Posts Tagged ‘IT’

IBM, UBG to accelerate hybrid cloud adoption in Kuwait

May 22nd, 2015

United Business group (UBG), a leader in IT infrastructure management, technical support services, IT consultancy and technology resource outsourcing in Kuwait, has partnered with IBM Cloud to transform its business into a managed service provider.Outsourcing47

IBM and UBG will offer a flexible hybrid cloud platform based on OpenStack to deliver customised cloud services to customers in Kuwait.

The businesses will be able to choose to have their data located in country and given the option to have the data reside either on premise or off premise.

The market shift toward cloud-enabled business models is accelerating and buying behaviour is largely focused in ‘as-a-service’ options, which is driving a huge demand for in-country managed services and the hybrid cloud, said a statement.

To address this market change, UBG employed IBM Cloud to offer customers in Kuwait the option for subscription model cloud-based offerings to save costs and increase operational agility, choice, and flexibility, it said.

The new model will also grant customers the transparency to use all data and apps across multiple platforms, the control and governance to manage heavy workloads, and a multi-layered approach to ensure security across every interaction point.

UBG will also offer to its clients in Kuwait Bluemix, IBM’s Digital Innovation Platform, to speed up app development, cutting deployment time from months to minutes.

The new model also allows businesses to select from a range of hardware configuration options based on open standards and deploy services from IBM’s SoftLayer global data centres based on the needs of the workload.

The businesses will be able to focus more on building functional applications and services and less on the backend processes, such as the infrastructure and cloud management systems.

Marawan Megawer, vice president – Global Business Partners, IBM Middle East and Africa, said: ”By offering our customers access to a hybrid cloud platform based on open standards, we will be able to help break down the barriers between clouds and on premise IT systems, providing clients with control, visibility and security as they use both public and private clouds.

“Data location across an ever growing number of clouds is an increasing concern for customers, and we are unveiling new developer services to make this easier to manage.”

IBM recently opened its first office in Kuwait to strengthen its ability to provide solutions and services to a rapidly expanding customer and partner base in the country.

The office is part of a broad program of investment that IBM is making across the Middle East. The new office will act as a sales and customer service hub for IBM’s comprehensive line of offerings in the region.

Muraleedharan Nanoo, managing director, UBG, said: “We are leveraging IBM Cloud, analytics, mobile and security offerings in order to create high-value, competitively differentiated services. Our goal is to improve development productivity and reliability to better serve our customers.”


IT Outsourcing: The Top 5 Business Considerations

May 22nd, 2015

In today’s fast-paced business world, driving efficiency is often at the heart of growth plans.

When thoroughly planned, outsourcing plays a vital role in ensuring productivity is high; enabling managers to focus on business development and disruptive innovation.Outsourcing46

However, some organisations cause irreparable damage to their business by outsourcing too early, while others risk falling behind to more innovative competitors by ignoring the opportunities available; and some companies outsource the wrong mix of activities. It’s unclear whether this balancing act is why the outsourcing market in the UK declined in Q1 compared to the same period last year, although it could also imply a wariness to trust third parties with internal business processes.

If this is the case, business leaders are setting themselves up for a fall. Failing to outsource effectively can cause irreparable damage to an organisation. Put simply, business growth will be stunted.

To ensure SMEs are reaching their full potential, John Cooke, a founder and managing director at Black Pepper Software, investigates the top five considerations every business should make before outsourcing.

1.         Cost-efficiency

Put simply, the majority of outsourcing takes place to increase profit margins, lowering expenditure on labour and operational costs, while improving the bottom line. However, the cost-efficiency of taking this approach comes into question if the wrong processes are left in the hands of a third party.

Offshoring well-defined maintenance tasks, such as payroll management, removes the need for businesses to hire in-house experts to manage accounts, freeing up capital which can be invested elsewhere. Core activities shouldn’t be outsourced though, as the necessary knowledge levels will inevitably be found in-house and should remain at the heart of the company. Google wouldn’t outsource search engine algorithm innovation to a third party for example – it would risk losing its competitive advantage. The same is true for all businesses, regardless of size.

2.         Business reputation

Businesses live and die by their reputation and in the social media age, each product and service they offer is scrutinised under the microscope. It’s therefore vital that the highest possible standards are maintained continuously, especially for external facing processes. Failing to take your reputation into account before outsourcing may be the biggest mistake you ever make.

Take call centres for example. When outsourced efficiently consumers rarely realise they aren’t speaking to an in-house representative. However, if offshored poorly a disconnect between the business and its customer service becomes far too apparent, leading to a vocal and costly backlash. The same is true of all external processes. Offshoring may free capital, but if service levels drop the cost of rebuilding business reputation is much higher than any initial savings.

3.         Innovation

Many businesses aim to transform their offerings and innovate like a ‘start-up’. However, internal constraints and practices can stifle this. Established businesses investing capital in disruptive innovation should be the cornerstone of their development plans. Outsourcing innovative processes such as software development often breeds the best results, as internal team members may be too close to the business’ existing processes to ‘think outside the box’.

When successful, such innovation is highly lucrative. By researching and identifying a new market the disruptive business will immediately become the industry leader, leaving competitors in its wake. If companies fail to do so their competitors will, so outsourcing wisely in areas such as innovation is critical.

Businesses need to be wary though, pick the wrong partner and it can set back innovation and growth, resulting in missed opportunities. A partner must be agile, able to rapidly adapt to ever changing business needs, all while working very closely with the company.

4.         Communication & collaboration

Agile development has continued growing in popularity, with continuous communication and collaboration at the heart of innovative projects. It’s therefore vital to keep this in mind before outsourcing project work to a third party, especially when considering offshoring. UK businesses which turn to Asian companies will likely find daily iterations are difficult to manage due to the vast time differences. In some circumstances, there may only be a few hours of overlap during the working day so time for communication is limited and can seem rushed. This will either impact product quality, or at least result in unnecessarily long lead times. Also cultural differences shouldn’t be underestimated, companies frequently need to work much harder to overcome these than is often considered up-front.

However, when outsourcing onshore, communication isn’t strained by time zone difficulties, cultural differences are minimised and daily iterations are also still possible to ensure projects remain on track. Large companies can benefit greatly from onshore outsourcing, taking advantage of rapid and low cost innovation using an external team without draining resource from their day-to-day operations.

5.         Calculated risk

Outsourcing is often unfairly viewed as a risky option, and although there is risk involved this depends on the type of processes outsourced. If core business practices are offshored the risk is huge, as you have little control over what is a central element of your organisation, which can have disastrous results. On the other hand, outsourcing development projects should be viewed as well-calculated risk, offering businesses an opportunity to research their market and work closely with a third party to innovate and generate the highest quality results possible.

Our work with design specialist Black Country Atelier (BCA) highlights this, as the firm is aiming to offer technology which enables consumers to design their own loomband pendants on their mobile device before 3D printing it in-store. This was a movement into a completely new market for BCA yet they outsourced app development and the project was turned around within a week, rather than the usual months which traditional approaches offer. Having such fast turn around and innovative input at a low cost enabled BCA to test the waters with a product that may now hit the high street before the end of the year.

Time to reap the rewards

Outsourcing is a key element of business today and to write it off as unnecessary risk is short-sighted and leaves organisations at risk of being left behind by their competitors. Companies simply can’t be as efficient if they handle all tasks internally, while failing to look further afield than the office floor for expert advice when aiming to disrupt the market can be a mistake which is impossible to bounce back from.


IT stocks gain on weak rupee, positive US economic data

May 21st, 2015

Six IT stocks rose by 0.85% to 3.24% at 13:20 IST on BSE on positive economic data in US and weakness in rupee.Outsourcing44

Meanwhile, the S&P BSE Sensex was up 204.09 points or 0.74% at 27,849.62.

Among IT stocks, Infosys (up 1.32%), MphasiS (up 0.85%), HCL Technologies (up 2.56%) and Wipro (up 1.2%) gained.

TCS rose 1.66% after its client, Euroclear Finland launched platform, Infinity powered by TCS BaNCS for market infrastructure. The company made the announcement during market hours today, 20 May 2015. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced that its client – Euroclear Finland – the central securities depository (CSD) for the Finnish capital markets, has launched a new transaction processing platform known as ‘Infinity’. Infinity is a multi-year program powered by TCS BaNCS for Market Infrastructure, and is a key component of Euroclear Finland’s outsourcing its securities settlement processing to TARGET2Securities (T2S) as part of the European Central Bank’s fourth migration wave in February 2017.

Tech Mahindra gained 3.24% after company said Ontario Ministry of Energy and the company invested in innovative Smart Grid solution powered by analytics. The announcement was made after market hours yesterday, 19 May 2015. Tech Mahindra announced that it will build an Intelligent Electric Vehicle Charging System (IEVCS) designed to help build Ontario’s clean energy future. The project, sponsored by the Ministry of Energy and funded in part through the Ontario Smart Grid Fund initiative, will analyze the effects of electric vehicle charging on transformers by creating a real time transformer monitoring and analytics solution.

Meanwhile, a report in US yesterday, 19 May 2015, showed a sharp increase in housing starts last month, pondering the effect it might have in determining the course of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy. Investors will get a closer look at the US Federal Reserve’s thoughts about interest rates and economic data when the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting from its meeting held in late April 2015 are released in the global day today, 20 May 2015.

US is the biggest outsourcing market for the Indian IT firms.

In the foreign exchange market, the rupee edged lower against the dollar. The partially convertible rupee was hovering at 63.82, compared with close of 63.68 during the previous trading session. A weak rupee boosts revenue of IT firms in rupee terms as the sector derives a lion’s share of revenue from exports.


IT shares trade firm; HCL Tech, Tech Mahindra up 3%

May 21st, 2015

Shares of information technologies (IT) companies were trading firm on the bourses, gaining upto 4% each, on the back of positive corporate announcements and weakening rupee.Outsourcing43

HCL Technologies, Tech Mahindra, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Persistent Systems and Cyient rose 3%-4% each, while Infosys, Wipro, Hexaware Technologies, Polaris Consulting & Services and MindTree gained 1%-2% each on the National Stock Exchange (NSE).

At 1311 hours, CNX IT index was the largest gainer among sectoral indices, gaining 1.8% compared to sub-1% gain in the benchmark CNX Nifty.

Tech Mahindra spurted by 3% to Rs 640 after the company said Ontario Ministry of Energy and the company invested in innovative Smart Grid solution powered by analytics.

Tech Mahindra announced that it will build an Intelligent Electric Vehicle Charging System (IEVCS) designed to help build Ontario’s clean energy future. The project, sponsored by the Ministry of Energy and funded in part through the Ontario Smart Grid Fund initiative, will analyze the effects of electric vehicle charging on transformers by creating a real-time transformer monitoring and analytics solution.

TCS gained 2% at Rs 2,563 after its client, Euroclear Finland launched platform, Infinity powered by TCS BaNCS for market infrastructure.

Infinity is a multi-year program powered by TCS BaNCS for Market Infrastructure and is a key component of Euroclear Finland’s outsourcing its securities settlement processing to TARGET2Securities (T2S) as part of the European Central Bank’s fourth migration wave in February 2017, TCS said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the rupee depreciated by 11 paise to 63.78 against the US dollar at the Interbank Foreign Exchange in early trade today as the American currency appreciated in wake of strong economic data, the PTI report suggests.


IT Outsourcing Firm Cognizant Raises Revenue, Profit Forecast After Strong 1Q On Higher US Healthcare Business

May 21st, 2015

IT services outsourcing firm Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. said Monday that higher demand from U.S. healthcare and financial services clients helped boost its first-quarter revenue by 20 percent compared to the same period last year. The Teaneck, N.J., company, which relies heavily on the U.S. H-1B visa guest worker program, also raised its forecast for 2015 revenue and profit.Outsourcing42

“The clients we serve are experiencing tremendous change in their businesses,” Cognizant CEO Francisco D’Souza said in a statement. The company’s share price (NASDAQ:CTSH) leaped 6.27 percent to $62.85 in pre-market trading.

The company said revenue from U.S. healthcare clients leaped 43 percent, to $879.1 million, in the first quarter ended March 31. Sales from financial services clients increased 13.4 percent to $1.16 billion. Demand for outsourcing services from healthcare providers and financial services, including insurance companies, make up about 70 percent of Cognizant’s revenue.

Cognizant shares closed up 6.15 percent to $62.78 on Monday on the better than expected results. The company’s share price is up over 19 percent since the start of the year.

The company offers outsourcing IT and business processing services, including offshoring work to India and using the U.S. H-1B visa program to bring foreign IT workers to the U.S. Critics have said the flood of bachelor’s-degree level Indian IT workers in the U.S. is driving down wages and pushing Americans away from a once-lucrative profession.

Proponents of the use of foreign IT guest workers, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, argue there aren’t enough Americans to fill the demand from employers.

The IT outsourcing industry has largely taken over the U.S. H-1B visa program, which was originally designed to bring in foreign workers with highly specialized skills, such as professors or engineers with advanced degrees. But the program has since evolved as a way for U.S. companies to lower their labor costs using foreign guest workers with non-advanced degrees.

Silicon Valley tech giants — who are more likely to hire advanced-degree holders and provide paths to citizenship for them — have complained they can’t get enough foreign workers because of the flood of demand from outsourcing firms that flood the systems with H-1B visa petitions. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg helped launch, a nonprofit group that advocates increasing the annual quota of 85,000 H-1B visas (including 20,000 reserved for advanced degree holders).

Cognizant itself recognizes the controversial nature of its business, citing U.S. immigration policy as a risk to its future profitability.

“Immigration and work permit laws and regulations can be significantly affected by political forces and levels of economic activity,” the company said in its 2014 annual report. “Our international expansion strategy and our business, results of operations, and financial condition may be materially adversely affected if changes in immigration and work permit laws and regulations … impair our ability to staff projects with professionals who are not citizens of the country where the work is to be performed.”

Cognizant claims it actively recruits from U.S. universities but it also says “the vast majority” of its workers in the U.S. and Europe are Indian nationals on temporary gest worker visas. The company employed 171,400 workers worldwide at the end of 2013, including 31,500 in the Americas and 6,900 in Europe. Most of the workers in the Americas are based in the U.S. Last year, North Carolina gave Cognizant, a Fortune 500 company, a $5 million incentive package to open a new business center there. Cognizant

Cognizant reported a 9.7 percent rise in profit, to $382.9 million. Earnings per share increased to 62 cents from 57 cents. Revenue increased to $2.91 billion from $2.42 billion. The company beat analysts’ expectations. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 71 cents per share, above an average estimate of 70 cents per share, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who expected revenue to increase to $2.89 billion.


Indian IT captured quarter of top 100 outsourcing deals in 2014

May 21st, 2015

India-based outsourcers captured nearly a quarter of the top-100 outsourcing deals in 2014, said International Data Corporation’s (IDC) analysis of worldwide outsourcing deals during 2012-2014.Outsourcing40

The analysis shows the top-five vendors in 2014 captured over 50 per cent of the total contract value (TCV) of top-100 outsourcing deals in 2014. This is up from 43 per cent by the top-five vendors in 2013, which included IBM with $13.8 billion, CGI with $2.8 billion, Cognizant with $2.7 billion, Capgemini with $2.6 billion, and Wipro with $2.3 billion. However, the average deal size continues to shrink with fewer mega-deals (TCV of $1 billion or more).

Research shows that there has been a shift from public to private sector deals in 2014.

An additional shift to fewer providers winning and potentially competing for the largest outsourcing deals is also occurring. “India-based outsourcers are making significant inroads into the global top-100 outsourcing deals,” said David Tapper, vice-president, outsourcing and offshore services.

“The combination of effectively leveraging the offshore business model; incorporating new methods of service delivery such as hosting and cloud; investing in more transformative capabilities in areas such as analytics, social media, and mobility; and enhancing strategic local capabilities and resources has enabled the India-based outsourcers to effectively compete with well-established competitors in the outsourcing industry for the largest of large-scale outsourcing deals.”


Gartner says Indian healthcare providers to spend US$ 1.2 bn on IT in 2015

May 19th, 2015

Healthcare providers in India are expected to spend US$ 1.2 billion on IT products and services in 2015, an increase of 7 per cent over 2014, according to Gartner, Inc., leading information technology research and advisory company. This forecast includes spending by healthcare providers (including hospitals, as well as ambulatory service and physicians practices) on internal services, software, IT services, data center, devices and telecom services.Outsourcing40

Dr Anurag Gupta, research vice president at Gartner said, “IT services, which includes consulting, implementation, IT outsourcing and business process outsourcing, will be the largest overall spending category through 2019 within the health care providers sector. It is expected to reach US$ 317 million in 2015, up from $295 million in 2014 – with the consulting segment growing 11 per cent.”

Internal services will achieve the highest growth rate amongst the spending categories with a 17 per cent increase in 2015 to reach US$ 297 million. Internal services refer to salaries and benefits paid to the information services staff of an organization. The information services staff includes all company employees that plan, develop, implement and maintain information systems. Software spending will grow 6.2 per cent to reach US$ 103 million in 2015, up from $97 million in 2014, led by growth in vertical specific software (software applications that are unique to a vertical industry. These are stand-alone applications that are not modules or extensions of horizontal applications).

“India has a young population and a fast growing middle class. Public sector healthcare will expand their focus on providing access to care mainly through primary coverage and leveraging mobile technologies. Private sector, on the other hand, will focus on building middle tier and tertiary care facilities mainly for the city dwellers,” said Dr Gupta.” India’s healthcare technology investments are still very small compared to the overall population. We expect providers to benefit by offering low upfront cost, recurring, or outcome base models, especially in core digitization technologies like hospital information systems.”

Gartner, Inc. delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in hightech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the valuable partner to clients in approximately 10,000 distinct enterprises worldwide.


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