Tag: IT

Volo goes global in Armenian worldwide mission

intel_ireland_semiconductor_chip_fab_300mm_waferWe had a chance last week to chat to Volo – a 10 year old company based in the capital, Yerevan, which now appears to have become a global, rather than a local, company.

Volo’s in house motto is “razor sharp thinking” – so what exactly does the company do?

It claims that it is “out innovating” other outsourcing companies in the field worldwide,  and that’s largely down to its solid engineering base and the way it approaches the market.

The company said that for the first eight years it had 24 of the best developers in the world, but few people had heard of the company.

Now all that’s changed. Its customers include Spinnaker, BMW and Accelerance and they’re just the ones it’s talking about.

Volo executives told TechEye last week: “Prospects had never heard of Armenia and people thought there couldn’t be IT in Armenia. But Armenians throughout history have invented things.”

Armenian technologeers were responsible for the first satellite to be launched – Sputnik – and Armenians also invented colour TV.

As far as outsourcing is concerned, the burning matter of the day isn’t price, but talent.

The company specialises in developing enterprise, internet of things and mobile technology for its customers.

We were told: “We are now a global company. We have big brains but small egos.”

Volo has hired superior post Soviet engineers and works with a number of big players including Microsoft.

And the company claimed that both it and the country have a progressive approach to engineering.

“Armenia has the highest proportion of female engineers than anywhere else [in the world].”

US newspaper chain offshores IT jobs

surprised-newspaper-readerThe McClatchy Company, which operates a major chain of newspapers in the US, is moving IT work overseas and making 150 IT workers redundant.

The chain owns about 30 newspapers, including The Sacramento Bee, where McClatchy is based; The Fresno Bee, The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., The State in Columbia, S.C. and the Miami Herald.

Apparently all the IT work has been outsourced to the Indian outsourcer Wipro.

McClatchy CEO Patrick Talamantes wrote to staff and told them about all the improvements that the Wipro contract would bring. It seemed he had forgotten any news training and buried the story about staff cuts in the bottom. US workers are currently have to train their replacements until August.

The letter said that the company was “pleased to unveil our new IT Transformational Programme, a programme designed to provide improved service to all technology users, accelerated development and delivery of technology solutions and products, variable demand-based technology resources and access to modern and cutting-edge skills and platforms.”

 

The letter than explains the hiring of Wipro, and how the partnership “will improve technology standards and service levels.”

Talamantes also points out that Wipro has been a repeat recipient of Ethisphere’s ‘World’s Most Ethical Company’ award.

After seven paragraphs, and near the end of the letter, Talamantes lowers the boom:

“As we embark on the implementation phase, there will be a realignment of resources requiring a reduction in McClatchy technology staff. While regrettable, this action is necessary for us to realize the benefits outlined above and help the company achieve its long-term goals. Employees impacted by this realignment will be contacted…,” wrote Talamantes.

Looks like that ‘World’s Most Ethical Company’ award is looking a bit shaky. Particularly as the story is not being picked up by McClatchy-owned newspapers.  McClatchy did report layoffs of similar sizes at other firms.

IT spending still in the doledrums

quicksand1Worldwide IT spending is only going to increase by a miserable 0.6 per cent, according to beancounters at Gartner.

According to Big G fortune tellers, worldwide IT spending is forecast to total US$3.54 trillion in 2016, just a 0.6% increase over 2015 spending of US$3.52 trillion.

Last year saw the largest US dollar drop in IT spending since Gartner began tracking IT spending.  $216 billion less was spent on IT in 2015 than in 2014.  Gartner predicts that 2014 spending levels will not be surpassed until 2019.

John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner blamed the rising US dollar. “US multinationals’ revenues faced currency headwinds in 2015. However, in 2016 those headwinds go away and they can expect an additional 5 per cent  growth.”

PCs, ultra-mobiles, mobile phones, tablets and printers are forecast to decline 1.9 per cent in 2016. This is because of a combination of economic conditions preventing countries such as Russia, Japan and Brazil from returning to stronger growth. There is also a shift in phone spending in emerging markets to lower-cost phones, is overlaid with weak tablet adoption in regions where there was an expectation of growth, Big G wrote.

Ultra-mobile premium devices are expected to drive the PC market forward with the move to Windows 10 and Intel Skylake-based PCs.

Gartner has slightly reduced the speed of adoption over the forecast period, as buying in Eurasia, Japan, and the Middle East and North Africa moves away from purchasing these relatively more expensive devices in the short term, but expect them to revert back to buying in 2017 as the economic environment stabilizes.

Data center systems’ spending is projected to reach $75 billion in 2016, a 3 per cent  increase from 2015. Demand in this segment is expected to continue to be strong through 2016.

The worsening economic environment in emerging markets has had little effect on the global enterprise software spending forecast for 2016, with IT spending on pace to total $326 billion, a 5.3 per cent increase from 2015. Key emerging markets, particularly Brazil and Russia, face escalating political and economic challenges.

Spending in the IT services market is expected to return to growth in 2016, following a decline of 4.5 per cent in 2015. IT services spending is projected to reach $940 billion in 2016, up 3.1 per cent from 2015. This is due to accelerating momentum in cloud infrastructure adoption and buyer acceptance of the cloud model.

Telecom service spending is projected to decline 1.2 per cent in 2016, with spending reaching $1.45 trillion. The segment will be impacted by the abolition of roaming charges in the European Union and parts of North America. While this will increase mobile voice and data traffic, it will not be enough to counter the corresponding loss of revenues from lost roaming charges and premiums.

IT consultants’ role to grow

Neural Network - University of California Santa BarbaraDigital related consulting currently represents a half of all business and IT consulting engagements this year, but by 2019 will represent 80 percent during 2019, accounting for $97 billion worldwide.

That’s according to research company IDC, which defines “digital strategy” consulting services including goals, business architecture, organisational model, and data technology priorities.

These consulting services are being driven by enterprises adopting social, mobile, analytics, security the internet of things and cloud strategies.

But Michael Versace, managing director of digital strategy research at IDC said that technology and data are more and more becoming strategic business assets.

He said: “A big question in the digital strategy consulting service market is around business risk taking/“

Enterprises want to know how best to “hedge against fluctuations in demand, executing risk, and aspirations of traditional IT consulting and systems integrators”, Versace said.

IT sales thrown into turmoil by exchange rates

US dollar - Wikimedia CommonsPractically all transactions in components use the US dollar as a standard and that’s leaving the entire hardware market in some disarray.

Analyst firm IDC has conducted a study of how this has affected the IT marketplace as the euro and dollar are close to parity.

The overall result, said IDC, is that vendors and resellers have had to take a revenue hit over the last year while people and companies buying kit have had to suffer price increases, some of them considerable.

IDC said that server price increases in euro are “considerably more drastic” than for storage and PCs. And Microsoft’s promotion of Bing on the PC which was aimed at pushing cheap notebooks out of the door was compensated by vendors hiking prices on other hardware.

More seriously, given that the datacentre market is one of the more lucrative arenas for hardware vendors to play, the euro-dollar equity has played badly for companies.

IDC said that the Western European server market has risen by 14 percent in average selling prices with vendors seeking to offset the strength of the dollar.

IDC hopes these price hikes will slow down because Asian original design manufacturers will increase competition and drive down prices. The ODMs may also take on channel partners in Europe.

IDC also believes that continuing pressure on the euro will cause less demand on the PC side – bad news for both Microsoft and Intel.

Indian government to spend billions on IT

Indian flagA Gartner research document estimates that the Indian government will spend as much as $6.8 billion this year on information technology.

The spend is a rise of 5.7 percent compared to last year – and the sectors it will spend in include internal services, software, IT services, data centres, devices and telecoms.

Gartner includes both state and federal spending in its estimates.

Software spend is set to grow by 10.2 percent this year and will be worth around $860 million, with growth in vertical software being the chief mover and shaker

Internal services IT spend will be worth $1.6 billion this year. Gartner defines this sector as including salaries paid to the IT staff of organisations

As for IT services – which includes consulting, implementation and outsourcing – that will be worth $1.7 billion this year. The business process outsourcing segment will grow by 21.2 percent, year on year.

UK Insolvency Service goes bust

Insolvency ServiceThe UK government department that looks after and advises insolvency has got a problem itself today. Its IT system is bust.

The department said it “is experiencing a problem with its IT system and email”. Its phones are working, the department said in a statement.

But at the time of writing this, its web site appears to be still functioning. The department said it apologised for the glitch and is working to fix the problem.

The department didn’t say what the nature of the problem is. Or was.

Network IT bod gets four years for sabotage

A network engineer for oil and gas company EnerVest has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for sabotaging the company’s systems badly enough to disrupt its business operations for a month.

Ricky Joe Mitchell of Charleston, West Virginia, was told to pay $428,000 in restitution and a $100,000 fine.

In June 2012, Mitchell found out he was going to be fired from EnerVest and reset the company’s servers to their original factory settings. To make matters worse for the outfit, he disabled cooling equipment for EnerVest’s systems and switched off a data-replication process.

After he had finished EnerVest was unable to “fully communicate or conduct business operations” for about 30 days,. The company also had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on data recovery efforts, and part of the information could not be retrieved.

Mitchell’s actions cost EnerVest well over $1 million, according to the indictment against him.

Mitchell had faced up to 10 years in prison as well as three years of supervised release, but could serve less than the four years thanks to federal guidelines providing up to 54 days off per year for good behaviour. 

Indian IT faces challenging year

Slower growth and high inflation is denting the Indian economy but there’s hope on the IT front.

That’s according to a report from IDC, which reckons that companies in India are spending cautiously to upgrade their IT and telecomms infrastructure.

And 2014 could be the year when India finally begins to move to cloud, mobility and big data.

IDC said that the lines between system integrators, value added resellers and independent software vendors will blur during the year because these sectors are being forced to broaden their offerings.

IDC thinks that there will be pockets of investment in IT during 2014, depending on whether the companies are far seeing enough to embed info tech in businesses.

People crowd fund a tech magazine

A group of hacks who walked out of Future Publishing’s Linux Format are hoping to launch a rival monthly magazine of their own called Linux Voice.

Apparently, they have launched a crowdfunding campaign in the hope of raising £90,000 to get their project off the ground by February next year. Curiously, they want to run a print edition and a digital one.

The team is led by Andrew Gregory, the former deputy editor and operations editor at Linux Format. According to a journalism.co.uk posting, more than 10 percent of the target was raised within a day.

Unlike many magazines, the novelty point is that Linux Voice will give half its profits to various free software good causes, directly supporting the Linux community. Given that profits are unlikely for a while, we guess this is aspirational.

The magazine plans to release its content under a creative commons licence after nine months, so others can build on the magazine’s database of content.

Gregory told the Guardian  that not being part of a large publishing company means the magazine will be agile enough to respond to trends.

If it works then the project hopes to create a bew business model for the magazine publishing business.

“Technology is getting cheaper all the time, reducing barriers to entry into the market. And with crowdfunding platforms, such as Kickstarter and IndieGogo, anyone with a good idea can raise the money they need to get started,” he said.

Gregory said that there is still cash to be made from print magazines, even from a title that deals with computers.