Posts Tagged ‘Jobs’

First IT jobs went offshore, now they’re being automated

September 3rd, 2014

The US and European IT roles that were pushed to offshore service providers will increasingly be automated, as the outsourcing giants look to preserve their margins. outsourcing30
By 2016 almost 1.1 million IT jobs are expected to have been sent offshore by major US and European companies.

The drive to send jobs abroad has, in part, been fuelled by low labour costs relative to western countries, with recent entry-level salaries for engineers in India falling between $4,200 and $5,900.

However, after years of double digit growth in Indian IT workers’ wages and with western customers demanding more for less, offshore service provider margins are being squeezed.

To protect their profits, major providers are beginning to automate an increasing number of roles traditionally carried out by systems adminstrators.

Milind Govekar, VP with analyst firm Gartner specialising in IT operations, said the push towards automation is partly being driven by the complexity of IT systems these service providers run on behalf of their clients.

“I often call IT an archaeological science, because nothing dies. You have generations of applications and infrastructure buried in an organisation. There’s a bank in the UK that has applications running from 1957. You can imagine the complexity that particular environment has,” he said.

“It’s a combination of old systems, new systems and everything co-existing. At the same time demand is going up as well, as almost all organisations have launched digital business initiatives.”

Customer expectations of service providers are also rising. Govekar referenced a large European bank outsourced to India’s largest IT services company TCS that expects demand on its systems to grow by 25 – 30 percent each year but wanted its costs to increase by no more than five percent.

“A lot of these service providers are saying ‘It’s just not sustainable to hire people and get them to maintain these systems’.”

For example, the CEO of TCS recently said in an interview the firm is working on up to 15 platforms to automate different aspects of its work. For its part Wipro is building its FixOmatic framework, which it says will enable automation of up to 40 percent – 45 percent of all level 1 and level 2 support tasks, reduce downtime and lower operational cost.

What sort of roles are being automated?

Automation software maker IPSoft has deals with some of the largest IT companies operating in India – such as Wipro, Cognizant, Infosys and Accenture. The firm is one of a growing number of businesses providing automation technologies for running and maintaining an IT estate.

A look what IPSoft does demonstrates the types of tasks that are being automated. The firm’s main product is IPcenter, a software platform that is designed to monitor and automate the running of IT infrastructure, and respond appropriately when a problem arises.

“If you’re driving a car a light will come on to tell you to go to the garage. What IPSoft is doing with their technology is basically trying to solve any issues before it gets to the stage where the warning light needs to come on,” said Martijn Gribnau, chief change officer at IPSoft.

IPcenter relies upon “virtual engineers”, autonomic software that can handle incidents across the corporate infrastructure – from configuring a misbehaving firewall to reducing the load on a server running virtualised machines. Virtual engineers control their own operations, monitoring the network for incidents and are able to adapt and change tasks if a higher priority incident occurs.

“It’s basically a third generation expert system. It’s not cognitive yet, but it’s smart automation of virtual engineers. What we basically do is look at what an engineer is doing and automate it,” said Gribnau.

The product is designed to automate what Gribnau referred to as level one and two support engineers, as well as part of level three engineers’ responsibilities, as defined under the Information Technology Infrastructure Library service management practices.

IPSoft says that IPcenter autonomically resolves an average of 56 percent of incidents without human intervention and up to 90 percent of level one support incidents.

What effect is it having on IT hiring?

Fierce competition for the hundreds of thousands of newly qualified engineers India’s universities produce each year has pushed up salaries and encouraged service providers to poach staff from competitors.

Gartner’s Govekar said as demand grows for outsourcing and external services, including cloud, providers are looking at automation as a way of “not hiring more people”.

“They are also using automation as a way of buffering themselves against this huge turnover of people, where people are jumping from one organisation to the other. They look at automation as a way of filling those gaps, of making sure that certain repeatable tasks that systems administrators undertake are very much automated.”

The desire to control labour costs is already evident at the major service providers. After years of paying engineers double-digit salary increases, Infosys and its competitors are offering no more than 10 percent this year, in spite of projections by the Indian IT association Nasscom that the industry will grow by 15 percent, an improvement on 2013.

When contacted, Wipro had no comment to offer and Infosys declined to share its views.


Online marketing to create 1.5 lakh jobs in India

August 14th, 2014

About 1.5 lakh jobs are expected to be created in the digital marketing space within a couple of years as more companies tap the Internet and the social media platform to bolster business, say HR experts. India is emerging as a digital outsourcing hub for diverse services including online advertising, social media and website design, they said.

“With both businesses and consumers increasingly shifting their focus to the digital medium, there will be 1.5 lakh jobs available by 2016,” Manipal Global Education Services Executive President V Sivaramakrishnan said.

Going by estimates, around 25,000 new job opportunities are likely this year itself in digital marketing space. The rising demand is also spurred by increased use of the Internet and mobile phones besides fast growing e-commerce businesses. However, the availability of talent is less than demand.

“Almost every single brand has put in place a digital marketing strategy and are struggling to hire people to execute the same,” Trivone Digital Services Founder & CEO L Subramanyam said. Reflecting similar sentiments, CareerBuilder India MD Premlesh Machama said there is a dearth of skilled and experienced professionals for digital marketing.

HR firm Randstad India CEO Moorthy Uppaluri said there has been a huge proliferation of technology that has changed the way companies engage with their clients and employees. “Hence, the focus of companies to enter new digital channels of engagement is driving up the demand for digital (marketing) professionals,” Uppaluri said.

According to MeraJob India CEO Pallav Sinha said, India is also becoming a potential outsourcing hub for digital marketing services, with many entities taking up projects from clients in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Unison International MD Udit Mittal said the requirement for more skilled and efficient digital marketing professionals is rising at an exponential level. Among the business areas, e-commerce is turning to be a major recruiter of digital marketing professionals.

Lighthouse Partners Managing Partner Rajiv Burman said the digital space offers opportunities to professionals working in marketing departments of corporate as well as fresh graduates. Echoing similar views, Advaiya Solutions’ Founder and CEO Manish Godha said growth of digital marketing segment is very promising and would create many job opportunities.

“Other areas for digital marketing growth include social marketing, content creation and management, search marketing, email marketing, analytics and video production,” he added. As per Randstad India estimates, the starting salary for digital marketing professionals is in the range of Rs 4.5-5.5 lakh.


EGS Centris to create 2,000 new BPO jobs

June 13th, 2014

Business process outsourcing company Expert Global Solutions (EGS) is looking to add 2,000 new employees to its newly inaugurated building at Eton Centris in Quezon City.Outsourcing34

The 21-storey building, EGS Centris, is expected to be home to 6,000 employees once it is fully occupied.

EGS Philippines president Bong Borja said most of the employees occupying the new facility were transferred from its former site at the ELJ Communication Center along Mother Ignacia St.

EGS Centris, which serves as the firm’s flagship site in the Philippines, has an estimated 4,000 seats.

The firm expects the building to be fully occupied by the end of the year.

Borja described EGS Centris as the “most modern BPO facility in the Philippines” servicing most of the company’s global operations.

The building also houses the firm’s Global Command Center to monitor its global services in the Latin America and the United States.

“In that Global Command Center, we don’t only monitor the performance of our people here servicing our clients in the US, but it also monitors the performance of our other locations in the world like Uruguay and Guatemala,” said Borja.

Aside from advance technology, the facility also features a recreation area and a gym for its employees.

The building is located at the Three Cyberpod Centris-South Tower in Eton Centris, a 12-hectare mixed use township project. It is the third office building developed in Eton Centris.

Expansion plans in the Philippines

EGS executive vice president and chief operating officer Jack Jones said EGS will continue to expand its network in the Philippines,

Jones said the Philippines is “the best BPO destination in the world” because of its abundant talent pool.

“The Philippines is a key strategic location for our company. We have about 45,000 people worldwide. The largest single concentration of staff outside the United States is in the Philippines with about 14,000. It is the best BPO destination in the world, bar none. So adding a world class facility in this location for us is consistent with our strategy, and our client requirements,” he said in a press conference after the inauguration of EGS Centris on Wednesday.

Jones added that EGS will be looking to offer employment opportunities in shared services such as information technology and human resources.

“It’s a career path. You don’t want to just have a huge call center staff, you also want to have the ability for people to move out from call center jobs on to more day shift-type work,” he said.

Borja, meanwhile, said EGS is set to launch a new site in Northern Luzon within the year.

“There’s a new site that we’re hoping to launch this year, another provincial location, and it’s going to be in the north. We’re going to be one of the first movers there,” he said.

EGS has facilities in Cubao, Marikina, Alabang, Bonifacio Global City, and Clark.

Borja said the firm is looking to build more facilities not only in “next wave cities” but in emerging cities as well.

“We are big believers that talent in the Philippines is not concentrated in Metro Manila. There’s a lot of talent in the provincial locations,” he said.

EGS, the holding company for APAC Customer Services Inc. and NCO Financial Systems Inc., earns approximately $1.5 billion in annual revenue.


Pay packet outsourcing plan scrapped

June 4th, 2014

FEARS of significant NHS job losses in Oldham have been eased after the scrapping of plans to privatise payroll preparation.Outsourcing19

The Pennine Acute Trust was considering giving thr job to to private companies oversees, which could have led to significant job losses in the borough.

NHS staff and union Unison developed alternative plans. Unison North-West regional convenor Angela Rayner said: “It’s a great relief that the Trust has seen sense. Privatisation would have cost jobs but no savings or service improvement.”

The campaign against privatisation has attracted widespread support and a 3,000 name petition, signed by Oldham West and Royton MP Michael Meacher among others.

But Jean O’Donnell, Unison branch secretary, has warned the struggle isn’t yet over: “The Trust hasn’t yet taken a final decision on whether to privatise human resources. We are hopeful the board’s careful deliberations will again lead them to back the in-house bid.”


Automation Transforms the IT Skill Set

May 28th, 2014

The rising prevalence of automation in every aspect of work, from so-called knowledge work to software development itself, is eliminating the need for many lower-skilled jobs but driving demand for IT workers with strong leadership and communication skills.Outsourcing13

“Technology is biased. It is affecting some groups differently than other groups. Unskilled and middle skilled workers are more likely to see their tasks automated,” according to economist Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Center for Digital Business at the MIT Sloan School of Management. “Routine information processing is in the bulls eye of automation,” he said during an interview. “I think that’s only going to accelerate.”

On the other hand, demand will grow for people with communication and leadership skills, and with backgrounds in diverse areas of knowledge such as anthropology.

According to Roberto Masiero, head of innovation at payroll processor Automatic Data Processing Inc.ADP +0.57%, companies increasingly need a broad mix of people to ensure that their technologies don’t run afoul of cultural mores. As companies leverage social media and analytics to draw increasingly precise portraits of their customers, “there’s a fine line between adding value and being creepy,” he told CIO Journal. Anthropologists could help determine “from a humanistic perspective, will this be acceptable,” he said.

For example, Nissan Motor Co.7201.TO +0.11% Ltd.’s Silicon Valley research facility, which is spearheading research into self-driving cars, is hiring a team of anthropologists to study how people use vehicles, Dr. Maarten Sierhuis, the leader of the R&D facility, told CIO Journal last year. It is part of his push to establish a more open-ended and data-driven approach to product development at Nissan. Instead of taking a top-down approach that begins with specifications, he said he would hire a team of anthropologists to observe human drivers in the field, and use that data to shape designs for self-driving cars that are based on how people actually behave. Said Dr. Sierhuis: “You immerse yourself in the community that you are studying and let the data tell you, from the bottom up. What is the right way.”

Marc Berman, president of outsourcing firm Vector Technical Resources, says “the coding part [of typical IT jobs] is almost a thing of the past.” He says businesses need IT staff who “have a personality” and aren’t “just a regular geek… They need to be able to talk to the customer’s clients.”


Barry O’Farrell to outsource thousands of jobs

March 28th, 2014

Thousands of public service jobs across the state would be slashed under the recommendations of a secret review ordered by Barry O’Farrell into the outsourcing of government services.Outsourcing26

The Premier asked the state’s pricing regulator to investigate the ”planning, delivery and maintenance” of all public infrastructure in September, to recommend ”which capabilities should be retained within government”.

The existence of the review has not been made public.

But Fairfax Media can reveal the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s recommendations would result in thousands of job cuts in just one department.

Draft recommendations to the state’s road authorities, for instance, demand the wholesale outsourcing of all roadwork and road design across the state apart from emergency and incident responses.

The review, however, also makes recommendations to other government agencies.

In response to IPART’s recommendations, Roads and Maritime Services says the agency already plans to get rid of about 30 per cent of its workforce in the next three years.

”The reforms will reduce full-time equivalent staff numbers over a three-year period from 7415 (2013-14) to 5260,” RMS says in a draft dated March.
The RMS response to the IPART review was included in a parliamentary call for papers initiated by Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi for documents relating to the business case for the WestConnex motorway.

But the IPART review would include recommendations relating to other agencies as well as RMS.

A spokeswoman for IPART referred questions about the review to Mr O’Farrell’s office but confirmed IPART had not released any information about the review. A spokesman for Mr O’Farrell confirmed the government asked for the report.

Asked why the government did not announce it had commissioned the report, the spokesman said: ”The government commissions a range of reports to ensure value for money.”

According to briefing notes prepared this month by RMS for a meeting with Roads Minister Duncan Gay, ”the objective of this review is to recommend options to improve cost effectiveness of government across all aspects of planning, delivery and maintenance of public infrastructure”.

RMS says it largely agrees with IPART’s recommendations. One area it expresses reservations in is ”balancing efficiency savings” against the large numbers of
employees who work in regional areas of the state.

Almost half of RMS staff work in regional areas.

The WestConnex documents demonstrate most of the planning and design for the motorway is performed by consultants and contractors.

They include invoices from Macquarie Capital, which is providing financial advice for the project.

Macquarie billed the government $490,903 for two months’ work in April and May last year, including $19,465 for out of pocket expenses. These expenses include $10,565 in airfares and $2617 in taxis.

Paul Davies, the NSW director of Professional Engineers Australia, said RMS had already cut 20 per cent of its engineers in the past two years.
Mr Davies said outsourcing often led to waste.

”When you contract out you’ve still got to run those contracts and control your costs, and you need engineers to do that and unfortunately they are cutting that capacity,” he said. ”Poorly scoped projects that come from diminished engineering capability [are] a burden for all.”

A spokeswoman for RMS said there would be no reduction in services as a result of the reforms. Of the 2000 fewer jobs, she said about 850 positions would transfer to new Service NSW ”one stop shops”.

About 700 positions would be affected by the outsourcing of road maintenance in Sydney. In November, the government signed 10-year contracts worth about $2 billion with Leighton Boral Amey and DownerMouchel to maintain roads in Sydney.

RMS says it expects to save 5 to 10 per cent from the road maintenance contracts. The RMS spokeswoman said the department had lowered consultant costs by more than 50 per cent in three years.

IPART’s recommendations to RMS call on it to commercialise and outsource ”advisory and strategic planning services”; ”project development, including land entry and acquisition” and ”contract management and procurement” as well as all road design, construction and maintenance.


Capita looks to add 1,500 jobs on new contract wins

March 18th, 2014

OUTsourcing company Capita expects to create almost 1,500 jobs in Scotland over the next two years as it secures new business north of the Border.Outsourcing5

Yesterday, it announced that 550 Glasgow call centre workers will transfer to the company after winning a £93.5 million deal with department store chain John Lewis.

Capita, which already employs around 5,000 in Scotland said that the John Lewis jobs would be among an expected increase of about 2,000 staff in Scotland on the back of anticipated contract successes. The staff working on the John Lewis contract, currently run by Teleperformance, will transfer to Capita under the new five-year deal.

Capita chief executive Andy Parker, said: “The online contact centre will stay in Glasgow, demonstrating Capita’s ongoing commitment to investing in Scotland and supporting the growth of the local economy.”

He said Capita had extensive experience of working with household names from across the private sector, including major retailers. “We appreciate the importance of becoming fully immersed in a company’s brand values,” he added.

Capita said the 2,000 additional jobs it expects to add to its workforce would also include those expected to be created on the back of the announcement last month that the company had signed a framework contract to deliver the Scottish Wide Area Network. SWAN aims to provide a single IT network for the use of all public service organisations within Scotland and the contract is worth up to £325m over nine years.

NHS Scotland and Education Scotland have committed to the network, with a further 11 organisations planning to this year. More than 4,600 sites will be connected to the initial network including schools, hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacists and council offices.

Key benefits include reduced costs, improved service and the ability to share data.

Capita operates from 18 sites in Scotland providing services to customers, which include Prudential and ScottishPower. In January, it was also awarded a £4m contract to modernise technology in West Dunbartonshire across council offices in Clydebank, Dumbarton and Vale of Leven.

Capita also owns Lasswade-based G2G3 Group – which uses game thinking for training employees – following an acquisition deal last year. G2G3 has developed simulations for some of the world’s leading IT services management organisations, including HP, IBM and Microsoft.

The John Lewis Partnership this month reported a 9.6 per cent rise in annual profits with staff receiving the equivalent of almost eight weeks’ pay from a bonus pot of £202.5m.

Shares in Capita, which have risen by more than 10 per cent since the beginning of February, closed down 4p at 1,105p.


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