Posts Tagged ‘ICT’

Mass opposition to outsourcing of SBC IT jobs

March 20th, 2015

More than 60 Scottish Borders Council IT staff joined union officials at a mass meeting this week to voice fierce opposition to plans to outsource 80 jobs.Outsourcing7

Employees in the information and communications technology (ICT) service at the local authority were briefed last week on the findings of a comprehensive review, including a proposal for a joint arrangement with City of Edinburgh Council that would see 80 council IT staff outsourced to a support company provider in October.

But at a packed meeting with Unite union officials in a Galashiels hotel on Monday night, there was unanimous anger and opposition over the proposals.

So serious does Unite consider the situation that its deputy regional secretary, Mary Alexander, travelled to Galashiels to address the IT workers.

And Tony Trench, Unite’s regional industrial officer, says another meeting will be held next week and there will also be a petition launched.

“And it’s not just IT staff at the council who should be worried about their jobs, IT staff at places like NHS Borders should also be concerned,” said Mr Trench.

“We disagree totally with plans to outsource any jobs and want to see the figures that have been used to justify this.”

Monday night’s meeting was also attended – as observers – by SBC Conservative councillors Michelle Ballantyne and Gavin Logan.

Conservative opposition group leader Mrs Ballantyne said the briefing given to elected members this week had left a lot of unanswered questions.

“We will be seeking answers and further information before we can consider what is the right decision for the future of ICT in the council,” she said.

“We certainly won’t be pushed blindly into agreeing to outsource the service and will need to be convinced by substantial evidence that this is the best solution.”

And in an email to all 34 councillors last week from one disgruntled IT staff member at SBC, elected members were urged to join the fight against the outsourcing of jobs.

“IT staff can earn more in the city, but we stay because we love our jobs, the quality of life the Borders has to offer, and we want to stay in the area,” stated the email.


Sri Lanka’s ICT, BPO SECTOR targets $1 B revenue in 2015

January 13th, 2015

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector in Sri Lanka is eyeing revenue of $1 billion by 2015 and $5 billion by 2020, and poised to become the country’s largest foreign exchange earner, a report in the government website showed.Outsourcing43

Quoting figures from the Institute of Business Process Outsourcing (IBPO), the report also said the sector generated more than $400 million export income in 2014.

Set up by the Youth Affairs and Skills Development Ministry in collaboration with the National Youth Corps (NYC), IBPO is the country’s first training institute for Business Process Outsourcing, which aims to attract as many youth to join the industry in the next two years.

It offers skills training in back office operations, customer care, finance and technical support in industries such as hotels, travel, telecom, BPO, call centres and financial services.

According to the IBPO, the industry forecast for revenue growth can be realised only if his industry can increase its BPO talent-pool annually by at least 15,000-20,000  for the next two three years.

“Looking at the prospects in the BPO sector, the Sri Lankan government is all set to provide an environment that is conducive for the growth of BPO industry,” it said in its website.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM) is also committed to supporting the growth of the industry.

Last November, Sri Lanka won the National Outsourcing Association (NOA) Offshoring Destination of the Year Award 2014 in London, which SLASSCOM said validates that the country as a destination for outsourcing of information technology and Business Process Management.

Jayantha De Silva, Chairman of SLASSCOM, said in a news release that  winning theaward for two years in a row has put Sri Lanka on the map, especially in niche markets of Product Engineering and FAO.


The dark side of outsourcing

November 13th, 2014

Anyone who’s seen the film The Social Network knows the dangers of bringing in outside help to build your world-changing business idea.
The film is largely based on the claim by the Winklevoss twins that Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for Facebook after they brought him in to help with coding the social networking site.Outsourcing27

While the claim’s veracity has been debated, the reality is that the issue is becoming an increasing problem in the startup and small business community as entrepreneurs turn to online outsourcing to access quality services at affordable rates.

World Economic Forum ICT specialist Elena Kvochko predicts that over the next four years, online outsourcing will grow by more than five times, becoming a $5 billion industry by 2018.

Many businesses enabling this growth by allowing businesses to outsource everything from software coding to logo design. With the outcome of improved efficiencies and large cost savings, it is no wonder this is a popular route.

However, all too often little attention is given to the legal precautions necessary to insulate the business from intellectual property dramas. Without proper legal agreements in place, questions of ownership and misuse can arise. While these outsourcing sites protect IP to a certain level, we recommend taking additional steps to protect yourself.

Once you form an entity, the company doesn’t own the IP until it is assigned to the company. Without the proper assignment of IP, large risks begin to emerge.
Some outsourcing nightmares include:

1.    Claim for future profits

When outsourcing the design and development of a website app for example, it is efficient and effective to hire someone offshore. Often entering such agreements can lead to lucrative results with the product being valued at millions of dollars. However without the proper assignment of intellectual property, the developer might have a claim for future profits because they developed the code for the app. Not a very profitable outcome.

2.    Reducing your competitive advantage

The last thing you want to do when outsourcing is pay a developer to design your application and then find out the developer is re-using the application over and over again with other businesses, perhaps even your largest competitor. Without an assignment of IP, the developer has a right to do this, and consequently your own idea could potentially hurt your competitive advantage in the marketplace.

3.    Downstream risks – turning off potential investors

Finally, following the development of a brilliant idea and product, there comes a time when you will want to raise capital or investors will look to invest in the business. The first thing the investor will ask is if you own the intellectual property. An investor will not advance an idea that a business doesn’t have the legal right to.

So before joining forces with an outsourcer it is important to protect yourself from the potential legal rabbit hole. There are four easy steps to follow:

Step 1 – Check terms of service
You must always check the outsourcing terms of service or terms of use to check that the contractor is bound by confidentiality and assigns all intellectual property over to you or preferably your business, right from the moment you engage their services. A number of outsourcing platforms have default contractor agreements that offer more protection however sometimes it is not enough.

Step 2 – Assign intellectual property

The most important issue to address is assignment of IP. It is important that any work created or completed by the contractor is assigned to you. Under Australian law, Intellectual Property is only legally assigned by a written and signed document. Section 196(3) of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) requires there to be a signature on the written assignment document. Therefore, an email exchange or simple “standard form” contract wouldn’t be of any use unless the document is signed. It is often the case that transactions conducted through third party providers do not have a written and signed agreement to assign the IP.

Step 3 – Understand who is the creator of the work

Make sure the person assigning the intellectual property is the person that created it. Occasionally the party who is purporting to assign the copyright doesn’t actually own it in the first place. This can occur when clients use marketing agencies, which often sub-contract work to freelancers. If a freelance illustrator has been engaged by a marketing agency to develop designs for a new brand, then it may be that the illustrator owns the copyright in the designs and not the agency. A written assignment signed on behalf of the marketing agency will not be effective to transfer the copyright.

Step 4 – Keep in mind weak enforcement rules

Acknowledge that disputes over intellectual property are almost impossible to enforce when the contracted party is based overseas. There is a trade-off between cheaper outsourced labour and the legal protection afforded when you employ someone in the same legal jurisdiction. There are no legal agreements that will offer complete protection across two jurisdictions (countries) however you will be protected locally ensuring they can not start a competitive local clone.

While online platforms have streamlined the process of outsourcing and do protect IP to a certain degree, there are a few additional steps to make sure your business is properly protected. LawPath, an online legal business can provide simple forms that will protect your business form outsourcing nightmares.

As online job marketplaces grow, there is an opportunity to build more flexible and efficient businesses. Just make sure you’ve got solid legal protections in place so you don’t wind up with a billion-dollar missed opportunity like the Winklevoss twins.


700 Internet cafés to be utilized as BPO service centers

October 31st, 2014

The 700 internet cafés in the city are eyed to be utilized as service centers for job recruitment of business processing outsourcing (BPO) .Outsourcing57

So far, only 400 of them could be harnessed for this activity, said lawyer Samuel Matunog, president of the Information and Communications Technology – Davao Industry Development (ICT-DID), He said the 400 cafes are the ones still active.

“We are thinking that maybe we can qualify these internet cafés to farm out jobs for the unemployed especially those from rural and urban poor communities that we usually thought of them as not part of ICT community,” he said.

He said the internet cafés will be transformed as service delivery centers and as a work space for the workers.

“After the conversion of internet cafés into service centers there will be training for the owners of the cafés for them to be able to handle BPO services and also to train their clients after,” Matunog said.

He said he was glad that the city’s Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO) spearheaded this project and already trained and developed service centers where unemployed sectors are tapped to be part of the ICT industry.

This will help maximize the operators of internet cafés to generate jobs for the communities near them, he said.

Part of the training that Matunog mentioned is content-handling for the government’s database.

Industry leaders are looking forward to jobs which could be done outside City Hall to the internet cafés or barangay halls.

“These are simple tasks but someone could earn with minimum wage,” he added.

There are problems expected to arise though, during the preliminary implementation of the impact-sourcing in the city. Matunog said that most of the workers are not familiar with the tasks that they are doing, “therefore there must be more trainings to be done.”

He admitted that the challenge is the training part.

“It will take longer time [for the training] given that the targets are from the unemployed and retired sectors from urban poor up including Indigenous People in the rural areas who are under-educated people in terms of knowledge in ICT.”

Matunog’s group is looking forward in generating 600 trained workers from unemployed sectors.

He said that the local government, through the city’s Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO), is already giving its support by spearheading in the training provided for the target sector.

This project is part of the 6th SummIT which was held in the city last October 24 wherein part of the discussion is the utilization of impact-sourcing outside Metro Manila “as a tool for economic development of the least-developed communities and to connect them to the global economy”.

According to Monchito Ibrahim, deputy executive director on eBusiness of Department of Science and Techonology – Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO), impact-sourcing could be defined into two models:

“First is people doing BPO jobs at home and second is partnership between the large BPO companies and small-local BPO companies for them to re-outsource some of the projects that the larger companies are doing,”.

“Instead of the big companies investing in the regions, the work will be given to the small business present in the region,” Monchito said.

He added that it would definitely have a “big impact in the region” especially that, according to him, “Davao is one of the biggest players in the information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) sector.”

The said conference was attended by about a hundred ICT experts from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), ICT practitioners, academe, and students under the ICT programs.


VINASA to introduce leading IT firms to the world

October 28th, 2014

The Vietnam Software and IT Services Association (VINASA) on October 27 announced results of the implementation of a program to introduce 30 leading technology companies to the world.Outsourcing47

The program’s objective is to select 30 leading enterprises in packaging and outsourcing to introduce to potential partners from nearly 100 nations and territories in the world.

Several well-known brand names in the technological field such as HiPT, FPT Software, CMC, Tinh Van, NTT Data Vietnam and MK Smart are listed.

Dr Mai Liem Truc, chairman of the Jury Board said that the chosen businesses are not the biggest but they take the lead in their market segment. They are also competitive with foreign businesses to penetrating the world market.

VINASA has prepared a document in English and Japanese to recommend these businesses to the world. In the framework of the 2014 Asian-Oceania Computing Industry Organisation (ASOCIO ICT) Summit, the businesses will be introduced to 150 delegates from nearly 20 nations and territories.

Later, Vinasa will introduce these companies to nearly 100 nations and territories through its international partners.

A VINASA representative said that in the time ahead, the program will be expanded to  telecommunications, internet and digital content.


Gov ‘cloud-first’ policy has clear gaps

October 9th, 2014

THE Abbott government’s so-called ‘cloud first’ policy lacks a clear plan or specific goals, say industry experts, who fear it will be a pipe dream without strong leadership.Outsourcing4

The government yesterday released a long-awaited update to its cloud computing strategy, saying departments and agencies are required to consider cloud first where it is fit for purpose, provides adequate protection of government data and delivers value for money.

The announcement follows a recommendation by the Commission of Audit for the government to adopt a cloud-first approach for ICT procurement.

Agency heads would be able to approve proposals to place “certain information” either onshore or offshore, a joint statement by the ministers of finance and communications, and the Attorney-General said.

The government spends $6 billion per annum on ICT but only a fraction on cloud services — $6.2 million since July 2010, including $1.5m on data centre-as-a-service contracts.

OzHub chair Matt Healy said the policy showed intent, but lacked targets and strong central leadership.

OzHub comprises industry players such as Macquarie Telecom, Infoplex, Alcatel-Lucent and F5 Networks.

Mr Healy said the British government had a goal of shifting 50 per cent of its new government IT spending to cloud-based services by 2015 but Australia had no such target and spent too little on cloud services.

“Industry is ready but the government must set real targets,’’ he said in a statement. “We’ve been in the starter’s hands in the race for take-up of cloud computing for too long.”

Mr Healy said the Attorney-General’s updated information security management guidelines could hamper cloud adoption since agencies were authorised to conduct their own risk assessments and approve the outsourcing of government-held private information offshore.

“There is an increased risk associated with data held offshore, and surveys showing that consumers and small-to-medium-sized businesses are more concerned about the security of their personal information when held offshore,’’ he said.

“Devolving decision-making to individual agencies on the basis of ‘streamlining decision making’ may not constitute an appropriate privacy and security regime to protect the private information of Australians.

“We believe there should be a sensible balance of prudent accountability by the Attorney-General and central agencies in providing assurance to Australians that their information is safe and that redress in Australia is available should there be a breach,” Mr Healy said.


ECS ICT looking for acquisitions

October 7th, 2014

ECS ICT Bhd, which hopes to reap the benefit from the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), is looking at mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in a bid to expand the ICT services segment.Outsourcing48

Its managing director Foo Sen Chin (pix) said the company is in talks with a few Malaysian companies to embark on an acquisition plan, but nothing has been concluded as yet.

“There could be new business area namely services we’re looking at, but it might not be simple to grow as you need to have a new team, so we’re considering a right company to acquire,” he said.

The areas that the group is looking to enhance within the services segment include outsourcing services, managed services, data centre services and project management.

ECS ICT distributes a wide range of ICT products, with more than 4000 resellers, system integrators and corporate dealers. Its three main business segments are ICT distribution, enterprise systems and ICT services.

Analysts expect ECS ICT’s, which is seen as one of the beneficiaries of the implementation of GST, earnings’ to fall post its implementation period if it doesn’t seek new business opportunities.

Foo told SunBiz in an interview recently that the company is looking for opportunities with government departments like customs, for related systems to support GST collection.

“So we’re working with many partners who are supplying the systems and solutions to all these government departments. There’s an opportunity for us as they need to buy the server, network and storage,” he added.

Foo admitted however that its consumer is likely to suffer from the implementation of GST in the second quarter of the year as spending slows down.

“In this business, it will recover very fast because new models always come out…So, I’m not too worried about the effect,” Foo said, adding that more compelling models and features will attract more demand for devices like notebooks, tablets and smartphones.

As for the e-commerce segment, Foo pointed out that the firm plans to expand its reach by working with big resellers and retailers to offer its products online to customers next year.

“Many of our retailers do not have that portal or system to handle end users, so that would be our next plan,” he added.
Four strategic initiatives for the next few years are mobility, cloud computing, e-commerce and services.

He said the distribution of smartphones, which started a year ago, will make a “good contribution” for the group and the group is looking to distribute more brands of smartphones on top of over 30 brands it has right now.

Besides smartphones, other consumer-based products that it distributes include notebooks, PCs, printers and tablets.

Foo said over the past five years, the group has been growing the enterprise systems segment, which fetches higher margin. However, he sees more challenges in that segment as it needs sufficient technical and support from engineers.

According to Foo, ICT spending recorded a compounded growth rate of 5% per annum, with a market size of US$8 billion that yet to include the services segment.

“We always grow faster than that, and for this year, we can easily grow at double-digit,” he said, adding that it is underpinned by growing demand for smartphones and small tablets.

Foo expects the group could easily hit RM1.5 billion revenue this year, as the second half has always been better than the first half of the year.

ECS ICT’s net profit edged up 3.54% to RM12.3 million for six months ended June 30 versus RM11.88 million in the previous corresponding period, on the back of RM748 million revenue.

As at June 30, gross profit for the ICT distribution segment stood at 4% to 5%, whereas the enterprise segment was higher at 8% to 9%. On average, it made a 6% gross profit.

Its share price fell 3 sen to RM1.42 on Friday.


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