Archive for February, 2012

Solon bares shift of corruption to IT projects

February 29th, 2012

A lawmaker said on Tuesday that with the rapid demise of huge filing cabinets and tons of paper in data storage, document processing and management in government agencies due to digitization and full computerization of government database and document processing systems, corruption and “under-the-table” negotiations now appear to be also shifting to government contracts involving multimillion-peso Information Technology (IT) projects.

“What makes corruption in IT projects nearly undetectable is the fact that with the exception of those employed as IT professionals, the technical intricacies in IT such as software and hardware specifications, are almost alien to most non-IT people, and that includes heads of the country’s government agencies that relies heavily on IT-driven services,” said Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento.

He noted that many corrupt practices in the bureaucracy, particularly in public works projects, have been stamped out because of the reforms and relentless anti-corruption campaign of the Aquino administration.

However, due to its highly technical nature, IT has remained an attractive playground for government contractors trying to pull a fast one against the government and the Filipino taxpayers, he added.

Sarmiento made this revelation as he raised deep concern over reports that some IT companies are in connivance with IT specialists of some government agencies “in order to turn IT projects into virtual milking cows without regard to existing procurement regulations and national security protocols.”

The Visayan lawmaker cited the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) recent manner of conducting and awarding past and recently opened bids from previous years and early this month.

The project requires the simple management and maintenance of already existing database servers by a private IT company whereas it would be cheaper and more secure if this is run by the BIR itself.

Besides, Sarmiento said that entrusting the BIR’s Integrated Tax System which is embedded with highly sensitive information to a private firm could be in violation of BIR’s charter.

“It is questionable as to why the BIR needed to outsource its data center providers which the taxpayers pay hundreds of millions (of pesos) per year when in fact, it would be a lot cheaper and more secure to maintain its own data servers,” he said.

Sarmiento said outsourcing data management and processing of sensitive state information such as the tax information of every tax paying citizen “raises concern on the fidelity of the BIR in securing such sensitive information and could be violating its own charter.”

He noted reports of alleged monopolization of a single company called PHILCOX Inc. in multimillion-peso IT projects at the BIR.

“In fairness to (BIR) Commissioner (Kim) Henares whom I know as a person of unquestionable integrity, I think that she too is a victim of this scheme in IT because based on my information, PHILCOX has been around at the BIR even during the past administration. I really think that she should investigate deeper,” the Western Samar solon said.

Based on records, PHILCOX has bagged no less than 17 IT contracts from the BIR alone.

In December 2011 alone, three out of four IT projects that were bidded out were all bagged by PHILCOX in a single day. A failed bidding was declared on the fourth project but PHILCOX had secured the project when it was re-bidded last February 6, said Sarmiento.


Senator John Kerry to Address Challenges Facing U.S. Businesses at Harvey Nash Leadership Event

February 29th, 2012

Harvey Nash, a global executive search, professional recruitment and IT outsourcing service provider, will host its annual Leadership Lecture: What Lies Ahead for American Business. The March 2nd event features Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who will discuss the growing need for American innovation to compete and win in the 21st Century global economy. The executive audience will hear from Kerry and Harvey Nash leadership on topics including sustained job creation, deficit reduction, balanced international trade, affordable health care coverage, financial stability and economic stimulus.

With a focus on placing top IT and executive talent for American business, Harvey Nash executives Robert J. Miano, Harvey Nash USA President & CEO, and Albert Ellis, Harvey Nash Global CEO, will share insight into where jobs are now, what technology skills employers are seeking despite high unemployment levels, and what the U.S. can do to address its shrinking talent pool. They will join Kerry in addressing more than 200 top executives from J.P. Morgan Chase, Credit Suisse, Facebook, Hearst, McGraw Hill, Conde Nast, WPP, Dell Computer Corporation, Equifax, Associated Press, The Economist, CNN, Viacom, Starwood Hotels, Pfizer, Cushman & Wakefield, Oracle and Accenture, among others.

“If we’re going to out-compete the rest of the world tomorrow, we have to out-innovate them today, and that starts by facing our fiscal challenge honestly and intelligently, creating the business and economic environment we need to create jobs, drive innovation, spur investment, and compete in the global marketplace,” said Sen. Kerry.

“We look forward to hearing Senator Kerry’s insight into the state of American business. Because of his role as Chairman of the Communications, Technology, and the Internet subcommittee of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, he brings a unique perspective on how to overcome obstacles and what’s next for U.S. business,” said Miano.

He continued, “Among other things, our event will address jobs and the economy, the biggest factors affecting the success of U.S. businesses today. A major contributor to our weakened economy is not the lack of jobs, but rather the lack of talent. Contributing to this skill shortage, we see workers leaving the job supply, fewer college graduates in technology, and laws that make it difficult to bring talent into the U.S. Unless we change course, the U.S. is looking at slow 2-3 percent growth for the next 18 months.”

The Harvey Nash Leadership Lecture: What Lies Ahead for American Business will take place at The Plaza Hotel on Friday, March 2, 2012 from 8:00–10:00 a.m. General attendance is limited and by invitation only. Walk-ins not accepted. To request an invitation, contact Matthew Leva at 973-646-2112. Credentialed members of the media are invited to register by contacting Ann Warren.


3 IT Trends At World-Class Banks

February 29th, 2012

The ongoing European financial crisis and overall economic downturn have driven banks to reprioritize their technology investments and raised a renewed sense of urgency around optimizing operations. For large banks that have staff, customers, vendors, and operations spread across the globe, that means moving in unison across multiple markets to operate more efficiently on a global scale while still enabling flexibility that powers innovative, valuable products for local customers.

According to Judd Holroyde, SVP and head of global product management and delivery at San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, the key to becoming a successful global bank depends on evolving your overall operating model, and a big part of that is taking a proactive approach to identifying and implementing technology while exploring the best ways to standardize, outsource, and maintain a consistent customer experience. “I don’t think any banks are completely there today,” he says. “But do I think they are heading there quickly? Yes.”

Although one clear path to globalization does not exist, financial industry experts agree on a few areas where banks should focus their attention in order to optimize global opportunities and achieve world-class distinction.

1. Strive for Standardization With (Not too Much) Flexibility

In the new global environment, it’s not feasible for financial institutions to support very complex, siloed operations and platforms, according to Likhit Wagle, GBS banking leader at IBM. “That sort of complexity makes it very difficult to manage the business and bring new products to the market, and it’s more expensive,” he explained. A more streamlined approach across the globe enables banks to take advantage of economies of scale, drive down overall cost-to-income ratios, and increase speed to market.

That’s where industrialization–simplifying a bank’s operating model through the standardization of products, processes and technology across markets–comes in, said Fiaz Sindu, an executive with Accenture’s core banking services group. Key to industrialization is “ensuring that the manufacturing, fulfillment, and servicing that go with a bank’s products are centralized across multiple segments,” he explains. “Whether it’s retail banking or wholesale banking, there needs to be a common engine underneath that supports those segments.”


Dept of Climate Change tests waters on IT outsourcing

February 29th, 2012

The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency is contemplating the move of its entire IT infrastructure to an outsourced managed services model to support existing business applications and websites.

The department handles policy and program implementation for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promotes energy efficiency and adapting to climate change, and contributes to global climate change reform.

The agency has expressed interest in a managed services environment that can manage the operation of business systems and the transition of existing systems from a legacy environment to the new platform.

The hosting environment will include four IT service delivery models – software, platform, infrastructure and desktop services.

“The department is a current user of Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft SharePoint applications,” departmental documents read. “The department is interested in the availability of these applications on a SaaMS [software as a managed service] basis for up to 1000 internal departmental users.”

The platform as a managed service (PaaMS) must have pre-configured server components together with testing environments for the development and deployment of business applications. It will include server and storage services with a ‘per-server, per-month’ billing model.

The infrastructure as a managed service (IaaMS) component must provide access to computing services such as processing, storage and network connections and will be used for specialist and unexpected workloads.

The department will also introduce a virtual desktop infrastructure for a significant portion of the agency which will operate Microsoft Windows 7, Office 2010 and Lync.

“The department is interested in providers who have the capability to take on the virtual desktop infrastructure in addition to the platform hosting services environment if required,” departmental documents read.

“In this case, the platform hosting provider may be asked to take on the ongoing management and operation of the virtual desktop infrastructure.

“Alternatively, the department or its representatives may choose to take on the management and operation of this infrastructure.”

The department runs 20 business applications on approximately 300 virtual servers which handle commercial transactions and require high levels of reliability and availability.

“Organisations dealing with the department expect a high level of assurance that departmental systems will be available when required to lodge registrations and submissions and process high-value transactions in responsive and reliable way,” departmental documents read.

“In the future, the department may be required to support business applications with a considerably higher transaction workload than the current quarterly reporting cycle.

“The department requires a platform hosting services architecture that can scale to meet the potential requirements for high-intensity transactional throughput.”

The department also expects full visibility of the infrastructure from the computing and hardware to the network devices and appliances. However, it must comply with the Australian Government requirements for data handling for National Security Agencies with a protected classification level and privacy markings.

“It is expected that all applications should be migrated from the existing environment to the new platform hosting services solution by the end of January 2013.”


Infosys Warns on Business Climate

February 29th, 2012

Infosys Ltd. expects its outsourcing business to face as tough a time next fiscal year as it did this year, with the global economic uncertainty making customers go slow on spending.

Clients are likely to continue committing smaller portions of their technology budgets for shorter periods in the fiscal year starting April 1, Chief Financial Officer V. Balakrishnan said Tuesday. But, like this fiscal year, there may not be much visibility into the long-term spending plans of clients for next year also, he added.

The views of India’s second-largest software exporter by sales are in contrast with those of its larger rival, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., which earlier this month said its clients have started spending on projects after a brief pause at the end of 2011.

Infosys has been maintaining a cautious stance on its growth prospects through most parts of this fiscal year, as major outsourcing markets of the U.S. and Europe faced slow economic growth and a spiralling sovereign-debt crisis.

The Bangalore-based bellwether outsourcing company sharply scaled down its forecast for growth in dollar-denominated sales for the financial year twice in the last six months.

The European economy is in a “mess” and it will take a long time to fix it, Mr. Balakrishnan said. Also, businesses fear that the signs of a recovery in the U.S. may not indicate a sustainable economic rebound, he said, adding that clients may remain cautious in such an environment.

Mr. Balakrishnan’s comments echoed the tone of India’s main software trade body, which earlier this month warned of slower sales growth for the sector next fiscal year.

Mr. Balakrishnan said the key thing to watch for in 2012 is the clients’ intention to spend. “That will decide our guidance in April.”

Despite the uncertainty, the Mumbai-and Nasdaq-listed technology major continued to sign up new projects with clients–it signed four to five projects worth over $50 million each so far in the January-March period. But, clients–across business segments and geographies–remain cautious of spending on new projects, he said.

He expects sales in the January-March quarter to be flat compared with the $1.806 billion recorded in the previous three months.

Still, sales expansion next fiscal year may be spurred by the financial services and retail business segments as well as better growth in Europe, where clients are increasingly looking to trim costs and remain lean, he said.


World Bank-sponsored ICT Programme Trains 1,000 Graduates

February 29th, 2012

The World Bank, through the Assessment of Core Competence for Employability in Services Sector (ACCESS) Nigeria project, is funding and training over 1000 young Nigerian graduates with requisite skills to make them more employable in the Information Communication Technology (ICT] Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and the Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) sectors. These graduates have completed the mandatory National Youth Service Corp program are currently being trained for 10 weeks across five cities in Abuja, Enugu, Kaduna, Kano, and Lagos.

The World Bank is embarking on this program in collaboration with its Industry partner the Outsourcing Development Initiative of Nigeria (ODIN).

ODIN is a World Bank sponsored initiative with the mandate to promote the growth of the BPO and ITES sectors in Nigeria, with a view of positioning Nigeria as an alternative offshoring destination of choice for companies the world over looking to outsource their non-core functions.

The ACCESS Nigeria programme, which is currently in its pilot/test phase, is a capacity development programme aimed at human capital development. This involves a three-pronged approach starting from assessment, training and certification for job placement for graduate applicants. The programme has a focus on skills and jobs in the high-potential areas of ICT, BPO and ITES and the outsourcing industry as a whole. The World Bank notes that without first acquiring these basic foundational skills, it will be difficult for youths to break into the new job market.

At the launch of ACCESS-Nigeria program recently in Abuja, the Country Director, World Bank Nigeria, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly said “Skills gap is a hurdle in job creation. This fact came out strongly in a report the World Bank commissioned in 2009-10 on growth and employment in Nigeria. What the study showed comprehensively is that there is a strong potential for job creation in the ICT area and services area. But one of the hurdles to realizing the potential is the skills gap. This was a key driver behind the development of ACCESS Nigeria program.”

ACCESS, which is initially focusing on foundational skills, is targeting the creation of thousands of jobs in the BPO industry in the short and medium terms. The ICT and ITES sectors in Nigeria has the potential to create hundreds and thousands of jobs, as well as act as a catalyst f or economic and socio-economic revitalization, with the proper foundation and enabling environment being first laid to nurture and to grow these sectors.

It is expected that, in the short term, hundreds of sustainable demand-driven jobs can be created for the graduates under the ACCESS-Nigeria program in such areas as call centers, data processing and management, software and applications development, as well as entry level jobs in other non-IT sectors.


Icreon Excels in iPad Application Development Solutions

February 28th, 2012

Providing complete satisfaction, Icreon has become one of the renowned leaders in providing mobile application development solutions in India. The company has excelled in the art of developing unique and creative iPad application development solutions. Whether there is a need to develop a new iPad application or to upgrade iPhone applications to iPad, the iPad app developers will design an effective strategy on to which the entire development process will take place.

Every iPad development project is assisted by experienced iPad application developers who understand the complexities involved in iPad projects. Hence, they ensure to design and develop an iPad solution that is not only technically sound but also aesthetically wonderful. The iPad development team provides initial consultation to understand the specific requirements and then prepare a strategy to build intuitive, interactive yet unique iPad applications.

“The competitive scenario demands a business to develop a solution that is scalable to meet the changing business environment. Therefore, we develop a solution from scratch, upgrade the existing iPhone apps as well as integrate third party apps for better performance“, says Mr. Sandeep Sawhney, VP Technology, Icreon.

The iPad developers are adept in latest technological advancements and have in-depth understanding of complexities involved in iPad development process. The clients can choose to hire dedicated iPad developers and can also hire full-fledged iPad development team. The custom iPad development solution will have flexible pricing models and will be ready to launch in the market in the shorter period of time.


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