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INFOTECH INDIA | Tech Briefs:

Wipro May Outsource Work to Egypt | Infosys BPO gets Level 5 eSCM-SP Certification | TATA GROUP: E-Mall launch | Opposing  Encryption | HCL: BSNL Project | Tamil Paradox | Firms to Gain | WIPRO: Data Centers

Wipro May Outsource Work to Egypt

India, the offshoring capital of the world, is now outsourcing software and back-office projects to Egypt as vendors like Wipro plan to send more domestic work to the most populous Arab country to leverage lower costs and availability of skilled professionals.

Wipro, which counts Bharti Airtel, Unitech Wireless and Dena Bank among its top customers, said with 10-15  percent lower costs than India, and availability of required technical skills across different programming languages including Windows and Unix, Egypt is emerging as an attractive location for offshoring.

“We believe that 20 percent of our work can be offshored to Egypt,” said Anand Sankaran, senior VP and business head, India and Middle East Business, Wipro. “We are offshoring jobs from Middle East and India to Egypt.”

Egypt’s attractive subsidies for creating local employment which includes incentives like waiver on training costs and new recruit salaries is making it compelling for companies like Wipro to seriously consider sending more work to the country.

“The government is providing different subsidies towards training and education of new hires. We plan to hire 400 professionals in Egypt within two years,” Sankaran added. Wipro currently employs 100 professionals at its Cairo centre. Almost 30,000 of 330,000 students graduating every year from Egyptian universities are from computing and engineering background.

For businesses, lower corporate tax rates along with other incentives make Egypt a very compelling destination to invest. Last year, Egypt attracted FDI worth $13.2 billion.

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Infosys BPO gets Level 5 eSCM-SP Certification

Infosys BPO, the business process outsourcing subsidiary of software giant Infosys Technologies, announced May 26 it has earned the highest rating, level 5, for the e-Sourcing Capability Model (eSCM-SP:V2.0) by Carnegie Mellon University’s IT services Qualification Center.

Infosys BPO is the second company in India and third, globally, to be certified a level 5 eSCM-SP provider, a company release said here.

The certification validates that the company has implemented recognized best practices for the eSourcing industry and demonstrated a sustained commitment to improvement. Infosys BPO was certified at level 4 in its first evaluation in 2007.

The eSCM-SP is a quality model which addresses critical issues related to the BPO spectrum and is increasingly being adopted by clients in the IT-enabled outsourcing industry worldwide to evaluate, select and monitor service providers.

Infosys BPO was evaluated on 84 practices of the eSCM-SP service delivery framework defined for IT and ITeS providers.

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TATA GROUP: E-Mall launch

Salt-to-software maker Tata Group is gearing up to start an electronic mall through which products made by all group companies would be sold on-line in a few months.

“We are in the process of doing that. A team of ours is developing the project. This is going to start in the next two months,” a top Tata Group official told PTI.

Without divulging much details, the official said products made by all Tata Group companies would be sold through the channel.

Sources, however, said that the e-mall, like any other e-commerce Web site, would be the electronic variant of the brick and mortar malls that has revolutionized the shopping experience in recent times.

The proposed e-mall of the Tata Group is aimed at serving people who find it difficult to spend time on shopping and ensuring them convenience of shopping at home, thereby saving their time and effort, capitalizing on the information technology penetration of the country, sources said.

Industry experts said that six triggers like saving time and effort, wide variety, convenience of shopping at home, good discounts, getting detailed information of the product to able to compare products and brands motivate shoppers to buy online.

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Opposing  Encryption

India and other developing countries are set to block the attempts of the developed nations to restrict access to digital material in a bid to check violation of copyright.

At the 18th session of the Standing Committee on Copyrights, to be held by the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva later this month, these countries will pitch for giving exceptions to certain professionals in accessing the data from the Internet and digital world.

“We are saying that there should be free access to the digital material for certain professionals. The blocking of access to digital material by having encryption should not be uniform for everybody,” G.R. Raghvendra, registrar of copyrights, told PTI here.

He said that a high-level delegation will represent India’s stand on the issue at the five-day meet starting from May 25 in Geneva.

The developed countries are of the view that free access to digital material amounts to violation of copyright. For any use of the digital material, the authors should get a royalty, they say. There is a move to have encryption on digital material, which will prevent free access to literature or any other digital material available on the Internet.

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HCL: BSNL Project

HCL Infosystems May 25 announced that it has bagged a Rs 240- crore system integration project from state-run telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam. The contract involves the implementation of over 60,000 enterprise resource planning licenses, making it the largest rollout in terms of licenses issued for any single project in the country.

As per the contract, HCL will migrate BSNL’s finance, commissioning and operations functions onto a single ERP system. The project rollout includes setting up the main data centre at Hyderabad and the disaster recovery data centre at Kolkata.

“This project for BSNL is in line with our focus on the system integration business... We believe a countrywide ERP solution is critical to capture and map various business processes and management of work flow in order to provide better decision pathways in organizations with major footprint across the country,” said HCL Infosystems COO JV Ramamurthy.

The project contract is for seven years, including configuration, business process re-engineering, hardware, networking, operations and maintenance customization, training to BSNL employees and program management. In addition to replacing legacy systems, the project will create standardized platforms and common infrastructure, bringing about lower cost of integration and maintenance. BSNL has also selected HCL to provide ongoing support services for the project.

HCL has earlier several implemented projects for BSNL, including National Internet Backbone, implementation of Call Detail Record-based customer care and convergent billing systems and the more recent WiMax Rural project, that involves setting up of infra-structure for providing Internet connectivity to rural community service centers through Wireless Access Network.

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Tamil Paradox

Broadband quality of service offered by fixed wireline operators in non-metro areas of Tamil Nadu is three times better than in the metro circles of Chennai and Bangalore, a study conducted by IIT-Madras has shown. “This means that the existing infrastructure in the rest of TN (RoTN) circle can accommodate three times the number of broadband connections that they presently serve,” said Timothy A Gonsalves, IIT-M.

TeNeT, the Telecommunications and Computer Networks group of IIT-Madras, has conducted tests on broadband quality of service in Chennai and RoTN circles as part of a project by Asian telecom policy think tank LIRNEasia. The study, which focuses mainly on metros, spilled over to non-metro areas in Tamil Nadu, with the surprising result that broadband speeds in RoTN are nearly three times the advertised speeds.

“In India telecom regulation specifies that only minimum speeds can be advertised, as opposed to neighboring countries like Sri Lanka where it is possible for Internet service providers to advertise maximum speeds,” Prof Gonsalves said.

A comparative graph shows that India has the least deviation of delivered speeds from promised speeds among South Asian countries. “This also means that speeds in Chennai or Bangalore are equal to the advertised speeds, which suffices for common Internet usage.”

However, RoTN delivers three times the advertised speeds for national as well as global servers, that is for Web sites hosted in India as well as internationally. “The tests have been carried out at various timings during the day, on different days of the week, thereby eliminating any speed discrepancies based on time,” Gonsalves said. “This just indicates that there is up to three times extra capacity in the installed broadband infrastructure in RoTN.”

In other words, the existing infrastructure can accommodate thrice as many current subscribers in the circle, contrary to popular perception that poor broadband penetration in non-metros is owing to lack of economic viability for building infrastructure. A spokesperson from BSNL, the major ISP in Chennai and TN, said, “We have the capacity to double our broadband subscriber base in TN now. But, the difficulty in connecting them lies in their location.”

The company uses connectors which house 16, 32, 64, 128 or 512 ports depending on the number of subscribers in the area. “While we may have excess capacity left in a 32 or a 128 port connector, it may not be possible to accommodate a new subscriber in it because of the long distance between his location and that of the connector. So, we end up installing a new connector.”

Spokesperson for Airtel, which has 50,000 subscribers in RoTN and 1.5 lakh in Chennai, said, “The reason for higher speeds in RoTN is definitely under utilization of capacity.”

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Firms to Gain

Citigroup is believed to be looking at ways to trim IT costs. This could spell good news for Indian IT vendors such as TCS and Wipro who count Citi as their top client.

The bank, which has been repeatedly bailed out by the U.S. government, has undergone a major restructuring exercise of its business portfolio in the recent past. It is looking to integrate thousands of systems and cut down on application, maintenance and development costs, said a source close to Citi.

This integration process will bring new business for Indian IT vendors such as TCS, Wipro and Infosys as the bank is keen to outsource the process to save costs. A Citigroup spokesperson said, “We have no detail or confirmation of these developments at the moment.”

While this could translate into new business contracts for Indian IT vendors, the existing AMD and IT services contracts could see a 15-20 percent drop in budgets over the next 6-8 months. After the acquisition of Citi’s back-office CGSL in the second-half of 2008, TCS considers the bank as its top client accounting for 4.7 percent of its revenues in fiscal 2008-2009. This has dropped by 1.5 percent since the first quarter.

However, a TCS spokesperson declined to comment on any specific client, while a Wipro spokesperson said, “We do not comment on speculative reports and we continue to partner with Citi in increasing diverse initiatives to improve the efficiency of their IT systems and operations.”

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WIPRO: Data Centers

Wipro Infotech, the India and Middle East IT business of Wipro Ltd and a leading provider of IT and business transformation services, today announced the launch of its enterprise data centers.

This new initiative which complements the existing IT service offerings provides end-to-end Data Centre Lifecycle Management Services to enterprise customers, a release said.

The first Data Centre at Mysore was completely sold out while the commissioning of the Data Centre in Greater Noida was currently underway and likely to be launched soon, it said, adding the third Data Centre at Pune was being commissioned to accommodate more customers.

Wipro Enterprise Data Centers would also be the platform for launching Wipro’s Cloud Computing services for the India and Middle East markets, for customers to avail services on a pay-per-use model.

Both Data Centre Lifecycle Management services and Cloud Computing services will offer a high level of flexibility to customers with respect to service delivery and costs.

These Tier III WEDCs provide a platform to offer complete Data Centre Lifecycle Management service to customers.

Organizations can leverage Wipro’s technology expertise and experience in managing multiple IT environments, cutting across various verticals.

Data Centre Lifecycle Management service comprises solution design, implementation, co-location and management of the complete IT infrastructure, the release said.

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COVER STORY
It’s Not Cricket!
From Sporting Art to Commodity

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ECONOMY
Downturn Quadrilemma:
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REMINISCENCE
Trip to the Fair:
Childhood Memories

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OTHER STORIES
EDITORIAL: Cricket and Lust for Lucre
NEWS DIARY: May
TRIBUTE: Farewell, Iqbal Bano
SUBCONTINENT: NRI Grooms Out of Favor
ACHIEVEMENT: Intel ISEF Award
THEATRE: From Dusk Until Dawn
BUSINESS: Real Estate Goes Green
SUBCONTINENT: Congress Rules
TRAVEL: Smoky Mountain National Park
AUTO REVIEW: Smart ForTwo
BOLLYWOOD: Film Review: 99
BOLLYWOOD: Guftugu
RECIPE: Kadhai Paneer
TAMIL CINEMA: Sarvam
COUTURE: Fashion for the Recessionista
CULTURE: Ramayana by Chhandam
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INFOTECH INDIA: Briefs
HOROSCOPE: June



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