Posts Tagged ‘UK’

Essar’s BPO-arm set to open another call centre in UK: report

January 13th, 2014

The BPO-arm of an Indian conglomerate Essar Group is planning to open another call centre in the UK, forming part of a “reverse trend” that is bringing jobs back to Britain.outsourcing43

Aegis, the business process outsourcing (BPO) arm of Essar, is planning to open a huge call centre in Glasgow.

The company, which already has a call centre in Manchester with 400 employees, is being held up as a sign of a wider trend.

“Customers often prefer to deal with call centre staff in the UK. Because of this, the Indian company Aegis is looking to create 2,500 jobs in Glasgow, and Santander has done the same,” UK business secretary, Vince Cable said in ‘The Sunday Times.’

“British industry is coming back. Hundreds of companies that have moved manufacturing, call centre work or software to low-cost countries in Asia are bringing the jobs back.

On a business visit to India recently, I was struck by the talk among Indian investors in the UK — there are about 1,000 — of supply chains returning: car components, textiles, IT, call centres, he added.

Aegis, which runs customer service call centres for 300 companies all over the world, is making the move because it believes British customers will have a “cultural affinity” with the people answering the telephone.

“Some 4 million jobs were lost in the past 30 years.”

Cheaper labour and other costs overseas, combined with poor productivity in the UK, drove jobs away.

“The trend is going into reverse. I dare to hope that we shall soon be able to say: Britain’s manufacturing is becoming great again,” Cable said.


IT outsourcing set for growth

August 13th, 2013

IT contractors belong to one of the fastest-growing sectors in the UK, and one in which talent shortages are increasingly serious. These are the factors that make them so highly sought in the job market and are reflecting in the rates they can charge. It looks as though this will not be slowing down in the near future, either, since a new survey has shown that a large number of firms are looking to increase their outsourcing of IT projects.Outsourcing17

A study by Whitelane Research has found that as many as 37 per cent of the businesses spending the most on IT in the UK are looking to increase their practice of IT outsourcing. A similar proportion said they anticipated no change in the amount of outsourcing that was carried out, meaning that the vast majority of major clients are offering either stability or growth for contractors with IT expertise.

The survey took in 230 firms and 700 unique IT contracts, together worth more than £15 billion. But in spite of the value of these lucrative deals, seven out of ten firms said that the main appeal of outsourcing was actually cutting costs. Still, there were other drivers of outsourcing. Almost half of all firms said that either focusing on their core business or improving service quality and access to resources was pushing them to seek external parties to meet their technological needs.

For the most part firms seem happy with the service they receive from contractors, too. Among the organisations surveyed, 85 per cent said they were at least “somewhat” satisfied with their external IT support, testament to the high number of skilled and talented professionals working as contractors in the the UK today. In turn, this has meant that a remarkably high proportion of contract renewals have been achieved. Just 22 per cent of businesses decided not to renew one or more of their contracts with their existing suppliers, a figure which translates to less than seven per cent of all contracts.

Indeed, the desire to cut costs combined with good existing working relationships has resulted in widespread renegotiation with contractors. Just under half of respondent organisations had agreed new terms with vendors in the last year. In fact, 80 per cent of these firms had managed to reduce the costs of their contracts even further and secure more favourable terms and conditions.

Just last month Iain Monaghan, IT contract expert at law firm Pinsent Masons, told Out-Law that companies should never feel that they cannot update existing agreements with contractors.

“Contracts need to change to reflect customer circumstances, the economic environment and developments in technology,” he said. “That requires a degree of engagement between buyers and suppliers so buyers can keep suppliers informed of their business needs, and suppliers can best deliver services to their clients and inform them of the limits of what they can supply at the price customers are willing to pay.”

Easing the financial pressures on firms is the key to forging better relationships, it appears. According to Whitelane, contractors looking to improve the satisfaction levels of their clients can do so by taking a proactive, creative approach to seeking out opportunities to make businesses more efficient and less expensive to run.


CGI UK president expects cyber protection outsourcing trend

July 26th, 2013

CGI’s UK president has said that he expects more companies to outsource their cyber protection capabilities over the next two years.

Tim Gregory, who runs the technology outsourcing firm’s UK operations, said that companies will be so exposed to the web they won’t be able to protect themselves.Outsourcing34

He also announced that he is planning to set up a UK cyber security lab – likely in the West Country -  although he isn’t sure how large it will be.

Mr Gregory told Computer World UK: “I think the UK is pretty good, but I have a prediction, one that I hope won’t come true. I think there’s a real clash coming up in the next two years, where the exposure to the web is going to be so great for companies, and therefore exposure to attacks, there’s not going to be enough cyber capability around to protect them.

“I think that’s going to drive a big shift to outsourcing and the cloud, because people will say: I can’t do this anymore, I can’t protect my company. The only way to do it is to transfer it to companies that have deep pockets.”

He also predicted that middle-sized companies will be ‘really exposed’ because of a lack of understanding of the cyber threat.


UK Govt pulls plug on large IT outsourcing deals

July 26th, 2013

New regime brings price pressure from small players.

The British Cabinet Office will put an end to large IT outsourcing contracts, breaking the stranglehold that an “oligopoly” of 12 suppliers have over public sector work.

The Office is breaking existing large IT contracts into smaller portions as they come up for renewal in the hope of attracting bids from smaller, less-costly players.

It also plans to re-test the market for IT contracts more frequently, ending the practice of contract extensions, and insist on systems that adhere to open standards to further drive down costs.

Speaking to the 7th annual Technology in Government Summit in Canberra, the Cabinet Office’s chief technology officer for digital service, Liam Maxwell, said early experiences suggested savings of up to 90 percent were possible from the strategy.

He gave one example of an SME undercutting a large supplier to win a hosting deal, offering to do the work for £45,000 (A$66,491) a year instead of £4 million.

Another large systems integrator cut the proposed price to run a “major IT service” from £54 million to £942,000 after being forced to recontest the work on the open market, he said.

In another case, the Cabinet Office procured a hosting printing service for £65,000, far less than the £4.5 million quoted for the same service by a “large provider”, according to Maxwell.

“The open market leads us to drive through a huge amount of cost change,” he said.

Maxwell said a large number of IT contracts within the British public sector were due to finish in the current UK Parliament term.

“So we have a great opportunity to change,” he said.

The Cabinet Office will put additional financial controls around IT spending.

“Anything that gets spent over £5 million pounds comes to a special team that we run which helps identify whether it is the right way to spend that [money],” Maxwell said.

Furthermore, contracts over £100 million are prohibited and extensions are no longer permitted.

“If you extend contracts over three years, you will find you could have got a hell of a lot cheaper, if you re-procured at that point,” he said.

Maxwell said large outsourcers were “notorious” for not delivering value-for-money outcomes for government.

When he joined the British public service, Maxwell said his laptop cost £3600 a year to run, whereas now it cost just £400 a year because it used cloud services.

“The kit works for us,” he said. It’s not in the hands of “some big outsourcer”.

Australian firms welcome

Maxwell extended an invitation to Australian suppliers to bid for British Government IT contracts in a further effort to bring competitive tension to tenders.

“If you are a provider of services and you think you can offer a better price to the British service, register and work with us,” he said.

Maxwell hoped that the Cabinet Office’s focus on open standards would lower barriers to procurement.

Open standards meant there could be a common platform from which Government could buy from anywhere, he said.


L&T Infotech – Another Indian heritage supplier setting its sights on UK growth

July 24th, 2013

In this blog I regularly write about the meetings I have with suppliers. I have recently written a few articles about some of the less well known suppliers from India which are focused on growth in the UK.

These companies include the likes of ITC Infotech and Mindtree. Both these companies have a real focus in certain markets and try not to be broad service providers. The idea is they will be a top supplier in a couple of sectors only rather than being a Jack of all trades.

6The latest company I met up with was L&T Infotech. This is part of $14bn engineering giant Larsen and Toubro.

I met up with Avi Lele from the company to hear about its UK plans. He told me that the company has come to a point where it has proved to itself that it can handle large corporate customers  and because it is private and backed by huge company itcan invest in growth while many others cut back

It has 150 people based in UK but hundreds in India supporting customers which include Standard Life and Balfour Beatty in the UK as well as corporates including Citibank and Chevron in the US.

The company grew 40% a year between 2002 and 2007 and 15% a year between 2008 and 2012. I remember during the crisis at Satyam there was talk of L&T Infotech acquiring Satyam before Tech Mahindra stepped in.

Mobility is a strong area for the company, which Avi Lele told me that L&T Infotech does testing for Samsumg handsets and as a result has a great understanding of mobile devices and the operating systems they run on. The company’s understanding of corporate IT combined with its mobile expertise helps it support corporates on their mobile strategies.
Like ITC Infotech, which is parent of a multi-billion dollar Indian manufacturer (Indian Tobacco Company), L&T is part of a huge company and as a result has a close relationship with a business and therefore understands IT as a business enabler.

I recently interviewed Pascal Matzke, Forrester Research, for an article I wrote for one of an Indian CIO site. He said tier-two or tier-three suppliers in India — and particularly those that are spin-offs of large Indian businesses, such as L&T Infotech, Tech Mahindra and ITC Infotech have a very different story to tell compared to the big and broad Indian service providers. There strong focus and the fact that they are not heavily reliant on labour arbitrage make them an interesting consideration.


U.K. Outsourcing Market Gets More Competitive

June 26th, 2013

British outsourcing customers are getting pickier — and are prepared to not work with a provider or go back in house if things don’t work out.

According to a new study by European outsourcing market tracker Whitelane Research, 13% of organizations are planning to insource (or outsource less), while 20% percent of the 700 existing contracts will not be renewed with the current service provider.


“There are many surprising things about the research,” Jef Loos, Whitelane’s head of sourcing research Europe, told Information Week. Loos was struck, for example, by the fact that almost 50% of all outsourced contracts have been renegotiated in the last couple of years by CIOs. In 80% of cases, he said, the renegotiations delivered cost reductions, better terms and conditions and/or quality improvement.

According to Loos, the feedback shows that U.K. outsourcing customers have become more selective — but also that providers are targeting their customers more closely to avoid costly tender processes that they likely won’t win.

The firm says buyers should also plan for further consolidation in the service provider area, citing Atos’ acquisition of Siemens SIS, North America’s CGI swoop on former U.K. independent Logica and Vodafone’s buyout of Cable & Wireless as examples of a trend that’s likely to continue.

Loos and his team also advise companies to do more “sole sourcing,” or renegotiating and renewing the contract with only the current service provider. This lets customers who are satisfied with their outsourcing contract avoid expensive transitions while suppliers avoid expensive tendering processes. In many cases, Loos says, these savings allows suppliers to offer their customers a discount.

Whitelane’s data may also cast light on another approach to outsourcing: the cloud. “Compared to our studies in other European countries,” Loos said, “we see that the U.K. market is most mature in terms of the usage of cloud computing.”

Loos explained that the first wave of outsourcing’s development was about handing over IT assets, resources and activities between the end user and service provider, the second wave was more business-oriented and involved selective outsourcing, and the third wave was the rise of the ASP (application service provision) model. “Some British outsourcing users consider cloud the fourth wave of the business service,” he said.


UK government changes IT outsourcing best practice

May 27th, 2013

The UK government has updated its best practice in a service manual for departments wishing to outsource IT functionality.

In what is being seen by outsourcing bloggers as a monumental change to government policies, departments are being told by Whitehall to consider putting contracts out to tender at the end of their terms in order to increase competition.outsourcing14

The report, titled ‘Creating a culture that supports change: the freedom to meet changing needs and expectations’, tells government negotiators they will need to build relationships with new suppliers and contractors.

Whitehall experts say this is especially important as they increase their focus on the G-Cloud procurement system, which instructs buyers to wherever possible purchase cloud compatible equipment in an attempt to increase productivity.

In the report, managers are told they are likely to see in-house resistance if contracts are changed, with many workers accustomed to “old ways of working”. It is, according to the service manual, important that decision makers rise above this and provide workers with assistance and mentoring to overcome difficulties in the transitional process.

Many departments are, however, locked-into contracts or technology they do not wish to continue funding, something the report acknowledges.

In this scenario the update recommends managers quantify ‘unlocking’ costs – implying that some expensive contracts should be dropped even if losses are incurred in the process, in favour of long-term savings.

One recent example of this attitude was exemplified in the BBC’s decision to abandon a £98 million digital media initiative that was said by Tony Hall, the corporation’s new director, to be a waste of money.

Bryan Glick, a governmental IT specialist at Computer Weekly, said: “It seems likely that several major outsourcers are yet to fully accept that the landscape is changing.

“There will be a lot of big suppliers resisting change in the next two years, hoping that the 2015 general election will sweep away the reformers. Their chances of success in that resistance are receding rapidly.”


Protected by تهنئة
Get Adobe Flash player