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ExxonMobil Mulls $1 Billion in IT Contracts | Indian PC Market Grows 5.2 Percent in Q2 | INFOSYS: BP Deal | WIPRO: Fosters Contract | COGNIZANT TECHNOLOGY: Campus in Coimbatore | IBM: Multiyear Deal | SATYAM: Trial Delayed | E-waste Disposal

ExxonMobil Mulls $1 Billion in IT Contracts

The world’s biggest oil company, ExxonMobil, is in talks with India’s top technology firms and multinational vendors for outsourcing of several IT contracts worth up to $1 billion.

A day after British Petroleum formally awarded over $1.5-billion outsourcing contracts to TCS, Infosys and Wipro along with IBM and Accenture, top Indian offshore vendors including L&T Infotech and HCL Technologies — along with other MNC vendors — have locked horns with each other for an almost $1-billion outsourcing deal being fleshed out by ExxonMobil.

In a year where large outsourcing customers are seeking to reduce their operational costs by up to 30 percent, Indian technology firms are set to gain from increased offshoring of application development, maintenance and support.

“The discussions are at an early stage. However, ExxonMobil wants to work with fewer, large and medium-sized vendors at lower rates,” said a U.S.-based person familiar with ExxonMobil’s outsourcing strategy. He requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak with the media. Exxon runs on SAP platform across the company’s chemical and oil businesses spread over 200 countries with nearly 80,000 employees.

Large oil, gas and utility firms such as Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil and BP run their business processes powered by complex ERP software from SAP and Oracle. At a time when their operational and functional heads are demanding lower operational costs, outsourcing and offshoring of ERP maintenance and support is gaining momentum. Research firm Gartner says the economic turbulence is a major catalyst for outsourcing of ERP systems and services.


Indian PC Market Grows 5.2 Percent in Q2

The overall Indian PC market grew 5.2 percent during April-June quarter of calendar year 2009 to touch 1.765 million shipments over the previous quarter, according to IT research firm IDC India.

For the same period, desktop PC shipments rose 4.4 percent , while notebook PC shipments grew by 7.2 percent, the company said.

In the overall PC (notebooks and desktops combined) market, HP retained the top spot with a market share of 17.8 percent , followed by HCL and Dell.

HP retained the top position in terms of desktop PC shipments with a 12.7 market share, followed by HCL and Acer in the second and third spots in the period under consideration.

In the notebook PC shipments, HP retained the top spot with 30.9 percent market share, Dell had the second spot and Acer the third.

According to IDC India country manager Kapil Dev Singh, "The India PC market performance in Q2 CY2009 has shown what may be termed as early signs of a revival...Demand was buoyant during this quarter on account of a higher offtake by the consumer and education segments,” he said.



The country's second largest software exporter, Infosys Technologies, said it has bagged a five-year outsourcing and support agreement from BP, one of the world's major oil and gas companies.

Infosys will manage and operate a large portion of business systems for BP under the terms of the agreement, Infosys said in a statement. However, the company did not reveal the financial details of the deal.

"I am pleased to have selected Infosys as one of our strategic ADAM vendors. In awarding Infosys ADAM work for our integrated supply and trading and exploration and production businesses, we look to leverage its capability and knowledge of the oil and gas sector," BP Group chief information officer Dana Deasy said. ADAM is an acronym for application development and application maintenance.

This agreement will enable BP to reduce complexity, standardize work processes, and lower overall cost base.

Over the last 12 months, BP has undertaken a program to consolidate its information technology vendors for ADAM.

"We are well positioned to use our global sourcing expertise and transformational capabilities in the oil and gas domain to deliver significant improvement in operational efficiencies to BP as a part of this new agreement," Infosys Technologies CEO and managing director Kris Gopalakrishnan said.


WIPRO: Fosters Contract

Wipro, India’s third biggest software exporter, has won a new outsourcing contract estimated to be worth around $100 million from Australia's biggest brewer Fosters.

The contract involves managing and supporting Fosters IT infrastructure, data centers and different business applications across Australia, U.S. and U.K.

Having won several large deals including a contract from Origin Energy in Australia’s over $6.5 billion outsourcing market, Wipro continues to increase its footprint in the country.

"Fosters and Wipro are in discussions regarding global IT infrastructure services, data centre and applications support. The discussions are part of ongoing business efficiency initiatives. Wipro was chosen after a comprehensive tender and offers the capability to service our global operations and deliver significant costs savings with a combination of online, telephone and field staff services," said Troy Hey, Fosters spokesman.

Fosters is already in the process of shifting members of its internal IT team.

"We are currently discussing transition arrangements with our people. Employees impacted by this approach in Australia, the United States and the U.K. will be offered alternative roles where available or provided full redundancy payments and career transition support," Hey added.

Meanwhile, Fosters is not planning to outsource any back office and call center jobs as part of this transaction.

"Discussions are limited to internal Information Technology services and all customer and consumer call center services remain managed by Fosters teams in Australia, the United States and the U.K.," Hey added.


COGNIZANT TECHNOLOGY: Campus in Coimbatore

In continuing its effort to spread to multiple markets, Cognizant Technology Solutions is looking to tap emerging markets like India Middle East, Australia, Japan and Latin America.

Speaking to reporters after the inauguration of its new campus in Coimbatore, Cognizant president and managing director R. Chandrasekaran said the company is slowly planning to expand its operations.

"It has been our conscious effort to increase our presence globally. Three years ago, we set up a management team in Japan. Last year, we reached Australia and now we have planned a strong team for India. We also service MNC clients in Singapore and China," he added.

In the last fifteen years, the company has been mainly concentrating on U.S. and Europe markets. "We have 78 percent exposure in U.S. and 20 percent exposure in Europe markets. Now, it is time to increase revenue from other markets as well," Mr Chandrasekaran said.

Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M.K. Stalin inaugurated the company’s techno-campus in Coimbatore in the presence of Cognizant vice-chairman Lakshmi Narayanan and Union Minister for Communication and IT A. Raja.

Cognizant, which already has its presence in Coimbatore in two STPI centers inside Kumaraguru College of Technology and KGiSL campuses, built its own center on a 23-acre plot inside an SEZ at Keeranatham village off Saravanampatti in Coimbatore.

The techno-campus’s first phase has been built at a cost of around Rs. 180 crore and comprises seven-storey campus with a capacity to accommodate 6,000 professionals.


IBM: Multiyear Deal

IBM has announced that Nomura Services India Private Limited, a subsidiary of leading financial services group Nomura, will implement IBM's end-to-end business continuity and resiliency services to bolster its business continuity, disaster and system failure response strategies.

The multi-year IT services agreement will also provide Nomura Services with an in-city work area recovery solution to recover critical business functions in the event of an interruption at a primary site, an IBM press release said.

"This will help Nomura Services effectively respond to crisis scenarios that may have the potential of causing major disruption to its business," it said.


SATYAM: Trial Delayed

The trial on the Satyam computer scam may be delayed with the Andhra Pradesh High Court referring a petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation to a division bench.

CBI had sought the court’s permission to conduct brain mapping and lie detector tests on B. Ramalinga Raju, the founder of Satyam Computer Services, his brother B. Rama Raju and their former CFO Srinivas Vadlamani. Prior to moving the high court, CBI had approached the lower court seeking its approval to conduct the scientific test. The lower court permitted the tests, but the petition was contested by Rajus’ counsel.

CBI lawyers argue that the trio ought to be subjected to the tests as they refused to divulge information necessary about the modus operandi of the case.

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate, which is looking in to the violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, has decided to attach the properties of the Rajus’ in a month.

Currently, the statutory agency has provisionally attached some of the properties of Raju. It has to fulfill the required legal and administrative procedure before filing a case in a month and physically attach the properties, said L.V. Rao, assistant director of ED in Hyderabad.


E-waste Disposal

India is close to finalizing the world's strictest set of rules on disposing of electronic waste. The rules, framed by electronics equipment manufacturers with the help of NGOs, are now being given the final touch by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Under the new E-waste (Management & Handling) Rules, each manufacturer of a computer, music system, mobile phone or any other electronic gadget will be "personally" responsible for the final safe disposal of the product when it becomes a piece of e-waste, said Guruswamy Ananthapadmanabhan, program director of Greenpeace International.

This "personal" responsibility makes it the world's most stringent set of rules for e-waste disposal.

The NGO has worked with India's Manufacturers' Association for Information Technology to prepare the rules that have been submitted to the ministry. Eighteen electronic brands, including Nokia, Wipro, HCL, Acer and Sony Ericsson, have already begun implementing plans on toxic chemical phase-out and take-back of old end-of-life products in India.

Apart from Greenpeace, civil society group Toxicslink and Germany's external aid agency GTZ have worked with MAIT since April 2008 to draft the new set of rules.



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