Posts Tagged ‘Outsourcing’

Infosys gains on collaboration with Stanford Graduate School of Business

November 21st, 2014

Infosys rose 0.65% to Rs 4,207.10 at 09:49 IST on BSEafter the company announced collaboration with Stanford Graduate School of Business to create a comprehensive executive education program.Outsourcing8

The announcement was made after market hours on Wednesday, 19 November 2014.

Meanwhile, the BSE Sensex was down 24.31 points, or 0.09%, to 28,008.54

On BSE, so far 6,197 shares were traded in the counter, compared with an average volume of 72,222 shares in the past one quarter.

The stock saw initial volatility. The stock hit a high of Rs 4,215 and a low of Rs 4,182 so far during the day. The stock hit a record high of Rs 4,225 on Tuesday, 18 November 2014. The stock hit a 52-week low of Rs 2,894 on 30 May 2014.

The large-cap company has an equity capital of Rs 287.12 crore. Face value per share is Rs 5.

Infosys announced after market hours on Wednesday, 19 November 2014, that it will collaborate with Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) to create a comprehensive executive education program. As part of this agreement, Stanford GSB will team with senior Infosys executives to design and deliver a customized strategic leadership development program for the company’s executives, clients and partners. The executive education program will include a suite of business management skills, as well as courses in corporate innovation processes to help Infosys balance business discipline and entrepreneurial spirit. The office of Executive Education at Stanford GSB and Infosys will deliver the leadership program through in-person and online instruction, as well as live sessions enabled by distance-learning technology. The initiative will include 200 executives who will each participate in a part-time, year-long program in groups of 40 over three years. Executives will be able to test and apply their learning to real business challenges in parallel, the company said in a statement.

Infosys’ outsourcing unit Infosys BPO had on 18 November 2014, announced the separation of Abraham Mathews, its Chief Financial Officer from the services of the company for not complying with its code of conduct. This departure was in keeping with the company’s goal of setting the highest standards of corporate governance and adhering to the letter and spirit of the company’s code of conduct. Gautam Thakkar, the current Chief Executive Officer has submitted his resignation to the company effective 30 November 2014, taking responsibility on moral grounds and will be assisting Uppadhayay in this transition. Meanwhile, the company appointed Anup Uppadhayay as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the company. The board of Infosys BPO also appointed Deepak Bhalla as Chief Financial Officer of the company.

Infosys’ consolidated net profit as per International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) rose 7.28% to Rs 3096 crore on 4.48% rise in revenue to Rs 13342 crore in Q2 September 2014 over Q1 June 2014.

Infosys is a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing solutions.


Leading BPO Harnesses Slideshare to Present The 10 Best Reasons to Outsource Telecom Services

November 21st, 2014

Sound Telecom, a provider of call center services throughout the country with US-based agents, has released a presentation via Slideshare that outlines The 10 Best Reasons to Outsource Telecom Services. The slides touch on the varying functions a call center can exercise before delving into the most beneficial reasons for a business to outsource their telecommunications.Outsourcing7

While each of the ten reasons stands to make its own point, there are themes that grow clear as the viewer progresses through the presentation. Some of the most prevalent motives that would most likely intrigue businesses include gaining an advantage over the competition, being able to focus on core competencies, enhancing customer service, and cutting costs. When compared to keeping call center function of business in-house, the benefits of outsourcing become quite apparent.

According to the presentation, one of the most crucial elements for creating a successful telecom outsourcing program is the relationship between both parties. The author of the article that these slides are based on states, “Building client trust should be embedded in the culture of any top tier telecom business process outsourcer as they strive to fully understand the objectives of each client and develop a customized solution that will meet specific needs. To achieve that goal, they need to listen closely to clients throughout the entire life of the relationship.”

Slideshare was chosen to showcase this content because it presents it in a much more visually appealing format than a simple article. Since Slideshare’s founding in 2006, their goal has been to share knowledge online, and they have grown into what is now the largest presentation sharing community for professional content. Sound Telecom chose this platform to share their presentation based on the natural connection between this type of content and typical Slideshare users.


Analysis And Procurement: Where The IT Jobs Will Be

November 19th, 2014

In a panel discussion with three prominent local chief information officers (CIOs) earlier this week at the event, those two familiar ideas kept recurring. Firstly, the need for IT workers to truly “understand the business”, with analytics as one way to add value in that area. Secondly, the need to be able to manage an increasingly diverse set of suppliers, especially when individual business units are sourcing their own tech.Outsourcing2

The upside is that this can change the approach to IT from a traditional penny-pinching mentality. “In our organisation we’re seeing a massive shift in demand from the business and as we demonstrate understanding of the business, we’re seeing lots of opportunities,” said Shaun Nesbitt, CIO for SEQ Water. “In the past all we had was a focus on cutting costs.”

Even when departments source their own tech, central IT can play a role in making sure data from those systems is cross-referenced and analysed, Nesbitt said. “The value IT brings to the table is the ability to look across silos.”

“In terms of skills, we’ve had to make some pretty tough decisions. We know we can’t do everything, and we know industry can do some things much better, hence there’s an increase in vendor management skills — so you can pick the right ones.”

That task has been exacerbated through the mergers of various authorities to form SEQ Water: “there’s a whole bunch of spaghetti that needs to be unravelled,” Nesbitt said.

For more specialised IT tasks, outsourcing remains a popular choice, which again brings procurement and vendor management skills to the fore. “The answer for me is outsource every time,” said Ross McKinnon, CIO for jewellery chain Michael Hill. “If I had to skill my guys on putting chips on motherboards or learning C, it’s going to take a lot longer than two years.

McKinnon’s preferred approach when outsourcing is to ensure some level of skills transfer, so there isn’t an ongoing dependency. He’s also a big fan of numerous small pilots, though that does mean not everything will succeed. “It means lot more piloting. We’ve had one running in three US stores for two months and we’ve found lots of bugs. Another has been running in Queensland for six weeks virtually bug-free, so we want to roll that out in January. The ability to work quickly and for shorter periods is going to become increasingly important.”

“The fundamental change is changing from the boxes and wire to information as a resource — being able to tap into information as a resource is a classic conundrum,” said Chris Turnbull, CIO for Queensland Treasury and Trade. It’s a technology issue that isn’t resolved by technology. At a practical level, the skills we need in house are markedly different: business analysis skills, and vendor management and procurement skills.”

Enforcing those changes is also complicated, Turnbull said. “There’s a management challenge there to understand the philosophy, the religious zeal for doing things in a particular way.”

Ultimately, IT isn’t going away. “Somebody always needs to interpret the technical world to an organisation, but it comes down to how that technology is used,” Turnbull said.


Atech Support – London IT Support Company Offering IT Smartsourcing Services in UK

November 18th, 2014

Building on the success of Experience Architecture for leaner teams, Atech Support is now in a stage to better serve the London business community in terms of IT support. Having been on the listening mode for quite a while, this IT support company decided to re-orient its business IT support offering towards IT Smartsourcing.Outsourcing40

London is a vibrant marketplace for the startups, small businesses and for the SME community as well. Russell Todhunter, CEO says: “We are moving away from the traditional MSP side of things and adopting a fresh approach towards serving the London SME community.”

The impact of a poor IT support service has ripple effects on other functions of any business such as Operations, Logistics, HR, Sales and Marketing and even Finance. In the world of IT Support, if one is not being treated as a partner and is actually just another customer in the pipeline, then may be it is high time to revisit the topic of H2H (Human to Human), B2B and B2C.

Jane Sheffield, Operations Director confirms, “We used to be called an MSP but now we are an IT Smartsourcing company focused on delivering blue chip level IT support to SMEs.”

“We haven’t ignored our high profile clients in Finance and Media, we enjoy serving Medium to Large enterprises but nothing stops us as an IT Support Company to start helping out the SME community,” states Tim George, CTO of Atech Support.

London businesses tend to have a very vibrant commercial department, and something as simple as their email server going offline can have major impact on business critical applications affecting multiple members of staff.

Charlotte Keating, Service Delivery Manager adds: “It is critical to listen to the market as there are lots of IT support companies who take SMEs in and completely fail to deliver. Service delivery is what keeps demanding users happy.”

Atech Support will be at the Business Show at Olympia this year in London to be able to better serve the SME community in terms of IT Support. The event is on 27th and 28th of November 2014 and their stand number is 218. Russell Todhunter, CEO of Atech Support, will be doing a seminar on how to expand your business by outsourcing in the same way that he has managed to build Atech Support and expand the business by using alternative methods of outsourcing.


Cloud Computing Set to Rain on Indian Outsourcers’ Parade

November 18th, 2014

There are dark clouds on the horizon of India’s information technology and outsourcing industry.Outsourcing39

Profit growth at even India’s most successful and sophisticated software companies could be doused as companies, governments and consumers around the world do an increasing amount of their computing on the cloud, says outsourcing services advisory firm ISG Inc.FCD.UN.V +2.26%

Companies that have traditionally used in-house servers running on custom-made applications are putting more of their business on external servers and using off-the-shelf software. Using the cloud often means using fewer people so Indian software companies—once dubbed “body shops” because they could supply as many computer engineers as a project needed—are going to suffer as they lose much of their competitive advantage.

As it is only going to get cheaper and easier for companies to switch to the cloud, smart people-powered service providers need to get ready for the storm, said Sidharth Pai, partner and president for Asia Pacific region at ISG.

“This means, developing software that allows businesses to (interact) faster and more efficiently with their external stakeholders–customers, suppliers, etc.–rather than focus on changes to the internal workings of a client,” he said.

Around one in four of the deals ISG helped advise involved cloud computing last year. That’s more than three times more than the percentage of cloud deals it saw three years earlier.

India’s software and outsourcing companies are still too reliant on the business model that uses lots of relatively inexpensive Indian engineers and sends them to client sites to build software and fix problems, ISG and other analysts say.

Cloud providers use external servers, sophisticated technology and automation to manage clients data using fewer employees. Where a traditional service provider deploys one employee to monitor up to 200 servers, cloud players can use one employee to monitor up to 10,000 servers, ISG estimates.

The cloud infrastructure players are drastically cutting down prices and starting to create pricing pressure on service providers in India and elsewhere who continue to set contracts based on the number of engineers deployed in a project.

Cloud infrastructure providers such as Amazon Web Services, Red Hat, Rackspace Hosting and others are emerging as a formidable threat to Indian outsourcers and other traditional service providers and consultants including International Business Machines and Accenture, that earn revenues from managing the technology infrastructure of clients.

Traditional service providers now have to strive to get more cloud contracts–where they help clients shift data to cloud infrastructure providers–rather than focusing on creating their own clouds, ISG said.


Community IT Outsourcing from McKesson Now Generally Available

November 14th, 2014

McKesson announces the launch of Community IT Outsourcing, a comprehensive healthcare IT service offering that provides management and support for the infrastructure, application and workplace needs of critical access and community healthcare organizations.Outsourcing35

Community IT Outsourcing supports the evolving regulatory requirements and complex technology needs that exist in the healthcare industry today. It provides site management, customer service management, technology and application support services that are scaled to meet the unique needs of community hospitals.

“Decades of experience in hospitals have shown us that even the most robust technology solution requires the right people and processes to maintain a positive customer experience,” said Nimesh Shah, senior vice president and general manager of McKesson Managed Services. “Yet few community hospitals have access to the workforce and skill sets required to help IT operations be proactive.”

Community IT Outsourcing takes a forward-looking and strategic approach to healthcare IT by applying standardized processes that enable reliable and predictable IT operations with high-quality performance. This solution provides customers with knowledgeable resources and processes to help enhance application operability and transform IT operations.

“64 percent* of IT budgets are spent on maintenance with almost no budget remaining for innovation,” said Shah. “With the support and governance model provided by Community IT Outsourcing, smaller healthcare organizations now have a scalable path to affordable, optimized IT services that help align IT goals with the organizational strategy.”

The offering supports McKesson’s Better Health 2020TM strategy, an enterprise-wide initiative focused on helping healthcare organizations reduce costs, optimize performance, ensure quality, coordinate care and navigate complex patient models. Community IT Outsourcing provides a path to achieve reliable, customer-focused healthcare IT management and highly skilled application support that is required by today’s clinicians and technology-driven IT environments.


Hypocrisy and connections help IT outsourcing firms

November 14th, 2014

The liberal group Center for American Progress (CAP) advocates restricting the use of H-1B visas by offshore outsourcing firms. Its recommendations are designed to get offshore outsourcing firms to hire more U.S. workers and curb their ability to move jobs out of the U.S.Outsourcing34

That stance didn’t stop one of the center’s board members, Carol Browner, from being appointed earlier this year as a director at Infosys, the Bangalore, India-based IT services firm that is one of the largest users of the H-1B visa.

Why would Browner, who served as an assistant to President  Obama and director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy from 2009 to 2011, take a position as an Infosys director? CAP backs policies that would hurt outsourcing  firms such as Infosys which rely on large numbers of workers on temporary work visas.

Two years ago, CAP released a report with immigration policy recommendations for skilled workers that includes limiting H-1B use to 50% of a company’s staff unless it pays employees more than 125% of the prevailing wage. It also wants to bar temporary work visas to foreign nationals whose job it is to “shadow” a U.S. worker in advance of moving a job offshore. Training your visa-holding replacement as a condition of severance is a soul-crushing event for an IT worker.

Browner joined the Infosys board in April at about the same time another director — Ann Fudge, a former chairwoman and CEO of marketing firm Young & Rubicam Brands — left. Browner and Fudge share one thing in common: They served in the Obama administration.

Why government connections matter

Infosys and other offshore companies need all the business and political connections they can get. These firms face the ongoing risk that Congress, through visa restrictions, will force them to hire more U.S. workers and raise their costs.

Approximately 90% of Infosys’ U.S. employees use an H-1B or L-1 visa, based on an estimate from the company’s  U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings and court records. Infosys isn’t the only offshore firm that relies on these visas.

Among the top 20 H-1B-using firms, IT services companies accounted for about half of the 65,000 H-1B visas allowed by federal law. Another 20,000 visas are set aside for graduates of U.S. universities.

Browner’s decision to serve on the Infosys board arguably undercuts CAP’s credibility on offshoring outsourcing policy issues. The H-1B restrictions, especially the 50% limit on visa use advocated by CAP, are the same ones Infosys and other offshore firms cite as business risks in their SEC filings.

“If any of those provisions are signed into law,” notes Infosys in a recent SEC filing, “our cost of doing business in the United States would increase and that may discourage customers from seeking our services.”

Efforts to reach Browner through CAP, which also runs the ThinkProgress website, were unsuccessful. CAP, asked about the conflict between its H-1B policy recommendations and Browner’s Infosys connection, said Browner’s other activities are her own business.

“Our policy outcomes are driven by our research and our commitment to doing what is right, and are not in any way influenced by the connections of any of our board members,” a CAP spokesman said in an emailed statement. Browner’s bio on CAP lists her membership on the League of Conservation Voters board; the agribusiness firm Bunge Limited; membership on the board of directors for the Global Ocean Commission, an advocacy group; and on utility software vendor Opower’s advisory board. Her role at Infosys is not listed.

Browner’s annual compensation as a director of Infosys has not been made public, but Fudge’s compensation at Infosys for the fiscal year that ended in March was $165,000.

India fights U.S. visa moves

The Indian government labels efforts by the U.S. to restrict H-1B and L-1 visas as protectionism. When Infosys was being investigated in 2011 for visa fraud, there was concern in India that the Infosys investigation could trigger limits on visas.

These concerns were raised in a question to Robert Blake, an assistant secretary at the U.S. State Department, at a press conference on trade in June 2011 in Kolkata, India. Blake was asked about the potential impact of the Infosys investigation on U.S. and India trade relations.

“That will be, I think, a sort of momentary blip,” said Blake, according to a U.S. transcript. “Infosys itself is obviously a very well-known company and will continue to be a very important partner for a wide range of American companies.”

In the same month that Black spoke about Infosys to the Indian news media, Infosys announced that Fudge would become a director of Infosys. Six months later, in December 2011, Fudge was appointed to a two-year term on the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board. The newly created 25-member group was formed “to discuss issues of high priority” and provide “insights, perspective, and ideas,” to the department and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Fudge’s connection to Infosys was noted in the department’s official bio for her.

In 2013, Infosys agreed to pay the U.S. $34 million in a civil settlement “based on allegations of systemic visa fraud and abuse of immigration processes,” the U.S. said in announcing the settlement. The case concerned the use of B-1 business visitor visas for work that typically requires an H-1B visa.

That settlement was the largest in a case of this type, but just a bump in the road for Infosys, which has more than 160,000 employees and annual revenue of $8.53 billion.

Fudge was appointed by Obama in 2010 to the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, also known as the Simpson-Bowles Commission. (The commission was co-chaired by former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and Erskine Bowles, White House chief of staff for President Bill Clinton). The group, formed to develop a budget compromise, completed its work the same year it was formed. A request to interview Fudge received no response.

When Infosys was asked about the contradictions in CAP’s policy views and Browner’s membership on its board, the company, in an emailed statement, said that it wants members with “diverse experiences and dynamic leadership,” and said Browner “brings a wealth of global experience and insight that enriches the quality of our board meetings and informs our strategic vision.”

The connections that may matter the most to Infosys are through the ties the offshore industry has developed nationwide. Offshore firms have workers widely embedded at U.S. firms and government agencies.

How political influence arises

Ron Hira, a public policy professor at Howard University who has testified on H-1B use in Congress, believes the offshore industry’s political influence comes from three sources: End user customers of offshore services, such as the financial services industry; large IT services firms such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Ireland-based Accenture, which have all adopted offshoring business models; and pure-play offshore companies, which include Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services and Cognizant.

Microsoft is one of the leading advocates in Washington for increasing the H-1B cap, and has a long-time business relationship with Infosys. In September, Infosys announced an expansion of that relationship, including a center for excellence for Microsoft Azure Machine Learning, with plans to train more than 1,000 engineers in 2015. Azure ML is a predictive analytics platform.

For offshore firms generally, the more work they can do outside the U.S., the better the profit. PayScale, a salary information website, for instance, reports that the salary for a mid-career software engineer India ranges from about $6,000 to nearly $20,000, with a median at $10,500. (In the U.S., the salary for a mid-career software engineer ranges from $58,500 to $119,000, with a median of $80,000, according to PayScale.)

From time to time, offshore firms will announce plans to hire more U.S. workers. This month, Infosys said it plans to hire 1,500 professionals for consulting, sales and delivery during this fiscal year. It also said it will hire 600 bachelor’s and advanced degree graduates from U.S. universities. Infosys may have about 17,000 workers in the U.S. today.

It’s difficult to know how significant these hiring announcements are without understanding how they might change a firm’s ratio of U.S. workers to visa holders. Infosys has repeatedly declined to provide this data.

Grassley’s role

The offshore industry’s main nemesis in Congress is U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a proponent of the 50/50 ratio restriction on offshore providers — the same restriction CAP wants. As the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and presumably its new chairman when Republicans take over the Senate next year, he’s in a position to include visa restrictions in legislation.

If Congress were to adopt those restrictions, the change would have consequences for offshore firms.

Peter Bendor-Samuel, CEO of Everest Group, an outsourcing research group and consultancy, said the impact of a 50/50 ratio restriction “would be significant” and would raise the cost of the employees by 10% to 15%.

New visa restrictions “would cause a spike in competition for U.S. resident IT talent and a rise in cost,” he said, noting that it might push offshore outsourcing firms to buy companies with U.S. workforces.

For now, outsourcing firms appear to avoid hiring U.S. workers. For instance, in 2013, the District of Columbia awarded Infosys a $49.5 million contract to build a healthcare exchange in response to the Affordable Care Act. A later discrimination lawsuit filed by an IT professional claims that of the approximately 100 Infosys employees working on this healthcare project, only three were American.

The lawsuit doesn’t have data on how many of those employees were on temporary work visas, but the IT worker who is part of this lawsuit said she was excluded from work conversations by supervisors who spoke Hindi. If Infosys is relying heavily on visa workers for this government contract, it’s hard to explain why; the Washington, D.C. area has one of the highest concentrations of IT professionals in the nation.

What would visa restrictions do?

David Rutchik, a partner at Pace Harmon, an outsourcing consulting and advisory firm, agrees a visa restriction bill would raise costs, and prompt some firms to try to move even more work offshore.

Speaking generally and not about any specific offshore firm, Rutchik said he believes the employees that offshore providers bring to the U.S. — particularly those on L-1 visas — are not paid as well as U.S. workers. Although he cautions that he hasn’t seen the pay stubs, “our experience is that they are, in fact, paid as offshore resources, not competitive with onshore permanent resources,” he said.

If offshore IT services firms decide to hire more U.S. workers, Rutchik believes the firms, their customers, and the overall U.S. workforce, would accrue benefits.

With more U.S. workers on their payrolls, offshore firms could become more competitive with IT services firms, such as IBM and Accenture, by having a large pool of onshore resources. That’s important to customers that want or need a greater onshore presence. They will also be less subject to the vagaries of the visa situation, able to get resources to a customer site more quickly, and gain access to government work that might otherwise be restricted to them. By using U.S. workers, offshore firms will improve their ability to work on strategic and “high-touch,” areas, he said.

“In the long term, we think that it would be positive if [offshore outsourcing firms] invested and built out more U.S capability,” Rutchik said.


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