Posts Tagged ‘Data’

Current critical issues in outsourcing

September 26th, 2014

The critical issues in outsourcing have evolved with changes in the marketplace, the growth in second- and later-generation outsourcing, and the new technologies such as cloud and big data. Lawyers handling outsourcing deals thus deal with new challenges in a wider variety of deals. This article will discuss those challenges and how you can mitigate the risks for your company as an outsourcing customer.Outsourcing29

Demand for an efficient but effective negotiation process. Early strategies of broad scale outsourcing to a single provider are giving way to strategic and specialized sourcing to multiple providers. The smaller deals still involve mission critical services, so sacrificing diligence or contractual protections can create substantial risk. Fortunately, you can get good results with the tools, processes and experience now available. These include proven contract and schedule templates, checklists, guides to help the business team gather and record needed information, a process designed to reduce the number of cycles to get to closure, and the experience both with the tools and processes as well as with the counter parties and similar transactions.

Resourcing not outsourcing. The traditional outsourcing model assumed that the provider was taking responsibility for an existing internal function. For example, the traditional dragnet clause requires the provider to perform all the functions previously performed by the customer at the existing service levels (unless those functions are explicitly excluded). As more customers are moving toward second-or-later-stage transactions, they need new approaches, including more robust service descriptions.

Need to integrate across service providers. As customers have an increasing number of outsourcing providers, the customers increasingly need to integrate and ensure close working relationships among providers. To build a working provider ecosystem, customers need to establish rules and relationships that protect the vital interests of each provider and reward collaboration. Because this approach is different from the traditional separation between competitors, you need to address this requirement early in the sourcing process and follow through in governance.

The double-edged sword of short term deals. In the face of increased uncertainty and dramatic change, customers have sought to increase flexibility with shorter terms. While customers may believe shorter term contracts protect them, the reality is that exit would be costly, time consuming and disruptive. Consequently, you would be prudent to include long-term contract protections even if the nominal term of the contract is short.

Establishing rights in critical provider technology. Customers are increasingly outsourcing to use provider technology instead of to find a lower-cost workforce to operate customer technology. For example, there is a rise in SaaS and cloud transactions. While customers still retain rights in their data, the bigger issue is what replacement system will be used to process that data. The risk can be mitigated by obtaining options to license some or all of the provider’s technology and commitments to provide replacement systems and transition support at predictable costs for substantial periods.

Securing “big data” rights and services. Advances in “big data” technologies have allowed companies such as Google and Amazon to create spectacular value with secondary uses of data. Traditional and even current service contracts often permit these secondary uses without compensation. For example, contracts often permit providers to retain aggregate and anonymized copies of customer data which allows the providers to benefit from data. In addition, customers often overlook opportunities to partner with their providers to gain the benefit of insights that be generated from the provider’s broader market data.

Retaining rights to protect business. As providers increasingly deliver with a global service delivery model integrated with provider processes and technology, traditional “step in” rights increasingly provide false comfort. However, customers continue to face the risk of providers becoming financially, operationally or otherwise unable or unwilling to perform specific mission-critical functions. To protect their businesses, customers increasingly value options to take specific work back quickly (including rights to take over assets and license materials) and commitments to provide information on an ongoing basis to make these options effective.

Minimizing risk, cost and surprises on exit. With more transactions reaching end-of-life, we too often see customers surprised by their vulnerability on exit when they seek to move the services to a replacement provider. Whether due to lack of motivation by the replaced provider, a lack of governance attention by the customer or a problem relationship, common complaints include exit rights designed for the technology at the signing date not fitting the technology at exit, incomplete or poorly organized data, and inadvertent waivers of exit rights needed to transition the services. You can mitigate these risks with flexible exit rights, including rights to key data, and by conducting regular audits of the data and using financial incentives for the provider to properly maintain that data.

Governance and follow-though (and follow-through, follow-through, follow-through). Too often, carefully drafted contracts are ignored and both parties operate without regard to the carefully considered processes and allocations of risk. Customers can, and frequently do, lose value by overlooking an important right, cost or protection for a long period. Like internal operations, outsourcing agreements must be persistently monitored to retain and build value. Adjustments to the contract should be reflected by deliberate mutual agreement and not by default.

Resolving disputes while preserving (or even building) the relationship. Disagreements in outsourcing agreements are inevitable, but resolving them is not. Experienced outsourcing customers have found that disputes that accumulate and remain unresolved can fester, weaken trust and destroy an otherwise productive relationship. Finding ways to quickly and efficiently force a resolution is the best way to maintain, and perhaps even build, trust and a strong working relationship. There are various strategies for accomplishing this ranging from novel governance structures to using third parties identified in advance to finally resolve disputes within specified dollar ranges.

The outsourcing market is growing more complex and risks are increasing. Yesterday’s contract will not overcome today’s challenges. However, you can manage that complexity and mitigate those risks using tools, processes and best practices developed over the decades of outsourcing.

Source:http://www.insidecounsel.com/2014/09/25/current-critical-issues-in-outsourcing

IT outsourcing boom boosts struggling Bulgaria

August 11th, 2014

Excellent IT and language skills have helped Bulgaria’s outsourcing sector boom, raising hopes that it could prop up the badly stagnating economy of the EU’s poorest country.

After a timid start 15 years ago, the Balkan country is now a hub for information technology and back-office outsourcing.

As well as call centres, firms offering software and web development, data services and technical support are attracting business from foreign companies finding it cheaper to sub-contract abroad.

Growth in the sector has rocketed at up to 25 per cent annually in recent years, helping Bulgaria’s economy to rebound to growth of 0.9 percent in 2013 after shrinking 5.0 percent in 2009.

The 22,000 people employed in outsourcing generated up to three per cent of Bulgaria’s gross domestic product in 2013, according to the Bulgarian Outsourcing Association, with turnover of more than one billion leva (Dh2.5 billion, €510 million, $685 million).

The industry profits from top-quality IT specialists, as well as the wide range of over 20 languages other than English taught in Bulgarian high schools and universities.

“Bulgaria ranks third worldwide in the number of certified software engineers and first in the number of IT specialists per capita,” Deputy Economy Minister Krasin Dimitrov told a recent outsourcing conference in Sofia.

Excellent internet and telecommunication services, as well as a pre-crisis surge in high-quality office real estate, have also contributed to the boom.
Jobs could triple

According to outsourcing association chairman Stefan Bumov, the burgeoning industry has the potential to employ two or even three times more people — a promising prospect in a country where more than a quarter of youngsters are unemployed.

“The demand for this type of services is set to grow and we could double — and why not even triple — the industry in the next two to three years,” Bumov said.
His company Sofica Group started with 30 people in 2007 and has grown to become the largest home-grown player in the sector, with more than 900 employees.

In March it was snapped up by US-based firm Teletech, and other foreign outsourcing giants have also bought local firms.

A number of global players have also set up shop in Bulgaria including Adecco, IBM and Sutherland.

Coca Cola HBC opened its own back-office services centre in Sofia in 2005 and is now serving 26 countries from here. It was followed by Hewlett-Packard, which opened a global delivery centre in 2006 and picked Bulgaria as one of its six “delivery hubs” in 2010.

But Kerry Hallard of Britain’s National Outsourcing Association said most investors would still pick Bengaluru over Bulgaria, which still suffers from a “very low profile as an outsourcing destination”.

Raising Bulgaria’s profile

Bulgaria ranked 17th in the latest A.T. Kerney global services location index, while India usually takes the top spot.

Exports say Bulgaria’s sector needs government help to develop a more aggressive marketing strategy and raise its profile.

“This is an export-orientated business and if your name is not known, even if you have the potential to do some work, it does not come to you. It goes to whoever is better known,” Bumov said.

The Bulgarian boom has also caused a severe personnel shortage, with companies resorting to stealing each other’s IT specialists as more and more of them find better-paid jobs abroad.

Finding experienced high-level managers is a particular headache, senior executives say, although the industry has already started working with universities to train the extra employees it needs.

“Outsourcing offers the best start-up jobs for newly qualified graduates. Salaries are 40-50 per cent above the country average of €400 and a top IT specialist can earn up to €3,000 a month,” Industry Watch economist Georgy Stoev said.

Expanding the talent pool by setting up more outsourcing centres in university towns outside Sofia, which hosts 90 per cent of the companies, and encouraging more students to return after studying broad are other options to help boost growth, Stoev added.

Source:http://gulfnews.com/business/economy/it-outsourcing-boom-boosts-struggling-bulgaria-1.1370423

Arise Virtual Solutions Shrinks Application Recovery Times to Minutes with Actifio Sky for Branch Office Data Management

July 23rd, 2014

Actifio®, the copy data virtualization company, today announced that Arise Virtual Solutions Inc., the leading global provider of virtual, work-at-home business process outsourcing (BPO) and crowdsourcing solutions, has deployed Actifio Sky™ to ensure data accessibility, and business resiliency acrossOutsourcing35 their distributed organization’s many locations. An existing customer of Actifio’s CDS solution within its main datacenter, Arise recently implemented Actifio Sky at several branch office data centers including Miramar, Florida and Edinburgh, Scotland for data consolidation and protection.

After replacing multiple local backup products in its offices with Actifio Sky, Arise is now able to fully restore application services for branch office data centers in less than 90 minutes. Actifio Sky captures Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, SharePoint and other data in several virtual machines, deduplicates and backs up the data and efficiently replicates it back to the Actifio CDS system in the central Arise datacenter.

“Arise Virtual Solutions’ core innovation is in our scalable virtual workforce platform, and that drives the value we deliver to our customers,” said Arise CIO Martin Ingram. “To remain productive for our clients, we need IT services that are highly resilient and efficient, no matter where the IT infrastructure and data are located. Actifio Sky lets us extend our core Actifio capabilities to manage and protect the critical data for our customers across multiple locations from one central repository. This has helped significantly reduce our administration time, letting our team focus more of its time on service delivery and development.”

Announced in May, Actifio Sky is a new generation offering built on the company’s Virtual Data Pipeline™ technology that extends the power of copy data virtualization from the data center to edge of the enterprise and into the cloud. Actifio Sky offers a new level of deployment flexibility and range, enabling seamless data management wherever the enterprise data is located to improve data protection, governance and analytics. Today, Sky is offered first for Remote / Branch Offices (ROBOs) and for cloud deployments for businesses looking to shift enterprise workloads into the cloud. Together with Actifio’s CDS data center appliance, Actifio Sky eliminates barriers to data mobility between the edge to the core, enabling transformational data management velocity and scale across the enterprise.

“Actifio Sky demonstrates the strength of our underlying technology and brings it to a new audience of customers who want to tap the power of copy data virtualization in whatever form is most useful – whether that’s a fully-integrated hardware system, a virtual appliance or a cloud-based service that’s available on demand and accessible through any device,” said Actifio founder and CEO Ash Ashutosh. “This vision is becoming reality through companies like Arise who are deploying Actifio flexibly to meet their business needs.”

Source:http://www.marketwatch.com/story/arise-virtual-solutions-shrinks-application-recovery-times-to-minutes-with-actifio-sky-for-branch-office-data-management-2014-07-23

Google has to face US privacy suit over new user data policy

July 23rd, 2014

A California court has allowed a privacy class action suit against Google to continue, though only in part.
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After evaluating each claim of each sub-class in the suit, Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal has allowed two claims of the “Android Application Disclosure Subclass,” which includes all persons and entities in the U.S. that acquired an Android-powered device between Aug. 19, 2004 and the present, and downloaded at least one Android application through the Android Market or Google Play.

On March 1, 2012, Google introduced a single, unified policy that allows the company to comingle user data across accounts and disclose it to third-parties for advertising purposes.

This move triggered the class action lawsuit in March, 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division, which argued that by switching to the less-restrictive privacy policy without user consent, Google violated both its prior policies and consumers’ privacy rights, according to court records.

The Android Application Disclosure Subclass claimed Google’s disclosures to third parties caused increased battery and bandwidth consumption as well as invasions of their statutory and common law privacy rights.

The suit was filed over two years ago and since then the court twice dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims. Google moved for a third dismissal.

The claims allowed by the judge includes a breach of contract claim that Google breached terms of the contract by disclosing user data to third parties following every download or purchase of an app, resulting in damages in the form of resource consumption. The second claim is under California’s Unfair Competition Law.

Claims by persons and entities in the U.S. that acquired an Android-powered device between May 1, 2010 and Feb. 29, 2012 and switched to a non-Android device on or after March 1, 2012 were dismissed.

Google could not be immediately reached for comment.

Source:http://www.itworld.com/legal/428311/google-has-face-us-privacy-suit-over-new-user-data-policy

IBM to invest $3B in R&D for next-generation chips

July 11th, 2014

IBM is going to pump $3 billion over the next five years into a research and development plan that advances its chip smarts as the company addresses the rise of cloud computing and big data. Basically, IBM hopes this new research initiative will eventually lead to semiconductors that measure only 7 nanometers, which is tiny compared to their current size of 22 nanometers. The smaller the chip, the faster it can be, which is important to cloud computing and big data, both of which require powerful compute.Outsourcing15

Additionally, IBM is preparing for a future in which silicon isn’t even needed for chips, as its research endeavor involves looking into other manufacturing areas like quantum devices, carbon nanotubes, photonics, graphene and other exploratory areas of manufacturing.

It’s interesting to note that while IBM is making this broad announcement, which should keep other chip makers like Intel on their toes, the focus of Big Blue’s news is on research and development and not necessarily the actual production of the supposed chips of the future.

In June, it seemed as if IBM was on the verge of selling its chip-making prowess to GlobalFoundries, and today’s news doesn’t throw that out of the water yet. IBM can still end up outsourcing its chip-manufacturing and save some cash while it concentrates on the design at home.

While the company is almost finished with selling off its server business to Lenovo in a $2.3 billion deal first announced in January that is still pending U.S. regulatory approval, today’s announcement makes it seem as if IBM is not ditching the hardware scene altogether, it’s just repositioning itself to deal with the future of chip making.

Source:http://gigaom.com/2014/07/10/ibm-to-invest-3b-in-rd-for-next-generation-chips/

IBM forks out $100m for China’s next generation of data scientists

July 9th, 2014

IBM announced today its plan to donate US$100 million worth of big data and analytics software to 100 Chinese universities in the hope of helping toOutsourcing12 create the “next generation” of data scientists.

According to IBM, the effort aims to reach up to 40,000 students per year to gain expertise in big data and analytics — a skill that the company says is increasingly in demand in China.

The plan follows a memorandum of understanding that IBM signed with the Chinese Ministry of Education in the first quarter of this year, with a focus on addressing the big data and analytics “skills opportunity” in the country.

“IBM is privileged to extend its collaboration with the Ministry of Education and universities in China,” said D.C. Chien, chairman and CEO of IBM’s Greater China Group. “Together we will be able to accelerate the nurturing of skills in big data and analytics and help prepare future business leaders to apply [big data and analytics] technologies to tackle complex societal issues, from health care to transportation and public services.”

Under the new initiative, IBM will set up big data and analytics technology centres, and provide technical training to professors and faculty, in areas ranging from information management, data mining, social media analytics, and risk management.

Big Blue has already been in collaboration with seven universities, including the Beijing Institute of Technology, Fudan University, Guizhou University, and Huazhong University of Science and Technology, which are among the pilot schools that will rollout new programs in their education system in the coming academic year.

The company plans to bring 40 new universities on board to this program by the end of this year. In fact, according to IBM, the application guidelines will be issued to all qualified academic institutions later this month, with the program rolled out to all 100 universities in mid-2015.

The agreement comes at a time when the United States’ use of big data and analytics for surveillance purposes has the Chinese government on edge — following the publication of documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden last year.

Over the past few months, Beijing has reportedly pulled Microsoft’s Windows 8 from all new government agency computers, and called for private industry to replace US-made IT hardware and software with domestic alternatives. Reports last month suggested that the government was even urging the country’s banks to remove high-end IBM servers from their operations.

Despite this, IBM has brokered not only its university big data donation deal — dubbed IBM U-100 — with the Chinese authorities; it has also struck an agreement with kaikeba.com, a prominent subsidiary brand of Chinese education solution provider, Uniquedu Corporation.

The deal with kaikeba.com will see IBM set up an “IBM zone of big data and analytics”, and according to IBM, the agreement will deliver online courses to students in order to help prepare the next-generation workforce with the skills and expertise needed to embrace big data as the “next frontier for innovation for the coming decades”.

“Big data is big business, but its rapid growth has outpaced colleges’ and universities’ ability to develop and implement new curriculums,” said Li Shu Chong, president of China’s largest research, consulting, and IT outsourcing service company, CCID Consulting. “IBM’s extensive initiative is poised to help develop new talent in China that will be needed to realize the full potential of big data.”

According to CCID, the big data technology and services market in China will continue to grow from US$2.3 billion in 2014 to US$8.7 billion in 2016.

Source:http://www.zdnet.com/ibm-forks-out-100m-for-chinas-next-generation-of-data-scientists-7000031369/

Telecom providers to see significant new growth in revenues from Data Centre facilities

June 30th, 2014

TCL’s New Telco Data Centre – Pricing for the New Telecoms Data Centre – 2014 to 2019 report is based on a TCL survey of 57 key Telecom Providers around the world who have developed their own Data Centre infrastructure. From the survey the report identifies over 2,200 Telecom Provider Data Centre facilities with around 2.9 million square metres of space available – forecast as of the end of 2014.Outsourcing21

Selected Telecoms Providers are now spending from USD $100 million up to USD $300 million per facility on developing large campus-based Data Centre facilities – with multiple Data Halls to cater for cloud services across multiple countries. Other Telecom Providers are investing in Modular Data Centre (MDC) designs, which allows new Data Centre space to be deployed on an incremental basis in line with customer demand.

The New Telco Data Centre is above all now becoming a flexible Data Centre, with infrastructure used for internal networking, equipment, hosting, managed services and IT services as well as the traditional housing, colocation and IP connectivity services – and able to cater for a range of services and customer needs.

Although IP connectivity, housing and colocation remain core products offered by all of the Telecom Providers, there has been a migration towards cloud services. The key hosting and IT applications (such as server hosting, security and disaster recovery & back up services) are being virtualized and offered as an on-demand service – using a variety of flat rate pricing models.

The Telecom Provider is becoming more circumspect about bidding for large IT outsourcing deals and are instead providing partial outsourcing of individual applications or services using a virtualized on-demand platform. Pricing is based on a usage fee per hour or per month – which may also be based on a per device or per user basis.
The TCL survey discovers that cloud services are now being offered by 52 out of the 57 Telecom Providers in the survey – with the migration to new cloud services being a key driver for the development of new flexible Data Centre facilities by the Telecoms Provider worldwide.TCL also forecasts that the change-over to new larger high specification Data Centre facilities by the Telecoms Provider will allow higher average pricing per rack or per square metre to be charged over time as the operator moves up the value chain by offering higher IT power densities.

Additionally, as enterprises – and particularly companies in the SME segment – are only starting to become aware of the scalable benefits of cloud services, there remains scope for considerable growth in Telecom Provider cloud revenue as new enterprises migrate their applications to the cloud for the first time.

Although cloud pricing will remain under competitive pressure, TCL forecasts that the growth in service volumes will outweigh the price declines over time.

Overall New Data Centre revenues are forecast by TCL to increase by 28 per cent per annum over the 5 year period from the end of 2014 – ” from almost USD $3.1 billion per annum (2014) up to almost USD $7.5 billion per annum (2019) “.

Finally, TCL also forecasts that New Data Centre space will increase from over 2.9 million square metres (2014) up to 3.7 million square metres (2019) – an increase of almost 6 per cent per annum (but from a already high installed base as space becomes more utilized over time).

“The availability of new high quality New Data Centre stock will be critical in hosting new IT and cloud services for the Telecoms Provider,” says Margrit Sessions, Managing Director of TCL.

“Increasingly Telecom Providers will have a simple choice to make, whether to invest in their own Data Centre stock to cater for the range of SLAs, power and performance required by their customers or whether to outsource to other Data Centre specialists if they are to stay in the game of offering their own cloud services,” she adds.

Source:http://www.ciol.com/ciol/news/216863/telecom-providers-significant-growth-revenues-data-centre-facilities/page/1?WT.rss_a=telecom+providers+to+see+significant+new+growth+in+revenues+from+data+centre+facilities&WT.rss_f=home

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