Posts Tagged ‘ICT’

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.


Over 60 Indian firms to take part in Gitex 2014

October 3rd, 2014

Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC) is ensuring Indian participation in a big way at Gitex 2014 scheduled in Dubai from 12-16 October 2014. Outsourcing47

“ESC has been facilitating Indian participation on a regular basis at Gitex to take advantage of the booming IT market in the Gulf and leveraging that association for getting businesses for Indian IT companies from a multitude of large global corporations, which are executing projects in the region,” says Kamal Vachani, Regional Director, Middle East, ESC.

“Gitex is continuing to emerge the largest and the most impressive ICT event of its kind in the Middle East. Naturally, India has a great stake in the booming Middle East, Africa, Asia (WANA Region) and European markets for which Dubai is the gateway. Thus the event provides the participating Indian ICT companies opportunities for scouting the expanding Middle East market,”  says Vinod Sharma, Chairman, ESC.

ESC has been participating at the Gitex consistently for several years and the participating Indian companies under ESC’s banner have reported high degree of satisfaction. The participating Indian companies have reported to have bagged significant businesses, forged joint ventures, marketing tie ups, etc. with the buyers visiting the exhibition.

“This year in 2014 at Gitex Dubai, 40 Indian ICT companies are exhibiting at the India Pavilion organised by ESC.  Out of these 40 companies 17 companies are repeating their participation in the event.  Another 20 Indian ICT companies will be also participating in various halls.

India pavilion will highlight innovative ICT products & services including Cyber Security Solutions, Mobile Tablets, Power Chargers (Power Banks) and IT Accessories, Software Products on E-Commerce, Time and Attendance, Visitor Management, ELearning Systems, Survey Builder, Quality Management solutions, CMS, CRM, Event Management, Technical Skills in Microsoft .Net, Open Source PHP / RoR, VC++, Qt and Web Design, User Interface (UI) Design, Interactive CBTs, 2D/3D Animations ,HR & Finance Solutions, Projet Management System & Team & Time, Payroll., Biometrics, RFID, Touch-Screen Kiosks, SMS & eMail services, Online Payment Gateways,  ERP, Data analysis, Biometric Vertical, Tailor-Made Vertical, Examination Vertical,  Learning Management System (LMS), Vehicle Trackers and Personal Trackers, Software Development Services, Outsourced Product, Development, Enterprise Mobility, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Server development, Oracle E-Business Suite, Enterprise Application, Implementation & Support, Cloud, Offshore/ Global Outsourcing & Software Development Services, iOS App Development, Mobile App Development, PHP Web Development, Ecommerce Development, CRM Development and Integration, Telecommunication Products, Energy Sector, Banking, Financial Inclusions, Digital Signage , Enterprise Asset Management / CMMS, Web Portal Development, BPO etc.

Export Scenario

A high growth in exports of electronics hardware from India to Middle East countries during 2013-14 is observed.  Middle East Countries have become the top destination for India’s electronics hardware export during the year 2013-14.  It is estimated that electronics goods export to Middle East Countries during 2013-14 is valued at $1738 million up from $1630 million estimated in the year 2012-13 registering a growth of 6.66 per cent, said D.K. Sareen, Executive Director, ESC.

Amongst the ME countries, UAE is the top destination for India’s electronics export followed by Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Export of software and related services to Middle East has also registered an excellent growth of 11.74 per cent.  Export of software and services increased from $1852 million estimated in 2012-13 to  $2069 million estimated in 2013-14.

India’s total export of electronics hardware during 2013-14 is estimated to be $7664 million and that of computer software and services is estimated to be US$ 84009 million.


IT services spending to increase in SA

October 3rd, 2014

IT services spending in South Africa is expected to increase 10.5% year on year in 2015 to total $5.7 billion, according to the latest forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC).Outsourcing41

The global advisory services firm expects systems integration to be the fastest growing service over the coming five years, with related spending increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.6%, as technologies such as cloud, social, and mobility require increasing levels of integration, particularly with existing backend infrastructure and solutions.

The forecast represents a continuation of the 10.5% year-on-year growth anticipated for the market this year, and a stark transformation from IDC’s data for 2013, which shows the market declined 7% in U.S. dollar terms.

This slowdown can be attributed to a variety of factors, including labor disputes, skills shortages, a high unemployment rate, the prevalence of crime and corruption, inefficient ICT parastatals, and the prolonged impact of global economic instability. At the same time, pressure is growing on CIOs to deliver greater business value with increasing, but tightly controlled IT budgets.

Given the ongoing economic challenges, outsourced services continue to appeal to companies that want to limit and predict costs and optimize current investments. Indeed, the focus on cost reduction favors outsourcing engagements. As such, the outsourcing services macromarket remains the largest in South Africa and is expected to comprise 45.4% of the country’s IT services market in 2015.

This will be predominantly driven by growing spending levels in the managed services space as organizations increasingly make use of outsourcing services to address concerns around their costs and efficiencies.

“IT initiatives in 2015 will not only continue to focus on technologies that enable continuous improvement and optimization, but also deliver value to the business,” says Lise Hagen, IDC’s research manager for software and IT services in Africa. “New investments in IT will focus on technologies that can demonstrate cost efficiencies, such as automation, cloud, and SaaS. CIOs and IT decision makers are increasingly coming under pressure to cut costs and deliver services based on highly efficient IT processes that align with business objectives, while simultaneously supporting and sustaining business growth. For their part, providers need to help demonstrate that IT is not just a cost center, but a fundamental part of the business that can drive revenue and value as well as reduce costs.”

IDC expects IT services spending in South Africa to increase at a CAGR of 9.5% over the five-year forecast period to reach $7.4 billion in 2018. ‘Combined systems integration’ will constitute the fastest growing service during this period, with IT investment in this area expanding at a CAGR of 13.6%. The other top-performing services in terms of growth will be applications related, with ‘application management outsourcing’ and ‘application consulting and customization’ both expanding at CAGRs of 13.0% each.


ICT firms urged to take care of workers’ health

September 30th, 2014

INFORMATION communications technology-Business Process Outsourcing (ICT-BPO) companies are encouraged to initiate activities that will promote a healthy lifestyle for their employees, an executive said.Outsourcing40

“From an employee engagement perspective it is a responsibility of the organization, BPO, or employer to make sure they have fitness programs [for] health and wellness [that is] sustainable for their employees,” said Catherine S. Ileto, Sutherland Global Services marketing and communications director, in yesterday’s Kapehan sa Davao at SM City Davao.

She said it is important for employers to take care of their employees since they are part of a successful business.

“If you take care of your people, your people will take care of your business. For the simple reason that our people is our biggest asset [and] we should take care of them by coming up with employee engagement activies on health and wellness,” Ileto said.

She said the health of a company’s employees is important because they will become more productive in their work if they are healthy.

For instance, Ileto said one of Sutherland’s initiatives to promote health and wellness among their employees is their Sutherland Fitness Challenge. In other Sutherland branches, this is set to conclude by the end of October but for Davao branch, it is yet to start next month.

“[Through the program] we are trying to integrate fitness into the daily life of [our employees],” she said.

Ileto encourages other ICT-BPO companies to also follow their lead in coming up with employee engagement activities for the wellness of their employees.

“We [at the private sector] should help erase the negative perception that [being in our industry] is stressful. It is important for the companies to launch programs that they feel would be beneficial for their employees,” she said.

Ileto also said that companies should not only focus in coming up with programs for the health aspect of their employees but they should also launch other programs that will positively impact the wellness of the employees as a whole like programs on financial wellness.

She said initiating such activities will have a positive impact on their employees.

“In our recent focus group discussion with our employees, we learned from them that they are saying that ‘Yes, Sutherland cares for me’, ‘they care for my well-being’, and we encourage a culture of bayanihan,” Ileto said.


Worcestershire to appoint HP for managed ICT services deal

September 26th, 2014

HP expected to oversee transformation of council’s IT service delivery model and migration from legacy platformsOutsourcing32

Worcestershire County Council is today expected to approve an agreement with HP Enterprise Services UK to oversee managed ICT services for the authority.

The agreement, which will see the company taking responsibility for the council’s IT needs, along with migrating its legacy telecommunications platforms to a unified communications system, follows on from a review conducted by the authority between 2013 and 2014 into overhauling its service delivery model.

The council has said that the agreement is expected to lead to overall revenue savings of £3.4m over a seven year period through a focus on flexible service provision.

According to council documents , HP was selected as the preferred bidder for the contract based on the company proposing a shared approach to risk, as well as having the lowest cost of three shortlisted bidders.

Should the council approve the contract, which is expected to begin by December of this year, the transition of the council’s operations to the new service provider is expected to take around three months.

Under the proposals, while Worcestershire “retains the risk” from any potential reduction in service volumes – whether from changes to user, devices and server numbers – HP would “assume” possible risks resulting from operational performance and efficiencies.

“HP Enterprise Services UK is a highly recognisable and mature ICT Service Provider which will be a household name to many,” said the council.

“They have an increasing presence within the local government marketplace and extensive experience of delivering large scale ICT managed services across multiple sectors.”

According to the council, the agreement with HP is expected to provide additional service value through considerations such as through supporting key sector industries and skills like cyber security and advanced manufacturing in Worcestershire.

HP has also pledged to:

Support local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in being “more successful”.
Providing young people with skills and helping individuals classed as not in employment, education, or training (NEETS) to gain certification and training for the workplace.
Alan Mo, research director for public sector analysis group Kable said that the agreement reflected the growing pressures on local authorities to deliver service improvements without significant costs, that can minimise longer term financial risk.

Mo added that given current uncertainty facing councils and the possibility of a decline in required service volumes over the lifespan of the council’s agreement, HP’s proposal for managed services took into account the possibility for changing volumetrics.

“It’s unsurprising that all local government outsourcing deals – including this one – emphasise the importance of including measures to deliver social value and boost local economies. With outsourcing being such a politically charged topic, and one that is invariably surrounded by negative press, any scheme or commitment by suppliers to generate social value, create jobs and deliver local economic value will always help appease some of the objectors,” he said “But as councils increasingly emphasise these needs when setting their key procurement objectives, suppliers need to be much more creative in order to stand out from the competition.”

“HP managed this in Norfolk (although not theoretically an outsource agreement), and it’s done it again here, especially with its commitment to promote and support ‘key sector industries and skills for Worcestershire such as Advanced Manufacturing and Cyber Security’.”


Nigeria: NITDA Wakes up to Responsibilities in ICT Sector

September 25th, 2014

Outsourcing6While Nigeria’s achievements in the Information and Communications Technology, ICT, industry have become ready subjects of discussions at global forums, the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, has given indication of a new focus to further raise the tempo of activities aimed at taking the country’s ICT industry to greater heights.

The Director-General of NITDA, Mr. Peter Jack, gave the indications in Abuja, while throwing more light on the agency’s plans to ensure that the ICT industry is properly regulated and evaluated on an on-going basis in line with the content of the NITDA Act 2007.

Jack says the NITDA Act 2007 gives the federal government agency the overall responsibilities to regulate, monitor, evaluate, and verify progress on an on-going basis in the ICT industry, under the supervision and coordination of the Federal Ministry Communication Technology.

According to him, although Nigeria has made much progress in the industry, “there is need for renewed moves, focus and activities to ensure that the tempo that has been generated is further strengthened so that we can take this industry with renewed vigour to greater heights.”

He said NITDA will not relent in its efforts to bridge ICT gap in Nigeria through its programmes and policies targeted at developing technology and its usage across the country.

The agency, in highlighting some of its achievements said that although the journey of the last few years has been quite eventful with its ICT programmes and projects spreading throughout the country, it is ready to do more to promote ICT usage and adoption in public and private sectors.

According to the NITDA ACT 2007, NITDA is saddled with the responsibilities of “creating the framework for the planning, research, development, standardisation, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria and all matters related thereto and for that purpose, and which without detracting from the generality of the foregoing shall include providing universal access for Information Technology and systems penetration including rural, urban and under-served areas.”

The agency is also to “provide guidelines to facilitate the establishment and maintenance of appropriate information technology and systems application and development in Nigeria for public and private sectors, urban-rural development, the economy and the government.

It is to also “develop guidelines for electronic governance and monitor the use of electronic data interchange and other forms of electronic communication transactions as an alternative to paper-based methods in government, commerce, education, the private and public sectors, labour, and other fields, where the use of electronic communication may improve the exchange of data and information.”

Other mandates of the agency include: To develop guidelines for the networking of public and private sector establishment; develop guidelines for the standardisation and certification of Information Technology Escrow Source Code and Object Code Domiciliation, Application and Delivery Systems in Nigeria among several others.

In fulfilment of these mandates, NITDA has embarked on infrastructural development and human capacity development projects across the country.

The agency said it has been delivering its mandates through human capacity development programmes such as Scholarship Scheme for graduates andundergraduates; Cisco Network Academy; Train-The-trainer Programme; Catch-Them-Young; Free and Open Source-Software Training; Enterprise Technology Centre and Kado Resource Centre; Training of Unemployed Graduates in IT Essentials; ICT Youth Empowerment Scheme; and Business Process Outsourcing.

For ICT infrastructure development, NITDA is pushing the country forward through the establishment of Rural Information Technology Centres (RITCs); Mobile Internet Units; Virtual Libraries; Software Development Centres; IT Parks; IT Infrastructure for Tertiary Institutions; and Public Service, Network (PSNET) among others.

According to the agency, the Rural Information Technology Centre (RITC) project is aimed at bringing Information Technology (IT) to the doorsteps of Nigerians by ensuring that the under-served areas get access to IT infrastructure, adding that it has established over 395 centres since it commenced the project in 2009.


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