was a Web Editor of DMReview.com.



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