Archive for November, 2012

EXL Names New Head of UK and Europe

November 30th, 2012

ExlService Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXLS), a leading provider of outsourcing and transformation services, today announced the appointment of Leo Curran as Senior Vice President, Head of UK and Europe. This appointment is among other investments planned to grow EXL’s business in the region.

“With Leo, EXL gains an outsourcing veteran well respected among buyers, analysts and advisors who will be instrumental in providing both internal and external leadership,” said Bill Bloom, President, Global Client Services, EXL. “Our client relationships within the UK and Europe are among our best, and EXL as a company has produced some of its most innovative solutions on behalf of our clients there. Our plan is to build a strong brand off the foundation of these tremendous assets in order to aggressively grow our business.”

Curran joins EXL from a leading IT outsourcing company, where he was Head of BPO for the UK and Ireland. In his previous role, he oversaw go-to-market BPO strategies and developed a strategic proposition for integrated BPO and ITO services, while increasing revenue and profitability. He will be based in London.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity that EXL has to expand its reach into the UK and European markets,” Curran said. “I am particularly impressed with the organization’s focus on meeting clients’ increasingly complex business needs. Working with our existing team, I look forward to showcasing how global services delivery, whether through operations management or decision analytics services, will help companies in this market achieve their goals.”

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TCS bags Rs 1,280-cr contract from UK

November 30th, 2012

TCS, India’s largest IT services company, on Wednesday said that it had bagged a multi-year contract from the UK government’s home office department to manage the technology requirements of its newly-formed Disclosure and Barring Service(DBS).

The company did not divulge the value of the contract. Sources said the contract, with an initial tenure of five years, is of £145 million ($232 million or Rs 1,285 crore). This may well make it one of the largest deals the company has bagged in Europe in recent years.

Media reports had earlier said UK-based back office services provider Capita had been in the fray for the contract.

As a part of the contract, TCS would enable transformation of DBS by introducing applications and online services, which will help in enhancing user experience. The Tata company will also build new integrated case management system to support seamless integration and information gathering between disclosure and barring services.

“Our proposed IT solution supports the UK government’s ‘digital by default’ initiative and fully meets the business objectives of DBS to modernise and transform its business,” said Shankar Narayanan, country head, UK & Ireland, TCS.

The company, which derives about 26 per cent of its revenues from Europe, has been fairly successful in the region in terms of winning large contracts.

In November last year, the company bagged a $2.2 billion (Rs 11,037 crore) outsourcing contract from UK-based pension provider Friends Life. That was said to be the second biggest contract for the company after the $2.8-billion (about Rs 12,542 crore) order it had bagged from the Citigroup in 2008.

In 2010, the company had bagged a 10-year IT outsourcing contract of £600-million (Rs 4,150 crore) from UK’s Personal Accounts Delivery Authority to administer the National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) scheme.

Some of TCS’s other government clients in the UK include Cardiff City Council, Child Maintenance Group (a division of Department for Work and Pensions), and The Big Lottery Fund.

In the quarter ended September 30, 2012, TCS had reported 5.7 per cent sequential growth in the UK, which contributed 17.1 per cent of the company’s total revenues.


IT services grows at best rate since 2008

November 30th, 2012

The year-on-year (YoY) growth of the IT services market grew by 4.4 percent in the first six months of 2012, according to analyst firm, IDC.

It was the biggest growth patch for the country since the first half of 2008.

According to the company’s IT Services Tracker, the local IT services market grew to $1.7 billion.

Outsourcing remained the largest segment in terms of revenues across IT services, growing by 5.1 percent (YoY), with hosted services and outsourced datacentre services going strong.

“Hosting services remain in high demand as both the market understanding and available solution portfolios are maturing,” says Louise Francis, senior analyst at IDC New Zealand. “This is shifting the conversation from initial infrastructure discussions to applications and specific business processes and workloads,”

Market share for the top IT service providers has remained unchanged from last year, with 10 companies accounting for 44.6 percent of the total IT services market.

But there was a reshuffle of market share of the top five competitors. According to IDC, Gen-i remains at the top with a share of 13.9 percent, as Datacom supplanted HP for second place, to achieve a 10.3 percent market share. IDC attributes this to high revenue growth in IT outsourcing and Datacom’s selection as one of three preferred vendors for the government’s infrastructure as a service (IaaS) work.

HP followed close behind with 3 percent of the market, while IBM took 7.4 percent and Dimension Data 3.2 percent.


Business profile: Steve Harris of Polymorph

November 30th, 2012

Alistair Houghton meets STEVE HARRIS, managing director of Polymorph

IN MANY ways, the success story of Steve Harris and Polymorph exemplifies what The Heath Business and Technical Park is all about.

Harris worked at the Runcorn site when it was still an ICI complex. And today, some 13 years later, he is back there running an IT services company that has worked for some of the biggest names in business and whose software is helping sailors battle pirates off East Africa.

Harris founded Polymorph in Widnes in 2000 to serve some of the chemicals firms that had themselves spun out of ICI. And, as his business grew and won clients in new sectors, Harris found himself drawn back to The Heath – today a thriving technology park.

Polymorph has, without borrowing or acquisitions, grown into one of the best-known independent operators in the North West IT sector.

Its services range from software development to web design, as well as IT support services. Its clients range from small firms to large organisations including Manchester Airport and Merseyside Police.

Polymorph may be a small player compared to the giants of the global IT outsourcing industry, but Harris says it has never struggled to win clients.

“We’ve got a great track record,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of good work for some very well-known organisations. We’re all about what we’ve done – we can compete with the big boys on that basis.

“We’ve worked for the EU Naval Force (NAVFOR). We’ve written software that sits on ships that are part of the NAVFOR fighting pirates off the coast of Somalia.

“And we’ve worked with the Royal Mint, for example. We’ve worked with some pretty big organisations across the UK and beyond.”

And Harris says he is still enjoying the challenge of taking on the “big boys” of IT at their own game.

“Most of the time it’s absolutely fantastic,” he said.

“There are some hard times as well, but most of the time I absolutely love it. I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”

CHESTER-BORN Harris graduated with a first-class degree from the University of Central Lancashire, in Preston, before heading into the IT industry. After working in Shropshire and Manchester, he joined ICI in 1996.

“I used to work here at The Heath for ICI – it seems like a long time ago,” he recalled.

“ICI was selling up a lot of different businesses in the North West. I was part of ICI Technology, and as part of that divestment we were sold to an IT outsourcing company.”

Harris moved across to Atos Origin, where he was based for 11 months.

But as he watched other ex-ICI businesses find their feet as independent companies, he realised that they needed access to the kind of IT support they had at their former parent. So, in February 2000, aged 27, he founded Polymorph to offer them that support.

“I saw the opportunity at that time to pick up the ex-ICI businesses,” he remembered. “We picked up those businesses in the North West and beyond. That’s how we started, and we’ve grown from there.

“I left what was a well-paid job where I was. Looking back now, it was a big risk at the time, though I didn’t know it. But it was great.

“We borrowed no money – we won our first clients and went from there. And we’ve never borrowed since. We’ve done well.”

Polymorph’s first home was an office behind an ex-ICI site in Widnes.

“There was just a door between us and our first customer,” smiled Harris. “They kept coming in and asking for stuff.

“But it was next to a chemical manufacturing site, and we were starting to attract clients who weren’t ex-ICI such as Panasonic.”

The Widnes site was no longer suitable, so Harris moved the company back to The Heath.

By then, the team at SOG had begun their work transforming the site from a dated ICI base to a thriving technology park that is today recognised as one of the UK’s most successful private-sector led regeneration projects.

Individually, many of The Heath‘s tenants are small firms – but, in total, more people work at The Heath today than worked there when ICI was at its peak.

“It did feel strange coming back to The Heath,” recalls Harris. “My head said it was a forward step, but my heart said it was a backward step.

“But it’s been great for us. The team here is really supportive – we’ve moved a few times since we’ve been here as we’ve grown.”


Outsourcing cited as source of strike

November 30th, 2012

Days after hundreds of clerical workers walked off the job at the Los Angeles Port, employees at the Long Beach Port are beginning to follow suit in striking at one of the most busiest times of the year. Both ports experienced difficulty on Tuesday (November 27) when three of six terminals picketed in Long Beach and six of seven walked the line in Los Angeles. “We are completely shut down,” said Alan McCorkle of APM Terminals Pacific Limited.

Although it is not clear when the strike will end, it is certain that the fight is not over money. With many clerical workers earning $40 per hour in an economy that is yet recovering from a troubled housing market, few are asking for an increase in pay. Most workers are, however, asking that their jobs not be outsourced to places like Taipei, Taiwan, and even Texas.643af6eb4c5e4925fdf7eea9b747cd20

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has accused several companies represented at the port of secretly moving high paying clerical positions to other countries and various areas within the United States where hourly wages can be lowered. “Everyone agrees these are good-paying jobs. The difference here is that the companies resent providing those good-paying jobs in the long run and have taken steps to steadily ship them elsewhere to the detriment of the local communities around the harbor,” said ILWU Spokesperson Craig Merrilees.

While all companies represented at the ports have not responded to such accusation, Paul Hastings, LLP has fired back with its lawyer saying, “This accusation of outsourcing is just a red herring. Why would we outsource their jobs when we have given them a guaranteed job for life?”

Regardless of what the fight is over, many hope that the strike will end soon. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has even written letters to both sides asking for a swift settlement.

Port clerical workers went on strike around this time last year, but quickly returned to work after one day of revolt. The workers’ union is currently attempting to negotiate terms for a new contract as the old one expired two years ago.


Indy IT Companies Merging

November 30th, 2012

Long time Indianapolis-based IT outsourcing providers Desktop Resources, Inc. and Port-to-Port Consulting are joining forces. The two companies will combine to create Spectrum Technology Inc. beginning January 1, 2013. Spectrum Technology will be one of the state’s largest providers of outsourced IT services to small businesses.images6

Spectrum Technology will be located in the current Desktop Resources facility on the northeast side of Indianapolis. All employees of the two firms will continue to be employed by Spectrum Technology. The 40 person firm will provide a full spectrum of IT services to small and medium organizations throughout Indiana. Current Desktop Resources CEO Tony Schafer will lead the new company, while Port-to-Port Consulting owners Rob Glass and Damon Richards will head up technical services and marketing respectively.

Tony Schafer, president, said, “The combination of two successful, long standing traditions in the Indiana IT community is exciting for us and our clients. We will be able to enhance the breadth and depth of our skills to make an even greater impact on our clients’ businesses. Spectrum Technology will be a strong partner for businesses with needs as short as project deployments to monthly engagements, and even full time onsite support.”

Rob Glass added, “This is truly a merger of equals. Both Desktop Resources and Port-to-Port are strong, viable companies in their own right. Together, we will be able to build on our success and provide greater value to our clients and customers.”


State Supreme Court rejects Costa Mesa’s appeal on job outsourcing

November 30th, 2012

The California Supreme Court has declined to hear Costa Mesa’s appeal of an injunction that for months has blocked the city from moving forward with a plan to lay off hundreds of workers and outsource jobs.

Both labor and city leaders predict that the high court’s refusal to hear the city’s appeal will have wide-ranging implications for the state’s general-law cities and their ability to privatize services.6a00d8341c630a53ef017ee5be8e81970d-640wi

In response, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer suggested that some cities may adopt city charters in order to have the legal freedom to farm out services to private companies.

“We’ll see many cities become charter cities in the years to come,” he said.

Costa Mesa had appealed the decision that prohibited its privatization plan, Righeimer said, not for its own sake, but for other cities that could have benefited from a ruling to lift the injunction.

Costa Mesa has since backed away from its initial outsourcing concept, which began with plans for laying off about 200 city workers. Righeimer said he now wants to work with the employee associations to see where outsourcing would be a good fit.

Nick Berardino, general manager of the Orange County Employees Assn., said he doubts there will be a sea change of cities moving to charters.

“There may be some that might,” he said, “but I think what you’ll find is that because of the corruption and lack of oversight and control that characterizes a charter city with recent events in California, I think most of the public will be very hesitant to leave the jurisdiction and protection of California’s Constitution.”

The decision to not hear Costa Mesa’s case is a milestone, he said.

“It is one of the most significant decisions for labor in the last several decades,” Berardino said. “And it upholds the law, which was clear — that general-law cities are not allowed to contract to the private sector except for a very narrow range of services.”


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