Posts Tagged ‘Center’

When Should Your Business Consider Data Center Outsourcing?

January 29th, 2013

With the explosion in the growth of cloud computing, and interest in the various types of cloud computing architectures, more business processes are being outsourced than ever. Now that Internet connections have grown so fast, more applications can run across the internet without experiencing significant delays. Like many businesses, you might be considering using an outsourced data center, but perhaps you’re not quite sure that’s the right move to make yet.

When Should Your Business Consider Data Center Outsourcing? image data center secure cabinets 300x200

If you’re still on the fence about data center outsourcing, consider each of these points for your own business, so you can make a decision that works best for your circumstances:

  • Spatial constraints – This one is rather straightforward. If you’re having a difficult time fitting all of your data center needs into your current physical space, it’s time to consider outsourcing to a remote data center. You can move your business as often as you want, and you can also put the free physical space to better use.
  • Legacy technologies – If you’re considering replacing existing technology with new systems, think about changing to a remote data center instead. That center handles all of the upgrades for you, while you go on running your business.
  • If 24/7/365 availability is needed – It’s hard to think of a company for which downtime and service outages wouldn’t cause major problems and loss of revenue. Trying to guarantee reliable, round-the-clock uptime on your own will typically result in a number of additional costs your company may not be able to afford. Think about outsourcing as a potential solution.
  • Increasing Energy Costs – Depending on how much data your network needs to store and transfer in a given day, you might realize substantial savings by outsourcing your data center needs. Perform an analysis of your energy costs and compare to the cost of data center outsourcing.

Make the Best Decision for Your Company

The bottom line is to make the decision that works best for your business. Data center outsourcing may not work for everyone, but in more situations than not, it provides a more scalable, cost-effective solution.


Transcosmos Expands Its “MCM Center Fukuoka” Call Center Base

December 26th, 2012

Transcosmos inc. (Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan; President and COO: Masataka Okuda; TSE First Section: 9715; hereafter, transcosmos) has expanded its call center base “Marketing Chain Management Center Fukuoka” (hereafter, MCM Center Fukuoka) to meet expanding business needs. New operations will begin on December 17, 2012.

MCM Center Fukuoka opened in June of 2008. The city of Fukuoka is the largest city in the Kyushu region, and due to the fact that many major companies in industries such as finance, communications and manufacturing have moved into the city as a base for the Kyushu region, MCM Center Fukuoka has been providing a wide range of call center services focusing on services for the finance, communications, manufacturing and mail order industries. This includes various types of information such as that for products and campaigns, outbound calling operations such as collection calls, and technical support operations requiring high technology. Its operations have steadily expanded up until now, and 200 more work stations have been added to accommodate business expansion associated with the procurement of new projects.

Overview of MCM Center Fukuoka
Name:         Marketing Chain Management Center Fukuoka
Location:    Nishitetsu Tenjin Bldg., 1-13-6 Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan
Total floor area:     3388.27m2 (expansion area is 534.72 m2)

transcosmos has the nation’s largest network of call centers including 23 bases and over 12,000 work stations, and with the current expansion, MCM Center Fukuoka has become the fifth largest center in the country. Future plans call for expanding business operations focusing on areas such as technical support and financial services, as well as the hiring of 300 new employees. In order to flexibly meet the various demands of client companies, transcosmos will continue striving to enhance facilities and services, while also contributing to the revitalization and development of local communities through job creation.

  • transcosmos is a registered trade name or trademark of transcosmos inc. in Japan and other countries.
  • Other company names and product or service names mentioned are registered trade names or trademarks of various other companies.


Outsourcing your Data Center: The Dos & the Don’ts

September 4th, 2012

When you visualize a data center (DC), a very large room full of racks of servers in a cooled environment running 24/7 comes to mind. Running a data center is no child’s play. From procurement of equipment to opex, scaling and maintenance, each task is expensive. However, one can’t do away with them. Right from an SMS reminder in the morning about an approaching due date for a bill, to going off to bed setting your TV-STB to record a late-night football match in it’s programme guide, somewhere there is one or the other data center directly or indirectly affecting a considerable part of our daily lives.

1. Where do I keep it?

So, should you have your own data center or outsource it to a third party? If you already have your own servers but haven’t set up a full-fledged DC yet, what you might need is a co-location service. NetMagic, for instance, offers co-location services for it’s DCs. Do make sure that you are very clear on your requirements for space, power and bandwidth before you settle on any offering. There are also various OOB offerings from vendors such as Ctrl S, which can assist you in quickly getting up to speed with a fully-owned DC in your own premises in case you have none of the required systems currently set up. Organizations that need to meet certain regulatory/legal requirements as regards management of their business infrastructure might want to consider this.

If you intend to outsource, be sure to have no two opinions about your current and future requirements. Make sure that your provider has the technical capabilities and the experience to be able to scale (and also ensure that this is documented in the SLA). Data centers have specific `Tiers` to them, which denote their characteristics on a broad scale. The higher the tier of the DC, the better it is.

2. Why outsource?

If you have one, you might currently find no signs of trouble with your currently running data center. But as with any large system, there can be more than one ways of achieving the same result under identical conditions. It will be worth considering how much you can save on costs and time by optimising your existing data center systems. This also applies in case you have no existing data center and want to set up one from scratch. Vendors such as Gemini and LSI India offer solutions which are designed to reduce your TCO and ensure better performance and availability without making massive changes to your existing applications. It is not necessary that you need to make a lumpsum investment for outsourcing your DC’s operations. Different stages of the lifecycle can be outsourced. E. g. Mahindra Satyam offers services right from assessment during the consulting/planning stage to remote infrastructure management as a managed service when your data center is actually up and running. This might come in handy when you are short of in-house expertise to deal with a specific task. Be sure though not to end up with too many interfaces to your DC with several vendors.

3. How much?

You need not be neck deep in a swimming pool in order to feel how cold / hot the water is. Before visualising design alternatives for your data center, take a moment and realise which are the tasks most critical to the smooth functioning of your business. Draw fixed boundaries between tasks so that you can realise how inter-dependent they are and accordingly reach a decision on what should go unleashed and what you prefer to put a leash on so that it stays before your eyes. Let the chocolate bar be manufactured by you, you can always outsource the wrapper’s manufacturing by making sure it fits and preserves the chocolate bar to be fit for consumption (and attracts customers of course!).

4. What do I gain?

It needs no mentioning that having your own data center would give you visibility and total control for immediate action in your data center. You wouldn’t need to compromise on terms and conditions of the SLA. Provided you have the resources, you could use the best-in-class tools and expertise to build a DC that gives high RoI. You wouldn’t need to make management overly complex by outsourcing different tasks to different organizations.

On the other hand, outsourcing your DC would save you a lot of administrative work for mundane tasks. Think about round-the-clock manpower availability, think about regular hardware upgrades. Isn’t this easier said than done? It is not easy , especially in India to find expertise in the electrical / mechanical aspects of running a data center as compared to the hardware operations and application support talent available. These headaches go away when you outsource the corresponding tasks of your DC. If your DC is not a top priority for you, it might be receiving lower attention (and hence might be using sub-optimal processes, applications, etc.) compared to an outsourcing company whose main business itself is providing you a DC.

In conclusion

You have several alternatives to choose from. A purely in-house DC has it’s own merits and demerits as compared to a totally outsourced DC. You can also outsource only certain tasks. However, do keep in mind, that a glass half empty is also a glass half full. So be sure to evaluate the benefits of each and have them agreed upon. It is not easy to make frequent changes to your DC requirements in case you have an in-house DC and even if you go for an outsourced DC, your own systems which interact with the DC may not be agile enough to keep in sync with the changes fast enough to ensure continuous availability.


Call Center Outsourcing Opponents To Get Endorsement Of Communications Workers Union

August 15th, 2012

Citing the results of a new poll, the Communications Workers of America union said it intends to devote its resources to candidates who oppose the outsourcing of call centers.

According to a poll commissioned by the union, 78 percent of voters rank call centers negatively. Voters also overwhelmingly back anti-outsourcing proposals, such as allowing calls to be transferred to a domestic call operator, and preventing companies that outsource call centers from receiving grants or tax breaks.

“There are, frankly, very few polls that show this kind of unanimity, this kind of intensity in America today,” Celinda Lake, president of the polling firm Lake Research Partners, told reporters on a conference call Tuesday afternoon. The firm primarily does polling related to organized labor and liberal causes.

With that polling evidently in mind, CWA announced it will back candidates — through radio advertisements and social media — who support legislation intended to prevent companies from outsourcing call centers. Ron Collins, the union’s chief of staff, told reporters that CWA would be rolling out radio ads this week for Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio), Wisconsin Senate candidate Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).

Those candidates all support a CWA-backed bill, the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, which would make companies that outsource call centers ineligible for federal grants or guaranteed loans.

Collins also said the union will also launch a social media campaign to promote the issue and to support anti-outsourcing candidates, as well as using its legislative political action teams to lobby elected officials.

Companies in the telecommunications and banking industries have often outsourced call centers. Roughly 500,000 call center jobs were lost in the United States between 2006 and 2010, according to the union.


Call center agents fight stress with humor

April 11th, 2012

A day after the controversial Manny Pacquiao victory over Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12, 2011, a call center agent in Manila handling a foreign satellite television account got a call from someone he suspected to be Mexican.

The irate caller was complaining he had been unable to view the match because he couldn’t get a satellite signal, and demanded a refund.
Jep, the call center agent, knew that it would be difficult to verify the claim. He remembered receiving similar complaints a day after Pacquiao’s earlier fight with another Mexican boxer.

Conscious that the Mexican caller may have been devastated by Marquez’s defeat, Jep tried in the most polite way to tell the caller that a refund was out of the question. The Mexican, however, was adamant.

After almost an hour of a wearying exchange, Jep offered a compromise. He promised the customer a 10 percent rebate applicable if he purchases Pacquiao’s next pay-per-view match. The Mexican agreed.

Happy with what seemed like a good deal, the Mexican customer then asked, “When is the next fight of Pacquiao that I can watch?”
Jep replied, “That is still being negotiated, sir. Thank you and have a good day.”

Quick thinking, loads of patience, and an ample sense of humor are important coping mechanisms call center agents rely on in dealing with all sorts of unseen clients from different parts of the world with different cultures and accents.

Business process outsourcing (BPO) voice services such as call or contact centers make up 70 percent of the industry in the Philippines and employ about 350,000, according to 2010 statistics of the Contact Center Association of the Philippines. The BPO industry is expected to grow to 1.3 million jobs with $25 billion in revenue in the next couple of years.

The Philippines is the acknowledged global leader in the BPO industry, a fact attributed to Filipinos possessing the qualities needed to deal with a job as demanding as being a call center agent.

One way Filipinos maintain rapport with callers is by adopting neutral or “Americanized” names, especially for U.S. accounts. American callers are more comfortable addressing people by their first names.

Chris, a 30-year old quality analyst for a big call center in Ortigas, explains that this promotes easy rapport and a connection with customers that help both call center agent and caller be more comfortable conversing with each other.

Thus, call center agents in the Philippines have no problems assuming “Americanized” names—Pedro can be “Peter,” or Pablo “Paul.”
Manuel, a 33-year old call center agent in Makati handling a telecom account in the U.S., was put on the spot when one customer who wanted to commend him for a job well done asked for his real name. Manuel assumed the call name “Ben.” The foreign customer on the other line said, “Ben, you did such a good job handling my concern. Your boss ought to know. Please allow me to commend you. What’s your full name, Ben?”

Manuel didn’t see that coming, yet he wanted to sound natural and spontaneous, and at that moment only one person came to mind. He quickly replied. “Benigno.”

The customer went on to ask, “And your last name?” He could only think of one surname that matched that. He replied, “Aquino.”
“Benigno Aquino it is,” the caller conceded.

Confidentiality agreements between call centers and their clients or principals come in different forms. One example is the provision on non-disclosure of the call center agents’ locations. This works well in cases where callers exhibit racism, bias or discrimination towards certain countries or nationalities.

A call center agent from Iloilo City, in one of those night shifts, recalled how he survived an irate American customer. The customer, obviously a techie, was not satisfied with the preset and scripted troubleshooting guides the call center agent was reading out from a computer.
The customer demanded to know from which country the help desk was outsourced. This was in January 2010 and at that time one country had been hogging the headlines because of a catastrophic earthquake. The stressed-out call center agent blurted, “Haiti.”
The angry customer immediately dropped his pitch and became sympathetic. “Oh man, sorry to hear about your tragedy there. It was so bad, I heard. How are you guys coping there?” he asked. The caller did not press further for answers that the call center agent could not give.
Aside from a good command of the English language, call center agents should learn how to cope with the rigors of the job, from sleeplessness to exasperation.
Call center agents normally have three scheduled off-phone breaks. Some would have two 15-minute breaks and a lunch hour, or sometimes, a 15 to 30 to 45-minute off-phone schedule.
While most call center agents spend their 15-minute breaks smoking, some prefer sipping coffee in the pantry while others use them as an opportunity to take a snooze, also called “power nap.” They do this in their workstations without being too obvious as this, too, is not allowed. The sleepyheads, however, have developed different strategies to avoid getting caught sleeping on their desks.

Most common would be the “pseudo-praying” tactic. The agent would slump on the desk resting the forehead on the arm and doze off. When approached by the supervisor, often called TL for team leader or TC for team captain, the call center agent then immediately raises his or her head and blurts out an “Amen” in a firm modulated voice as though concluding a prayer, leaving the TL poker-faced.

Another style would be the “laglag barya gang (coin-drop gang).” These agents take the power nap position but when approached by their supervisors to call their attention, they would raise their heads, pull out a coin or some other object from their hands as if they were picking up something underneath their desks. These tactics work half the time, says one team leader.

But there are times when sleeplessness gets the better of the call center agent, who dozes off while talking to a costumer.
It happened to one agent who was talking to a customer asking for a cancellation of his mobile phone’s voicemail subscription. The call center agent tried to be perky when she opened the call. As the conversation progressed, the call center agent fell into sleep mode. While talking to the customer, her eyelids began to close, her head swayed lightly forward, and her voice started to fade. Then she fell asleep. She drifted into dreamland and started talking gibberish.

It must have been puzzling to the customer because he asked, “Huh?!…I’m sorry, what? Hello?”

The “Hello” woke up the sleeping agent.
Slip-ups can be forgiven. But what call center agents cannot get away with is arrogance or disrespect toward customers. Call center agents are not allowed to be sarcastic even to the most unreasonable client.
Take the case of this call center agent from Ortigas who had been on the line for over an hour with a very dissatisfied customer. The customer demanded to speak to the agent’s supervisor or manager or whoever could take her complaint about how her call was being handled. The customer said, “I’d like to speak to the highest ranking person in your company.”
Matching anger with acid, the agent replied, “You want to speak to God?”


Dell opens German data center

March 8th, 2012

Dell Services will open a data centre, called the Halle Technology Center, in Halle, Germany to deliver cloud and outsourcing services.

The Halle center is scheduled to open during the second half of this year and follows last year’s opening of its first European data center in Slough, U.K. and a ‘solution center in Frankfurt.

The services will use ‘automated tools and proven methodologies.’

Dell’s services push is built around what it calls its ‘standardised service management methodology.’

“We are seeing an evolution in the data center as our customers evolve from heavily virtualized environments to cloud computing models. The Halle Technology Center is an integral part of our global data center expansion program and we are excited to offer customers regionally delivered IT outsourcing services,” Barbara Wittman, Dell General Manager Germany.

The data center has been built within an existing Dell campus.

“Our existing Frankfurt Solution Center will be used to support technical briefings, proof-of-concept testing, architecture design sessions and solution development. And now with the Halle Technology Center we are able to deliver additional value to our customers through Cloud Services and IT outsourcing services,” Rainer Koppitz, Vice President & General Manager, Dell Services EMEA

“Saxony-Anhalt is leading the way in terms of renewable energy, as round about one third of the power produced here stems from regenerative sources. This is a great precondition also for Dell to be able to run the new datacenter with as much green energy as possible. We always welcome if companies which successfully combine future-oriented investments and the creation of new jobs with environmental responsibility, and we are therefore very happy about Dell’s commitment to Halle,” Dr. Reiner Haseloff, ministerprasident des Landes Sachsen-Anhalt.


NTT DATA Joins Open Data Center Alliance Steering Committee

March 6th, 2012

The Open Data Center Alliance today announced that the NTT DATA Corporation has joined its top leadership ranks as the newest member of the organization’s steering committee. This union brings together a leading global IT services corporation with the leading voice for end users in cloud computing. This announcement comes as Alliance works towards a significant milestone, the organization’s first public event, Forecast 2012.

“With over 300 members, the Open Data Center Alliance has become a leading voice for the IT community,” said Marvin Wheeler, Open Data Center Alliance Chairman. “It is exciting to see industry leaders like NTT DATA signing up to help set the direction for development and implementation of cloud computing through the work of the Alliance.”

With operations in 35 countries, NTT DATA is the world’s 8th largest IT services provider with $14 billion in revenue and over 57,000 employees. NTT DATA provides a long list of professional services including consulting, system development, business process and IT outsourcing, to cloud-based solutions. The Open Data Center Alliance, a group of 300+ companies that represent over $100B in annual IT spend. In June 2011 the Alliance published the first release of its usage models cloud computing requirements.

The Alliance recently announced that it will host its first public event, Forecast 2012, June 12, 2012 in New York City. Held in conjunction with the 10th International Cloud Expo, this event will be open to Alliance members, partner organizations and any companies and organizations interested in addressing the most pressing challenges associated with transitioning to cloud computing. The event will include presentations by top cloud visionaries, classes presented by Alliance technical leaders and the latest industry advancements in delivery of solutions based on Alliance requirements.


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