Archive for July, 2011

Three reasons cloud and SOA will boost outsourcing

July 29th, 2011

A few years back, I published a piece on how SOA will enable outsourcing strategies. Since then, cloud-based services have burst on the scene in a big way, so it may be time to revisit the predictions. Here is an updated point of view.

As more enterprises adopt service-oriented architecture principals and practices, outsourcing may become an easier, more manageable option. SOA and cloud principles will boost outsourcing for three reasons:

Busy IT shops — especially those with large enterprise systems — may not have enough human resources to effectively deploy SOA-aware and cloud-driven systems. IT managers, analysts, and architects will need to become business analysts, and spend a good deal of their time working with business units. They will either turn to third party firms either for assistance with SOA and cloud providers, or to take on IT-centric tasks to free up IT to better pursue SOA and cloud service provisioning.

Infrastructures based on cloud SOA principles will lower the barrier of entry for outsourcing providers, which will in turn multiply their numbers, heightening competition and lowering prices. This will energize the outsourcing market.

The growing standardization and “hot-swappability” of cloud services and SOA-aware components makes it easier to outsource — perhaps as cloud-based services — pieces of the IT infrastructure. This may make outsourcing less of the onerous either/or business decision it has been, as chunks of applications or services can be outsourced or brought in house as the situation fits, with minimal disruption to IT operations and priorities. As a result, we’ll see more “micro-outsourcing” and less big-ticket-turn-the-whole-operation-over types of deals.


Caltex workers protest outsource plans

July 29th, 2011

Workers at Brisbane’s Caltex refinery have protested against the outsourcing of maintenance work that will cost up to 26 local jobs.

The electrical maintenance workers held a Friday lunchtime protest at the Lytton refinery, Electrical Trades Union (ETU) organiser Garry Rogers says.

In May, Caltex announced it was outsourcing its refinery maintenance work to a company called PSN Wood Group.

All ETU members on site would be made redundant.

Mr Rogers said they were being asked to choose between redundancy, being part of a small group retained in another part of the company or to be interviewed with the PSN Wood Group.

‘Caltex has been so determined and arrogant that it even locked all ETU officials out of the site this week, even those with right of entry passes,’ he said.

‘So much for consultation and the right of workers to representation at this difficult and unsettling time.’

A Caltex spokesman said the company did not lock out any union representatives.

‘Union officials must give 24 hours notice before entering site,’ he said.

‘We did not receive any such notice.’

Caltex says there was an extensive consultation process, which included flying union delegates to Sydney for talks.

‘Caltex has engaged with employees and their representatives throughout this process,’ the spokesman said.

‘We provided everyone involved an opportunity to present alternative proposals that would achieve the same improvements in efficiency and reliability, however no viable options were put forward.’

Employees who had expressed a preference about accepting a redundancy package or continuing work in another capacity had been accommodated where possible.


What is the Value of Outsourced IT Services

July 29th, 2011

Running a business in the modern day means a proficient IT department is often necessary for companies of varying sizes. However, this can prove difficult when you do not have the funding to staff an entire IT department, nor do you have the knowledge required to tackle the matter yourself. An ideal solution is to outsource IT services in London to the professional and highly skilled team here at ihotdesk as we are on hand to deliver excellent results that could prove invaluable to your business.

We have been a fundamental component of many businesses in and around London since 1999 through our ability to undertake all manner of IT services and support. In recent times we have been able to further our level of support through the introduction of aiding and overseeing telephone systems. Outsourcing will provide a different value depending on the size and nature of your business; read on as we take you through what outsourcing your IT services could mean for your company.

For Small Businesses

Keeping overheads as low as possible will most likely be at the forefront of your mind which may prevent you from taking on another member of staff. Smaller companies may find IT support isn’t required on a full time basis which can lead to difficulty in employing a suitable candidate. Outsourcing to us is ideal because we can work efficiently and expertly on your IT requirements for the hours that you need us to.

For Large Businesses

The IT processes involved with the successful day to day running of a large business are both complex and plentiful; ensure these procedures are completed to the highest of standards by taking advantage of our expert service. The smooth running of a business is dependent upon many different factors, from efficient and accurate IT services to regular building maintenance London that keep the premises in optimum condition. If you think your business could benefit from the specialist service provided by the hard working, qualified and approachable team here at ihotdesk, simply search our website today for further information on our vast array of IT services in London.


Some Concerned over Planned TV Tower Management Outsourcing

July 29th, 2011

A group of media activists and journalists, joined by some opposition politicians, gathered on July 28 outside the Economy Ministry to demand transparency in ongoing auction for outsourcing management of a state-owned firm in charge of TV tower.

An online auction for taking over management rights of Alfa-Com, formerly the Georgian TeleRadioCenter, for a four-year period started on July 18 and will be closed at 5pm local time on August 1.

The starting price was GEL 100,000; there was only one bid made as of Thursday evening and the price is now set at GEL 110,000; this only bid was made on July 22. One of the terms for taking over the company’s management is to invest at least USD 12 million over next four years.

The state-owned company Alfa-Com manages 274-meter high TV tower in Tbilisi and 35 other smaller towers throughout the country, serving more than 30 radio and 16 TV stations.

Nino Jangirashvili, owner and director of Tbilisi-based Kavkasia TV, is spearheading the campaign against the auction.

She says that there are several concerns about the government’s plans; one, she said, is related to future fees the televisions will have to pay after a private company takes over the management.

Jangirashvili says that her television channel now pays about GEL 3,300 per month as it has one transmitter and one relay server for live streaming on the TV tower. It will be a serious financial burden for small television stations if the fee goes up, she said.

Law on broadcasting obliges the Georgian TeleRadioCenter (in the law the company is still referred with its previous name; the firm was renamed into Alfa-Com on July 4) to secure “non-discriminative and equal access” to its infrastructure for all the broadcasters and to also secure “non-discriminative fees” for all of its clients.

The opponents say that they are also concerned over lack of information about the ongoing auction; Jangirashvili said that she had applied to the Economy Ministry as a potential investor willing to learn more about the state-owned firm and the infrastructure it was running, but was denied in receiving more details other than those indicated in the auction announcement.

“That makes me think that the auction is a mere formality and they [the authorities] already know to whom they will hand [management of Alfa-Com] – it will be someone with close links to them [the authorities],” she said.

Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Vera Kobalia, dismissed opponents concerns saying that the process “is fully transparent.”

“Any company can participate in the auction; 12 million should be invested and any company, which is ready to improve service and install new equipment, can obtain the management rights,” she said.

Opponents of the government’s decision also suggest that the decision to auction management rights of Alfa-Com might also be related to Georgia’s commitment to switch from analogue to digital broadcasting by mid-2015.

The model of the switchover is not yet clear and it has yet to be defined who’s going to broadcast the digital signal and whether a producer of a program will also have the right to broadcast it. Opponents fear that the authorities are now preparing ground for creating a monopoly in charge of broadcasting the digital signal when the switchover happens after four years.


Colonie votes tonight on outsourcing landfill operations

July 29th, 2011

Board members for the town of Colonie say they expect to vote tonight on a deal to outsource landfill operations to a local company.

The proposed deal with Waste Connections Inc.bizWatch Waste Connections Inc. Latest from The Business Journals County Waste names Schooler top local officialWaste Connections reports positive Q2 resultsWaste Connections announces Q1 earnings Follow this company would bring an up-front payment of $23 million, enough to wipe out $20 million of deficits that have hurt the town’s bond ratings.

This year, Waste Connections (NYSE: WCN) paid $299 million to acquire Clifton Park-based County Waste and Recycling Service Inc.bizWatch County Waste and Recycling Service Inc. Latest from The Business Journals County Waste names Schooler top local officialColonie hopes to land a landfill operatorCounty Waste will bid to run Colonie landfill Follow this company , one of the region’s largest trash haulers.

Colonie, with 82,000 residents, is the second-largest municipality in the region. It’s also a commercial hub, home to the area’s second-biggest shopping mall, the Wolf Road strip and a few of its largest office parks.

The town has studied its options for the landfill since last summer. A fifth public hearing on the matter is set for tonight, and a vote could come immediately after the hearing ends.

“I think we’re ready,” said Nancy Hernandez, a board member and deputy supervisor for the town.

“We’re gaining so much through this. They (Waste Connections) are coming in with things we don’t have and that we can’t afford,” she said. “If we don’t entertain this, we’re going to sink.”

The contract would last for at least 25 years, with a series of options to extend it at five-year increments.

“I’m comfortable with it,” said board member William Carl. “There are no loopholes. This won’t fix everything, but it certainly will help us now and for years down the road.”

Denise Sheehan, a Republican challenging supervisor Paula Mahan this fall, is urging the board to reject the deal.

Sheehan, former commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, questioned the town’s revenue estimates with the deal.

“Simply put, this deal stinks. It’s a Band-Aid solution with no long-term benefits for the town, its residents or businesses,” Sheehan said. “We will get a fraction of the money Waste Connections will make on this.”


100 jobs at risk in ABC outsourcing drive

July 29th, 2011

Some staff believe that the job losses could amount to 100 positions.

Media understands the ABC’s director of television Kim Dalton is going to announce the end of a raft of ABC-produced shows to add to the growing list he has already axed: Spicks and Specks, Talking Heads, Can We Help and the Hopman Cup.

In a letter delivered to Mr Scott yesterday, staff said the quality of Australian content was at risk. “Under the current mixed model of production, ABC TV internal production staff and budgets have been steadily eroded. Starved of resources and opportunities, we are finding it increasingly difficult to deliver the quality content that the Australian public deserves.”

The letter was signed by TV production staff in Sydney.

Sources say up to 100 people, including camera operators, researchers, directors and producers in the television and resources division as well as regional production staff in Adelaide and Perth are set to be retrenched.

The model pursued by Mr Dalton, who has pursued a strategy of outsourcing ABC-produced shows to independent production houses, risks the broadcaster becoming merely a funding body, or a “mere facilitator of the private TV production market”, staff said in the letter.

The director of ABC TV Kim Dalton did not deny jobs or program cuts in a statement to Media in response to questions.

“Television is not a static business. Planning is ongoing around programming, the production slate and the management of resources. Programs may be cancelled – such as Talking Heads or Can We Help. Key talent may decide not to proceed with ongoing series – such as Maggie Beer and Cook And The Chef or Adam Hills and Spicks and Specks,” he said.

“Programs are moved in the schedule – such as Poh’s Kitchen. New programs are commissioned – such as the drama Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, the comedy At Home With Julia or the sports show Marngrook Footy Show.

“ABC TV’s primary objective is always to deliver the best quality and diverse service it can to its audiences.”

The staff wrote: “We also firmly believe that for the ABC to continue to deliver quality Australian television content it must afford its staff the opportunity to create innovative, value for money content.”

The staff letter called for an audit of the relative costs of internal versus external production has been ignored by Mr Scott.

“We believe that the current bias shown for external production is based on the false premise that we are less efficient,” the staff said.

“External studies have in the past demonstrated this not to be the case. Before the ABC further dismantles internal production we urge you to address the questions that were presented to you in the open letter of 27 May 2011.”

Channel Ten is also cutting costs and has announced an ongoing program of redundancies of 100 positions.


Outsourcing lobbyist registration draws controversy

July 29th, 2011

The Legislature’s latest privatization effort is drawing attention from lobbyists and the news media, and for very different reasons.

In a little-noticed action, lawmakers rewrote their rules last session and added a provision to outsource the Office of Lobbyist Registration.

But months earlier, e-mails show, a private, for-profit group, the Florida Press Association, was in informal talks with a key legislative staffer on the subject. The group lobbies on behalf of newspapers, whose reporters are among the most intense lobbyist-watchers in the state.

The lobbyist registration office has only three workers, but its output is monitored closely by everyone who follows state government, because it records registrations of thousands of lobbyists and their clients, as well as compensation reports lobbyists have been required to file since 2006.

The mountain of data is stored in an aging mainframe computer that legislative technical experts say costs $2 million a year to maintain. The idea is to shut off the computer and hire a private firm that can modernize the lobbyist website for less money while turning a profit, too.

Privatizing lobbyist reporting was in part the brainchild of Steve MacNamara, who was chief of staff to Senate President Mike Haridopolos at the time. MacNamara is now Gov. Rick Scott’s chief of staff.

“Steve’s the person who told me he was thinking about it originally,” said Talbot (Sandy) D’Alemberte, a former Florida State University president and a registered lobbyist and attorney for the Florida Press Association. “I told him I thought it made a hell of a lot of sense.”

Last December, the press group’s general counsel, Sam Morley, began lobbying for the project in a series of e-mails to MacNamara.

MacNamara declined to comment for this article. MacNamara and D’Alemberte are long-time friends.

Dean Ridings, president of the Florida Press Association, said his group would make the service more user-friendly by putting lobbyist information online immediately. Under the current system, information is updated once a day. Ridings called the current website “cumbersome” and envisioned interactive computer kiosks where lobbyists could update their registrations and the public could view the data “in real time.”

The Florida Press Association employs a team of five lobbyists, including Ridings.

The group has in recent years blocked proposed legislation that would allow local governments’ legal notices to be posted on web sites, rather than in newspapers. The change would have reduced newspaper industry revenues at a time of great change and stress for the industry.

Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, who sponsored the bill last session, complimented the Florida Press Association for its willingness to work with him on a compromise proposal to be considered next year.

But Workman said he thought it was a bad idea for a firm with lobbyists to be in charge of lobbyist registration.

“They should either recuse themselves or get rid of their lobbyists,” Workman said.

Another business interested in seeking the outsourcing venture is Lobbytools, a legislative information and news service. President Sarah Iarussi said she wanted to know more about what the Legislature wants.

The Senate has crafted an invitation to negotiate or ITN, a form of bid that allows vendors to shape the proposal, rather than merely comply with state-issued requirements. Under an ITN, the state is not obligated to accept the lowest-price proposal. The House is reviewing the ITN.


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