November 2009 Archives

UK software development gets a boost

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Because software development is a major component of the outsourcing and the offshoring industries I thought it was worth bringing up a story I wrote about a new UK IT start-up incubator programme.

IT developers from anywhere in the world can apply for funds and mentoring if they have a good idea. 20 ideas and the teams behind them will be chosen every year.

This initiative in question is known as the Difference Engine. Cheap name grab you may think but I am sure Babbage would approve.

The Difference Engine is like Seed Camp in that it funds tech ideas and tries to turn them into businesses. It is based on a tried and tested programme in the US known as Techstars, which focuses heavily in the mentoring rather than the financing.

I went to see the founder of the programme and I must admit after speaking to him and one of the founders of its US inspiration Techstars my normal aggression as a reporter looking into a company launch was somewhat muted.

It is a good idea. Why shouldn't the UK have a Silicon Valley.

The other question is whether the UK education system is producing enough programming talent to compete with places like India? 

Satyam's fraud bigger than thought, what does this mean?

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News that the accounting fraud at Satyam could be much bigger than thought could put the spotlight back on corporate governance in India.

The CBI in India is saying the fraud, originally thought to be worth $1.5bn could actually be worth £2.6bn.

I was talking to Mark Lewis, a  lawyer specialising in outsourcing at Berwin Leighton Paisner, this morning and he says if the fraud is much bigger than thought it could raise "further questions about corporate governance in India."

So is Satyam out of the woods? Is corporate India out of the woods?

Indian companies don't seem to being badly out of it.

HCL won a nice deal with Equitable Life worth £200m only this week.

Will the London Stock Exchange end its system problems with MillenniumIT?

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The story I wrote following my interview with the London Stock Exchange's CIO David Lester (link below). If its plan for MillenniumIT works out the exchange looks set to do well out of it.

Can technology reverse the London Stock Exchange's decline?

London Stock Exchange system up again

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The London Stock Exchange said its trading system in fully operational again after over four hours of problems.

From about 9.30 this morning the exchange could not complete trades as the result of connectivity problems.

"The system is has been fully up and running from 2.00pm", said a spokesman.

He said the company is still looking into the cause of the problems.

The stock exchange said the problems had nothing to do with the core trading platform that it is replacing, known as Tradelect.

"Since 10.33 customers have been able to put orders on and take them off but are not executing," said a spokesman.

He said the issue has not yet been resolved.

In September last year the London stock exchange was offline for about eight hours as a result of technical problems.

Inside outsourcing on inside out sourcing

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The inside outsourcing blog is now up and running.

As often as possible I will blog about what I am hearing and seeing in the outsourcing industry.

It's controversial when companies hand over IT processes to third parties. It is often even more controversial when they send it overseas.

But whatever you think outsourcing is here to stay.

So with a name like the insideoutsourcing blog I thought it apt to start with a post about an inside out sourcing deal.

The deal in question is the London Stock Exchange's decision to replace its trading platform. It bought an IT supplier in the form of Sri Lankan firm MillenniumIT, which provides trading systems and services.

So in effect it has in-sourced by bringing an outsourcer into the group. It is also planning to keep MillenniumIT as a separate company with customers of its own.

Previously the exchange employed Accenture for development but now it will do it itself. It now has 300 developers in Sri Lanka. And according to the exchange the £18m it spent on MilleniumIT is less than it paid Accenture every year.

The stock exchange did this when it realised the system known as Tradelect could not attract algorithmic traders which complete massive volumes of trades. Tradelect was not fast enough, its throughput was too low and it was not reliable enough.

Today's problems at the exchange are a case in point.

Traders using algorithmic trading systems make a small amount of money on lots of trades and even hold shares for milliseconds. Although I must point out that after talking to techies that work in the trading sector, a millisecond doesn't seen that quick anymore.

MilleniumIT can complete a trade in microseconds as can other trading systems.

So the London Stock Exchange will make its technology competitive, cut costs and make money through MilleniumIT.

So is this deal a stroke of genius?

Could it become common that when big companies recognise that a supplier has a better system, but are afraid to give their critical systems to a third party, they buy them?