Tag: accenture

Accenture tinkers with blockchain

blockchainAccenture is changing a feature of blockchain by patenting a system that will allow data processed and stored using the technology to be edited.

This will effectively kill off a defining feature of the technology which makes it impossible to change. The consultancy said data would only be edited under “extraordinary circumstances,” to resolve fat-finger-type human errors and meet legal and regulatory requirements and address wrongdoing.

Obviously some blockchain users thought this idea was pants.  Blockchain is the latest investment by the financial services industry in the nascent technology, which promises to cut costs, reduce settlement times and increase transparency.

Normally the blockchain underpinning digital currency bitcoin is kept secure by data being shared across a global network of computers, which are incentivized by competing to win new bitcoins by data “mining”.

Technologists say that not being able to edit the technology makes blockchain unique and that without it, the term becomes meaningless.

Gary Nuttall, founder of blockchain consultancy Dislytics said that an editable blockchain was just a database. The whole thing about blockchain is that it’s immutable, so this just defeats the object.”

Because so-called “permissionless” blockchains like bitcoin’s have no centralized authority, it is essential that transactions cannot be tampered with.

Accenture claimed its prototype would be for the private “permissioned blockchains” favoured by banks, which would have designated administrators who manage the network under agreed governance rules.

Richard Lumb, Accenture’s group chief executive for financial services said that for financial services institutions faced with a myriad of risk and regulatory requirements, absolute immutability is a potential roadblock.

Nearly four in ten UK households bought a tablet

tabletNearly 40 per cent of UK households bought a tablet last year, despite the fact that they didn’t really know what to do with one.

The statistic, compiled by the Internet Advertising Bureau suggests that the average number of internet connected devices in each house is up to 7.4.

Smartphones are the most commonly owned connected gadget, followed by laptops and tablets, according to research from the UK. Games consoles, desktop computers and smart TVs were also likely to be found within British homes. One fifth of UK households own two tablets, while 11 per cent own three or more, the study found.

However the writing appears to be on the wall for the tablet.  The percentage of customers planning to buy a tablet has fallen from 44 percent in 2014 to 38 percent this year, a separate set of research from Accenture found.

The two figures side by side suggest that people who bought a tablet did not use it much and when they came to buy something else they went for ‘phablets’ instead,

John Curran, managing director, Accenture’s Communications, Media and Technology group said that phablets were grabbing centre stage because a growing number of consumers prefer the screen size and resolution to that of a smartphone.

“This does not mean the tablet market will become inactive, but as consumers’ purchasing plans for mature device categories such as tablets decline, high tech companies will need to replace lost revenues with sales in new categories such as wearable health and fitness monitors.”

 

Accenture creates 2,000 UK jobs

In a sign that tech outsourcing is back on track, the US-listed tech outsourcing giant Accenture has said it will create 2,000 UK jobs this year.

According to the company the new roles span a wide range of skills and capabilities and offer opportunities for candidates from experienced executives to entry-level recruits for its graduate programme.

Olly Benzecry, Accenture’s country managing director in the UK & Ireland said that the company was looking for highly motivated, skilled individuals who share our passion for how major UK businesses can transform themselves by harnessing the power of technology – particularly emerging digital technologies – to drive business strategy.

The roles will be spread out across London, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

The move was greeted with great enthusiasm by Prime Minister David Cameron.

These jobs are among 10,000 that have been announced today – jobs that will give people financial security for the future, he enthused.

Accenture says it is also hiring graduates for its Newcastle Apprentice scheme which was launched in 2012.

The programme is aimed at enabling school leavers to earn a salary while developing expert IT skills.

The company will be hoping that it never sees itself in trouble in Blighty like it was in 2003 when it took on a huge National Health Service contract which went nowhere and ended up costing the company £800 million when it had to walk away. 

Francis Maude claims IT disasters will not be tolerated

Cabinet Secretary Francis Maude is meeting with a list of big IT suppliers as he promises to make tighter spending controls permanent and threatens not to tolerate poor performance.

Maude is set to meet with 20 of the firms which have traditionally landed the large government IT contracts to discuss the next steps in efficiency savings.  

These include familiar faces such as Capgemini, HP, IBM, Accenture, Atos and Capita, and represent around £15 billion worth of business.

Maude is keen to be seen as cracking the whip over costs, and said that those which do not play by the new spendthift rules of public sector procurement will get the boot.

“I want Whitehall procurement to become as sharp as the best businesses,” Maude said in a statement. “Today, I will tell companies that we won’t tolerate poor performance and that to work with us you will have to offer the best value for money.”

Clearly Maude wants to put an end to the long list of high profile public debacles, such as the NHS cock-up which Computer Sciences Corporation presided over.

Since the Coalition was elected there has been an attempt to reduce enormous IT spending, and the Cabinet Office has claimed that £3.75 billion worth of savings were made in 2011/12.  This figure is expected to top £5 billion this year.

This has also meant opening the door for smaller firms to tender for work, to break the cycle of lengthy and costly contracts being handed to the big name supplier cartel.

The government has been derided by select committees and industry experts over the lack of expertise in negotiating contracts.   

Such steps show a willingness to at least attempt to learn from harsh lessons in the past. But can we finally expect to see the government become an ‘intelligent’ customer – as one MP recently put it?

Microsoft and SAP have already had £65 million and £3 million contract reductions negotiated this week, so it does seem that the government means business.  How far the government is willing to push austerity onto big business global contractors will be interesting.

With endemic problems in the way Whitehall has procured IT before, there is plenty of work to be done before the government can really claim to be the efficient “business” that it aims to be.

UK gov gives nod for Universal Credit IT off-shoring

The government is taking a hands off approach to companies off-shoring IT jobs, as Chris Grayling confirms that the Universal Credit system will allow work to go to staff in India.

The employment minister said that though existing jobs would be kept in the UK, it would not stop contractors IBM and Accenture from creating jobs abroad.  

“All off-shoring work for universal credit is new development and we are not moving existing UK based work to India,” Grayling said in a parliamentary written answer. “Off-shoring of work by our IT service providers is not a matter for the Department for Work and Pensions.”

He did not, however, state the number of roles which would be created abroad, though the Guardian has previously revealed the number to be in the “hundreds”.

Grayling said that firms were being forced to go abroad for IT work as the skill base on key technologies “resides overseas, and not necessarily in the UK”.

A spokesperson for the PCS union told TechEye that Grayling should be doing more to create more skilled jobs rather than shipping them abroad, particularly with unemployment levels rocketing.

While off-shoring continues to affect the IT industry, despite promises from the government to readdress its strategies, the situation with onshoring also continues to create problems.

The idea that there are not talented IT workers on a national or local level is just an idea. As TechEye has pointed out, firms are more than willing to employee foreign workers on the cheap at the expense of UK jobs, another area where the government has failed to act to protect domestic IT workers. 

Nokia officially spins off Symbian

Nokia’s operating system, Symbian, has officially left the building. 

Following an agreement earlier this year to spin off the ailing OS to developers at Accenture, the deal has finally closed. It will see some 2,300 employees worldwide forced into the clutches of Accenture. They will make their move from China, Finland, India, the UK and the US.

The murmurs we’ve heard about Accenture tend to be that it’s not exactly a joy to work for. Although it has financial might and is rooted in the major markets, critics say it’s not a hive of innovation or activity.

Accenture claims it will provide and support Symbian software development to Nokia up until 2016. With the announcement, at last, of Nokia’s first Windows phone hitting the wires this week, it seems Accenture’s involvement will be very much a transitional phase.

In a statement, chief exec at Accenture Marty Cole said the business will grow in mobility and embedded software. Cole also said it will work with Avanade, a spin-off that Accenture has a majority shares of, to keep a close eye on developing Microsoft technologies which it will also give to Nokia.

Specifically, a Nokia spokesperson told TechEye that from the 27th of April it announced plans for a “strategic collaboration with Accenture that would result in the transfer of Nokia’s Symbian software activities.” 

“This activity covers the update and development of the Symbian software platform that is used in various models of our current product range,” the spokesperson continued. “So specifically Accenture supplies software support and development.”

We asked if Nokia will be a customer up until 2016 or if it just has the option of being a customer until then, but have not received a reply at time of publication. 

Nokia completes Symbian outsourcing deal with Accenture

Nokia has officially signed on the dotted line to outsource its Symbian software development services to Accenture.  

The agreement, which has been in the pipeline since April, now means that Accenture will develop and support Symbian until 2016. Poor souls. In other words, it will be responsible for helping Nokia transfer from Symbian to Windows Phone.

However, there’s upheaval on the horizon for thousands of employees with the transfer of around 2,800 staff in China, Finland, India, Britain and the United States expected in October, when the deal closes.

For their troubles they will be retrained to ensure the changes happen smoothly.

Back in April Nokia announced that it was to slash 7,000 jobs as it wanted to cut costs by $1.5 billion by 2013.

At the time, it said 4,000 staff would be pushed off the sinking ship completely, especially in  Finland, Denmark and the UK. However, another 3,000 would be spared the short plank and shipped off to the long one at Accenture.

Last week the company tried to justify its actions and its means for outsourcing jobs.

It told TechEye that although it was not proud of the job cuts and the effect it had on people in Finland, it had to be done.  

Doug Dawson at Nokia told us: “Nokia is woven into the fabric of Finnish society. I think there’s a lot of pride in Finns and the success of Nokia.

Regarding job losses, “those are always difficult days,” Dawson said.

“I don’t think there’s any way you can describe it any differently. If you talk to your average guy on the street they will say they want Nokia to succeed.”

Those moved to Accenture may want to keep the champers on ice as the new agreement only lasts until 2016, making us wonder what Nokia plans to do with its doomed system later on.  

Nokia chairman Jorma Ollila to step down in 2012

Jorma Ollila, the Finnish exec who turned Nokia from the maker of rubber boots to a mobile phone giant, has announced that he will step down next year.

The news comes amidst gloomy creakings heard from the Bad Ship Nokia, recently acquired sorry partnered with Microsoft. There have been huge job cuts and lay-offs, to the tune of Nokia saying 7,000 would be given the axe, effectively murdering the mobile manufacturing powerhouse in Europe.

We’ve mentioned it enough but, here’s that killer quote again: our top brass source from within Nokia has said it’s more of a takeover than a partnership.

The search for his successor is already on. 

Ollila publicly praised Nokia’s CEO, ex-Microsoft man Stephen Elop, in a shareholders speech. Elop talked more about that swing factor, as he dubbed it at MWC. And underlined the importance of the patent portfolio Redmond shares with Nokia.

Elop is a nominee for the Board of Directors, says YLE and Reuters

Nokia culls 7,000 jobs

While we hoped our deepthroat was off the mark considering the ramifications for Finland, the prophesised Nokia lay-offs have happened. Nokia has announced that 7,000 will be leaving the company.

4,000 staff will lose their jobs entirely at the world’s largest, but troubled phone manufacturer. Most of the jobs will be lost in Finland, Denmark and the UK. Meanwhile, another 3,000 will be shipped off to Accenture – all of the Symbian software teams. 

The idea, according to Nokia’s official statement, is that the outsourced Symbian team will continue to provide mobility software services to Nokia for its future smartphones. Accenture already owns Nokia’s professional services unit for engineering. 

Shares have been boosted slightly, as the huge lay-offs means Nokia plans to cut its research and development costs by 18 percent by 2013, says Reuters

Our source at Nokia said, when we learned of the job cuts: “This isn’t a deal between Nokia and Microsoft, this is a Microsoft take over.”

Microsoft man Stephen Elop, currently CEO at Nokia, is suspected by some to be a stalking horse for Redmond. 

IBM, Accenture, Capgemini lock up employees to stop attrition

Major IT companies in India are thinking hard about how they can retain employees – as the high attrition rate is back to a serious concern. Bigwigs like IBM, Accenture, Cognizant, and Capgemini are adopting a strategy of asking employees to serve a three months notice period. This policy has historically been taken up by these companies before to address attrition issues.

An IBM insider says, “This is like a trap. No company would hire an employee who has to serve three months notice period in the last company. This way, the present employer will end up retaining employees and attrition rate would be addressed to certain extent.”

It gets easier for employees to jump from one company to the other with a one month notice period.

An employee working with Accenture says, “No employee would even think of changing companies as it might get little tricky for them. If anyone gets an offer letter with a condition of 1-2 months of notice period, it’s fine. But failing that, the employee might lose on both ends. So, this is a well-thought out strategy but prospective candidates will definitely back out if such conditions are laid out in the offer letter.”

Placement consultancies and poachers will find it tough as the only option left with them would be to buy-out the notice period and pay a hefty amount equalling the notice period salary. It will put the boot into Sapient which has based its entire recruitment drive and marketing on poaching.

Ranjay Sharma, a multinational recruitment firm executive, thinks this policy might have a backlash on these companies as they are the biggest poachers themselves.

Sharma says, “It’s a cycle. If A company wants to poach from B company, A wouldn’t be concerned with attrition of the employees poached but it will realize when C company would do the same with them.”

The only good outcome that this policy indicates is that Indian IT professionals are back in demand.