Archive for April, 2012

The NFL thrives on big, except in IT

April 30th, 2012

The NFL may have big stadiums, big players and big games, but when it comes to its IT operation, Nancy Galietti, the NFL’s vice president of IT, does not use the word big.

The NFL runs three data centers of about 2,000 square feet each or server rooms as Galietti refers to them. The IT operation supports business functions, a growing film collection, statistics on players, and a looming foray into Big Data.

Galietti is modest about the scope of the NFL’s IT operation, but not about the job.

“It’s a privilege to work for them — we have such a fun product,” Galietti said.

It turns out that many other people want to work for the NFL’s IT department as well. The department has about 50 employees and when openings are advertised piles of resumes will pour in.

Galietti has to readjust expectations of some applicants who believe they’ll be doing more than IT.

“You have to love being an engineer, because that’s what you’re going to be doing. Everybody thinks they are going to suit up and play,” she said with a chuckle.

The NFL corporate offices are based in New York, and Galietti was at a small get-together recently with some IBM executives to talk about projects to improve the efficiency of her IT operations.

Although the NFL itself is a large enterprise, the teams have their owners and their independent IT operations, although IT staffs from NFL corporate spend a lot of time on the road helping out with events.

The IT goal, Galietti said, is to keep operational cost flat to meet demand for new services. To accomplish that, the NFL has virtualized 95% of it servers and is using virtualization to expand capacity without having to expand hardware usage.

“We’re going to try to stay at the level of virtualization because it gives you maximum flexibility,” she said.

IBM was hired to help improve the efficiency of its operations through virtualization, standardization, and use of a private cloud. The move to private cloud services also set the foundation for using public cloud resources as they mature, Galietti said.

Most of the cost savings will come through cost avoidance, by getting more out of the NFL’s existing infrastructure, she said.

Steve Sams, IBM vice president of site and facilities, said a study the company did of more than 300 customers found that only about one in five were operating at the highest level of efficiency, spending less than 50% of their IT budgets on keeping the data center operational.

The data center efficiency numbers were compared against the company’s balance sheet, Sams said. The companies that also ran the most efficient data centers, also had “significantly higher profits,” he said.

The most efficient data centers had virtualized their servers and storage. The leaders, according to IBM’s study, managed 8.2 virtual machines per server versus 4.5 virtual machines for “basic data centers.”

The study also found, for instance, that 92% of the most efficient data centers were using deduplication technologies, and were automating almost anything they could.

For Galietti, improving the NFL’s IT department sets the groundwork for an expanding role.

The NFL is developing what Galietti referred to as a statistics initiative, or what might be called Big Data. What types of data it may collect is uncertain, but the NFL has ample opportunity to collect more data, and has tested, for instance, a biometric shirt that measures heart and breathing rates. The NFL has also considered RFID tags in footballs, and processors in helmets.

“My role in the organization is to provide an efficient, cost-effective infrastructure services,” Galietti said. And by keeping cost flat, her IT department is earning the right to bring more value to the organization.

Source:http://www.techworld.com.au/article/423102/nfl_thrives_big_except_it/?fp=16&fpid=1

Mindcrackers to outsource part of its IT services to Web media makers

April 30th, 2012

Web Media makers, a leading global IT Service Provider, have signed a three year outsourcing border agreement of IT infrastructure services. As part of this agreement, Web Media Makers will provide data centre, end user maintenance, and network services and professional IT services to company.

Approximately 80 MindCrackers employees globally are within the scope of the planned outsourcing. Transferring MindCrackers employees are expected to move to Web Media Makers upon closing, which is expected to take place at the end of August 2012, subject to signing of local transfer agreements and ordinary closing conditions.

With this engagement web media makers aim to increase scalability and flexibility as well as ensure access to world class capabilities and best practices.

“Web Media Makers has proven experience in delivering complex, end-to-end outsourcing engagements to globally isolated organizations. We are pleased that this expertise has today positioned us as Mind Crackers partner of choice for IT services.

“Through this engagement we will aim to optimize and transform Mind Crackers IT infrastructure to ensure improved and cost-efficient IT operations,” added Ved tiwari, CEO of Web media makers.

Source:http://www.openpr.com/news/219306/Mindcrackers-to-outsource-part-of-its-IT-services-to-Web-media-makers.html?SID=ca64d763c4edc00bd53fa47960d812b5

Catalyst Names Wipro IT Business CEO TK Kurien Chair of Catalyst India Advisory Board and Solidifies Expanding Presence in India Inc.

April 30th, 2012

Catalyst, a global organization dedicated to expanding opportunities for women and business, has announced that TK Kurien, CEO – IT Business and Executive Director, Wipro Limited, will serve as chair of the Catalyst India Advisory Board. Celebrating its 50th anniversary globally this year, Catalyst is building on its presence in India, where vital economic growth and a significant influx of educated women are transforming markets and workforces and opening doors to new opportunities for working women.

Wipro, a leading global information technology, consulting and outsourcing company headquartered in India, and Pitney Bowes Inc., a global provider of customer communications technology, are Founding Supporters of Catalyst in India and have made important contributions to support Catalyst’s effort to accelerate the advancement of working women in corporate India.

Led by Mr. Kurien, the Catalyst India Advisory Board (CIAB) assembles respected business leaders at India-headquartered corporations and India subsidiaries of global multinationals aligned with Catalyst’s vision and goals, who will offer strategic counsel to further Catalyst’s mission in India’s dynamic marketplace.

“Business leaders in India seek to leverage female talent and leadership in their workforces and to do it in ways that respect local norms and cultures,” said Ilene H. Lang, President and CEO of Catalyst. “We’re honored to have the generous support and commitment of Wipro and Pitney Bowes, which will greatly accelerate our impact in India and help scale our operations to meet India’s global challenges and opportunities.”

“Wipro is proud to be a founding supporter of Catalyst India, and I am delighted to chair its India board of advisors,” said TK Kurien, CEO – IT Business and Executive Director, Wipro Limited. “With its research expertise and global-local perspective, we believe Catalyst is uniquely positioned to support the work companies in India are already doing to develop women, tap their leadership potential, and create inclusive workspaces. Catalyst’s mission strongly aligns with our values, and we are committed to supporting this effort.”

Murray D. Martin, Chairman, President and CEO of Pitney Bowes, noted, “For more than 60 years, diversity and inclusion have been recognized as business imperatives for us at Pitney Bowes. We have been working with Catalyst for over 20 years because its vision and advocacy for women and business mirrors our own passionate belief in leveraging the best talent to serve our markets. We are proud to join with respected market leader Wipro in supporting the expansion of Catalyst into India, one of the world’s fastest-growing centers of economic activity.” Today, two women are responsible for over 90 percent of Pitney Bowes’s revenue and earnings, and women comprise 25 percent of the company’s Board of Directors, and 40 percent of its global workforce.

Marking its 50th anniversary in 2012, on April 30th in Bangalore, Catalyst and invited business leaders will celebrate at a special event, Celebrating Communities That Count. As part of the celebration, Ms. Lang will moderate a discussion with Mr. Kurien on “The Future of Leadership.” This celebration is one of several that Catalyst is holding in regions where it has a presence during its 50th anniversary year.

Source:http://www.marketwatch.com/story/catalyst-names-wipro-it-business-ceo-tk-kurien-chair-of-catalyst-india-advisory-board-and-solidifies-expanding-presence-in-india-inc-2012-04-30

Harvey Nash buoyed by UK and Nordic markets

April 30th, 2012

Recruitment consultancy and IT outsourcing service provider Harvey Nash revealed a robust set of annual results amid strong demand from its UK and Nordic markets.

The group said it gained significant market share in the Nordics and the UK, with robust demand for flexible labour continuing despite uncertainty in the euro zone.

UK & Ireland exceeded expectations with operating profit up 19%, while Germany and the Nordic region underpinned a 59% rise in operating profit from Europe.

The group, which operates from 39 offices in the US, Europe and Asia, said total revenue for the year ended 31 January 2012 rose to £533m from £422m the year before while pre-tax profit rose 35% to £8.5m. Gross profit climbed 15% to £78.5m and operating profit surged 41% to £9m.

Commenting on current trading CEO Albert Ellis said, “We are seeing the benefits of our focus both on high growth technology markets and on the robust economies of Northern Europe.”

“We made significant market share gains which delivered an increase in operating profit of 19% in the UK despite the widely reported weakness in the recruitment market and a 59% increase in operating profit in Europe against a background of uncertainty over the euro zone. All of this growth is organic.”

The group said current trading is in line with company expectations and it looks forward to expanding its geographical footprint in Asia in the coming year.

Harvey Nash has recommended a 10% increase in final dividend to 1.635p per share.

Source:http://www.sharecast.com/cgi-bin/sharecast/story.cgi?story_id=20062733

How ‘outsourcing’ taints India’s contribution to US

April 30th, 2012

In the current doom and gloom around India’s economic scenario, even the good tends to get lost. The increasing presence of Indian companies in the United States and the role they play is a story largely unappreciated because it is untold.

And no, it is not only the information technology companies although IT was the banner under which Indian companies initially made their presence felt. But over the past 15 years Indian enterprises in a variety of sectors, ranging from pharmaceuticals to health care and manufacturing, have planted their feet in 40 of the 50 states in the US. They have invested more than $820 million since 2005, done 72 mergers and acquisitions, saving and sustaining thousands of American jobs. They engage with the local economy and quietly do their bit.

But the dominant feeling about Indian companies remains tainted by one word – outsourcing. That the US is struggling with a recessionary economy and high unemployment with politicians desperate to find something/someone to blame doesn’t help. It is America’s “foreign hand” syndrome. Add to it the current anti-immigrant sentiment, the new state laws against illegal immigrants and the flap over H1-B visas for Indian IT companies and you have a narrative that suits election-year politics of us and them.

But facts are in favour of Indian companies and the growing Indo-US relationship. A survey of 36 Indian companies in the US shows they employ 52,000 workers and a majority bolstered their presence since 2005 and despite the economic downturn. In some sectors such as travel and hospitality, 99 percent of the workers employed are local. For pharmaceuticals the figure is 83 percent while for manufacturing, 91 percent.

Even though the local employment figure for the IT industry – the big “bad” guy of outsourcing – is 39 percent, it translates to 280,000 direct and indirect jobs which are not sniff-worthy in a weak economic environment.

Last week, the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) released a report on Capitol Hill about the impressive presence of Indian companies here. More than 20 US Congressmen and senators showed up, made gratifying speeches and repeated their commitment to the Indo-US partnership. Hopefully they will tell others not to fan the flames against foreign workers. Ambassador Nirupama Rao couldn’t have been more direct in stressing the need to “acknowledge the role of Indian companies in times of economic turbulence.”

But Indian companies also need to think hard why their story is getting lost. Is it because they are unable to clearly articulate, devise and send the message that they are job creators, not job stealers? If they are indeed taking “Corporate Social Responsibility” initiatives, why aren’t local American newspapers writing about them? I can take a guess — it is because most of the CEOs don’t talk and are typically diffident/arrogant (my work speaks for myself)/unimaginative and unresponsive.

In the age of YouTube and social media, there is no excuse for a good message not going “viral.” You may not even need a traditional public relations firm for the job if you have a few bright young things in the office not weighed down by hierarchy and awe of superiors.

There are many good examples to pick from. Working in Nevada, HCL improved the state’s child support payment system, which was drowning in thousands of cash payments and processing of 450,000 documents every year. A great story about how an Indian company helped go after “dead beat dads” or made a difference in the lives of young children. Infotech developed a compact ECG monitoring system – the size of a pen drive — to measure heart rates at home and for doctors to check a patient remotely. Cheap and typically “jugaadoo,” it is another great story but you won’t read about it except in the barest of detail in the NASSCOM report.

Then there are other issues, which few Americans know or acknowledge — that Indian IT companies pay over a $1 billion annually in social security taxes in the US. Between 2006 and 2011, IT employees (yes, the H1-B and L-1 visa holders) and employers (Wipro, TCS, Infosys and others) paid a whopping $15 billion to the US Treasury in payroll, social security and income tax. It is not just feeding off a system but also paying into it.

But when the H1-B brigade retires back in India, it won’t qualify for an American social security cheque. Why? Here’s the catch: the bulk of Indian workers come on a five-year H1-B visa but to get social security benefits, they should have worked here for 10 years or 40 quarters. But H1-B is granted only for five and the law says they must pay social security. The US Treasury benefits from the anomaly.

There would be no problem if India and the US had a “totalization agreement” which would avoid the unfairness. But whenever the Indian government has tried to push for an agreement, the US has simply stalled. The reason given is a bit of a red herring. Americans say they can’t send social security cheques to Indians because the Indian social security system is not in compliance with theirs. Besides, whatever goes in the name of social security in India does not apply universally to the entire workforce. Essentially, because the Indian system doesn’t work efficiently, the American can’t.

The fact that the Indian pension/provident funds are very similar and the government has schemes to give protection to the unorganised labor force, however spotty and inefficient, is simply ignored. Incidentally, India has signed such agreements with Germany and Switzerland, two countries surely not slack on rules.

Maybe Washington has no desire to pay social security to thousands of Indian workers when they turn 65 because it means an annual outflow of $1billion. But visa fees on H1-Bs keep climbing because the US Congress knows there is a long line of Indian workers waiting to come here.

Source:http://www.firstpost.com/world/how-outsourcing-taints-indias-contribution-to-us-292567.html

Private Equity Fund Manager Horizon Capital Invests Into an IT Company Ciklum

April 30th, 2012

Ciklum, an innovative IT outsourcing company specializing in nearshore software development in Eastern Europe, in Ukraine and Belarus, announced today that it has sold a minority stake to Horizon Capital, a regional private equity fund manager.

The funding for this deal comes from Horizon Capital’s Emerging Europe Growth Fund II (EEGF II), which was raised in 2008. The financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Ukraine’s IT outsourcing market has been demonstrating impressive cumulative average growth rates of 28% per annum during 2004-2011 and is forecasted to enjoy 20-25% growth rates per annum during 2012-2016 based on the continued cost advantage of highly skilled Ukrainian programmers.

Of Danish origin with the Head Office in Ukraine, Ciklum is an IT company with a unique business strategy. Ciklum establishes dedicated IT development teams to enable clients to work directly with developers to reach the highest level of productivity. With the development offices in Ukraine, Belarus, and Pakistan, Ciklum delivers a vast portfolio of outsourcing services that is designed especially for the client. While the client focuses on managing the process of software development, Ciklum takes care of all operational issues, including human resources management, IT infrastructure, and administrative and legal support. Ciklum even offers its clients help in selling their software product and/or services in the CIS region.

Torben Majgaard, Ciklum founder and CEO said:
“We are proud of our achievements over the past 10 years. The company has demonstrated excellent performance and growth. Horizon Capital has a strong understanding of our business and shares our vision and values which makes it the right partner for us in Ukraine. Our mutual priority will be to grow further as this is integral to our success. We look forward to leveraging Horizon Capital’s understanding of the Ukrainian environment as well as global trends and best practices to continue to innovate and grow the business.”

Denis Tafintsev, Partner of Horizon Capital, commented on the deal:
“Ciklum’s visionary founder together with its talented management team has developed an excellent company, and already secured a strong position in this sector, growing faster than the market. Ciklum’s model of dedicated teams puts the clients’ interest first, which creates long-term mutually beneficial partnerships with the clients. We are very excited to be investing in the business and look forward to working with Ciklum as it executes its ongoing growth strategy.

Source:http://www.pr.com/press-release/408410

Net Income Surges at Unisys – Analyst Blog

April 30th, 2012

Unisys Corporation ( UIS ) reported revenues of $928 million in the first quarter of 2012, up 2% from a year ago but down 6% sequentially. Foreign currency fluctuations did not have much of an impact on revenue in the quarter.

Services revenues increased 3% year over year due to growth in systems integration revenue. However, revenues from the U.S. federal business continue to decline posting a 20% decline in the quarter.

Excluding the U.S. Federal business, services revenue grew 7% from the year-ago quarter, driven by continued growth in IT outsourcing and systems integration revenue.
Services orders showed double-digit growth in the quarter, reflecting substantial order gains for outsourcing and infrastructure services. As of March 31, 2012, services backlog was $5.4 billion, down 6% from a year ago and down 1% sequentially.

Technology revenue declined 5% in the quarter driven by lower sales of third-party equipment.

Margins

Gross margin came in at 24.3%, down from 28.4% in the previous quarter, but up from 22.8% in the year-ago quarter. Operating margin came in at 6.9%, down from 12.3% in the previous quarter but up from 4.6% in the year-ago quarter.
Net income came in at $13.4 million or $0.30 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2012 compared to a net loss of $40.8 million or $0.95 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.

The results include a charge of $7.2 million related to debt reduction and $24.6 million of pension expense. Excluding these expenses, net income came in at $0.97 per diluted share.

Balance Sheet

Unisys generated $33 million of cash from operations in the first quarter of 2012, down from $28 million in the year-ago quarter. Capital expenditures in the first quarter of 2012 declined to $30 million compared with $43 million in the year-ago quarter.

The company ended the quarter with cash and equivalents of $654.7 million, down from $714.9 million at the end of the previous quarter. As part of its debt reduction program, Unisys completed its previously announced redemption of $66 million of outstanding senior notes. Unisys ended the quarter with a long-term debt of $295.5 million, down from $359.7 million at the end of the previous quarter.

Since September 2010, Unisys has reduced its debt nearly 2/3 or more than $540 million. The company is now 87% of the way towards its 2013 debt reduction goal. These actions, in turn, have reduced the company’s annual interest expense by $69 million.

The macro-economic conditions continue to be challenging. Hence, we continue to have a Zacks #4 Rank on the stock which translates into a short-term rating of Sell. Nevertheless, in the long run, we have a Neutral recommendation on the stock.

Source:http://community.nasdaq.com/News/2012-04/net-income-surges-at-unisys-analyst-blog.aspx?storyid=137275

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