Robert Morgan, RIP

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The sad news that outsourcing pioneer Robert Morgan recently died is a great loss to a great many people.

I was with Robert a couple of weeks ago so it was a huge shock to hear of his sudden death.

Robert is best known as co-founder of sourcing advisory Morgan Chambers, which cornered its market. It was eventually sold in 2007 to Equaterra, and eventually became part of KPMG. He later carried on where he left off by forming Burnt-Oak Partners.

Robert has been a great contact of mine for about 15 years. If I had a question about outsourcing for my IT outsourcing beat Robert was always prepared to answer questions and explain things with nothing in return. He was the first person I would call when I thought I had a big story in the IT outsourcing sector. More often than not he already knew what I was onto, but on the rare occasions I had something genuinely new to him, his enthusiasm for getting to the bottom of it shone through.

For a journalist Robert was the perfect contact because not only was he exceptionally well connected, intelligent and a genuinely nice man, he also had a nose for a story and wasn't afraid to say what he believed. I would receive phone calls from Robert, whenever he had the scent of a story. My thoughts are with his family.

He was hugely respected in the outsourcing industry. I spoke to people in the industry that have known him for many years and here are the tributes I quickly received:

Mark Lewis, head of outsourcing at law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner:  "Robert remains a towering figure in the IT, sourcing and outsourcing industries. He had the vision, drive, courage and personality to start and grow Morgan Chambers from nothing into an international sourcing consultancy that held its own with the biggest names in the market. Long after Morgan Chambers has merged into other organisations, it is still spoken of with respect as a leader in its field.  As a mark of his personal and business standing, Robert's clients were still seeking his advice long after Morgan Chambers was sold - up until his tragic and untimely passing. And as a mark of the man, Robert continues to inspire the respect, affection and loyalty of his former colleagues from Morgan Chambers and elsewhere. He was a man of many ideas. Robert was not afraid to hold and voice strong opinions, even when others didn't necessarily want to hear them.  I knew that, when Robert was billed as the keynote speaker at one of BLP's Outsourcing Breakfasts, we could guarantee a packed auditorium.  Like most visionaries, he was sometimes wrong. But he was not afraid to listen and to change his mind.  In business and in his personal life, Robert was generous, loyal, thoughtful and considerate.  He was also fun to be with.  An exceptional man. A family man, above all.  I will always think it a privilege to have served with Robert on the board of Morgan Chambers and to have worked with him before and after that. I will miss him."

Jean-Louis Bravard, former senior EDS executive and later business partner of Robert:  "Robert was bigger than life and was passionate and unafraid of speaking his mind about any subject, any large firm or person.  In a world of political correctness he stood out and right or wrong he energised all of us.  His voice and passion will be sorely missed."

Lee Ayling, KPMG partner and former Equaterra UK head:  "I had the pleasure of meeting Robert several times and attending conferences where he held the room captive with his insights and experience. In business he was a gentleman. Thought of by the industry as a legend he was great with clients whilst balancing that with a focus on his teams and driving innovation. Socially he lit up the room with his personality, charm and love of life. He shall be greatly missed by the industry - a big pair of shoes that will never be filled. "

John Mackie, programme director Royal Mail Group and former Morgan Chambers employee. "Having joined Morgan Chambers in 1998 I remember those early years working for Robert as some of the happiest of my working life. Robert was a giant in the outsourcing industry, someone we could all look up to and respect. After the sale of Morgan Chambers to Equaterra in 2007, Robert and I stayed in touch - his enthusiasm for the sourcing industry was infectious, and he was a great source of insight and advice for me over the years. I also fondly remember our shared love of football, rock music and his restaurant that brought us together socially too from time to time. He is a great loss to the industry, and also a great loss as a friend." 
Roger Dillon, formerly board member of Morgan Chambers:  "Quintessentially a man from Africa and proud of it.  He was at heart an entrepreneur and had all the hall marks of a risk taking, courageous man of genuinely original thought.  He was without doubt one of the motive forces of the outsourcing world in the past couple of decades - ie  since it's real inception and in a sense made the weather where ever he turned.   In the early days it was always an intellectual contest for him as he persuaded huge corporations to take the punt of outsourcing their crown jewels to someone else - latterly in another continent.  The key was of course that you not only saved money but actually provided your customers and other stakeholders with a better result. Flipping alchemy it might have seemed in perception but now normal practice across so many commercial domains. My experience with him started when he was persuaded by Mark Lewis and Bob Fawthrop to take me on as a non executive director.  It was a truly international enterprise running down from Finland, Sweden the Low Countries and Germany and of course UK and Ireland.  The essence was like something out of the Wild Geese - ie a bunch of very experienced former CIOs etc who could be put into the likes  a FTSE 100 company to lead them through that stomach churning and decades apart evolution of contemplating  strategic change in their systems.  Robert's leadership of this challeningly disparate gang of barely herdable  (sic) cats was unique and it is little wonder that to say 'I worked for Morgan Chambers' is still a badge of honour and that comes from someone who proudly spent 30 years in the Royal Marines. The Chambers bit was pastiche - just sounded good when he was created the company - there was never a Chambers only a Morgan."

Sam Kingston, COO at Ciklum and former EDS UK head: "Robert Morgan was his own man, whether giving a provocative press comment, or calmly expressing his views he can rightly claim to have lived life his Way".

Tony Collins, investigative journalist and former executive editor of Computer weekly: "Robert was always vibrant, bursting with humour and a wonderful contact because he made it his business to be well informed. In an industry that has an abundance of vanilla characters he always stood out for the best of reasons. He never kowtowed to the conventional view. He will be much missed."

Jamie Liddell, editor of Outsource Magazine: "I only had the pleasure of meeting Robert on a very few occasions, but was struck - as were a huge number who encountered him - by his remarkable perspicacity, his overwhelming enthusiasm for the industry and for best practice, and above all by his infectious bonhomie: the twinkle in his eye lit up the room, and the sourcing space, alike, and he will be sorely missed. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues."

Daniela Zuin, director marketing IPSoft:  "I met Robert through Jean-Louis Bravard at EDS when we put together the book: Smarter Outsourcing. Robert threw himself into the project and worked energetically alongside Jean-Louis to structure and enrich the content. He knew who the readers would be and he wanted to make sure they would keep referring to book's content and not leave this gathering dust on the shelf.  For him this had to be much more than a vanity project to check the box that said published author.  No matter the long hours spent on edits and revisions, Robert always came up with a good angle. Many people will remember his willingness to challenge the status quo and be outspoken about how the outsourcing market was evolving, but I have to say that he also listened to other people's input.  When it came to how we would finalise key elements of the book he was comfortable taking advice too. In the years following Robert often took a little time out to give me advice and act as a soundboard for my ideas. His knowledge of the industry was consummate and I will miss his counsel. His knowledge and expertise will be missed by all those who worked with him."
Bob Fawthrop, formerly CEO of Morgan Chambers, and a leading IT industry consultant:"Robert was a giant of the outsourcing industry in many ways, both in stature and personality.  I believe he was a key creator of the sourcing advisory industry, not just outsourcing but also insourcing.  He was well liked by all the consultants at Morgan Chambers and built a great organisation, of which I was proud to be asked, by him, to be CEO.  As a man he was kind, good company and could always be counted upon to give you his honest, and personal, view regarding sourcing and IT Service matters.  He will be badly missed and I am sure I speak for all of his former colleagues in giving our sincere condolences to his wife and children"

Peter Skarendal, director, EMEA strategic sales & demands, HP: "Robert was a true industry pioneer with a true visionary force. He lived life at a pace and had time and energy for all around him, always being generous to get the best outcome for all he worked with and one of those rare individuals you would see out when you needed real advice guidance and objectivity. He was an incredibly successful man, which was no surprise based on his intelligence, skill and intellect.  The industry has lost a great professional, but anyone who knew him has lost a great friend."

Does current IoT technology stack up?

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I recently met Todd Greene, the CEO and founder of PubNub. This is a company that provides a real time data network stream that allows a two way flow of real-time data.

Its customers include Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Toyota, GetTaxi, and BT Sport. The Internet of Things will only reach its potential if networks exist that can send data two ways in real time.
He had lots of interesting things to say about the Internet of Things. I asked if could put some of this in a guest blog and he agreed.

By Todd Greene,

"Everyone is talking up IoT as the next mega trend. Analysts are predicting that IoT will be a multi-trillion dollar category, and thousands of companies, from GE to Evernote, are redefining themselves as IoT companies.  Gartner's 2014 "Hype Cycle" has "IoT" placed neatly at the zenith of the "Peak of Inflated Expectations." Companies across the technology spectrum are rushing to build compelling products and claim their IoT stake - cashing in on the gold rush of IoT product development. 

The big problem is a lack of a well-understood tech stack- the layers of components or services that are used to provide software for the Internet of Things. This means that IoT developers are building top-to-bottom proprietary systems, with custom software, hardware, and communication layers. Until an IoT tech stack is codified and adopted, IoT will be hobbled by security issues, time to market challenges, and stability and reliability problems.

IoT Generation I - The Custom Stack

The current state of IoT development is heavily risk-prone.  Designs often work well "in the lab", but fail at a high rate when deployed in the wild.  Intermittent Internet connectivity, firewalls, proxies, spotty cellular connects, and other "real-world" bumps hamper success.   Some of the biggest challenges include:

·    Security Holes: The IoT raises a myriad of security concerns.  Expecting each IoT development team to engineer best-practice security into each custom stack is leading to well-publicized IoT security breaches (security cameras, wireless routers, and more.)

·    Failure Detection & Remote Updates: Most custom stacks don't easily detect remote failures, nor do they provide a mechanism for updating devices remotely.  Expecting manual processes for updating IoT device firmware at scale virtually guarantees disaster.

·    Cost and Time-to-Market: Custom stack development costs more, makes delivery dates unpredictable, and increases overall project risk.

·    Product Silos:  Bespoke communication means no interoperability between disparate devices.  This concern will expand as more IoT products are released; enterprises and consumers both will expect their devices to work together across vendors.

·    Brittle and Bug-Prone: Bespoke IoT stacks are hard to upgrade, and failure-prone.  The detailed knowledge of the custom stack is lost as the SI project ends, or as the IoT team disbands to move to other projects.

IoT Generation II - An IoT Stack Emerges

The good news is that IoT products are maturing, and with them, we're seeing a stack starting to emerge.  Driving this change are three trends.  First, fast-growing IoT categories like Smart Home (Nest, Insteon, Dropcam, etc.) and Connected Car (Uber, Lyft, GetTaxi, Delphi,, etc) are seeing stiff competition.  Budgets and time-to-market are becoming key drivers, and vendors can't afford to design and build everything from scratch.

Second, the growing availability of affordable hardware components and easy funding (Kickstarter, etc.) are driving grass-roots product development from teams that are unlikely to use large SI firms to build their products.  To drive products to market, these bootstrapped companies are pioneering repeatable patterns of development and helping blaze the trail to a codified IoT stack.

Third, consumer IoT rollouts require massive scalable and geographically distributed backend systems that are complex to build and maintain.  Customer support for consumer IoT also becomes a key driver: the products must be easy to setup, reliable, and remotely upgradable.  "Bricking" consumer devices via a global remote update is the deepest fear of every consumer IoT vendor.  The PR fallout from a security breach can be unrecoverable.  Consumer IoT vendors want a vetted IoT stack that can mitigate these risks.

Evolving Components of the IoT Stack

Most of the IoT Stack innovation is occurring within the communication layers.  While hardware design and server-side "big-data" technologies are relatively mature, the new risks in IoT are almost always connectivity based.   These can be described in three categories:

Local Area Communication - There's no shortage of protocols for local device-to-device communication.  Some of these include Zigbee, Insteon, Z-Wave and 6LoWPAN, all vying to deliver reliable local connectivity between devices.  However, protocols are just the map.  The actual journey requires frameworks and libraries that implement these products.  These are emerging in both open source and commercial varieties and in various stages of development.

Internet Communication - Internet connectivity holds the promise to real-time awareness and control of devices from anywhere in the world.  But reliable and secure Internet connectivity is fraught with difficulty, since the challenges exist both on the device and the server-side.  Devices that "listen" for commands on unprotected Internet IP addresses are guaranteed to be hacked.  Server infrastructures must gracefully handle secure signaling to/from devices at massive scale over unreliable connections.  Frameworks and libraries built around newer protocols like MQTT, CoAP, and WebSockets are emerging, but don't address the costs and complexity of vendors operating these infrastructures at scale.   Addressing this challenge is the adoption of Data Stream Networks (like PubNub, etc), which are similar to CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) in their global reach but designed specifically for secure communication for the IoT.

Vertical Industry Standards - Interoperability requires standards.  Already in Smart Home, we're seeing announcements of standards from Google, Apple, and others.  In consumer electronics, a multi-vendor initiative called the AllSeen Alliance promises eventual cross-vendor compatibility.   These standards will battle it out for years, and take time to mature (remember how long after Bluetooth was announced before we could pair our phones to our cars?)  Upcoming IoT product releases won't wait for these standards, but over time and with patience, these standards will eventually succeed."

How to assess your tech needs according to Intel Services

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In this guest blog Joel Reid, new business sales leader at Intel Services, explains what brands and retailers need to know when specifying technology in an ever evolving world.

Weighing up the options: how brands can assess their technology needs

By Joel Reid

"In the latest Gartner CMO Spend Survey Report 2015, customer experience is predicted to be the top technology investment for the year ahead among the biggest hitting companies. 

According to research by Martec, a third of CIOs at the UK's top 150 retailers say that other departments, such as ecommerce and marketing, invest in technology outside of the IT department's control, in a bid to keep pace with digitally-savvy shoppers.  As marketing has become more digital and data-led, the focus on customer engagement has blurred the organisational lines between the CIO and CMO.

Increasingly technology-driven consumer behaviour is creating new demands on CMOs to connect with its customers in every channel.  In turn, these demands have seen CMO buying power burgeon in the last few years, with Forbes suggesting this could be as high as controlling 40% of IT spend.

But, while ecommerce and marketing managers have that all important touch point with the consumer, if the decision making on IT spend becomes siloed, brands and retailers run the risk of losing the business value and efficiencies associated with integrated solutions.  It could also lead to overlapping Software as a Service (SaaS) bought in by different departments or used by affiliates, which otherwise could have been consolidated to create cost savings.

This is placing greater pressure than ever on CIOs to regain and retain control of enterprise technology, at the same time as adding value to other departments that the business demands.  Their challenge is to connect their information and intelligence in order to create a tighter and more profitable engagement.

To create the seamlessly integrated customer journey that today's 'always on' omnichannel shopper necessitates, retailers should adopt a similarly joined up approach; effectively managing and unifying their activities in all channels.  This can be both directly and through a network of partners, affiliates, agencies, developers and media. 

CIOs will need to align all these functions under a holistic strategy, identifying where solutions can most influence customer engagement, whilst delivering against business objectives.  This will build trust amongst the marketing department that IT can deliver value.  And, in turn, make CMOs less likely to bypass IT when outsourcing to vendors, a decision which, if made in isolation, may be made in haste or without the architectural insight CIOs can provide.  This means IT architecture needs to be multifunctional, with the flexibility to be implemented by multiple users, as well as being able to respond quickly to changes in customer behaviours and demands.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are one example of technology that can help CIOs achieve this level of integration, acting as the bond between disparate applications and devices, and enabling all the players to meet rapidly changing consumer preferences.

By working together CMOs and CIOs can harness the right technologies and solutions to generate greater benefits for long term business gains."

Expert guide to multi-sourcing IT in government

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Last week this blog featured a guest post about Service Integration and Management (SIAM). A colleague also wrote a story about the challenges facing HMRC when it splits up its Aspire contract with Futjitsu.

Aspire is one of the biggest IT outsourcing deals ever signed by the UK government, costing on average £813m per year over the past 10 years, according to the National Audit Office (NAO). By the time the deal ends in June 2017, prime contractor Capgemini will have received £10.4bn of taxpayers' money.

Here is a Q&A with a SIAM consultant.

"What can HMRC do to mitigate the risks of breaking up the Aspire contract?

There is significant analogy between this change and many other similar programmes across Government and more broadly in the private sector. Breaking up Aspire, or indeed any of the big early generation outsource deals, is a programmatic challenge - with a lot of detail needed in the definition of new services and how these contracts and the suppliers interact with each other (hard and soft aspects). There is a lot of existing collateral and experience around that they can re-use. Using a proven framework will de-risk delivery, but needs to be done in the context of the specific requirements within HMRC. HMRC should also recognise this change is a cultural and people challenge both for themselves and their suppliers and accordingly pay as much attention to these aspects as the technical /contractual aspects. To minimise risk HMRC leadership should ensure they start by considering what the revised in-house team needs to look like in terms of skills, mind-set, accountability, and how they are going to sponsor, build and motivate this team. The establishment of this new team should be early, and then allowed to drive the change. They should use external support to help accelerate the delivery by helping mature process, governance and tooling designs. This team will need to think hard about information flow and how tooling (across the service management disciplines, including Service Desk) will work in the new operating model.

Is getting the right talent enough?

The new disaggregated delivery models rely on four pillars of capability within the IT delivery model. The need for strong "Service Integration" is key.

-Cultural understanding of the business,
-Well defined, processes that have very clear bounds of responsibility,
-Strong governance against strategic ambitions, the organisations standards and policies and the operational standards,
-Tooling that will enforce the processes and governance structures.
Together with strong leadership, and the right talent to build these pillars, significant benefit will be realised.

There is a large focus on digital hires at the moment, does government need a lot of technical skills for something of this scale?

Government needs very strong Service skills to make these models work. Although, quite rightly there is a move for the retained IT organisation to "re-own" the Service Strategy and Service Design roles (and all the related knowledge/information) within Government, much of the technical design should be left to those that will be eventually delivering the services. It may be noted that in some organisations, this fine balance between "service" and "technical" design has shifted too far. This is likely to result in suppliers being constrained in their delivery, impacting both value for money and service quality/performance. Unlike in true digital/application delivery activities (where the System Design/Integration can retained), Government should continue a focus on service outcomes rather than the detailed design decisions.

What does government need to do?

Government needs to continue to be clear on direction/strategy for these new models. They do need to, however, develop better/clearer service structures in their new procurement frameworks, and then allow departments to have greater autonomy on the decisions that they make in delivery of that direction/strategy alignment. There has been a tendency over recent years for "the centre" to reject departments cases because they don't fit with the "centres" very latest thinking of the centre. This can often cause significant delay, rework and additional cost.

What do departments need to do?

Many departments have the opportunity of delivering significant savings, improving their performance and become more agile through the acceptance of the new disaggregated operating models with more visability and control held by the retained team. However, to realise these benefits, they must:

·Define, to an appropriate level of detail, their future vision and delivery strategy and get this agreed by GDS
· Communicate these models broadly with a clear plan of how it will be achieved.
· Setup a programme of change that accepts that it will impact the; retained organisation, delivery processes, governance structures, tooling and the supplier landscape
· Define a set of KPIs that will be used to continually measure the delivery of those benefits
· Appoint accountable owners from the new retained organisation to drive the change
· Utilise proven frameworks where possible to accelerate delivery and reduce risk"

So what is the value of SIAM?

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With the large number of different suppliers, offering IT for businesses, with trends like cloud computing and the consumerisation of IT this will increase further. Although multi-sourcing is nothing new it used to mean managing a few suppliers, but now it can run into the high double figures and even more for large companies.

Companies like BP have very complex ecosystems of IT suppliers and manage them with an iron rod. Read about BP's multi-sourcing strategy here.

But not everybody can do so a new industry has grown around this known as Service Integration and Management or SIAM for short. Traditional multi-sourcing contracts would often have a prime supplier that subcontracts or manages other suppliers. SIAM tries to change this through an independent function that does the management and integration. This is often outsourced itself.

Today there are businesses set up that just provide this. End user businesses and service providers want to understand how to evaluate it. Simon Durbin, who leads Information Services Group's (ISG) UK SIAM practice wrote this guest blog to try and explain.

Evaluating the unknown

By Simon Durbin, ISG

"As happens with any new concept, there is inevitably a lot of debate, discussion and practical learning that takes place in the early stages, followed by a period of evaluation. SIAM is no exception and continues to mature and develop and there is no universally accepted approach for evaluating it.

SIAM exists to manage the complex dynamics of service demand and supply. It is about delivering value to businesses, which want to maximise the value from their service providers (whether internal or external) and ensure that services are aligned to business needs.

So what is the value of SIAM?

A traditional business case for SIAM cannot be created in isolation nor can it be separated from the services being managed. The cost of performing SIAM has to be evaluated as part of the total business case for a strategic sourcing or service initiative.

For example, when moving away from a Prime model, the 'hidden' integration cost of the Prime provider cannot be ignored. All too often, clients will move to a multi-source model and fail to consider the integration effort required across the new supplier landscape. When the issue is discovered later, the 'missing' SIAM capability is perceived as an extra layer and is very hard to justify.

The value of SIAM can be demonstrated by metrics that focus on customer value and end to end service performance. The 'watermelon service level' phenomenon is well known (green on the outside, red on the inside). Avoid this by selecting service measures that look at the 'whole system', not just the individual components, and then design the service as a whole to meet these requirements (including the agreement of aligned supplier service levels).

The final area of value to consider is the business interface. SIAM is not exclusively about supply, although it is often positioned as an approach to managing a complex multi-source environment. An approach that does not invest considerable effort in the customer (demand) side of the equation is missing the whole point. Suppliers and services exist for one purpose - to satisfy customer needs and deliver value to the business. Businesses will never value something that they cannot see and don't understand, so use the metrics to give visibility to demand, consumption and performance.

Holistic view

SIAM cannot be looked at in isolation. By definition it is  all about integration and has itself to be integrated across the demand-supply chain. It all starts with the customer. End to end service metrics are critical to define and then manage the services. SIAM is a mandatory consideration in any service or supplier strategy - ignore it at your peril.

Simplicity is key with both implementation and evaluation. Aim to be clear about what you're trying to achieve in the first place, and then evaluate accordingly.

Simon Durbin is a Director with ISG and leads the SIAM practice in the UK, working as a key member of the ISG global SIAM practice. He has over 25 years' experience in IT service and supplier management working as both a practitioner and consultant for FTSE 100 and Forbes 500 companies.  For the past five years he has specialised in advising on Service Integration and Management."

Are Indian suppliers IBM Global Services' biggest threat?

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India's IT services industry has grown fast, but who would have thought that TCS is now IBM Global Services' biggest threat.

That's what one management consultant told me last week. I was writing an article about talk of IBM reducing its workforce in India. IBM is one of the biggest IT services firms in India in terms of workforce and even if it is true that it will cut about 50,000 staff there, it will still be very big with about 100,000 people.

Read my article here.
I have has quite a few emails from readers about this.

But the industry is changing and the provision of low cost full time equivalents is no longer the way to grow and profit for IT services firms. They want non-linear business models and they are doing this with less labour intensive services that harness cloud and automation technologies for example. At the same time customers want services using the latest technologies.

For example Scandinavian IT services firm Cygate has expanded its business without needing to recruit more staff by using automation software from IPSoft. In 2010, the company, which serves more than 1,000 customers including some of the biggest corporates in the Nordic region, was experiencing 20% growth in sales. This meant the company needed to add resources or risk service levels deteriorating. But just adding manpower would have reduced its margins.

So you would think the Indian suppliers who grew their businesses through offering highly skilled IT workers at a lower cost to Western corporates, would struggle the most. But it seems this is not the case. In fact it could be another phase of growth for these firms.

Mark Lewis, outsourcing lawyer at Berwin Leighton Paisner, says, "TCS, India's biggest IT services supplier,  is achieving both linear and non-linear growth. It is still recruiting heavily in India and is building its global workforce at the same time," said Lewis.

While IBM Global Services is always a default consideration businesses outsource IT it is not winning as many deals as it used to. Peter Schumacher, Value Leadership Group, said conversations with large corporates in Europe reveal that Indian suppliers are now  now IBM Global Services's biggest competitor, and TCS is the biggest of these.

The Indian advantage of lower cost skills may have diminished overtime because western IT services firms have built huge offshore workforces of their own. At the same time wages in India have increased. But during the hay day of low cost IT services companies like TCS, Infosys, Wipro and HCL have build strong businesses and developed domain expertise, by moving beyond pure IT services to business services using IT.

The other interesting point is that western IT services forms have shot them in the
Have the western IT services firms let the foot by reducing the fear associated with offshoring. There was a time that offshoring IT was a brave and perhaps a risky strategy for a big business. But companies like IBM have used offshore staff and as a result made it the norm for outsourced service delivery.

Today service levels from offshore and western suppliers are little different and CIOs will make decisions based on the pure business value, rather than perceived risks.

"In Europe, TCS will add almost $1bn in new business in 2014, which underlines the enormous market momentum and customer confidence they now enjoy," says Schumacher.

Is HP lining up the sales of the shell of EDS?

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HP's decision to split the company in two, with its consumer computing and printing departments separated from its software, business servers and IT services operations.

The IT giant is not shy to get itself in the headlines. Back in 2008 when it paid $13.9bn for IT outsourcing pioneer, heads turned and the column widths followed. The same happened a few years later when the value of this acquisition was reduced by almost $9bn.

The news that HP is splitting the enterprise business, including services, from the consumer business triggers a new era in the former EDS business.

I wrote an article about the future of the services business following the split. Here it is.

I have since had conversations about this and quite a few people are describing the split as the first stage in massive restructuring and the sale of the services business.

One source, a former EDSer who now works for a large competitor, says that HP services has been picking up quite a few big deals recently. He said it has also recruited people from Computacenter and recruited former EDS people that had been let go.

But who would buy it and how much would it cost?

The IT sector has changed with digital technologies transforming how businesses receive and use IT and there are lots of suppliers in the sector that are ahead of HP Services in terms. For instance the Indian suppliers have gone from strength to strength and continually manage to report double digit sales growth. They have kept up with digital developments.

Capgemini to breed pigeons for messaging strategy

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This week Computer Weekly wrote an article about Capgemini's 2014 World Payments report.

The report, which was carried out by Capgemini and RBS, does just as it says on the tin and looks at the world payments industry.

This includes all the latest and greatest mechanisms for sending financial transaction messages across the world.

We think Capgemini's press team should read it to learn about the fantastic technologies available and of course l'Internet, as the journalist that covered the story was shocked when she requested a copy of the report on a Wednesday. The response on Friday morning that arrived VIA EMAIL, was that they were sending one by post.

Computer Weekly and Capgemini are installing aviaries as we speak to  house pigeons to help us communicate in the future.

Apple to save Microsoft

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Could the creation of a tablet that business love but dare not speak its name as a corporate device be Apple's greatest gift to Microsoft?

I was chatting with a contact today about the company he runs that provides corporate software  that enables executives to share and access information via tablets.

Diligent's Boardbooks software has enabled businesses to replace hundreds of pages of documents needed to prepare for company meeting.

When I wrote about the supplier in December 2012 it only supplied its software to Apple's iPads. The iPad at the time was the only tablet that was of the right standard to support it.
But almost two years on and things have changed. Well Windows 8.1 has changed things.
Charlie Horrell, managing director Europe at Diligent, told me that since the release of Windows 8.1 devices more interest has been stirred.

Businesses are now looking at the software as an enterprise app rather than one just for board members. The compatibility with Microsoft estates makes it an attractive option, and now that Windows tablets have improved it could result in strong demand.

For example Matthew Oakeley, global head of IT at assent management firm Schroders, told me last year that he does not think iPads will never be a true corporate device because they do not integrate seamlessly with Microsoft.

"I bet a lot of people bought iPads for work but don't use them for work," he told Computer Weekly in a recent interview. "The real problem is that, if you run a Microsoft Windows estate, you want something that can talk to it."

Oakeley said the lack of interoperability between Apple and Microsoft was unlikely to change.

So Apple's creation of a tablet attractive to the enterprise could be providing the perfect platform for Microsoft to become great again.

More insights not more data

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It is hardly surprising that businesses are obsessed with data. The online activity of consumers is constantly tracked whether at home or on the move.

Businesses want to know what people want and when they want it so they can make them an offer they can't refuse. Businesses are also collecting masses of data to help them devise their business strategies.

But to succeed it is much more than just being able to collect the data. Mindtree is a tier two Indian IT services firm that specialises in helping its business customers make better use of data. The company works on the Indian biometric ID project, which involves the details of 1.2 people being collected. So it know all about the collection of, but here in this guest blog post Mark Wilsdon and Soumendra Mohanty of MindTree explain a misconception about data.

Smart Data, Not More Data   
By  Mark Wilsdon and Soumendra Mohanty

"One of the biggest misconceptions about the data companies collect is to think that more is better.  That somehow each incremental piece of data collected adds detail to an insight. In reality, though, it is not the amount of data that matters.  It's how you use it. The question every business should ask itself is this: what questions can be answered by the data it's collecting?

According to a recent article in Management Review from the MIT Sloan School of Management, a typical company doubles the amount of data it stores every two years. The good news is that this explosion of data opens up a lot of possibilities. However, possibilities and insights are rarely found at the surface of this ocean.

Being smart with data is not about collecting a million tweets.  It is about the in-depth analysis of tweets, including analysing hashtags containing metadata around the device type, geographic location, time and the context of the conversation. In these insights are the true value of data, allowing companies to push information to customers that is context-sensitive and meaningful. 

Companies that are using data to its full advantage look at it in three ways in order to pull as many insights as possible:

An individualistic approach is mostly gut-driven. It relies on analysts who have spent a long time in a particular domain, finding answers that require access to all types of data across various systems.

Process-centric is a disciplined approach to data. It involves consistently employing common processes, and the reuse of components.

A Data-driven approach identifies evidence-based data analysis traits. This pattern requires deeper data analysis than the two approaches above, as it requires an understanding of context, and the application of sophisticated algorithms to identify patterns.

With such a large volume of data, it is impossible to use all of it to develop values and insights. Because of this, it is extremely important to focus on smarter data rather than more data. By searching, visualizing, analysing and distilling insights from the data you have, you can unlock its essential value.

Now that all of society has essentially moved online, we are witnessing a shift from traditional business models to digital business ones. As this occurs, the way customers engage is more important each day.   By focusing on context-sensitive and meaningful insights, companies will effectively utilise the relevant data that is available to them.  With more and more data being made available every minute, smart use of data is the sole path to success for companies of the future."  

Scotland's independence will open new market to outsourcing

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Imagine all the new IT contracts up for grabs when an independent Scotland starts putting together its public bodies.

Scotland shares over 200 institutions as part of the UK, which might have to be split if more than 50% of votes say 'yes' to independence.

In April I interviewed Steria's UK head John Torrie about its merger with Sopra. He told me at the time the deal could also help Steria expand into Scotland, where Sopra has a bigger business.  So suppliers see the opportunity.

A few weeks ago I didn't think there was any chance that Scotland's electorate would vote for independence. But today I feel like it is almost inevitable.

I don't pretend to be an expert in economics and I am normally one for countries working together and unifying. I think the European Union is a good thing for example.

But there is something about the Scottish independence debate that has made me change my stance. Not on Europe, but on it being better for the Scottish that Scotland is in the UK

I think if I was voting in the referendum today I would vote yes even if it is not the best thing. This would be driven by mistrust of Westminister.

Scotland has a population a little over 5 million out of a total in the UK of over 64 million. It accounts for about a third of the land area. OK you might say half of the land is uninhabitable, but this is not the case if you are a wind turbine or a wave power generator.

Imagine 5 million people, passionate about their country, working together for the common good. Rather than 64 million people all moving in different directions.

The desperation of the main UK party leaders, and Nick Clegg, to stop the "Yes" campaign snowball through the offer of more devolved powers is just reminding people that it was the PM that denied voters that option on the ballot paper.

And the visit of the party leaders to Scotland will probably just turn more people turn away from the 'no' campaign. Three of the London establishment coming to tell the Scottish that they love them, that won't work. Being half Scottish myself with relatives north of the border I have a good feel for how many will see this.

David Cameron's declarations of love for Scotland are certainly not returned with only one Conservative MP in Scotland.

The UK electoral system, first past the post, leads to what is often known as an elective dictatorship where most people are stuck with a government they did not vote for. This is the case in Scotland.

Whatever happens at least it will be the Scots that decide rather than a government in London that hardly any of them voted for.

What's all the worry about? The cloud is more secure

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In the on-premise versus in the cloud debate it is always the subject of security that swings people in favour of on-premise.

People feel safer if their software is on their own premises, but does that mean it is safer. Everybody is connected to the internet so bricks and mortar is no protection.

You could argue that if it is on your own premises you have better control of physical security.

Anyway the point of this post is to highlight research from  analyst firm Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC), which states that: "Cloud [is] more secure than on-premise IT"

"Rapid development in cloud-based security, including physical security within the data centres, means that, for many firms, it is more effective and cost efficient to locate IT systems in the cloud than on on-premise equipment. CIOs and CISOs should consider the cloud for many of their IT systems, while for SMEs and local government PAC recommends that it should be the default architecture," said PAC.
"Security is often regarded as an inhibitor to cloud adoption," said Duncan Brown, research director for cyber-security at PAC and the report's author. "But today's cloud-based security capability embeds state-of-the-art cyber and physical security that most company would find prohibitively expensive if implemented on-premise."

With the outsourcing industry being transformed by cloud computing IT service providers can differentiate through adding value in areas such as security.
PAC said cloud service providers (CSPs) were initially slow to understand the importance of security and associated privacy issues. If this is the case they must have been meeting potential clients with ear muffs on.

 " the last year PAC has noted a broad shift in CSPs' marketing, positioning and product development strategies driven by two major trends. Firstly, security in the cloud is now a much more reliable and viable alternative to in-house security. Secondly, leading US-based CSPs are investing in their European credentials. Meanwhile non-US CSPs, particularly those headquartered in Europe, are making a virtue out of having datacentres based in Europe.
There are good reasons to take a cloud-based approach to security. Cyber security is highly complex, requiring deep technical skills. It is therefore expensive, the cost being exacerbated by a global shortage of skilled professionals."

Also read: Allaying the AWS security concerns: How the cloud became more secure than on-premise.

Are banks building an IT services community to support their digital drive?

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The big banks are throwing money and advice at small IT firms in the digital financial services start-up sector.

While there is a strong argument that investing in start-ups in the digital sector is savvy investment, with just one Facebook enough to pay huge dividends, the benefit for banks in driving the sector is probably more related to technology strategy than investments.
Every other month a bank seems to throw its weight behind a so called fintech IT start-up incubator. They provide capital and other resources such as premises and mentoring. They usually take a stake in the companies they support.

Banks cannot spend money developing digital services. These projects do not guarantee success and are often experimental. It is much better to have suppliers do this work for you.
It is even better if these small developers do it with the knowledge that if they get it right banks will buy it. And because banks are advising and funding these companies surely they will develop what the banks need.

I wrote an article yesterday about this, which you can read here.

There could be numerous benefits from banks such as investing in the future Facebooks and having access to digital know-how and products.

Banks are increasingly outsourcing work as internal resources are tied up with maintaining legacy systems.  Banks don't want to spend a fortune building up digital teams that create hit and miss services, but want third parties to do it.

This could be the perfect way to build a trusted digital IT services community that can cater to the digital needs of banks in the future.

Large IT suppliers are using small suppliers to buy their drinks

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Large IT service providers are hanging around off licenses to get small IT suppliers to buy their cans of larger.

Well sort of.

The UK government has set lots of targets for departments to get them to spend certain amounts of money on SMEs which inevitable means less for the big suppliers.

In a reverse in roles it is no longer the young looking adolescents asking their bearded mates or Dave's uncle to go in the off license on their behalf, but the big established IT suppliers getting the public sector contracts by talking SME suppliers into working with them as a foil.

So according to analyst company TechMarketView the big boys are trying to use the small players to get the business.

"As these 'newer entrants' make their mark, the larger SITS suppliers are trying to reassert themselves. Notably they are playing the 'working with larger suppliers can bring significant benefits' card."

Hear is an article I wrote about the TechMarketView public sector IT services sector report.

Controversial immigration loophole under legal spotlight

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A court case that I covered this week could bring the immigration strategies of overseas businesses into the spotlight.

Intra Company Transfers are used by multi-national businesses to bring staff to the UK from non-EU countries.

The IT industry is the biggest user of this method of bringing in staff, which is seen by many as a loophole in immigration rules.

Indian IT service providers bring thousands of staff from India to the UK every year to work on IT services contracts. These workers cost less than their equivalents in the UK band it allows the Indian suppliers to do business at a lower cost.

But there are rules. These include a minimum pay threshold designed to stop cheap labour being brought in an to allow UK workers to compete, as well as the rule that states a person can't be brought in if there is a UK alternative.

The case in question involves a UK man claiming he was discriminated against by Indian IT services giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Court papers reveal that he has evidence that TCS is breaking the ICT rules when bringing in staff.

IT professionals in the UK campaign against the use of ICTs because it makes it difficult to get work.

In this case the claims do not involve IT staff but admin staff and some managers. He claims to have evidence of over 1000 workers that are in the UK despite not meeting ICT rules.
 According to freedom of information requests from website BackTheMac, which campaigns against abuse of the ICT rules, there are 35,565 ICTs in the UK from India out of a total of about 60,000. IT workers account for a large proportion of the ICT numbers.

In its latest figures, TCS revealed it has 276,195 global staff with 92.3% being Indian.
TCS has a bit over 4000 British staff but has over 10,000 UK-based staff.

Although the case is not about the alleged breach of ICT rules it will put them under the spotlight. TCS strongly denies the claims and the evidence, said to be on a TCS database, is not in the public domain.

This will be an interesting case to watch. Last year another Indian firm, Infosys, had to pay a $34m fine to US authorities in relation to breaking visa rules.

Can social media giants move money around better than banks?

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I have written quite a lot about the new competitors in financial services. Large internet companies as well as social media giants are looking into how they can provide transactional financial services.

In the past I don't think people could see beyond traditional players for these services but the finance sector is so dependent on IT today and some IT based companies have better technology. Add to this the distrust of banks and the desire of regulators to increase competition and you have a real opportunity for alternative financial services firms.

A recent report that gamers in Japan can buy titles on Nintendo's eShop by tapping their contactless payment cards against their Wii U controllers. Whatever next?

In the guest blog post below Tony Virdi, head of UK banking and financial services at IT services firm Cognizant, gives his view on the changing landscape of payments.

The changing face of payments

By Tony Virdi
"Over the years, we have transitioned from bartering to tender and cash, moving into cheque and card payments, with many countries now also embracing online and mobile payments. In fact, the value of goods and services purchased with a mobile device is expected to almost triple from £4.8bn in 2013 to £14.2bn in 2018, according Centre for Economic and Business Research. Indeed, this fast-paced evolution has even extended into social network payments with the recent announcement that Facebook is seeking regulatory approval in the UK to offer mobile payments through its platform. And just this month, Denmark announced two cashless initiatives: the ability to pay with mobile phones in shops nationwide and the agreement to run a pilot in which only mobile payments are allowed and shops could refuse to accept cash payments.

In order to keep up with alternative payment providers, those players in the payments ecosystem who do not look to the future, risk stagnating as consumers increasingly seek alternative, more convenient and immediate ways of making payments. But what are the market conditions changing the payments landscape and which are the current priorities of payment providers and processors?

In a recent report published in conjunction with the Financial Services Club and VocaLink, we explored the state of the world's largest payment infrastructures and how market conditions are changing the game. Overwhelmingly, the evolution of technology and in particular, the rise of online and digital channels is having significant impact. As cheque payments are moving towards possible extinction, organisations now notice the importance of mobile and smartphone usage, social networking and collaboration. In addition, security concerns around cloud computing seem to be lessening - according to our research, security has been replaced as the top priority by mobile, with 79% of respondents. As a result, the cloud is used by many of the most forward-thinking organisations who are already putting these observations into practice.

While these mobile, digital and social changes are mostly impacting the front end of retail payments, there is also an important role to be played in the back-end integration of new payment channels. Co-operation is  now key and this involves all parties from banks, merchants and card issuers to payment processors, mobile operators and handset manufacturers working together to develop a multi-channel payments process that is user-friendly.

In addition, the report highlights that regulatory change remains at top on the agenda and is currently the biggest focus for the world's largest payment processing infrastructures. Over 50% of banks consider this a priority as Basel III, the Banking Union, the Bank Reform Bill, Dodd-Frank and more are all hitting the banks hard this year. This is also true for the wider industry. The spotlight on payments resilience, the implications of ring-fencing on bank payment systems and the potential for account number portability are all pertinent issues in this market. But, in a global and digital world, the future lies in innovation. Those organisations that use analytics and customer insight will be the winners.

Analytics technology allows organisations including merchants, card issuers, banks and technology and service providers to understand the spending and payments habits of consumers. Such valuable insight ensures that any new channels rolled out match customers' habits accordingly.  Following such a process will enable organisations to innovate and become more competitive, which is critical given the rise in alternative players entering the market. Most recently, Holvi, PayPal, Amazon Payments, e-Wallet/smartphone services and Square have emerged, along with the arrival of Facebook and Apple into the e-money business.

Customer insights can be gleaned by gathering data from various different sources to create a 360 degree view of the customer. Real-time insights about each customer are based on advanced statistical analysis and machine learning techniques on very large datasets of granular payment data. It is this granular data that enables organisations to better understand their customers and tailor their communications and processes in a more personalised way, rather than relying on old segmentation methods. As each customer's response, feedback or behaviour is processed, it is analysed to provide inputs about campaign effectiveness, brand loyalty, changing spending habits and profit/loss.

There is a huge opportunity for the payments ecosystem to adapt and evolve in line with the digital transformation that is changing the rest of the world. Such change helps organisations to run differently and be able to compete with new players. But for this to work, those involved in the industry must build strong partnerships, based on analytics and evidence that a payments channel is of interest to the consumers. At the same time, all payments providers must ensure that the customer experience is enhanced without compromising on security requirements and regulations that protect our money in the first place."

New world order of the cloud services

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Cloud computing is having a massive impact on the supplier landscape.

The concept of pure cloud computing would reduce the relationship between a business and supplier to something like the relationship I have with Thames Water. Get a bill once a year, pay monthly and only contact them when something goes wrong.

It's all about pipes after all.

But suppliers are trying to address this and creating relationships with customers to help them reach outcomes and ensure they have a good ride. Could be a role for a service integrator?

In this guest blog post Mark Hennessy, senior director at ServiceSource, explains how changes in the cloud landscape will affect the way many vendors do business

Life After Vendor Lock-In

By Mark Hennessy, ‎
"There are times when being a cloud vendor in the present day can feel a little like you're immersed in some dystopian depiction of the near future, as imagined by a low-budget science fiction film. Speak to many modern service providers and many could justifiably claim to find themselves wandering, nomad-like, in a desert wasteland of uncertainty, trying to rebuild some kind of order in the wake of a grand battle. The battle in question? The end-user's fight against the oppression and tyranny of cloud vendor lock-in, of course - the immediate aftermath of which has left many questioning the established, accepted order of doing things.

Although it might be something of an exaggeration to say that the fight against becoming locked in to a single cloud vendor has had far-reaching consequences for the future of society at large, there's no doubt it's a battle that the vendors have, emphatically, lost. Years ago, things were much simpler. Cloud services were seen as the next 'big thing', and were approached with caution, which meant that vendors could lock end-users into long, watertight SLAs and charge them a premium for the privilege. Vendors, naturally, built their business models around this reality, and could sleep safe in the knowledge that their customers would not be leaving them any time soon.

There's no doubt that recent changes to the way cloud services are consumed have changed this forever. Where once, end-users would be reliant on vendors to provide cloud expertise, the rise of a proliferation of consumer-focused Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions has altered the cloud landscape significantly. The ease of use of modern cloud solutions has negated the niche role of the cloud vendor and, as a result, today's end-users increasingly see cloud solutions as a disposable commodity and frequently between suppliers and vendors at the drop of a hat.

What all of this means is, of course, that, with the vendor lock-in battle now lost, service providers are finding that the way their businesses are set up is fast becoming outdated. Gone are the days when they could lock their customers into SLAs for any significant period of time with no questions asked. The upshot of this is that many vendors are being forced to completely re-evaluate their business models and look for alternatives that will allow ensure that they are not left behind in the brave new world of on-demand cloud services.

Indeed, many have found that, instead of trying to tie customers into long-term, restrictive contracts, the future of cloud computing is one that is based on a subscription model, which aims to secure recurring revenue as a direct result of building a relationship. Where previously, many service providers will have secured a contract and not spoken to their customers again until the time came to renew, many are waking up to the fact that this is no longer an option. In this new subscription model, there are two things that can guarantee recurring revenue: the quality of your product or service and/or the quality of your relationship with your customer.

Where once cloud vendors saw themselves as mere suppliers of services for their customers, many are now having to adapt, in order to become suppliers of outcomes for their customers.

New considerations they have to take on board include whether or not their customers are getting value, and whether or not they are happy with their current level of service. It's this increased focus on managing the customer lifecycle that will change the way vendors operate, and which will prompt them to explore new tools that can give them the edge when it comes to providing added value for customers. In particular for the subscription and SaaS businesses, effective customer engagement requires a deep contextual understanding of the ever-changing dynamics underpinning the relationship. Businesses need precise, accurate and timely data to provide insight on where the customer stands in the overall lifecycle for customer success to engage at the right time.

A good example of this is an increased focus on analytics tools, which can show how customers engage with services, predict customer churn and give service providers an early warning sign that their customer is dissatisfied. On the other hand, analytics tools can also demonstrate where customers are most satisfied and can even provide them with information that can help them to up-sell to existing customers.

Perhaps the principle message we should take from all of this is that there's a reason that vendors have been forced to re-evaluate the way they operate only after end-users revolted against the idea of being locked-in. It's no coincidence that the new world order of cloud services revolves, not around one side holding the balance of power, but in encouraging stronger, deeper relationships between organisations. If, for service providers, there truly is life after vendor lock-in, and a way through the wasteland that has ensued, then it seems this is the best way forward!"

Is Malaysia a safe option for a South East Asian business services hub?

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About three years ago I met up with Vijayaratnam Tharumartnam who is a director at the Malaysian IT Initiative (MSC), an organisation supporting Malaysia in attracting foreign investment.

I met him again earlier this month for an update.

With more and more multi-national businesses investing in global service delivery capabilities South East Asia is a region where a presence is essential.

There are options in the region with countries like China and the Philippines already supporting companies from Europe and the US with IT and business services.

And the MSC is going out of its way to attract business investment. In 1996 the Malaysian government kicked of the IT initiative as part of its economic transformation. Malaysia wants to be a high income nation by 2020 and IT services have a significant role to play. The nation already has quite a strong telco sector but wants its IT sector to grow.

It is already been successful and has moved from largely providing back-office services to moving up the IT services value chain.

Businesses like GlaxoSmithKline, Shell, BP, HSBC, Prudential Services, RBS, British American Tobacco and BT have operations there.

Since its creation MSC has created about 140,000 jobs.

Tharumartnam told me that Malaysia is a safe place to invest compared to China, which he described as a "muddy road." He said Malaysia is politically stable and does not suffer from natural disasters.

If that is not enough the country does not ask questions about the funding of investors, has relaxed visa rules so companies can bring staff in as they like, it also offers five years tax free and allows the business to 100% own their Malaysia operations.

Tharumartnam says that the Malaysian IR T sector has gone from being an industry worth nothing in 1998 to one with revenues of $10bn today.

Although a great deal of the IT sector is owned by multi-nationals from Western countries the expertise gained within Malaysia has led to the creation of local service providers.

Here is what some of the multinationals are doing in Malaysia


-BP Business Service Centre Asia
Established 2009
Operates a BPO and IT Outsourcing operations
Global Players in MSC Malaysia
-BP Business Solutions
Established 2004
Research and development of software and IT systems for the healthcare industry.


-HSBC Global Resourcing UK Limited
Established 2007
A knowledge process outsourcing centre that provisions of management and operational support for HSBC Group Service Centres worldwide.
Global Players in MSC Malaysia

-HSBC Electronic Data Processing (Malaysia)
Established 2002
A Group Service Centre (GSC) for HSBC Group which operate as a financial services processing centre, service centre, call centre and also as a contingency centre for other GSCs of HSBC Group around the world

-HSBC Software Development (Malaysia)
Established 2009
Global Players in MSC Malaysia
Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO) in software development, software deployment , software support as well as consultancy and project management


-Prudential Services Asia
Established 2003

Regional IT processing centre, regional data centre, regional shared services centre and regional customer call centre for Prudential Group in Asia.

Bank branches to become the place to complain about online services

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Interesting move from Barclays to retrain 6,500 cashiers to enable them to help customers manage their finances rather than just processing transactions.

In reaction to the explosion in digital services in the banking sector Barclays is redirecting its in-branch human resources away from transaction processing to customer services such as helping people manage their money. More and more people do the transactional side of banking online today and Barclays is reacting to that.

Earlier this week the British Banking Association published a study that revealed that almost £1bn in transactions are processed a day in the UK from customers using online and mobile banking.

A couple of things spring to mind here.

The first, probably the most interesting, is that perhaps banks have finished years of job cuts. Have we reached the tipping point with banks down to the bare bones in terms of people. Barclays is retraining staff to do new roles amid digitisation, not cutting them and replacing them. This is interesting because with more and more businesses digitising and automating processes there is a fear that there will be no jobs for people to do in the future. This Barclays move puts some evidence behind claims from corporates that jobs will change and not disappear. However banks like Barclays have cut thousands of jobs so the 6,500 cashiers is small fry.

The second thing I think of, which is probably just the cynic in me, is this will mean that branches are full of salespeople. I have been in my bank lots of times to speak to personal advisors and they always seen to recommend more stuff from them.

So it looks like branches will just become the go-to place to complain when the online banking system or mobile app crash. And as we all know, thanks to Twitter, this happens pretty frequently these days.

London Stock Exchange outsources to outsource

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IT outsourcing has moved way beyond just cutting the cost of internal IT and now finds itself as an important mechanism for businesses to generate new business lines.

Gone are the days that a business looking to move into a new area has to build its own IT to support it. It can work with an expert. They call them partnerships these days more often than not.

I wrote an article yesterday about how the London Stock Exchange is offering finance firms a platform based reconciliation service. The exchange offers finance firms its UnaVista reconciliation platform as a service.

Now in an effort to increase its customer base for this it is working with Indian IT service provider Wipro. Wipro has the infrastructure and expertise delivering software to customers globally via platforms so the partnership makes sense. It gives the stock exchange global reach.

The multi-tenanted platform is aimed at finance firms but could potentially go wider in the future. The combination of the exchange's good trusted brand and Wipro's reliable and secure infrastructuremight be attractive to customers.

So this is an example of an IT services firm supporting businesses in generating new revenue streams, rather than just cutting costs. This is how most services firms sell themselves these days.

It is also likely to increase as service providers invest in global delivery services and the infrastructures to support them.

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