Industry news

  • 27 Sep 2007 12:00 AM | Anonymous
    hiSoft Technology International, China's IT outsourcing industry leader, officially opened its hiSoft-Intel Lab today. hiSoft is committed to further serving its long-term partner, Intel, at a more strategic level. The lab was established as an innovative software testing platform to effectively develop and promote Intel solutions by facilitating product evaluation, experimentation and development. Both companies hope to leverage the facility for more cost-effective research and development innovations.

    Successfully delivered numerous projects for Intel, hiSoft-Intel Lab will continue to focus on platform and cutting-edge technology, delivering localization, software development, quality assurance and engineering services to provide Intel with more value-added solutions. hiSoft will also work with Intel and local government to build a continuous academy institute to mentor and train more engineers to learn Intel technology and leverage it as a scalable channel to supply top talent for the lab. The new lab is based in Shanghai's Zizhu Science Park, also known as one of Intel’s major Asia-Pacific research and development centers. As the world’s largest chip maker, Intel is committed to working with the local industry to help bring Chinese innovation to the rest of the world. hiSoft is a premier global software testing service provider. Its high quality, multilingual, cost efficient offshore testing services offer an ideal solution to maximize the return on IT investments. Except for R&D services, hiSoft will embrace more of its technical service group to serve Intel by promoting its solutions and platforms to local and global markets. “Being one of the key investors as well as one of the strategic partners of hiSoft, Intel can expect best-in-class services from hiSoft. The establishment of the hiSoft-Intel lab is a part of hiSoft's ongoing commitment to enhance Intel’s local R&D capabilities with customized platforms and solutions. The Intel and hiSoft partnership has gone further into many key areas such as software development, software testing, software localization, and IT support. We are looking forward to enabling the lab for future innovations.” says Yong-ji Sun, the Senior Vice President of hiSoft, at the hiSoft-Intel Lab Opening Ceremony. “The hiSoft-Intel Lab is a major milestone for both companies’ partnership. We stand by hiSoft not only in the role of an investor, but also a long-term partner. The new lab will definitely lead us to further success.” says Minerva Yeung, the General Manager of Intel SSG.

  • 26 Sep 2007 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    It is now commonly accepted business practice to adopt outsourcing as a means of refocusing organisations on core matters, reducing non core operational risk, improving quality and staff morale and reducing cost. Although legal firms have been relatively slow on the uptake to date, the legal sector can take advantage of outsourcing and offshoring. Clifford Chance has led the field by moving back-office and secretarial support to its own office in India in order to carry out much of the company’s administrative work. The outsourcing programme is expected to yield over £9.5m in annual savings. Similarly, Pinsent Masons announced a deal to offshore its bulk typing and transcription services as part of a move to change the role of its secretaries.

    Lawyers and their support teams exist to serve their client’s requirements. Client’s requirements are always satisfied directly by lawyers in a personal relationship. The success of any law partnership is dependant on the successful delivery of services to clients by all the lawyers in the firm. However, at the moment a series of challenges have surfaced which has made this more difficult: escalating costs; lack of office space; backlogs in letter production and documentation due to staff shortages; the necessity of using temporary staff to alleviate short term staff shortages; changes to the Legal Services Bill and a lack of qualified staff. Legal process outsourcing is undoubtedly an option that can help legal firms address key challenges, but only if done correctly. So how can a firm best go about using legal process outsourcing to their advantage?

    Minimise set up and management time: If getting an outsourcing arrangement right requires too much effort or time from fee earners, the direct cost savings will be lost, and it will lead to much in-house frustration and a lack of buy-in from key people. For example, per minute / per line dictation is hugely time consuming (in terms of set up and constant management) for the law firm. Fee earners should be spending their time on their core activities, servicing clients and billing for these services and not on the firm’s outsourcing contracts. It should not be expended on systems changes and personnel issues. When an outsourcing relationship is set up, this potential pitfall must be avoided.

    Implementation needs to be evolutionary: The implementation of an outsourcing strategy need not be the cataclysmic, big-bang scenario that some might suggest, but an evolutionary process leading to business transformation. This needs to be characterised by a lack of redundancy for permanent back office staff, the implementation of progressive systems and the contracting of a UK company to manage the offshore relationship. By developing an outsourcing relationship that maximises the benefits of an offshoring strategy whilst minimising day-to-day disruption, the impact on the firm can be managed effectively.

    Changes should be implemented gradually, rather than wholesale changes in one go. This will win over sceptical internal audiences who would not respond well to sudden large scale disruption. In addition, focusing on areas where firms may already have high attrition, use temporary resources or have unacceptable documentation backlogs is potentially the best place to start an offshoring strategy in order to increase service delivery with no reduction in UK headcount.

    Choose the correct processes to outsource: It is crucial to choose the correct processes to outsource, as well as the correct location to send these processes to. The multishoring model means that different types of process can be sent to different locations. An example of a process not to outsource is customer contact – this is something that is core to all legal firms’ business. Secretarial work is a particularly good process to outsource as it allows in-house secretaries to focus on becoming paralegals – performing value-add tasks rather than the audio and copy typing that can be performed offshore. The offshoring of some basic secretarial services allows in-house secretaries to focus on higher-value, client-facing roles, and provides them with an opportunity to fulfil their potential. This drives staff satisfaction and ensures quality staff are retained in-house, and attrition is lowered.

    It is vital to look beyond the cost savings: Focusing purely on cost savings would be a mistake. Service quality and convenience must be high on all lawyer’s agendas. A common phrase amongst lawyers seems to be ‘I do not care what it takes, just do it now and get it right first time’. This may be applicable to a lawyer’s demands of their back office and equally of a client’s demands from a lawyer. Outsourcing provides a means whereby a firm’s support staff ‘raise their game’. By outsourcing the mundane day-to-day work to an environment where service delivery can be instilled via a contractual relationship (including weekend working or 24/7 working), in-house support staff will do more interesting and higher value task and therefore staff retention will increase.

    Planning and implementation must be done correctly from the outset, in order to maintain UK headcount and increase margins: Focusing on the back-office, mundane, client business support functions, and the commoditised, non-client-facing repetitive legal processes (e.g. bulk conveyancing and initial contract drafting) can realise significant tangible and intangible benefits for UK law firms (including significant cost savings).

    In terms of cost savings, a London law firm employing four secretaries will incur a cost to company of around £150,000 a year (including all ancillary benefits, bonuses, sickness and NI, etc.). Typically, but dependent upon the individual department, around half of this work will be copy and audio transcription. If the copy and audio typing is performed offshore, a firm can expect to save £50,000 per year. Additionally, financial savings are accrued from a variable costing model whereby offshore support staff are not directly employed by the UK law firm and therefore the UK firm only pays for work completed. The overhead savings goes beyond the salary differential. By moving workload to another location a firm can realise additional benefits in terms of office accommodation, either by closing offices (or downsizing), or by fitting more fee earners into office-space previously occupied by secretaries.

    Communication is key:

    In order to achieve success within an outsourcing arrangement it is vital that everyone involved understands the rationale behind the deal, the benefits, the approach and the timetable. In conjunction with this, open and honest communications with the firm at large, will leave everyone well-informed of the intentions of the Firm. Offshoring is a realistic and cost-effective opportunity but only if it is the right process is outsourced, to the right partner, in the right location, in the right way.

  • 13 Sep 2007 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    Convergys Corporation, the global leader in relationship management, announced today it has signed a $4.2 million contract to provide customer intelligence solutions to a global financial services firm, a Fortune Top 50 company.

    Under the terms of the eighteen-month contract, Convergys will perform a suite of marketing research services including the Convergys Point-Of-Service-Evaluation approach to surveying customers. Convergys also will perform brand and image tracking research, competitive marketplace research, customer retention research, decision sciences, analytics and reporting, and executive dashboard and results portal development.

    Convergys helps organizations leverage each stage of the customer lifecycle. From customer satisfaction research to complex churn modeling, Convergys maximizes each customer encounter using its expertise in customer satisfaction, loyalty, and equity. We also provide an in-house staff of research and database professionals including doctoral-level, accredited Decision Scientists and Six Sigma Black Belts, global marketing research facilities, and complete analytical infrastructure.

  • 13 Sep 2007 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    Accenture is providing Microsoft with a range of finance and accounting (F&A) and procurement services under a seven-year, $185 million business process outsourcing (BPO) agreement. The agreement outsources some of Microsoft’s transactional finance activities and consolidates services currently provided by other vendors.

    The finance and accounting services Accenture provides cover accounts payable, travel and expense and record-to-report functions, including fixed assets, general ledger, treasury and statutory reporting. The procurement service Accenture provides is requisition-to-purchase-order processing.

    Accenture will ultimately provide these services to Microsoft in 92 countries and 36 languages outside the United States, leveraging Accenture’s Global Delivery Network, which includes delivery centers across five continents.

    “I am pleased with the progress and speed of the transition to Accenture,” said Frank Brod, Microsoft chief accounting officer. “After a few months into the program, we are live with approximately 30 percent of the geographies and are on track for the remainder of the effort.”

    “At Microsoft we’re constantly evaluating our internal processes and determining how we can improve operations. This effort will help streamline Microsoft global finance operations, reduce costs, standardize processes and reduce the time spent on transactional tasks, giving Microsoft global finance employees more of an opportunity to make a bigger impact on our business every day,” said Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell.

    “High-performing businesses like Microsoft are increasingly recognizing the economy and synergy of outsourcing multiple business functions to a single provider,” said Kevin Campbell, Accenture’s group chief executive – Outsourcing. “By doing so, they can substantially improve business outcomes and achieve significant cost efficiencies.”

    Select services are being built on the Microsoft Dynamics AX platform, a multi-language, multi-currency enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that automates and streamlines core business functions to show a comprehensive view of a company’s business processes. The application’s adaptability is enabling Accenture to tailor its F&A services to Microsoft’s specific business needs.

  • 11 Sep 2007 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    Companies who recruit, train and manage staff via the internet, has forced HR professionals to work with virtual teams of employees they never meet.

    Global outsourcing firm TeleTech has ann¬ounced plans to recruit up to 700 staff to a newly established virtual customer services branch in the UK, where staff apply for the job online, work from home, and never need to meet their manager face to face.

    This 'cyber office' attempts to open up the employment market to staff who are physically unable to travel, and those who need more flexible arrangements.

    Once recruited, employees join intranet chat rooms to keep up to date with business news and become part of a virtual community. Online operational managers regularly phone or e-mail their staff during the day.

    Other initiatives have included motor services company the AA migrating staff from physical offices to working purely from home.

  • 10 Sep 2007 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    Tech Mahindra, the largest independent India-based IT services provider dedicated exclusively to the telecommunications industry, announced the implementation of an Adjunct Rating solution at Zain (formerly MTC-Vodafone), in Kuwait. Using RateIntegration's PriceMaker Enterprise Pricing Server product, the solution has reduced time-to-market for new services, reduced operational costs, and improved the flexibility of the entire billing process for Zain in Kuwait. This is Tech Mahindra's second installation of the Adjunct Rating Solution after an award winning successful deployment at Zain in Jordan. s

    Zain has a reputation for pioneering new services and is reinforcing its leadership position in Kuwait by adopting customer driven marketing strategies. As on December 31, the operation served 1.461 million active customers. With increasedcompetition and to increase its flexibility to launch new products, services and improve the overall operational effectiveness of its existing investments, Zain was looking for a convergent rating solution.

    With over 18 years of experience developing solutions for the telecommunications industry, Tech Mahindra's world-class consultants developed a business case that would allow Zain - to leverage the significant investments it had already made in its underlying business and operations support systems (BSS/OSS) while ensuring a non-disruptive transition with zero system-outage. The solution was to implement an adjunct rating engine and product catalog rather than replacing the entire billingsystem.

    Overcoming the system integration challenge with the help of Zain - IT and user groups from marketing, sales and finance, Tech Mahindra implemented the solution in record time ensuring the highest quality and customer satisfaction.

    RateIntegration's PriceMaker Enterprise Rating Server is a rules-based pricing capability utilized by software applications via standard integration frameworks. PriceMaker performs a broad range of pre and post paid functions, including pricing, rating and discounting for voice and data services. Designed specifically work with in-house and third-party applications, PriceMaker allows companies achieve unparalleled time to market and preserve existing OSS/BSS investments.

    The pre-set risk of credit control analysis is available almost real-time and allows ZAIN- to utilize granular pre-paid airtime buckets bundled with post-paid services in the future. The adjunct rating solution has thus become a production-proven, scaleable business component of Zain- that will be used to model and implement any future products and offerings.

    "I always felt that given Zain's global scale of operations it was imperative that we look at a modular approach in creating our OSS and BSS stacks. As a first step ZAIN has decided to enhance its Rating capability by implementing the Price Maker rating tool from Rate Integration with Tech Mahindra as the systems integrator. This fully flexible and rules based rating engine provides great flexibility to our marketing teams in coming up with unique service and price offerings to the market in quick time." said Saleh Al-Houti IT Director.

    A key corporate objective of this effort was to achieve faster time-to-market for products and lower our overall operational costs, Tech Mahindra is helping us make our overall service offering more competitive and enable us to create new offers and launch products fast." PriceMaker offered strong simplicity in use and the domain understanding that Tech Mahindra brought to the project made the whole implementation smooth.? said Mohamed Rafi, Zain Group CIO of Group.

    "Tech Mahindra is proud to enable Zain meet the challenges of a competitive telecom marketplace by offering a unique solution that helps price next generation voice and products efficiently." said CP Gurnani, President International Operations, Tech Mahindra.

  • 5 Sep 2007 12:00 AM | Anonymous
    Accenture is providing BT with finance and accounting (F&A) services under a five-and-a-half-year business process outsourcing (BPO) contract.

    Under the terms of the contract, Accenture is providing services related to management reporting, financial planning and analysis, month-end close activities and budgeting/forecasting to BT’s operations, initially focused in the UK. The services are being delivered through Accenture’s Global Delivery Network using delivery centers in India. “Outsourcing higher-end finance functions allows us to provide enhanced business support internally, so that BT can better focus on bringing real value and innovation to customers," said Andrew Kemp, BT director of Reporting, Planning and Analysis. “Accenture’s knowledge of our business and proven ability to support complex finance and accounting processes around the world were the key factors in our decision to forge this agreement.” “As one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions and services, BT recognizes that high-performing businesses achieve improved business outcomes and cost efficiencies by leveraging outsourcing providers with deep industry skills and extensive process experience,” said Mike Salvino, managing director for Accenture’s finance, procurement and customer contact BPO services. “This engagement with BT illustrates the market demand for strategic, high-value finance and accounting outsourced services across a broad range of industries, including the telecommunications sector.” This contract complements three current BPO agreements between the two companies, which include a contract to provide a full range of finance processes to BT Global Services in the United States, Europe and Asia, and contracts to provide BT with a range of human resources and learning services on a global basis.

  • 3 Sep 2007 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    The profits of the HR division of software and outsourcing company Northgate have been boosted due to record number of new deals.

    Six new contracts worth over £1m, including a shared services payroll deal, has led to profits reaching £35.5m, according to the company's annual report.

    To add to this, Northgate also grew its profits through recent acquisitions. The company bought a controlling stake in international HR services group Arinso in May 2007.

    Revenues for the year increased by 6% to351.7m, with post-tax profit up 18% to £25.1m.

  • 31 Aug 2007 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    Accenture is helping United Utilities, which manages and operates electricity distribution and wastewater networks in northwest England, improve its customer service performance through a nine-year business process outsourcing agreement.

    Accenture is responsible for delivering all services across back-office functions related to income, debt recovery and billing operations.

    “By using a series of initiatives based on our utilities industry successes in North America, Accenture is helping United Utilities improve its operations, with a specific focus on those related to customer service,” said Keith Mueller, managing director of Accenture Business Services for Utilities.

    As part of its customer-service initiative, United Utilities has brought its call center operation back in-house, with operations concentrated in Whitehaven, Cumbria. The center had previously been outsourced to Vertex.

    “I’m delighted to have teamed up with Accenture,” said Charlie Cornish, managing director at United Utilities. “We are serious about continually improving customer service, and our agreement with Accenture will not only help us deliver on this promise but will do so at a lower cost-to-serve. The journey will take a number of years, but we — and we hope our customers — have already begun to see the benefits in a number of areas, including improved call handling.”

  • 22 Aug 2007 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    Allianz Global Investors Kapitalanlagegesellschaft mbH and Xchanging, the international, pure play BPO company, have signed contracts to establish an enterprise partnership to provide retail investment account management services. Subject to competition clearance, Xchanging, through it’s Financial Markets business, will hold a 51 percent share in the Hof-based Fondsdepot Bank GmbH and will take over the operational control of this unit effective from 1 November 2007 at the latest.

    The strategic goal of the partnership is to strengthen and grow the position of Fondsdepot Bank as the high-capacity, neutral provider in retail investment account management and to generate third-party business for the cost-effective platform. The partners will focus on expanding their business with independent financial consultants and broker pools and on exploiting the business potential arising from the growing trend towards the outsourcing of administrative processes.

    The partnership will provide Allianz Global Investors with guaranteed cost savings through a multi-year service agreement with clearly defined service targets.

    “With this partnership we are offering exciting future prospects for both Fondsdepot Bank and the operations in Hof. Moreover, we are leading the way for the consolidation of an essential part of the asset management value-added chain”, Dr. Thomas Wiesemann, CEO of Allianz Global Investors KAG, comments.

    The partnership endorses Xchanging’s strategy as an international pure-play BPO company and brings a modern technology platform for retail investment account management services. Furthermore, it allows Xchanging to enter the European growth market of asset management and gives the outsourcing specialist the scale to provide new customers with attractive retail investment account management services to add to those offered in securities processing.

    David Andrews, Xchanging CEO said, “we are delighted to partner with such a prestigious international organisation as Allianz Global Investors. This, together with our other partnerships signals our leadership in processing for the financial services industry.”

    As a result of the partnership with Xchanging, Fondsdepot Bank will gain additional momentum in the areas of process optimisation and efficiency improvement. This will significantly increase Fondsdepot Bank’s productivity. The partners stress that operational stability during the transition phase is assured as the business will remain on the same secure platform. With continuity of both management and staff, the Fondsdepot Bank customers will see continued high levels of service standards.

    The 8 year service agreement has an initial contract value of €400m. Supporting this, Xchanging, through it’s Financial Markets business, will acquire 51% of Fondsdepot Bank for a cash payment of €13m and has granted a put option to Allianz Global Investors for the remaining 49% for €13m exercisable after 4 years. At 31 December 2006 the net assets of Fondsdepot Bank were €26m and the gross assets were €38m. At completion there is expected to be in excess of €10m cash in the balance sheet. This is an important investment for Xchanging to extend its balanced onshore/offshore strategy with a high quality, near-shore facility in Hof. Fondsdepot Bank is regulated by the Bundesbank and BaFin, has a partial banking licence and employs more than 400 people.

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