Archive for November, 2014

Firms struggling to keep pace with increasing IT security risks

November 27th, 2014

According to a new global survey, many firms are struggling to keep pace with global IT risks amid quickly changing technology. The fourth annual IT Audit Benchmarking Survey was produced by global consulting firm Protiviti and global IT association ISACA.Outsourcing11

The survey examines how organizations are assessing and mitigating critical business and technology risks, polling more than 1,300 IT audit executives and professionals worldwide.

“Concerns over cybersecurity, industry disruptors and regulatory compliance have moved many organizations, and audit committees in particular, to become more engaged in the IT audit function,” said David Brand, a Protiviti managing director and the firm’s global IT audit leader. “We see some positive trends in our results, notably in the number of designated IT audit directors and their regular attendance at audit committee meetings. However, we also see significant gaps to be addressed, including the frequency with which IT audit risk assessments are conducted.”

According to the survey, the top 10 global IT challenges identified are:

1. IT security and privacy/cybersecurity
2. Resource/staffing/skills challenges
3. Emerging technology and infrastructure changes: transformation, innovation, disruption
4. Regulatory compliance
5. Budgets and controlling costs
6. IT governance and risk management
7. Big data and analytics
8. Vendor, third-party and outsourcing risks
9. Cloud computing/ virtualization
10. Bridging IT and the business
“Companies cannot ignore the significant security and privacy risks that face their business today,” said Brand. “Based on the survey results, more organizations are recognizing the mission-critical nature of IT internal audit in combating these risks, yet many companies are simply not institutionalizing the processes needed to support this function.”

The good news is that companies are paying more attention to the risks. The survey found that more than half of the largest public companies surveyed have a designated IT Audit Director or equivalent position within their organizations, and 48% reported that these individuals regularly attend audit committee meetings. That is doubled the number from just three years ago the survey noted.

Additionally, respondents indicated that their audit committees have increased their involvement in the IT risk assessment process, with 20% reporting significant involvement as compared to 14% in 2013.

“The increased resources and attention to IT audit is a positive sign that companies of all sizes around the world are recognizing the significant benefits of this critical function,” said Robert E. Stroud, CGEIT, CRISC, international president of ISACA and vice president of strategy and innovation at CA Technologies. “Even though organizations have different goals and operate in different marketplaces, there are many common pain points and risks, such as fraud, cybersecurity incidents, rising costs, project success/failure, outsourcing issues and regulatory requirements that can be addressed with effective IT audit management.”


Wipro Healthcare & Life Sciences emerges star performer in Everest Group Peak Matrix

November 27th, 2014

Wipro, a leading global information technology, consulting and business process services company has been named a Star Performer in the Everest Group Life Sciences ITO PEAK Matrix 2014.Outsourcing10

The company  strengthened its position by ramping up proprietary solutions, augmenting resources, deepening domain expertise and demonstrating an increased traction with large life science firms.

It has seen success in delivering help desk, end-user computing, application development management, testing, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and package implementation services for life sciences clients. The geographical scope of these contracts spans North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Wipro’s solutions address emerging industry needs to drive patient-centric solutions and optimize cost.

“A new surge in life sciences IT outsourcing is driven by application portfolio modernization, infrastructure transformation, and analytics. Life sciences enterprises are increasingly preferring service providers who can provide a blend of traditional and next-generation services”, said Abhishek Singh, practice director, Everest Group.

“In the past year, Wipro has significantly improved its market presence through improved industry focused technology capabilities. Wipro has thus strengthened its major contender positioning and achieved a Star Performer rating on the Everest Group Life Sciences ITO Peak Matrix,” he added.

Speaking on the recognition, Sangita Singh, chief executive – healthcare & life sciences, Wipro Ltd said that  this recognition could  be attributed to our domain focus, best-of-breed technology and delivery excellence in a comprehensive portfolio of services equipped to address the demands of rapidly-modernizing industries.”

Healthcare and Life Sciences is one of the fastest growing business units of Wipro and has seen an upswing in large wins, due to its focus on domain-led solutions coupled with capability and global scale.


‘Life is pretty good here for IT people': Where techies earn five times the average salary

November 27th, 2014

When you look at the numbers, a software engineer in Romania makes as much as a van driver does in the UK. But when you take into account the cost of living, the picture shifts dramatically. In Romania, IT professionals make headlines for earning five times the average local salary, and most recruiters are talking about wages rising up to 15 percent next year.Outsourcing9

Software engineers’ salaries
However, for the moment, there is a significant gap in Europe between the East and the West. Tudor Constantin, an experienced Perl developer working in Cluj-Napoca for software company Evozon, has considered the idea of moving to Western Europe or the US, but gave up the idea after he compared income and living expenses.

“At the moment, it’s not worth the trouble. A software developer in Cluj with seven years’ experience earns an average of €1,700 a month,” he says. “I’ve calculated using numbeo that in order to afford the same kind of life, I’d have to make about €8,000 in New York.” He included rent, utilities, meals, cabs, and even the occasional beers and nights out.

Constantin would move abroad only if he were to set up his own startup. “In the US, there are investors, important technology websites, and ecosystems for entrepreneurs. I’d build a startup in Romania, because it’s a low-cost location, and launch it in the US,” he says.

Most senior software developers in the country have a take-home pay of €1,700 to €2,200 a month, according to a study conducted by recruitment agency Brainspotting. That accounts for €24,000 net a year, or the equivalent of $30,000. Junior engineers, with only a bit of experience, get €700 to €1,100 a month.

“Usually, companies look for Java, .Net, and PHP developers. They want employees who are more than simple doers. They want developers with good communication skills, people able to share knowledge,” Maria Hostiuc, ICT recruiter at Brainspotting, told ZDNet.

Higher on the payscale are project managers (who earn €2,000 – €2,500 a month) and IT managers (€2,100 – €2,700). Meanwhile, quality assurance and network/system administrator jobs start at €500 per month for a junior employee and can reach up to €1,800 for a dedicated senior professional.

Certain skills are paid better than others, Claudiu Lazar, IT recruiter at Adecco Romania, told ZDNet. Candidates for Ruby on Rails or Python are scarce and therefore companies are willing to offer them more, he says. “Salaries vary from €400 to €4,000 per month, dependent on experience and the job the company offers.”

At the moment, software development managers get between €2,200 and €3,500 a month, software architects are in the €1,800 – €2,500 range, while database developers earn  somewhere in the €900 to €1,900 range. Other desired jobs are team leader (€1,500 – €2,200), software implementation consultant (€800 – €2,900), project manager (€1,600 – €3,000) and web designer (€500 – €1,500), according to Adecco.

Three-quarters of IT professionals are registered as employees for the companies they work for, while a good 11 percent receive their entire salary through a self-employed contract. The rest of workers are a combination of the two. “In some cases, the people who receive  their payment through a self-employed contract or through a mix of contracts, also receive a bonus of 15 percent on average,” according to a study done by Brainspotting.

Changing jobs?
The end of 2014 is busy for both HR and IT professionals. “Right now, among our top recruiters in the field, we have Oracle, Electronic Arts, Siemens, and Amazon,” a spokesperson for recruitment website, told ZDNet. Jobs ads for PHP developers get more resumes, compared to the ones offering a position of .NET/C++ application developer.

In the first ten months of 2014, the recruiter said there have been around 44,000 IT jobs posted on the site, an increase of over 35 percent year-on-year.

“Usually, most companies advertise a good work-life balance, with some even allowing their employees to set their own schedule if they’re students. Other benefits are healthcare services at a private medical center and meal vouchers.”

The job market is dynamic, so professionals in the field have learnt not to settle for less.”Usually, an IT employee has the same job for two or three years, but there are some who change it after a year, if they find a more interesting project and are eager to learn,” Adecco’s Lazar says.

“Most of them change jobs because of the salaries. Not that they have low salaries, but because other companies are willing to offer them more. They’re thinking about changing the job if they get at least 20 percent more,” Maria Hostiuc, an ICT recruiter, told ZDNet.

Software developers and other professionals from this field are also motivated by how geeky the work environment is and by other benefits, like a company car and lately even all-inclusive holidays paid for by their bosses. They also stress phrases like “great team” or “freedom in taking job-related decisions” are attractive in a job advert.

Brainspotting’s studies show that about a third of the IT candidate show “real interest for changing the current job”, and only 16 percent of them are not interested under any conditions.

Harder and harder to find skilled developers
Depending on how much a company wants to spend, finding the perfect candidate for a job can take some time.

“There are positions for which we need up to a month to find the right candidate. Those are usually niched or need knowledge of new technologies. Therefore, the number of professionals is relatively low,” Adecco’s Lazar says.

Adrian Punga, head of technology and backend development at Kalon Global Group in Bucharest, agrees. He told ZDNet it isn’t easy anymore to find people with strong IT skills, “mainly due to the big number of wannabes attracted by the higher than average pay in the IT sector”.

“Good HTML5 developers are scarce as the technology is very new. Good UX designers are also hard to find because we don’t have any education system that can produce them in Romania,” he says.

Salaries will continue to rise in 2015
Adrian Punga gets job offers “at least once a month,” especially from companies located in London and Berlin. It’s a similar situation for many Romanian IT experts, Brainspotting says. 35 percent of these professionals have never had to reply to a job ad, its study shows, as the demand in high.

Salaries in the IT sector have grown at a rate three times higher than the average salary in the past year, according to the National Institute of Statistics in Romania.

There are several drivers behind the change. First of all, companies like Oracle, Microsoft, or IBM have opened large offices in Bucharest and throughout the country. They want the best and the brightest – and have resources to pay them.

Secondly, outsourcing companies which pay well are experiencing an all-time high in the area. And third, there is an income tax exemption for developers who have finished a long-term academic degree.

This year alone, both Adecco and Brainspotting estimate a 10 to 11 percent salary growth in the IT sector. Projections regarding 2015 go even further. “We definitely see an increase next year of even 15 percent for more complex positions and those related to new technologies,” Lazar says.

Luminita Fediuc, senior HR strategy consultant at Brainspotting, estimates job growth of 5 to 12 percent in 2015. “Our data suggests that the number of jobs available will continue to expand in the next three years,” she says.

Worldwide, a Mercer survey projects a salary increase of three percent for the high-tech sector next year. According to the report, “professional non-sales IT employees were identified as most difficult to recruit and to retain”.

Software developers like Adrian Punga or Tudor Constantin believe it is better, financially speaking, to work in Romania, where rent is only a fraction of that paid in Western Europe, and beer is only 1 euro a bottle.

Adrian Punga says he didn’t think much about changing the country where he lives and works. “Life is pretty good here for IT people. Better than in most other countries. I remember I saw a study somewhere that concluded that Romania is just third in the world after the US and UK on the standard of living for IT people.”


China to push growth of outsourcing industry

November 27th, 2014

China will develop international outsourcing of high-value-added services to create new advantages in foreign trade, its cabinet said on Wednesday, according to the official government website.Commercial and residential buildings stand in Beijing

The State Council will reduce corporate income taxes to 15 percent in a number of cities to encourage development of the high-tech, high value-added services outsourcing industry.

The goal is to move Chinese industry away from relying on low cost manufacturing to be globally competitive.

The effort will focus on developing software and IT services, research and development, finance, and government services, the State Council said.

China will trial a tax-free or zero value-added tax policy for international outsourcing services and provide various kinds of financial support and public financing. It will also cut red tape for dealing with foreign exchange.

Government departments also will pay for more services.


Barchi talks current state, future of technology at Rutgers

November 25th, 2014

Technology is key to the future of Rutgers, said University President Robert L. Barchi during an exclusive interview The Daily Targum had with him and his senior staff last Monday.

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Barchi also provided a rather disturbing statistic: Rutgers is anywhere from 15 to 20 years behind where it should be in terms of technology infrastructure.

Barchi made various comments on how he plans to improve the state of technology at Rutgers.

“Part of the problem is that we do not yet have the platform to support all this [changing technology],” he said.

The problem isn’t becoming the best of the breed compared to other universities, Barchi said, but how to reach the already-existing standards of the higher educational community.

He said there is a “multi-year” plan in the works to improve the University’s technology infrastructure.

The complexity of this project has been made more strenuous by the recent Rutgers-UMDNJ merge, said Richard Edwards, chancellor at Rutgers-New Brunswick.

“[UMDNJ] runs on a different system,” Edwards said. “The two systems don’t talk to each other and now we have the curious situation where two students in a doctoral program are in the same class, but are in two different information systems.”

Edwards and Barchi assured that the two systems will eventually be integrated, but there are still other discontinuities between systems.

Email is a notable example.

There are currently 128 email systems presently being used across the University, Barchi said. Different administrators run many of these systems, making them difficult to maintain.

“When a crisis like Hurricane Sandy comes, we don’t even have a way to get them all back up,” Barchi said.

But email is an area that’s already being improved. Rutgers recently switched student email over to Scarletmail, outsourcing emails to Google’s Apps for Education.

This frees up university IT staff and gives them more time to focus on other problems, such as providing students unlimited free cloud storage from Google.

These improvements are all centered around the increasingly critical role technology has in education, Barchi said.

Barchi said technology is one of two areas being focused on by a special task force. The other area is general organization of the university.

“The way I see education five years from now isn’t everyone jamming onto scarlet buses to move across campus to get to their [200-level biology] course,” he said. “It’s a course partially given to everybody online.”

This could be done partially through lectures being streamed at the same time throughout various classrooms, he said.

Holding large lectures over the Internet is one way to foster smaller group discussions when students are face-to-face with instructors, Barchi said. This would make better use of time spent in a physical classroom.

Barchi said Rutgers already offers courses for students who aren’t present on campus, such as MOOC’s (or massively open online courses) and online courses.

“I’m talking about the students that are here, maybe commuting here two or three days a week for the smaller groups and doing the bigger lecture at home on their computer,” Barchi said. “There are a myriad of ways we can use technology to do that.”

One important area the president and his staff didn’t mention was online portals, such as Sakai and eCollege.

Sakai doesn’t provide a consistent experience between classes, and eCollege doesn’t display properly on many mobile devices. If hybrid-online classes really are the future, the class portals students’ use for those courses should be a bigger area of focus.

But there is a silver lining in being a little bit behind the technological-curve, Barchi said.

“We can avoid some of the intermediate steps, so we can skip right to where we need to go for the future,” he joked.

Overall, Barchi painted a pleasantly transparent picture of technology at the University.

Technology is clearly an area the president and his staff discuss often. That’s good news not just for the future of students, but for the future of the university as a whole.


ASMedia announces partnership with AMD

November 25th, 2014

Taiwan-based ASMedia has announced is has signed contracts with AMD for a partnership, but no details were disclosed about the relationship except that the projects are related to next-generation chipset technology, according to a company post on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSE).

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Digitimes previously reported that AMD has outsourced its chipset R&D to ASMedia to save costs and the cooperation is expected to greatly benefit ASMedia’s revenue performance.

In May, Digitimes reported that AMD planned to establish the partnership with ASMedia by having the Taiwan-based IC design house share its SATA Express silicon intellectual property (SIP) or by having AMD acquire licenses from ASMedia.

However, the partnership has advanced further with an outsourcing of R&D for the whole chipset. Since most PC chipset functionality has already been integrated into the CPU, outsourcing chipset R&D to ASMedia should help AMD save costs and resources and allow the CPU maker to focus on developing APU and semi-customized products.


Telco IT investment growing

November 25th, 2014

Based on Ovum’s latest ‘Telco IT Trends to Watch report’, telco IT budgets are on the rise, with a lot of investment directed at either optimising network assets and infrastructure or improving service quality and the customer experience.images (2)

Ovum lists the key trends to watch for telco IT in 2015 as:

  • A brighter economic outlook and voracious demand for high-quality content and services on smart devices has renewed telco interest in the value they provide from a customer perspective and the quality of the customer experience.
  • Omni-channel engagements will inform investment in CRM strategies for sales, marketing, and operations.
  • Relevance and content of customer care will be a differentiator.
  • Outsourcing engagements between telcos and IT service providers will intensify.

Peter Dykes, senior analyst at Ovum and author of the report, says that telcos will continue to spend on IT in 2015 to enable new services and launch them in new markets, and lower their cost base and reduce churn and customer acquisition costs.

“The telecoms industry is witnessing a long-term shift in spend towards customer-oriented systems and processes to improve customer satisfaction,” says Dykes. “Investment will be geared towards telecoms infrastructure (cloud platforms and BSS/OSS systems to support 4G implementations) and online channels to support the move towards digital lifestyles.”

Dykes recommends that telcos become more customer-adaptive. “If the customer perspective is not embedded in every product and service, telcos will not prosper. They need to adapt their organisational structure and business processes to encompass customer needs, viewing quality of service and experience from the customer perspective.”

He says vendors need to become collaborative partners. “With so much pressure to change and limited budgets to fund this, telcos will look to vendors to help them innovate. Vendors should create long-term partnerships with telcos and key stakeholders, including system integrators and consultants, to create the solutions to future problems.

“With 4G infrastructure largely in place, we are entering an era in which the judicious choice and deployment of support software will be critical to the profitability of service providers. This will also require a complete change of mindset by providers and vendors alike. The switch to IP as the main bearer technology will have ramifications throughout the industry, and only those that are able to adapt will survive,” says Dykes.


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