Call Center December 2003 News

  • December 2003
    • Canada may emerge as outsourcing hub for US
      Canada could emerge as a near-shore alternative for the US and a serious contender in IT outsourcing on the back of a weak currency, negligible language barriers and closer boundaries, according to European research firm Ovum.Canada has one of the most vibrant areas of technology activity in the northern hemisphere and is significantly closer to US. It has the potential to be one of the best locations for technology outsourcing, a hub for R&D and a great cultural match with US, Ovum said in a report.
    • Outsourcing, free trade to top Nasscom meet agenda
      Close to 800 delegates from India and abroad are expected to attend the Nasscom ’04 event to deliberate on the burning issues confronting the sector, including free trade and globalisation.Current research on adjustments to trade, US reactions to outsourcing, the benefits of free trade and globalisation, the US-India IT services trade and the H1-B programme, and the benefits of competitiveness in the industry in promoting market development are some of the key panel discussions of the upcoming annual Nasscom summit in February.
    • BPO wave is for doctors to surf
      Call the doctors , he’s well within earshot. When an X-Ray appears fuzzy, or a diagnosis is too skeletal, there’s a whole aid kit waiting to be dug into right here.You could say it’s the back-office clinic. We’re not talking billing and coding work here. This is about high-end services in the medical transcription field. The kind that involves trained doctors.
    • UK unions now brandish a survey
      Britishers are worried about the outsourcing wave to India and other cheaper destinations. And the most worried lot are the British trade unions , who have been fighting tooth and nail to keep jobs in UK intact.In a desperate attempt to save their face in front of British citizens, the trade unions are gearing up for a spate of countrywide protests. They are also trying to use various surveys highlighting the uncertainties associated with job flight and its aftermath on the British workforce.
    • Tata Airlines set to take off… in BPO space
      Ratan Tata’s dream firm, Tata Airlines, is taxiing towards a revival in the New Year. Albeit, in the new avatar, the firm will focus only on business process outsourcing ventures for the group’s telecom arms.The Tata group has sought the government’s nod to revive Tata Airlines and use it for providing data processing services to group firms VSNL and Tata Teleservices. “At a later stage, we may look at offering these services to other companies outside the group,” sources told Times News Network.
    • UK Bank Barclays to move 5,000 call centre jobs to India
      British financial major Barclays Bank will soon move out administrative functions by setting up call centre operations having 500 employees in India, said Scotsman.com.Barclays said it was talking to the banking union Unifi about offshore outsourcing, but denied reports that it has firm plans to move up to 5,000 call centre jobs to India, said Scotsman.com.Earlier, ThisIsMoney.com had reported that “up to 5,000 British jobs could be affected in the planned transfer of about half the Barclay Bank’s call centre activities in a move that reflects a growing trend among British firms to take advantage of lower salaries in other countries.”
    • ITES sector: Salaries on the ascent
      Salary trends in the ITES sector has been a topic of much scrutiny and debate in the last few years. A Hewitt Associates survey states that in the APAC region the highest salary increase was in India, in 2003, while within the country itself it is the employees of the ITES sector who boast of the steepest salary hike (14 percent). The year 2002 also showed a similar trend. The moot question is—is this increase a normal reflection of the times, and how this will impact the industry? Furthermore, in an industry marked by poaching and almost 30 percent attrition rate, will a balanced scenario ever be reached? IT People spoke to many experts to get their views on the subject.
    • Outsourcing can’t be blamed for job losses in US: Robert B Reich
      As US-based companies paid workers in India, China and the Philippines almost $ 10 billion in 2002 for services that can be performed more cheaply by them than Americans, the job crisis in US should be blamed on changing technology and not on outsourcing, according to an economist in Washington.Most job losses over the last three years have not been due to American jobs “moving” elsewhere, Robert B Reich, former Labour Secretary, who is now professor of social and economic policy at Brandeis, said in an article in ‘The Wall Street Journal’.It is true that US manufacturing employment has been dropping for many years, but that is not primarily due to foreigners taking these jobs, he said, adding factory jobs are vanishing all over the world.Manufacturing, said Reich, is following the same trend as agriculture. As productivity rises, employment falls because fewer people are needed, he said.
    • Outsourcing unavoidable for US: Forbes
      Compelled by the pressure to cut costs and compete globally, there is no turning back for the American companies on offshore outsourcing, according to the latest issue of US magazine ‘Forbes’.”Offshore outsourcing burst into the mainstream in 2003. Despite concerns in the US about unemployment and lost innovation, there is no turning back. The pressure on US companies to cut costs and compete globally is too compelling,” ‘Forbes’ said.It said that in the United States, the number of students graduating with computer and information science degrees have grown more than 70 per cent since mid-nineties, but are still outpaced by business, social science and education degrees.
    • Hughes BPO division to double its manpower in 2004
      Eyeing a revenue contribution of about six per cent from its Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) division, Hughes Software Systems (HSS) will double the division’s current manpower strength of 300 in 2004.”We will more than double the manpower in the Hughes BPO division next year,” Arun Kumar, president and managing director of Hughes Soft, said.Currently, it is contributing about one per cent to the revenue, he said.Talks are at an advance stage to bag a few non-HNS (Hughes Network Systems) clients for the BPO division. HNS is the parent of HSS.The Hughes BPO division provides online customer care services using voice, chat and e-mail across multiple industry segments like IT, networking, telecom, automotive, insurance, banking and financial services.
    • US-based Concerto plans Bangalore or Hyderabad help desk with 70 people
      In spite of reports of some companies shifting back their help desk operations out of India, the United States based Concerto Software has firmed up plans to set up its global help desk in India with 70 people in February to provide high-end support to worldwide customers.”We have zeroed in on two cities – Bangalore and Hyderabad – to set up our global help desk, which will provide product and technical support to our global customers,” Pramod Ratwani, vice president, Asia-Pacific and Middle East, Concerto Software Inc, said.He said company president James D Foy is expected to visit India in February to announce the setting up of the centre, which would involve a significant amount of investment.At present, globally, the company has three help desks – the US, the United Kingdom and Singapore – and when set up, India would be the fourth one.
    • Robust growth despite BPO backlash
      INDIAN software and service industry braved rising intolerance in the US, its largest market, against outsourcing during 2003 and continued to grow as global corporations moved more work offshore to benefit from the country’s low cost and quality.The domestic information technology (IT) industry also saw robust growth in 2003 as companies and government took to computerisation with a vengeance, sending sales of personal computers, networking equipment and software such as ERP to new highs.
    • The dizzy growth of call centres
      As the stock market shoots through the roof, scores of Indian executives are looking through their books and wondering whether it’s time to rake in the cash with an IPO. Sanjeev Aggarwal isn’t one of them.At first glance that might seem odd. Aggarwal’s Daksh e-Services has all the right numbers to be a sell-out IPO.The business process outsourcing company has blazed past its growth targets without even pausing for breath. And the money is pouring in from its customers around the world.
    • BPO: It’s not call centres, stupid
      Just why are we getting hot under the collar about the future of India’s call centre business? Maybe there will be more cases like those of Dell Computers , opting to move their call centre ops back out of India to the US. But the net impact of such decisions will be minuscule.
    • Dell setting up second subsidiary in India
      Dell International, which was recently embroiled in a controversy when it decided to shift some of its overseas business customer service back to the US , is planning to set up a second subsidiary in India.Dell’s second Indian venture would be for undertaking specialised services of high technology computer systems, storage devices, computer consultancy and solutions.
    • Indo-UK relations at its peak: Lord Swraj Paul
      Notwithstanding trade union protests over outsourcing of jobs to India, Indo-UK relations during 2003 have been at the “peak”, Lord Swraj Paul, NRI industrialist and Ambassador for Overseas British Business said today (Dec 28, 2003).”India-British relations at this point of time are at the peak and more could be done. More effort can produce better result for the benefit of both countries,” Lord Paul said on the eve of his fortnight-long visit to Sri Lanka and India commencing on Dec 30, 2003.
    • Calling all graduates
      A Business Standard undercover team finds out how the business process outsourcing industry goes about hiring in the hundreds.India was once famous for being the land of unemployed graduates.You grabbed that university degree and went on a futile quest for a job. And, let’s face it, it was tough getting one without a word in the right ear or the gentle pulling of a few strings.
    • Knoah to increase headcount to 1,000 in Hyderabad
      Knoah Solutions, a technical support and customer service outsourcing services provider, has committed an investment of $2 million to expand its operations here during the first half of 2004.The company will add 400 agents to its existing employee base of 600 agents during the period.
    • Click2learn launches new solution
      Click2learn announced the launch of ToolBook Instructor 2004, an easy-to-use authoring solution for simulations and interactive learning content. The latest version of ToolBook includes powerful new features developed to meet evolving learning industry demands.The company’s India development centre has played a major role in the ToolBook 2004 product lifecycle. “Over the past few months we have expanded this centre’s role to include strategic functions in addition to research and development efforts.
    • 2004 will be the year of high-value BPO jobs
      As we step into the New Year 2004, it’s time to bid adieu to the low-end basic data-entry and outgoing call-centre jobs . Indians have come of age.The West has well realised that Indians are capable of doing more than just “Hi, welcome to…”
    • BPO: Language can be a problem
      At a time when there is a huge outcry in the US and UK on jobs being increasingly outsourced to cheaper Third World destinations, continental Europe doesn’t seem to be affected. Europe, it seems is out of bounds because both employers and employees there speak in languages other than English.So far the Indians have been able to give stiff competition to their American and British counterparts because they make the cluster of cheap labour who have mastered the most acceptable language, English. However, English, which gives so much advantage to Indians, holds second place in the rest of Europe.
    • India’s burgeoning call centres
      The biggest insurance firm in the UK, Norwich Union, has announced it is to cut 2,350 jobs in Britain and export the work to India.They are the latest in the tens of thousands of British call centre jobs lost to India in the past five years.
    • Polaris BPO arm, Optimus, to be more than call centre
      OPTIMUS Outsourcing Company Ltd, the business process outsourcing arm of Polaris Software Labs, will be a credit card transaction business unit rather than just a call centre.Meanwhile, as part of vendor rationalisation, Polaris has reduced sub-contractors of OrbiTech to 6-7 from about 30 a year back.
    • Agilent to undertake more R&D and BPO work in India
      Agilent Technologies, the $6.1-billion technology equipment vendor, plans to undertake more research and development work at its India development centre in Gurgaon.This centre, set up over two years ago, has over 1,200 employees currently.
    • Textiles to be the next major outsourcing area
      India is set to become the next outsourcing story in textiles after the recent success of business process outsourcing.The dismantling of quota system from 2005 poses both challenges and benefits but the net result is expected to be positive for the country.According to analysts, India’s strengths in textile production include inexpensive, abundant and skilled labour force that is suited for labor intensive apparel exports, sufficient raw material supplies because India is third largest producer of cotton with highest area under cotton cultivation in the world.
    • Now, call centres for farmers
      Union Government would launch Kisan call centres and a Krishi channel next month (January 2004) in an effort to enhance knowledge delivery mechanism directed at the farmers, Agriculture Minister Rajnath Singh announced today (Dec 26, 2003).He told reporters in Bangalore that the state-wise call centres, which would operate round-the-clock through toll free line, would address queries and questions of farmers regarding agriculture and allied sectors.
    • Hughes BPO arm on hiring spree
      Eyeing a revenue contribution of about six per cent from its business process outsourcing division, Hughes Software Systems will double the division’s current manpower strength of 300 in 2004.
    • Outsourcing Tsunami gets stronger
      U.S. corporations are picking up the pace in shifting well-paid technology jobs to India, China and other low-cost centers, but they are keeping quiet for fear of a backlash, industry professionals said.Morgan Stanley estimates the number of U.S. jobs outsourced to India will double to about 150,000 in the next three years. Analysts predict as many as two million U.S. white-collar jobs such as programmers, software engineers and applications designers will shift to low cost centers by 2014.
    • Outsourcing backlash to haunt Indian IT sector in 2004
      India’s globally recognised information technology industry showed clear signs of reviving in 2003.Not only did it face excess capacity in 2002 but overseas clients also postponed decisions on technology spending.
    • Sirvisetti Systems Corporation sets up BPO center in Hyderabad
      US-based Sirvisetti Systems Corporation, a niche player in XML and web services based enterprise business process automation solutions, has set up its R&D and BPO subsidiary – Sirvisetti Global Services Pvt Ltd (SGS), in Hyderabad.CEO & CTO of SGS Amal Sirvisetti, who quit his job with Oracle in the year 2000 to be on his own, pegged the future of his enterprise to web services arena. He added that the subsidiary would focus on providing the best of the breed services in terms of offshore development of their products and solutions and in the areas of sales, marketing and technical support.
    • Karnik sings `Don’t Worry’ to BPOs
      India’s booming backoffice industry does not face any threat from a decision by some global firms to move their business out of the country due to user complaints, a top software official assured.Over the past few years, India has blossomed into the backoffice hub of the world as global firms such as General Electric and American Express Co have set up huge units attracted by its low wages and English-speaking workforce.
    • ECE to acquire iSeva
      ECE Holdings, Inc. (ECE), global provider of outsourced technical support and customer service and an H.I.G. Capital company, has announced it has signed a definitive merger agreement with iSeva, Inc., an India-based outsourcing services provider.According to the press release, the merger agreement will provide ECE with a majority ownership of iSeva and is expected to close within 45 days.
    • China to outsource to India
      The Electronics and Computer Software (ESC) Export Promotion Council today (Dec 22, 2003) said the Indian software companies were expected to bag significant amount of outsourcing job from China in coming years.The ESC, which has established Chinese India Software Association (CISA), expected the increased interaction with Chinese IT sector would enable the small and medium Indian IT firms to bag outsourcing job from the neighbouring country.
    • US will not ban outsourcing to India
      The Government today (Dec 22, 2003) told the Rajya Sabha that the United States has assured it would not approve opposition to business outsourcing to countries like India brought in through legislation by New Jersey and some other states of the country.Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, Commerce and Industries Minister Arun Jaitley said both US Government and the industry are in favour of continuing with outsourcing of jobs, of which India is a major beneficiary.Jaitley said during his talks with US trade representative in June, he was told that Washington totally disapproved of the legislations to curb business process outsourcing.
    • Lehman not to curb outsourcing
      Lehman Brothers Holdings is not ending or pulling back on outsourcing. Charlie Cortese, its managing director for information technology, asserted that “overall numbers involved in outsourcing will go up next year”.These remarks, came through a conference call after two US news services reported that the Wall Street-headquartered financial services firm was ending a business process outsourcing project with Wipro because of quality considerations.
    • Move on to make Goa ITeS destination
      The Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), representing trade and industry in the state will join hands with state government to pursue its efforts at brand building for Goa as a emerging ITeS destination.A two-day conclave under the title “IT for Society” has been planned as a follow-up of a similar initiative by the GCCI last year where leading luminaries from the field of IT will “foster exchange of ideas and initiate a think-tank for promotion of IT”, said Nitin Kuncolienkar, president of GCCI.
    • Steam engine: BPOs churn success for idlis, dosas & transport services
      Mohammed A Aarif of Parveen Travels is very happy with India turning into an IT outsourcing destination. And predictably, so are Saravana Bhavan and Radhakrishna Hospitality.One may perhaps think of IT and idli as an odd combo. But flipping dosas and ferrying employees to work on graveyard shifts have proved to be money-spinning models for these early-movers.
    • Infosys BPO Progeon on the prowl, in talks to buy UK company
      Infosys Technologies which for long had shied away from the M&A game, seems to have turned aggressive on the acquisition front.Close on the heels of making its first buy Down Under last week, Infosys’ business process outsourcing (BPO) arm, Progeon, is in talks to acquire a UK-based company.
    • Chang must not get Chintu’s job
      Forget the backlash from those who have lost their jobs and the politicians who fear that this could turn into anger against them.Over in the US, the UK, Europe and Australia, what will really determine whether the outsourcing of customer support services to India continues is the price-quality package. As information trickles in of a couple of companies – Dell and Lehmann Brothers, most infamously – reversing part of their outsource-to-India plans, detractors are beginning to ask questions about Indian call centres’ ability to deliver.
    • India is familiar territory for Chris Sinclair of Scandent Group
      Chris Sinclair, founder & chairman of Scandent Group, which operates in the IT services & BPO space, and former chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Pepsi-Cola Co has strong India connections.For starters, he spent the better part of his childhood in India. He schooled in Mumbai and later at the International School at Kodaikanal between the ages of 2-11 courtsey Sinclair Sr who was in India those days as head of Esso.
    • Out of space! No room for Dell in Chandigarh
      The plans of Dell Computer India to expand to Chandigarh have received a setback with the UT administration turning down its request for space at the Punjab Engineering College (PEC). Dell had desired 40,000 sq feet of space at PEC by April 2004 to kick off its business process outsourcing (BPO) operations.
    • Legal BPO work from US picks up
      Clients in the US can start asking their lawyers to cut their billing rates as offshore outsourcing of legal work to India is picking up.Law firms, legal publishing companies and even legal research firms are outsourcing their work to Indian companies. The process of outsourcing of legal work began with legal transcription work some years ago and is now gradually rising in complexity and volume. Broadly, the work outsourced offshore can be classified into four categories based on complexity and skill base required.
    • Missing the HR outsourcing bus
      It’s set to become a $ 51 billion market worldwide in 2004, representing 39 per cent of the total business process outsourcing revenue. But India seems to be losing its way in human resource outsourcing, which has been the fastest growing BPO segment in the world in recent years.Listen to Avinash Vashistha, managing partner of the California-based neoIT, the world’s leading offshore advisory. “India is barely skimming the surface of the HR outsourcing market potential,” says Vashistha.
    • HP’s i-community project to bring ITES to Kuppam
      You could call it the arrival of the subaltern, if you like, as call centre or back-office jobs may no longer be the preserve of the urban educated masses.Villagers in Kuppam, which is Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s constituency, could be executing low-end outsourced jobs like document management, data entry, data collation and management soon.
    • BPO M&As: Big fish eat small fish
      Mergers and acquisitions could be one reason why the business process outsourcing industry has achieved so much in such a short time. M&As are rife in the BPO space, a sector which is not even five years old.
    • Engineering BPO lying in wait
      While India has a large base of scientific and engineering manpower, the country has not been able to export engineering design services significantly. Quite a few global EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) companies like Uhde and Toyo have been in India for some decades now. However, their focus has largely been on catering to the Indian market, not to export out of India.
    • Captive vs third-party BPO: A tug of war
      The captive business model, the pioneer of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services in India, seems to be learning a thing or two from its closest competitor — the third-party BPO service vendor, albeit the hard way. Even as multinational companies (MNCs) with a local captive unit continue to buy less critical BPO services from a bunch of third-party units, captive units are jostling for space in the same market as their cheaper third-party counterparts. That has led them to re-consider their business models.Third-party vendors are usually preferred over captive outfits because of substantially lower costs, flexibility and the ability to enforce price and quality competition.
    • Backroom boys get their due
      The domestic business process outsourcing (BPO) industry has been growing at a mind boggling pace of almost 60-70% annually. While it took the information technology (IT) industry almost 15-20 years to start making its presence felt, the BPO industry has done it in 10 years. For instance, revenues from the Indian BPO industry have grown from around $565m in ‘99-00 to almost $2,400m in ‘02-03.
    • Gen X ‘logs-into’ BPO speak
      For Gen X money is a three letter word — BPO. And life for them is getting to be one long conversation that opens each day with a, “Good Morning, this is XXX (some-fancy-US/UK-company). My name is Jenny Holnoyd. How may I help you today?” and ends with a “Is there anything else I can help you with? Thank you very much and good day to you.”
    • BPO in the years to come…
      The explosive growth of offshore outsourcing of business processes from the help desk to high-end research has been driven by the demand for skilled people, labour arbitrage and telecom infrastructure. These issues will still shape the industry but the dynamics will change rapidly as the industry adapts to rapid growth. Currently, the BPO industry is in its `hype’ stage and there is a rush to exploit the huge opportunity in this space.
    • HR leasing firms follow IT, ITES to tier II, III towns
      With IT and ITES majors like TCS, Wipro, Progeon and almost all finance, insurance, retail and FMCG companies setting up shop in tier-II and tier-III towns, HR leasing firms that backend HR requirements are trucking behind them.With almost the entire associate resource personnel sourcing concentrated at such centres, an assured market from existing clients and regional corporates willing to sign in, it is a double whammy for the leasing firms. The growth opportunity presented by these seemingly innocuous towns to the 25,000 plus.
    • UK voice training center in Chennai
      UK-based the City of Sunderland College has entered into a JV with Chennai-based BPO Supersight India Ltd to set up a call center training facility in Chennai – Sunderland Supersight Academy. The City of Sunderland College is the fifth largest college in the UK and one of the leaders in call center training in UK.Set up with an equal investment from Sunderland and Supersight, the facility currently can accommodate 70 people. Elaborating on the institute, MD of City of Sunderland College, Alasdair Downes said that faculty both from India and UK will be handling various teaching programs. There will be regular visits by staff to each country training facilities for updating and further training. Students in Chennai can have online access to the UK material.
    • Now, Christmas carols against job-loss & BPO
      Christmas carols are on the anvil in the United Kingdom to protest against jobs that are being shifted to India and other low-wage nations.Insurance sector employees, whose jobs are on the line due to outsourcing, are joining a Christmas choir for a musical protest, said a BBC News report.BBC News reported that members of the Amicus union of workers plan to stage a carol service before the London office of insurance giant Aviva, which plans to shift about 2,500 jobs from the UK to India.
    • Ex-techie leads anti-BPO charge in Washington
      Anti-BPO activists in the US state of Washington could not have bargained for a better ally — Democrat Senator Zack Hudgins. Hudgins, a former techie who could not get a job outside the legislature, plans to sponsor a bill in the upcoming session of the Senate that would prohibit the use of foreign labour on state services contracts, reports The Seattle Times .
    • VC funding to touch $1 bn in 2004, 50% for IT & ITeS
      Riding on a buoyant economy, bullish stock market and relatively stable political climate, India is poised to corner about $ 750 million of venture capital in 2003, which is slated to go up to about $ one billion in 2004.In 2003, India will be able to corner venture capital worth $ 750 million, as there is an overall feel-good factor. The economy is doing good, stock market is riding high and there are no immediate elections in sight, so all these are helping venture capital funds to tap the Indian market, Saurabh Srivastava, chairman, Indian Venture Capital Association, (IVCA) said.
    • Call centres switch to Net telephony
      Remember the Internet mania four years ago? Everything was going to be on the Internet. They also spoke about VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol.But soon, the world almost forgot about VoIP, mainly since voice quality was poor. Also, cost savings were not significant. VoIP may, however, be finally turning corners in the call centre space. Some Indian call centres are trying out this uncharted territory, and migrating to IP infrastructure.
    • Logistics BPOs on growth highway
      For the growing Indian BPO sector, a large untapped global logistics market could emerge as a prime growth area.Logistics BPO (LBPO), which includes managing logistics and warehousing services to ensure physical delivery of products, is thus being touted as a big growth opportunity.
    • EU cool with job outflow
      With apparently very bad timing, Britain’s fourth senior government minister has just renewed his administration’s controversial blessing to jobs flight to India, just as a leading British bank looks set to announce an Indian deal for a multi-million-pound, prestigious software development project.
    • UK minister, Patricia Hewitt, backs outsourcing to India
      Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt has given tacit support to British firms moving work to India despite a huge controversy over the ‘export’ of jobs.Hewitt told a national conference that ‘siren voices’ in Britain and the US were pressing for policies that would protect home industries.
    • Hidden costs haunt Indian companies
      After battling legislations, Indian call centres now face attack on a critical front: the cost advantage. A UK-based recruitment agency warns of hidden costs embedded in the outsourcing deals.Costs of redundancies and retraining in the UK, plus legal and advisory fees undo all the cost-cutting achieved by outsourcing, says the Association of Technology Staffing Companies (ATSCo).
    • Will BPO be a poll plank in the US?
      As the US gets ready for the 2004 polls, whether George Bush Junior returns to the White House or not may depend on quite a few factors. Together with Iraq and other issues, one fact that may stir American emotions is the outsourcing issue.As the election year nears, we find Federal and state lawmakers accelerating efforts to stem offshore outsourcing, chiefly by setting restrictions on the use of foreign labour in government contracting.
    • iGate wins $ 20 mn outsourcing deal from ING Vysya
      Technology and operations firm iGate Global Solutions has bagged a $ 20 million outsourcing deal from ING Vysya Bank.The five-year contract was signed by iGate Global Solutions’ head-BPO/BSP, Tiger Ramesh, and ING Vysya Bank’s senior executive vice president and head of operations and technology, Jean Louis Lemaire in Bangalore today (Dec 17, 2003).Through this partnership, iGate Global would assist in driving the IT/IS strategy for ING Vysya Bank, which is part of the multinational financial services giant ING Global, iGate Global officials told a news conference.
    • Chennai based Laser Soft plans BPO services
      LASER Soft Infosystems Ltd has finalised plans to commence offering business process outsourcing (BPO) services early next year. The Chennai-based company plans to invest about Rs 1.5 crore and employ around 100 people in the centre.Under the name `Laser Soft BPO Ltd,’ the centre would provide back office services for the banking and financial sectors, said Laser Soft’s Chairman, Mr B. Suresh Kamath.
    • Technological handicap haunts Indian BPOs
      The decision of the US-based Lehman Brothers to stop using Wipro Spectramind as an outsourcing partner for technical help has spawned a number of questions on whether Indian companies have it in them to do BPO or plain vanilla call centre work.
    • Lehman’s move has not hit TCS pact
      Tata Consultancy Services, on Tuesday, denied reports that its business contract with Lehman Brothers, a leading financial services firm, has been scrapped following Lehman’s decision to move call centres for its internal computer desk from India to the US.
    • Lehman stops outsourcing tech help to Wipro Spectramind
      As backlash against outsourcing continues, Lehman Brothers, a leading financial services company, has shifted call centres for its internal computer desk from India to the US, complaining about the quality of service, media reports said.The company had entered into a $ 70 million a year deal with Tata Consultancy and Wipro Limited to manage some of its Information Technology (IT) operations.Lehman stopped outsourcing its IT help desk, which handles employees reports of computer problems to Wipro about six weeks ago, as it was not satisfied with the level of service, reports said.A Lehman spokesman confirmed that the company had brought back the help desk to the US.
    • Tax-returns offshoring gets US thumbs-up
      Outsourcing of tax returns to India for processing is likely to receive a big boost, given the fact that The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the apex governing US-based Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), has given a clean chit to this practice, despite growing concerns among US professionals and their clients.
    • UK VC firms up holidng in call centre company Zenta
      US-based venture fund investor Intrepid Capital Partner (ICP) is consolidating its stake in call centre company Zenta India through the merger of its holdings in other companies. Zenta India is a 50:50 joint venture between real estate group Hiranandanis and ICP. It has more than 1,700 people in its rolls in Mumbai.ICP is consolidating its Zenta stake by folding its holding in companies such as Sanchez Capital Services (SCS) and BPT.
    • Wipro to launch call centre, software facilities in Kolkata
      Wipro will launch its software complex and the Wipro-Spectramind call-centre in Kolkata on February 1, 2004. This was announced by West Bengal IT Secretary G D Gautama on Monday.Wipro Chairman Azim Premji, Wipro-Spectramind CEO Raman Roy and key members of the Wipro management, including vice-president Pradip Hegde and Chief Information Officer Tamal Dasgupta are likely to be present at the high-profile launch in Kolkata. The West Bengal government is about to allot an additional 8 acres to Wipro right next to the company’s existing 12-acre plot in the Salt Lake Electronic Complex (Saltlec) for creation of an integrated software complex that will employ 6,000 IT professionals in 3 years.
    • Foray into BPO/ITES – Compudyne to partner Logistic Solutions
      COMPUDYNE Winfosystems Ltd, which is planning to restructure its IT business, is weighing options to foray either into business process outsourcing (BPO) or IT-enabled services.This new foray, likely to be finalised by mid-January, would be in collaboration with the US-based Logistic Solutions Inc, said Mr S.S. Dahiya, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Compudyne.
    • Progeon to ramp up headcount, to touch 1500 by March 2004
      Progeon, the business process outsourcing arm of Infosys Technologies, is on a hiring spree.Notwithstanding the backlash on Indian BPO units in the US and UK, the company is adding close to 500 employees at its centre in Bangalore and Pune.
    • Insurance cover for off-shoring companies
      Two leading global insurance companies, including Lloyd’s, have put together the first specialist cover for companies off-shoring call centre and back office operations in countries like India amid warnings that such relocations involve huge risks.Besides Lloyd’s, Aon, the world’s second largest broker, has also put together an outsourcing insurance package.
    • 4,700 IBM jobs for India, China
      Computer giant International Business Machines (IBM) Corp is planning to move some 4,730 jobs of software programmers to India and China among others, in one of the biggest moves to “offshore” highly-paid US software jobs.IBM has told its managers to plan on moving the work of as many as 4,730 programmers to India, China and elsewhere, ‘The Wall Street Journal’ reported today (Dec 15, 2003) quoting company documents.
    • Why isn’t the Fortune 1000 outsourcing to India?
      Massive outsourcing by some of the key organisations might have created a storm in US and UK, but the real picture is different.Contrary to the common perception, most Fortune 1000 companies are not outsourcing work to low-cost countries. According to a survey a very small percentage of Fortune 1,000 companies are actually fully engaged in offshore outsourcing. The survey also points out that the move is not as simple as perceived.
    • Tax offshoring gets US thumbs-up
      Outsourcing of tax returns to India for processing is likely to receive a big boost, given the fact that The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the apex governing US-based Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), has given a clean chit to this practice, despite growing concerns among US professionals and their clients.
    • Will White House outsource everything to India?
      You know just how closely a fear strikes the American psyche by mapping the number of jokes and cartoons about it. Judging by an editorial comic strip that’s doing the e-mail rounds, outsourcing is high up there on the list. Here’s the latest scenario. An Indian based in United States – sitting cosy at home in front of a fire-place- calls up the White House Customer Service Line to complain about how National Holidays are selected. A smartly-attired executive on the other end picks up the call.
    • Carlyle eyes BPO, services sector
      The Carlyle group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms with more than $17.5 billion under management, is actively looking to invest in the BPO and services sector in India. The condition: the company should already have a strong front-end in the US.According to Mr Tony Jansz, managing director of the group, “In Asia, we are currently looking at three countries: China, India and Korea. Each of these regions gets about 30-35% of our investible funds, which is $350 million.” The past nine months have been active for Carlyle in Asia, he said, with about $15 million having been invested in India alone. Next year should see an equal amount of investment.
    • Siemens to offshore 10,000 jobs, including accounting operations
      Germany’s Siemens plans to place one third of its software development operations, involving at least 10,000 jobs, in low-wage countries over the next few years, the Financial Times reported on Friday.”We have to follow the trend, as all of our competitors are doing the same, and move some of our activities eastwards,” Johannes Feldmayer, head of the industrial conglomerate’s corporate strategy, was quoted as saying.
    • Northgate BPO Services takes JV route for growth
      In a bid to tap the growing telecom BPO market, particularly service bureau and clearinghouse operations for global telecom majors, Northgate BPO Services, a venture of Applogic Broadband, has chosen the joint venture route for long term growth.The company, which has set up a 160-seat centre in Hyderabad, will also be raising $3 million through the ECB route next quarter while it has already invested $2 million on the facilities, Northgate MD & CEO Venkat S Meenavalli said.
    • ITeS: India to lose $21 bn due to poor infrastructure
      Poor infrastructure could result in a loss of $ 21 billion of investment to other competing countries in Asia and this is a major threat to the realisation of India’s projected IT vision for 2008, according to a CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) paper on IT.India needs to enable the creation of adequate infrastructure in the form of national backbone, integrate telecom policies to roll out data transmission and rationalise tariff structure for bandwidth, the CII paper on ‘IT-empowering growth’ stated.
    • US may turn to law in fightback
      In response to protests brewing against loss of nearly five lakh IT related jobs in US due to massive outsourcing, especially to India, this election year could witness a call for a legislation against this measure, analysts say.”400,000 to 500,000 Information Technology jobs had moved overseas and by 2015 the number would swell to 3 to 3.5 million, with India alone winning about half a million. By 2008, it might reach 1.2 million in India alone,” Rolf Laundberg of the US Chamber of Commerce said at a symposium organised at Capitol Hill.
    • UK to raise skill levels to counter outsourcing
      Britain has ruled out a “protectionist response” to off-shoring by companies specially to countries like India and is gearing up to generate more and better jobs by raising skill levels, supporting enterprise and raising business innovation and productivity.”Protectionism is clearly not the right response… We cannot have a protectionist response to off-shoring by companies at home, and nor should we,” British Minister for Industry and the Regions, Jacqui Smith told the House of Commons.
    • Brace for another outsourcing boom from UK
      India can look forward to more outsourcing contracts from UK banks and insurers in the near future, if Chancellor Gordon Brown’s pre-budget report is anything to go by.In his proposals on Thursday, Brown hinted at a possible clampdown on value added tax (VAT) loopholes which allowed outsourcing firms to avoid the levy on contracts, which will eventually save millions of pounds for the exchequer. India could be the largest beneficiary of the new proposal if it comes into effect, since more UK companies could transfer their call centre and back office functions to India to avoid incurring VAT.
    • UK lawyers shift legal records jobs to India
      The offshore outsourcing juggernaut keeps rolling on inexorably.Even as protests rise over the shifting of hundreds of call centre jobs from the United Kingdom and the United States to low-cost Asian nations like India, China and the Philippines, more and more firms and professionals are realising the benefits of outsourcing.
    • Outsourcing essential for survival of UK companies
      Asserting that there is nothing to fear from the process of outsourcing, Peter Luff, chairman, Conservative Parliamentary Friends of India, has said that outsourcing is in the interests of the survival and success of British companies.”First, it is in the interests of the survival and success of British companies. Secondly, it is in the economic self-interest of the United Kingdom,” Luff said while participating in a debate on the outsourcing of financial services jobs in the House of Commons.
    • Hughes open to BPO services for third parties
      A year after Hughes Software Systems launched its business process outsourcing services for group companies abroad, the company is now looking at offering the services to outsiders also.”We are in talks with 3-4 new non-Hughes clients. These are companies in the US and in the UK. These are the countries where all the action is,” Hughes Software Systems president and managing director Arun Kumar said.
    • Confirmed: UK rail enquiries India-bound
      A leaked document from British private rail companies has confirmed that the National Rail Inquiries Service is shifting to India as part of the call centres relocation process.By next summer all inquiries about British train services, including travel to places with improbable and difficult sounding names, will be handled from Mumbai and Bangalore.National rail inquiries are currently sub-contracted to three UK-based companies: BT, Serco and FirstInfo.
    • EU to probe outsourcing to India
      The European Union (EU) will launch its very first investigation into the off-shoring-outsourcing phenomenon to India and other low-wage economies in a decision seen as a significant widening of Britain’s heated debate over the eastern jobs flight.The UK’s largest manufacturing union, the 730,000-member Amicus told Times News Network on Thursday that the EU investigation would be a huge pressure point on the British government to consider – and possibly stop – the long-term effects of off-shoring to India and other low-cost economies.
    • UK/US asked to quit moaning
      It’s time Americans and the British stopped moaning about losing jobs to better-educated and lower-paid Indians, and started competing for the posts that are being outsourced to India.Consider, first, call-centre and low-end BPO jobs , where the unbeatable combination of supply of manpower and low wages has already closed the business argument in favour of outsourcing to India. Here’s how The Guardian , for instance, describes the demand-supply mismatch for call centre executives in the UK and in India.
    • PwC’s tech forecast bullish on XBRL, biz intelligence
      With corporate transparency continuing to be in the forefront of discussion in the business world, Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) has identified eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) as one of the key emerging technologies that will significantly change business reporting in the coming yearsIn its technology forecast for 2003-05 with the theme ‘The intelligent real-time enterprise’, PwC also discussed key technologies that would help companies make faster and more effective decisions, which include business intelligence (BI) systems, business integration, supply chain management capabilities and expanded use of XML. According to Mr Rajarshi Sengupta, consultant at PwC India, the technology forecast details how standards such as XBRL and improvements in business intelligence and integration technologies can help corporations by giving them a real-time view of operations, and allow executives to make decisions more quickly and effectively.
    • Wanted urgently: a ministry for call centres
      Guess what? We do need a ministry for BPO. We surely do. Just scan through a newspaper or dip into a blog and you will find the logic for having your own super-envoy.It’s not about the government jumping to protect and police BPO, the entire gamut of back-office operations like customer interactions outsourced to India.
    • Infogain To Ramp Up India Ops, Invest $5 M In 2004
      IT services company Infogain said that it had entered the business process outsourcing sector through acquisition of two BPO businesses in India and US including a 100-seat capacity business in Gurgaon.We want to jumpstart into BPO operations. One of our acquisition is a 100-seat live BPO business in Gurgaon which has been formed into a separate company, Kapil Nanda, chairman and CEO (chief executive officer), Infogain, told newspersons, adding Infogain had acquired the customer base of another BPO centre in the US.
    • The response to offshore backlash
      The media in the US, sensing the public mood, has latched on to the offshore backlash story.Like media anywhere, they thrive on individual stories of misery caused by offshore outsourcing. Unfortunately, there are enough of them to choose from.While the business newspapers and periodicals in general give a balanced view of the issues, most local newspapers and television shows have already painted it black.
    • Snooping on recruits is good biz
    • Storage networking has huge BPO potential: Kumar Malavalli
    • ICICIOneSource to set up 700-1000 seater in Mumbai
    • US-based Infonet ties up with i2i
    • BPOs fall off private equity funds’ radar
    • British BPO company Vertex keeps call centre at home
    • Again! Why offshore outsourcing is good for the US
    • Realty projects wooing ITeS majors to Pune
    • Taiwan’s mobile handset manufacturer, BENQ, plans call centre in India
    • Raju Bhatnagar quits Cognizant to join ICICI OneSource as its COO
    • Asia Netcom sets up Indian arm to meet growing IP VPN needs
    • 27/7 Customer in Fortune’s list of successful startups
    • ‘Cyber coolies’ spark off Battle of Britain II
    • Tax muddle stunts BPO
    • Daksh, Spectramind: The non-stop growth kings
    • Franklin Templeton plans backoffice in Hyderabad
    • PCs to broken hearts, India fixes them all
    • Progeon to blaze path to US with acquisition
    • BPO’s a sure-shot ticket to the US
    • UK rail inquiries jobs in danger
    • Convergeon, formerly Call Center College, to expand in 15 cities
    • Anti-BPO bills in US languish or get rejected
    • British PM Tony Blair powerless to stop outsourcing
      ritish Prime Minister Tony Blair has expressed his sympathy for British workers who lose their jobs to outsourcing, but says he is powerless to block new trends in the global economy.Blair’s comments follow the disclosure by UK insurance company?Aviva, which trades as Norwich Union, that it will ‘outsource’ jobs to India as part of an axing of a total of 2,350 posts in Britain. It is threatening up to 500 of them will be compulsory redundancies.Delhi and Bangalore will be the principal beneficiaries of Aviva’s move, which has been described as ‘deplorable’ by the UK trade union Amicus.Amicus says thousands of British workers had been given a Christmas present of an uncertain future.
    • Accenture to increase headcount in India to 10,000
      Global IT consulting major Accenture today (Dec 3) announced it would more than double its headcount in India to 10,000 by December 2004, from the existing 4,300 professionals. “We are more than doubling our headcount to over 10,000 people by December next year,” Accenture India Country Managing Director Sanjay Jain told reporters in Bangalore. Accenture India Delivery Centre Head Chaitanya Kamat said, the company was adding new capacity for ramping up its operations in the country.In Bangalore, which provides BPO services, he said, Accenture is adding 5,000 seats by April 2004, in addition to the existing 2,650 seats to take the total to 7,650 seats. Kamat said the $ 11.8 billion firm plans to add 1,300 seats by March over the existing 1,000 seats.Accenture Global Managing Partner for Outsourcing Martin I Cole said, “BPO is growing more rapidly and there is an opportunity to bring in more work to India”. He said India was the only country for Accenture to offer voice based BPO services, besides emerging as the fourth largest employer for the company in the world, but declined to comment on specific investment plans.”Accenture strongly believes in high value service offerings, we start with outsourcing by only enabling capability. Offshoring to India, we are not going to be the low cost mode, but high value provider,” Cole said, adding outsourcing from India was cheaper than in the US.Cole said Accenture had over 40 centres across the globe and last year outsourced $ 3.6 billion worth of software, which is growing at 30 per cent annually. Jain said the company was operating in India since 1987 and had 25 domestic customers including Maruti, HPCL and Madhya Pradesh State Electricity Board.

      “There are fortune 500 customers who have been working with us for years. It is for the Indian companies to woo them and it is for them to compete with us in the same area,” Cole said, when asked whether Accenture would compete with Indian firms like Infosys to bag customer contracts.

    • BPO backlash or boom? Indian co gets US kudos
      Amidst the increasing American backlash against outsourcing, the US government has honoured an Indian-owned software company, Artech, as the ‘contractor of the year ‘03’.In sharp contrast with the state of Indiana cancelling a contract to TCS to protect local jobs, the US administration has rewarded Artech in US vice-president Dick Cheney’s presence, primarily for the software services it has provided to the US government.
    • Blair defends UK outsourcing
      In an extraordinary coincidence, Britain’s largest insurance group has announced on Tuesday the flight of thousands of jobs to India, even as the British prime minister robustly hailed the skills of “Indian graduates” and defended British companies’ right to ship work overseas.
    • UK insurance giant Aviva to create 2,500 jobs in India
      British insurance giant Aviva today (Dec 2, 2003) announced that it will hire 2,500 people in India next year to serve its businesses in the UK and Canada.While 2,350 people will be recruited to serve the insurance giant’s UK businesses, 150 jobs will be created to back up its operations in Canada, the company said in a statement.Out of this, 2000 jobs will be created in administration, processing and IT for the company’s Norwich Union arm and other life insurance businesses in the UK, the statement said, adding the staff will be based in Delhi, Bangalore and Pune.Around 350 jobs will be created in the company’s call and claims processing centres in Delhi and Bangalore, dealing principally with motor and household insurance enquiries and claims, it said.The remaining 150 new jobs in India will be created to support its general insurance business in Canada for which the staff will be based in Bangalore and will provide a new sales administration centre for a range of motor and home insurance products offered by Aviva Canada.

      Aviva anticipates that approximately 80 per cent of the jobs created in India will be accommodated in the UK by a combination of expansion, current vacancies, anticipated staff turnover and voluntary measures.

    • Indiana lawmakers oppose anti-outsourcing Bill
      Amidst the mounting backlash against outsourcing in the United States, lawmakers in Indiana State opposed a Bill to ban non-US citizens from doing Government contract works, as they felt the law would affect overseas investment prospects.The Bill was introduced after Governor Joe Kernan cancelled a $ 15 million outsourcing contract won by an American subsidiary of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for upgrading the computer system of a State agency.During a debate yesterday (Dec 1, 2003), a majority of lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, on the Senate’s panel on technology and economic development, opposed the Bill as they felt it goes too far and could have unintended consequences as the State seeks overseas investments. Several panel members suggested limiting the scope of the Bill or finding a better way to help Indiana companies compete for State work. Kernan’s deputy chief of staff, Tom McKenna, said Drozda’s concerns could be taken care of through changes in the State’s contracting procedures.
    • BPO: An emerging market for insurance companies
      With thousands of service jobs moving to countries like India, a new multi-million insurance market is emerging, as companies seek to protect their overseas outsourcing investments from unforeseen troubles.Companies are becoming increasingly nervous that risks such as terrorism, Government instability and civil unrest could sabotage their outsourcing facilities abroad. Aon, an insurance broker, this month sold the first such insurance policy to an undisclosed European airline that is setting up call centres in India.Charles Keville, director of counter-terrorism and political risk at Aon, arranged the unique insurance with the Lloyd’s of London insurers Kiln and Liberty syndicates. Keville said that he had already begun lining up similar policies for financial houses and software companies and expected a strong demand.

      The new insurance would cover relocation costs in the event of war, terrorism, trade embargo, strike, supplier insolvency and expropriation by the host Government, he said.

      “People have been on the phone within minutes of finding out that the insurance is available,” he added.

    • Why the US can’t win the outsourcing war against India
      The US will never win the outsourcing war against India, never mind the outcome of battles like the one played out in Indiana last week.Look at what Republican Governor Joe Kernan’s decision to cancel a $15.2-million, four-year contract to Tata Consultancy Services subsidiary Tata America International Corp. will cost the state of Indiana: $8.1 million. That was the difference between the bids made by TCS and its nearest competitor – either Accenture or Deloitte Consulting.
    • Deutsche Bank to expand Bangalore unit, to hire 500 professionals – Indian Express
    • Bip Pond Technologies to open call centre in Kerala – Indian Express
    • Outsourcing for development: UNCTAD Report
      UNCTAD’s E-Commerce and Development Report 2003 uses India’s experience to argue that the growing market for IT services and business process outsourcing offers poor countries a new development opportunity. C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh examine the rather disparate evidence on the size, pace of growth and nature of this market to assess this argument.
    • ABN Amro, StanChart, Citi team up for BPO lessons
      ABN Amro, Citibank and Standard Chartered may be competitors in the market. But their back-offices tell a different story. Business Process Outsourcing arms of these three banks are jointly organising a training programme for their employees early this month.
    • Govt to sell BPO as a career
      The government is coming out with a communication campaign to position Business Process Outsourcing as a career of choice.Officials said such a move was being taken to ensure that the fast-growing sector did not face a manpower shortage. According to estimates by the National Association of Software and Service Companies, the Indian business process outsourcing sector will generate 1.1 million jobs by 2008, against 170,000 now.
    • Dell: Bowing to customer experience
      Not many had heard of him till the spotlight pinned him down when Dell decided to route some tech support services back to the US.Apart from being in the media glare for wrong reasons, the man who was handpicked by none other than Michael Dell to head Dell’s Indian BPO operations, is seen as the champion of “Customer Experience”. He was Dell’s VP, Customer Experience, Americas, Texas.
    • Indiana State to hear TCS case today
      As the backlash against outsourcing mounts in the US, a state senate plans to hold a hearing from Monday on why a $15.2-million outsourcing contract was awarded to an Indian software firm to upgrade state computers processing unemployment claims.
    • WeP Peripherals’ print service gets a big BPO boost
      The outsourcing wave is aiding WeP Peripherals, formerly Wipro ePeripherals boost its print service business. Over 400 corporates are said to have embraced this service under which, customers do not pay for the printer but for the copies they print. The service is attracting clients as it eliminates the often painful process of investing in an appropriate printer and the tedious chore of running and maintaining them said Mr S Raghavendra Prakash, chief marketing officer, WeP Smart division.

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