Archive for the ‘News’ category

UK public sector shunning offshore IT

December 19th, 2014

The UK outsourcing market has enjoyed a big boost from the public sector in 2014, with contracts big and small remaining in this country.Outsourcing24

Market watcher ISG reports, in a research note from its north Europe president, John Keppel, that “the UK public sector has continued its outsourcing journey”, with spending levels reaching nearly double the amount laid out in the commercial sphere.

Spending has been driven upwards by large big-ticket deals. But there has also been a surge in mid-market government business, which has come “as a result of the complexity of the services rquired and a lack of appetite for utilising cheaper, offshore resources”, Keppel believes.

IT outsourcing (ITO) has seen a “resurgence” across EMEA s a whole in 2014, he states, with the number of contracts inked in Q3 rising 16 per cent annually. However, business process outsourcing has seen a “pronounced decline” in activity.

“BPO ACV grew steadily through the global downturn as companies looked to save costs across the organisation, but as the economic outlook has brightened, BPO values have fallen,” said Keppel. “In general, EMEA has not been quick to adopt large HR, F&A and other BPO towers, but the growth of cloud and other new technologies could see a wider take up of business-process-as-a-service in the next couple of years.”

There has been a notable proliferation of outsourcing deals in Spain, Italy, and France in 2014, with the latter seeing annual contract value (ACV) increase by 250 per cent year on year. Southern Europe as a whole has posted its highest-ever ACV total. The more mature UK market, meanwhile, has “broadly remained stable”.

ISG foresees continued growth for the EMEA outsourcing market, particularly as firms grow more confident in the health of the economy.

“The challenge for buyers will be to understand how they can get the most value from their outsourcing efforts, and to understand the real business impact,” concludes Keppel. “We believe that this will start to gain momentum next year.”


9 Things IT Pros Are Doing Instead Of Managing Infrastructure

December 19th, 2014

For IT staff, the old days of “rack and stack” are  giving way to a new professional model—IT services business relationship manager.Outsourcing23

In this capacity, IT is seen as a partner with business leaders and functional department heads, assisting and delivering technology project needs with a keen eye on security, audit and compliance. The changing role of IT professionals is due in large part to the increased use of outsourcing, the continuing migration to software-as-a-service offerings, as well as enabling an increasingly mobile workforce with new apps.

According to Doug Shoupp, Deloitte Consulting’s chief technology strategy officer, IT departments at larger enterprises that have invested in big iron technology infrastructures are “somewhere in the middle of this transformation.” In Shoupp’s experience, IT at small and midsize companies is often further ahead when it comes to the cloud.

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Now that they’re loosening their tool belts, here’s how Shoupp and other experts see IT pros are spending their extra time:

1. Becoming tech portfolio managers

“They’re evolving from a ‘technologist,’ someone who builds a software stack, into someone who manages a portfolio and the delivery of technology services,” says Joseph Pucciarelli, vice president and executive adviser at IDC.

2. Developing business relationship models

“Other than building, running and operating their own stuff like they used to, and ordering hardware, they’re moving to a business relationship model, where they facilitate business needs but don’t necessarily do this themselves,” says Phil Shelley, former CTO at Sears Holdings and currently president of Newton Park Partners LLC.

3. Managing outside contractors

“Instead of some poor CIO worrying if the system is up and running, now they have a contracted relationship with an outside party who has to worry about these things,” Shoupp says. Less worry, more productivity.

4. Focusing on architecture integration

IT is shifting its attention from upgrading the system and maintaining the applications—“fixing bugs”—to architecture integration and data analysis, Shoupp says. “More manpower will be distributed to these areas.”

5. Bridging business and cloud

“I just worked with a client on a tech project who used to order hardware under the traditional model, but now serves as a liaison between the business and the cloud-service provider,” Shelley says. “The provider now handles the hardware.”

6. Taking on new management responsibilities

IT’s evolving tasks are resulting in “an elevation of responsibility,” Pucciarelli says. With that said, many companies are finding that IT staff need more training to rise to the new tasks. “When we look at an IT organization, the biggest shortfall is the lack of management talent.”

7. Rising up the organizational ladder

Assuming such talent is in place, and “the really ‘blood and guts’ technology stuff is moved to external providers,” Pucciarelli says, IT will become “in some ways more senior.”

8. Wrangling big data

“Chief responsibilities of IT now include data architecture, master data management and technology integration, security and orchestration—how external data can be married to internal data,” Shoupp says.

9. Evaluating tech for new opportunities

Finally, one can expect IT to do more of what many other employees do in their “free” time—look for mobile business apps that make work more efficient. The difference is they can now turn this rogue technology into a purposeful tool tomorrow.

As IT’s role in business continues to shift and transform, IT pros certainly aren’t putting their feet up and slacking off.  They’re becoming an increasingly integral part of business at every level.


City of Vantaa outsources IT services to CGI

December 19th, 2014

CGI has entered into an IT services outsourcing agreement with the City of Vantaa in Finland. Under the agreement, CGI will assume responsibility for the city’s information systems, servers and workstations, as well as provide support for around 11,000 end users. A number of Vantaa employees will join CGI as part of the agreement.Outsourcing13

The five-year agreement is valued at approximately 22 million euros and takes effect on January 1, 2015. The work will begin with an initial planning project to ensure a smooth transition. No visible impact on the residents of Vantaa is expected.

“The key to success is not just in outsourcing, but in finding a talented and innovative supplier,” said Antti Yl-Jarkko, CIO for the city. “We need a strong supplier that thinks outside of the box. Based on our strategy, the IT department needs to become a highly-skilled service supplier for end users.”

In addition to supporting thousands of end users and a wide range of information systems and software, the city’s IT services cover approximately 13,000 workstations, 16,500 tablets and 200 servers. Services are also used by about 30,000 educational network users.

“IT infrastructure outsourcing is a clear trend in the public sector because its benefits are so clear,” noted Leena-Mari Lhteenmaa, senior vice president, CGI. “For example, critical, around-the-clock monitoring systems are difficult and expensive to implement and maintain in-house. It’s also important to note that the cost and quality benefits of outsourcing improve significantly when detailed service levels with clear sanctions are agreed upon between the outsourcing partners.”


Xerox to sell IT outsourcing arm to France’s Atos for $1.05 billion

December 19th, 2014

Xerox Corp said it agreed to sell its information technology outsourcing arm to French IT services firm Atos SE (ATOS.PA) for $1.05 billion, sending its shares up almost 4 percent in late trade on Thursday.Outsourcing28

By divesting the slower-growing unit which became part of Xerox as part of the 2009 acquisition of ACS, Xerox can now focus on building up the faster-growing units, business process outsourcing and document outsourcing, Robert Zapfel, president of Xerox services business said.

The IT outsourcing business generated $376 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30.

“Xerox’s ITO business includes about 9,800 employees in 45 countries,” the company said in a statement. The unit’s leadership team will join Atos.

In Paris, Atos said the deal was expected to close in the second quarter of 2015 and would boost its earnings per share by 10 percent as early as the first year.

It said the move would also triple its size in the U.S. which would represent its largest market. Atos also said in a statement it would pay $950 million in cash for the business plus $100 million representing tax benefits, and would pay an extra $50 million subject to the condition of certain assets.

Xerox has spent roughly $300 million this year, including a deal in May to acquire ISG Holdings for $225 million, to expand its insurance solutions. It also bought smaller software companies, Consilience Software and Intrepid Learning, in the past few months.

“This will provide incremental cash which gives us more flexibility to do more acquisitions,” Zapfel said in an interview.

Xerox, best known as a maker of printers and copiers, has been focusing on services to offset a drop in printing by companies and as personal computing moves to tablets and smartphones.

Xerox forecast adjusted earnings of 28 cents to 30 cents per share for the current quarter ending Dec. 31, from 30 cents to 32 cents per share it expected earlier.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 31 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Xerox also said it now expects adjusted full-year 2014 earnings per share of $1.04 to $1.06, below analysts’ average estimates of $1.12, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of the company closed at $13.89 on the New York Stock Exchange.


IBM pushes hard into the enterprise cloud

December 18th, 2014

IBM is building out its global computing network in a bid to focus on the enterprise cloud market.Outsourcing22

The company announced today that it is adding cloud centers in 11 new locations.

In a $1.2 billion investment, IBM has built cloud centers in Frankfurt, Mexico City and Tokyo. The other eight new locations come to IBM through a partnership with Equinix Inc., which operates data centers across the globe.

The partnership will give IBM access to data centers in Australia, France, Japan, Singapore, the Netherlands and the U.S., boosting IBM’s cloud network to a total of 48 cloud centers.

That growth is aimed at helping IBM grow its hybrid cloud business for enterprise clients.

“IBM recognizes that businesses and governments need the cloud to help them innovate, grow and operate more efficiently in concert with their existing IT investments,” said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of IBM’s software & cloud solutions group, in a statement. “Just as we helped major organizations transform in each preceding era of IT, IBM now serves as the cloud platform for the enterprise.”

This is a good move for a company that wants to court the enterprise, which is increasingly moving to the cloud, said Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT, Inc.

“Lots of people are wondering if IBM is entering the market too late. I disagree with that,” King told Computerworld. “I think the market for cloud is not as mature as some people seem to think it is. There’s a lot of headroom in the hybrid cloud, in particular. As the market has become increasingly competitive, there’s going to be some interesting shakeouts in the months ahead.”

That shakeout should see major cloud players like Amazon, Google, Microsoft and IBM – grappling for marketshare, though King didn’t dare to guess where those top players will be a year from now.

He’s confident that IBM will continue to be a major cloud player with traditional business clients.

“You can see the other cloud players, including Amazon, making a pitch that their own services are ready for the enterprise,” said King. “IBM, though, is very well-positioned for that market right now. Markets evolve and mature in sometimes curious ways, so it will be interesting to see how IBM bears up as other companies try to invade the enterprise cloud space.”

Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said IBM is putting some muscle into the game with what had to be a sizable investment in these new cloud centers.

“The cloud market is crowded and highly competitive,” Olds said. “IBM is trying to differentiate themselves through providing a higher level of service and support, along with giving customers the ability to negotiate their own service levels for their IBM clouds. Other competitors will do this as well, of course, but IBM’s experience in providing these types of services for decades through their outsourcing/hosting services arm should give them an advantage with these customers.”

Having an IBM cloud center located in their country will also give some customers the ability to use cloud computing for likely the first time, he added.

Many businesses and government organizations are not allowed to use cloud services that host their data outside their country.

“This could give these types of customers a chance to dip their toes into the cloud and see if it’s all it’s cracked up to be,” said Olds. “So, really, the key part of this announcement is the geographic spread of IBM’s cloud centers.”


EU clears Lufthansa outsourcing deal with IBM

December 18th, 2014

The European Commission said on Wednesday it had approved the sale of Lufthansa’s IT infrastructure unit to IBM .General view of fibre optics and cabling from behind a storage rack at the IBM booth at the CeBIT trade fair in Hanover

Lufthansa was seeking a buyer for the unit, which provides data centers, networks and telephony, because it requires a high level of investment and economies of scale, which the airline could not provide.

“The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns given the very limited overlaps between the parties’ activities and the presence of several strong alternative players that would remain active after the merger,” the EU executive said in a statement.

The deal, which was announced on October, will result in a one-off pre-tax charge of 240 million euros ($299 million) for Lufthansa. It will allow Lufthansa to reduce its annual IT costs by around 70 million euros a year.

Under the planned deal, Lufthansa will outsource all its IT infrastructure services to IBM under a seven-year deal and the U.S. firm will take over the airline’s IT infrastructure division, currently part of Lufthansa Systems.

The transaction was examined by the European Commission under the normal merger review procedure.


3 Reasons It’s Time To Outsource IT Support To A Managed Services Provider

December 18th, 2014

Supporting your IT in-house can be expensive, aggravating, and time-consuming. It’s challenging and costly for small businesses to maintain an IT department and stay current with the latest technology. Companies are seeing IT expenses continually increasing on a month to month basis, and training staff to perform IT tasks takes time away from focusing on work that generates revenue. As a result, growing businesses are beginning to take advantage of outsourcing their IT support to a managed services provider.Outsourcing27

Not enough small and medium-sized businesses (SMB’s) understand the benefits of outsourcing. Aside from saving a significant amount of money, outsourcing IT support and managed services can provide a number of long-term benefits towards growth, scalability, and security into the future. We’re going to answer the three most important questions that decision-makers have about outsourcing their IT support through managed services.

Can I Handle My IT Support Issues Myself?
The short answer is yes, but whether or not the effort will be efficient and effective will be determined by factors such the size and scope of your company, expertise of your staff, available budget, time, and willingness to risk encountering unexpected roadblocks that may be difficult for a less experienced team to solve. Your business needs to run as efficiently as possible. Organizations that try to do all IT Services in-house themselves can have much higher research, development, and implementation times – all of which increase costs. Some costs cannot be foreseen, such as lost time attempting to solve issues that occur unexpectedly during the course of a project.

Managed service providers have the capability of offering a much larger array of professional services that may not be available to an in-house IT department. Let’s take this a step further. Take a look at the SolarWinds‘ company webpage. SolarWinds is a leading IT management solutions company that offers “value-driven products and tools that solve a broad range of IT management challenges.” Head over to their products page. Here you will see a list of tools and solutions that are commonly used by IT support and managed services. These products include remote support software, server and database maintenance, network management, cloud services, and security solutions. Similar products and services may be available to you through your managed services provider.

Without a solid foundation and working knowledge of the most important facets of today’s technology you risk spending costly hours familiarizing yourself with new tools before your business can implement them, and even more time troubleshooting problems and issues that may occur over time (from “why are my files not syncing?” to “how can I get a signature added to my outgoing emails?”) and roadblocks occur everywhere and always at the most inopportune times.

What Are The Advantages of Managed Services?
A qualified systems administrator can easily cost in the neighborhood of $60k per year in salary alone, and it’s important to keep in mind that qualified does not equal experienced. Very few problems are new to a managed services provider maintaining multiple clients with varying needs of support; while an in-house IT staff may lead an isolated existence regardless of how much they train. If your business plans to pursue a strong online marketing and social media presence then it is even more important for the implementing team to be up-to-date on current trends and analytical changes. A proficient managed services provider will be able to handle all of these for you.

The benefits of implementing fully outsourced managed services include reduced costs, access to external expertise, intellectual property, and improved operational performance. A holistic outsourced model can also allow organizations to better allocate internal resources on strategic projects and core business operations. Businesses have limited resources, and every manager has limited time and attention. Outsourcing can help your company stay focused on your core business and not get distracted by complex IT decisions.

Most small businesses can not afford to match the in-house support services that larger companies maintain. Outsourcing can help small companies act “big” by giving them access to similar technologies used by larger corporations and the expertise that those companies enjoy. Economy of scale and an independent third party managed cost structure can give your company a competitive advantage.

What Are My Options?
So you’ve decided that managed services is the right next step for your growing company. A very important first step as a business is to familiarize yourself with the right questions to ask a managed services provider. Some questions you should ask include:

– What level of support does each of your managed service plans provide?
– What kind of backups do you have in place in case of equipment or service failure?
– What security measures do you have in place?
– How customizable/adaptable are your managed service plans?
– How do I access my data on your servers?

Kathleen Fealy, president of KF Multimedia & Web, Inc., wrote a fantastic article entitled “18 Questions to Ask a Potential SEO Consultant.” While the article itself is primarily focused on SEO (Search Engine Optimization, which involves how well your website ranks on search results), the questions themselves are quite adaptable and should be able to be answered by your managed services provider. Kathleen drives home the point very well when she states “I often tell my clients that it’s like hiring a contractor to renovate their kitchen. If you ask enough questions and check references, you’ll learn who is qualified, who will do quality work, and who will leave you with a mess.”

Once you are familiar with the types of questions to ask, the next step is to determine how up to date and involved your managed services provider is with trends and changes in the industry. This is important because IT and managed services is a field that is constantly evolving. Does the company attend seminars? Is there ongoing training for their staff? Do they stay up to date on new technologies and trends? The answer to these questions can reveal quite a lot about a company and how dynamic and responsive they may be to your future needs and requests.

By outsourcing IT support and managed services you can reduce risk, level the playing field, and focus more time on building your business. At Zuma Technology, our core value is simple. We help you meet complex IT requirements while offering investment protection, cost efficiencies, and the scalability to meet your ever-changing business application demands.

We do all this while lowering your overall IT costs. And, because of our billing model, there’s never an incentive for us to sell you products or services that don’t actually improve your effectiveness and bottom line.


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