Saturday, May 30, 2009

TechM may close some Satyam office

Some of Satyam Computer's 105 offices and 30 delivery centres worldwide may soon cease to exist. According to a report in a business daily, the Hyderabad-based company "is evaluating options to downsize operations at its overseas development centres and terminate lease contracts for offices and other properties."

By consolidating its offices and delivery infrastructure Satyam, which was recently acquired by Tech Mahindra, will be able to up capacity utilisation and also reduce overhead costs, says the report.

The review of operations is reportedly a part of Operation Phoenix, Tech Mahindra's plan of resurrecting Satyam, which has seven development centres in China, Germany, Brazil, Egypt and Malaysia.

Incidentally, Satyam's Australia chief Deepak Nangia recently quit in pursuit of greener pastures. The local head of IT company Satyam Computer services here Nangia was quoted saying by The Australian, "I left the company about three weeks ago to pursue other opportunities."

He joined Satyam in 2002 and during his tenure Nangia built Satyam Australia into a 200-million-Aus-dollars company, securing blue-chip clients such as Telstra, NAB and Qantas.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wipro unveils virtual centre for testing services

Global software major Wipro Technologies has set up a virtual innovation centre for testing services on Second Life, the popular virtual world, the IT bellwether said Thursday.

"The innovation centre, a replica of the original lab at our campus in the electronics city will provide a one-stop virtual view of our Internet Protocol (IP)-powered solutions," the company said in a statement.

Second Life is a free three-dimensional virtual world where users can socialise, connect and create using voice and text chat.

Wipro's solutions include consultancy, test lifecycle accelerators, certification for wireless fidelity and mobile handsets, test design solutions in banking, securities and point of sale, performance engineering and telecom testing.

According to Wipro vice-president for testing services C.P. Gangadharaiah, the centre will showcase innovative and IP solutions to customers and partners located across the globe besides providing a virtual tour of the testing labs.

"In a competitive world, it is essential to differentiate ourselves with our customers and partners using innovative resources. With this virtual centre, we hope to create an environment that has technology and testing transformational value," Gangadharaiah said.

The centre aims at incubating testing solution IPs, which ensure 40-50 percent cost and capital investments reduction for clients.

It also helps improve and optimise test processes and accelerate application release into the market with an estimated 35 percent effort savings across testing lifecycle.
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Satyam to sweeten layoff terms

A majority of the 10,000 excess staff at Satyam Computer Services are set to be offered 40% of their salary for six months in what can be termed as a severance package being firmed up by the beleaguered IT firm.

The top management of Satyam, in consultation with its new owner Tech Mahindra, has prepared a list of around 10,000 employees, who have not been billed for over six months now. These employees are set to be offered 40% of their existing salary for six months, along-with medical insurance and provident fund. But they may eventually have to leave the firm. Non-billable employees have been short-listed, as they do not bring in any revenues to the IT firm.

Raju had hired more number of employees to inflate revenues and profits of the firm, and the economic downturn has only compounded Satyam’s woes, forcing Tech Mahindra to look at a separation package for the excess staff in the Hyderabad-based outsourcer. Senior industry leader Kiran Karnik, who was chosen by the government to be on the Satyam board and salvage the firm, said unless substantial steps were taken to contain costs, Satyam could go under and risk the jobs of all employees.

The board had suggested a number of options to the new management, including organisation-wide salary cuts, keeping employees on a virtual bench and sending them on a sabbatical. In the last two cases, the company would have to pay only part of the salary to these employees.

Vineet Nayyar, the CEO of Tech Mahindra and now whole time director on Satyam, declared that the company had an excess staff of around 10,000. The employee strength at Satyam is reckoned to be around 42,000. It is likely to drop to 32,000, if the proposed plan to create a “virtual pool” is implemented. Non-billable employees across all levels will be impacted, though entry and middle levels will see more exits.

“We recognise that we have to deal with the situation and are exploring the most humane ways to tackle this issue,” said T Hari, global head marketing, Satyam Computer Services.

The company is talking to a dozen out-placement firms to help people, who are laid off to find new jobs. It is also planning to tie-up with engineering colleges for PG courses and would fund employees, who wish to enrol in these programmes.

A few companies have also written to Satyam to take some employees on board. Employees, who have been identified for layoffs, will also have access to all the training programs offered by Satyam, said Mr Hari. The company plans to have financial counsellors to help out those whose exits are imminent.
Source: TheEconomicTimes
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Citi to stay with TCS, Wipro, drop Infosys

Citigroup, which sold its back-office captive centres to TCS and Wipro last year, plans to consolidate its outsourcing with these vendors in India, and drop others such as Infosys Technologies, India’s second-biggest software services exporter, reports Pankaj Mishra.

The Bangalore-based Infosys could see around $25 million of its annual revenues from Citi go to rivals like TCS and Wipro, according to an official at one of these companies, requesting anonymity.

Citibank has a $2.5-billion nind-year contract with TCS and a $500-million six-year contract with Wipro. However, since Infosys does not derive any significant revenues from Citi, the company is not expected to be hit severely. Infosys has bigger, over $50-million contracts with top US banks, including Bank of America and American Express.

“Citi’s entire infrastructure management, back office and maintenance work is being shifted to TCS and Wipro, including around $25 million worth of contract with Infosys,” the official said.

An Infosys spokeswoman declined to comment about a specific customer. TCS and Wipro officials also did not comment.

When contacted by ET on Thursday, Godwin Chellam, a spokesman for Citi did not offer any specific comments.

In a year when Citigroup plans to spend around 8% of its revenues on IT, unchanged from last year, the biggest US bank wants to sweat the buck more by working with fewer vendors handling more work at lower rates. According to an outsourcing expert, who requested anonymity, Citi wants to save over $1 billion in IT costs this year alone by integrating various systems and consolidating its supplier base.

Citibank sold its Indian back office business to TCS for around $505 million in October last year, and Citi Technology Services for around $127 million to Wipro in December last year. Both these transactions came with assured outsourcing business for the vendors. By selling off these non-core captive operations, bundled with long-term outsourcing contracts, Citi was able to get better rates from TCS and Wipro.

“In tough times, customers such as Citi can give you volume growth, but lower rates, they have better bargaining powers,” admitted a senior executive at one of the vendors working for Citigroup. He requested anonymity because he did not want to offer official comments about a customer’s outsourcing strategy.

Jagdish Rao, global technology head, Citi said in December last year that he would focus on reducing costs. “The focus is on how much more can we get out of the existing budget,” said Mr Rao. Citigroup outsources IT contracts to leading vendors such as IBM, TCS, Wipro and Infosys. “A large part of our IT budget is dedicated to infrastructure and application maintenance, and that will remain a mandatory spend,” he said.

While TCS gained a back office contract worth $2.5 billion over a period of nine years as part of the deal, Wipro signed a master service agreement with Citi for a six-year infrastructure management contract worth $500 million. “It could be twice as much of that amount over the next few years,” Mr Rao said. “As we face these challenges, there will be greater demand to move more work to offshore locations,” Mr Rao added.

Vista wins bidding war for SumTotal

A testy bidding war between two buyout firms for SumTotal Systems, a Mountain View-based enterprise software company, ended Wednesday with Vista Equity Partners agreeing to pay a steep premium to buy the company for $160 million.

Less than two months after Vista opened bidding with an offer of $3.25 a share, SumTotal's board of directors announced Wednesday it had accepted Vista's latest offer of $4.85 a share.

In finalizing the deal, SumTotal agreed to pay a $6.67 million termination fee to Vista rival Accel-KKR, which had previously come to terms on a deal.

SumTotal makes "talent development solutions" and claims more than 1,500 business, governmental and nonprofit customers. Its stock price, which plummeted as the recession worsened, had been hovering near at $5 as recently as Sept. 12.

Job cuts at Maytas Infra

Maytas Infra, the listed company promoted by the family of Satyam founder B Ramalinga Raju, is looking to rationalise its employee strength. Consequently, there would be some job cuts and inductions.

To this effect, Maytas board on Thursday reviewed the HR policies of the company to take stock of the situation. “There will be some job cuts and inductions in the company,” a company executive said, but declined to reveal the numbers.

Maytas board, chaired by government-appointed member K Ramalingam, reviewed the key issues of the company in the last two days. Among other things, the company discussed with some of its joint venture partners the infusion of funds and early completion of works.

Google wins domain name case

Internet search giant Google has won a cybersquatting case at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) against an Indian who had tried to block the domain name 'googblog.com'.

According to the information available with the WIPO, Geneva-based WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center has ordered the transfer of domain name to the US-based search giant after Herit Shah of Gujarat offered to surrender the disputed name to Google.

Google had challenged the registering of domain name 'googblog.com' by Shah at WIPO stating that it was confusingly similar to its trademark on which the company has rights.

Cybersquatting is an illegal activity of buying and officially recording an address on the internet that is the name of an existing company or a well-known person, with the intention of selling it to the owner in order to make money.

As per the information available with the WIPO, Google filed the complaint against Shah on March 26 this year. However, the disputed name has been registered by Shah since September 25, 2008.

WIPO is a specialised agency of the United Nations for developing a balanced and accessible international system in the field of intellectual property rights.

The California-headquartered firm has been using the name 'GOOG' as a NASDAQ financial stock ticker since 2004. The company has used the trademark GOOGLE since the inception of its business in 1997.

The search giant operates a blog service under the brand 'Blogger'. As per the details available with WIPO, a pre-complaint correspondence between the parties (Google and Shah) failed to resolve the dispute.

However on May 2, after commencement of administrative proceedings, Shah stated before the panel that the registration of domain name was in bad faith and was an infringement of intellectual property.

"I was in a bad faith that I can legally keep the domain googblog.com ... I really did very unfair to Google. I sincerely apologise to Google for infringement, misuse of their intellectual property (GOOGBLOG.COM)," Shah stated.

The WIPO panel found in this case the consent-to-transfer request replaces the need to assess the matter under the elements of its Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy and ordered the transfer of the domain name to Google.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

BT freezes salaries of all employees

BT Group, the UK’s largest phone company, shelved planned pay increases for executive directors as it froze salaries for all employees. The company also won’t pay any bonuses related to financial targets as the goals were missed, BT said in an annual report on its web site on Wednesday. Executive directors can still get some bonuses for improvements in customer service and on environmental and social targets, it said.

BT will make some “discretionary recognition payments” to some employees below board level, it said, adding that there won’t be any bonus payments in the global services unit.

The company on May 14 lowered its dividend after posting a fourth-quarter loss on costs to overhaul the global services division and said a further 15,000 jobs will be cut this year. It predicted today that the current economic conditions will “continue for some time.”

Bonuses won’t be out in paid in cash. Some executive directors will convert bonuses into shares while others have asked to receive no bonus at all this year.
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TechM gets ready to lay off surplus Satyam employees

Tech Mahindra, the new owner of Satyam Computer Services, on Wednesday, prepared the ground for laying off excess staff, with the senior management making it clear that all soft options were exhausted. CP Gurnani, a Satyam board member, who addressed middle- and senior-level employees in Hyderabad made it clear that surplus staff needs to be cut, said an associate privy to the address.

The proposed lay-offs may be done within the next few weeks. Satyam has employees in four bands and is working out a formula that would see maximum lay-offs at the junior and middle levels.

Mr Gurnani’s statement comes barely a few days after Vineet Nayyar, the CEO of Tech Mahindra and now a whole-time director on the Satyam board, declared that Satyam had an excess staff of around 10,000.

The defamed founder of Satyam Computers, B Ramalinga Raju, had hired people by the droves to inflate revenue and profits in the NYSE-listed firm.

Satyam’s Australian head Nangia quits

Satyam suffered another setback in Australia after Deepak Nangia, the company’s head for the region put in his papers.

A Satyam spokesperson confirmed the exit and said the executive was serving his notice period in the beleaguered IT firm. Satyam derives almost $200 million in revenues from Australia, according to experts.
Source: TheEconomicTimes

US tax plan affect: Accenture to move Ireland from Bermuda

Technology outsourcing and consulting firm Accenture Ltd plans to change its place of incorporation to Ireland from Bermuda, following an exodus of large multinational companies to Europe as the US government plans to tighten tax rules.

Accenture said on Tuesday it does not expect any material change in its financial results or tax treatment, but said Ireland will provide economic benefits. Its board unanimously approved the move.

"A member of the European Union, Ireland offers a sophisticated, well-developed corporate, legal and regulatory environment," Accenture Chief Executive William Green said in a statement.

A company spokesman said Accenture is also moving because of continued criticism of companies incorporated in Bermuda.

Several large companies incorporated in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are eyeing a shift to Europe in search of more favorable tax treatment and other benefits. This comes ahead of US legislation aimed at tightening rules that allow firms to defer tax payments on overseas profits if earnings are plowed back into foreign subsidiaries.

Ireland is expected to benefit along with Switzerland as companies seek more hospital conditions in Europe.

Companies such as Tyco International Ltd and Tyco Electronics Ltd, Weatherford International Ltd and Foster Wheeler Ltd have also announced plans to move to incorporate in Europe.

Around 44 percent of Accenture's revenue last quarter was from the Americas region, while 46 percent was from Europe, Middle East and Africa. The remaining 10 percent was from the Asia-Pacific region.

The company said it plans to stay registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Shareholders will vote on the company's move at meetings within the next three to four months and the company expects the move to take effect shortly after the approval.

Accenture said it has a 40-year history in Ireland, with various clients including the Irish government.

High-profile exits continue at Satyam; Australia head quits

The exodus of high-profile employees from fraud-hit Satyam Computer Services, which got a new owner in Tech Mahindra, continues.

Deepak Nangia, head of Satyam’s Australia unit who, in his seven-year stint, brought the company a long list of clients, including National Australia Bank, Qantas and Telstra, is the latest to quit. Confirming the development, a Satyam spokesperson said Nangia had resigned two months ago to “pursue better opportunities outside the company”.

“If there is any back-up or alternative to Nangia in Australia, it will be known in a day or two,” the spokesperson said, adding there has not been any impact on the customer front with his resignation.

This is the third high-profile departure of a Satyam global head since the January revelation by its founder, Ramalinga Raju, that he had cooked the company’s books.

Earlier in February, Anil Kumar, a senior vice-president based in the US and handling the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sectors, left the organisation.

Last week, three senior employees of Satyam BPO, the business process outsourcing arm of Satyam, also resigned — Naresh Jhangiani, global head (human resources), V Satyanandam (head of corporate services) and Kulwinder Singh (head of marketing — Asia Pacific).

New directors’ appointment effective from May 27

Satyam Computer Services announced on Wednesday that the appointment of four nominee directors of Tech Mahindra’s subsidiary Venturbay Consultants Private Ltd — Vineet Nayyar, vice-chairman, managing director and chief executive officer of Tech Mahindra; CP Gurnani, head (global operations, sale and marketing functions); Sanjay Kalra, president (strategic initiatives) of Tech Mahindra; and Ulhas N Yargop, president (IT sector) — will be effective as of May 27, 2009.

Accordingly, the board now comprises 10 directors, including the six directors appointed by the Central government in January, pursuant to the orders of the Company Law Board. Satyam had previously announced on May 22 that the appointment of the Venturbay directors to its board would be effective June 1, 2009.

Infosys sees good demand in India, West Asia; bags 3 deals in home market

Infosys Technologies Ltd has won three significant deals in the last five months in India, a market that has become increasingly strategic to the company.

Though details were not available, Mr Subhash B. Dhar, Member, Executive Council, said one of the deals was in the telecom sector, while another was in the manufacturing sector (private).

Infosys had formed an India Business Unit towards the end of 2007 to tap opportunities in the domestic market. The company earned about 1.3 per cent of its total revenue from India last fiscal.

Mr Dhar said the India Business Unit is doing well in terms of deal pipeline. The company is selling aggressively in markets such as India and West Asia, in addition to China and South Africa, he added.

In India and West Asia, the pipeline is good in sectors such as communication, even as the government remains a big customer, Mr Dhar said.

The company expects contribution from the ‘new engagement models’ to the total revenue to be in double-digit in the next three years.

New engagement models
The new engagement models include a shift to outcome-based pricing or cost per unit of work from per-hour/per-head pricing, offering solutions based on IP developed internally.

As a result of the economic downturn, there are budget cuts and cost sensitivity irrespective of whether a company’s balance-sheet is healthy or not, said Mr Dhar. This has prompted Infosys to give its clients cost savings. “We are not changing our rate, but have changed our cost structure by moving to transaction-based pricing,” he added.

The downturn that has affected some of the mature markets more than it has hurt emerging markets such as India has prompted companies to increase their focus on these markets. This, coupled with changing preferences of consumers who demand more Web-based distribution channels, could force companies to build newer systems or channels of engaging with customers, Mr Dhar said.

This is resulting in more and more processes getting driven into the Web sphere, and a company like Infosys could build the digital eco-system, he added.

Infosys eyes $250 mn BP deal as BT revenues shrink

At a time when revenues from its top customer BT are dwindling, Infosys is chasing new contracts worth $100-250 million from another existing customer-British Petroleum (BP), as the company seeks to grow its revenues from almost $15 billion outsourcing market in the UK.

Europe’s third-biggest oil company-BP, which started outsourcing its back office functions many years ago, is currently fleshing out new contracts for outsourcing business application maintenance, development and support, as the oil major plans to bring down its operational costs and ensure better focus on its core business.

“BP is now engaged in discussions with outsourcing consultants in order to define the scope of new outsourcing contracts,” a UK-based person familiar with BP’s outsourcing strategy told ET on conditions of anonymity.

“BP is not entirely new to outsourcing. It currently works with Infosys apart from several others,” he added. When contacted by ET, a BP spokesman confirmed that Infosys is an existing vendor for the company, but declined to provide any more details. “Yes, Infosys is one of the number of companies in India that carries out support work for BP, but we don’t comment on any future plans,” said BP press officer Robert Wine.

In a year when customers in India’s top market of US are scaling back on outsourcing decisions, British firms will spend around $15.6 billion on IT outsourcing this year, according to research firm Ovum-Datamonitor. Meanwhile, top outsourcing customers such as BT are currently under tremendous pressure to cope with falling demand for enterprise and consumer services in the UK market, and are cutting back IT investments.

However, enterprises such as BP continue to invest in new technologies for making their business processes more efficient. “Companies in the oil sector obviously have more available funds, and they have also been among the early movers when it comes to outsourcing,” said John O’Brien, an analyst with UK-based research firm Ovum-Datamonitor.

“We find that many customers are breaking bigger, mega outsourcing contracts into smaller ones,” he said. When contacted by ET on Monday, an Infosys spokeswoman declined to comment on any specific customer. Infosys could see revenues from its top customers BT, go down from around $381 million last year to almost $300-322 million this financial year, as the UK’s largest phone company restructures its operations and scales down information technology spend in order to cope better with the recession.

According to Mr O’Brien, private sector UK companies are increasingly looking to award outsourcing contracts worth $10-50 million. “Recession is causing customers to think about driving costs out through outsourcing specific activities such as application development and remote infrastructure management,” Mr O’Brien added.

While BT continues to be the top customer for Infosys, future revenues from the phone firm has been a concern for many analysts tracking the company. “We believe that BT Global Services’ performance could have significant impact on Infosys’ growth expectations for the account in FY10,” Diviya Nagarajan, analyst at Mumbai-based JM Financial wrote in her report earlier this year.

BT, which accounted for almost 9.1% of Infosys’ revenues last year, will contribute around 6.9% of the company’s business this year, down over 2%, Ms Nagarajan said in her report.
Source: TheEconomicTimes

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BlackBerry developer to add 200 jobs in Alpharetta

The company that developed the BlackBerry is planning to expand its Atlanta operation, a move that could bring 200 jobs to Alpharetta, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Research in Motion has apparently identified a 40-acre site near North Point Mall. Plans include high-tech jobs that will earn annual salaries of around $70,000, according to the Chronicle’s report. The Chronicle did not name its source. RIM, based in Waterloo, Canada, has offices in North America, Europe and Asia, according to the company’s Web site.

Infosys BPO gets level 5 eSCM-SP certification

Infosys BPO, the business process outsourcing subsidiary of software major Infosys Technologies, today announced 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 (ITSQC).

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 recognised best practices for the eSourcing industry and demonstrated a sustained commitment to improvement. Infosys BPO was certified at level 4 in its first evaluatin 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.

Wipro Infotech launches first data centre in Mysore

Wipro Infotech has forayed into enterprise data centre services. It has launched its first data centre in Mysore and plans to set up two more in Greater Noida and Pune. This new initiative is designed to complement Wipro’s existing service offering which provides ‘end-to-end’ Data Centre Lifecycle Management Services to enterprise customers.

Anand Sankaran, senior vice-president and busi-ness head, India & West Asiat, Wipro, said: “To complete our portfolio of offerings, we felt the need to offer best-in-class data centres. Enterprise customers today are seeking services beyond simple hosting and co-location, and this is a very strategic move by us and positions us uniquely to cater to the lifecycle needs of enterprises as a single face.”

IT infrastructure and applications that are deployed at WEDC will be managed from Wipro’s Global Service Management Centre in Mysore. This service will enable enterprise customers to maintain their strategic focus while improving their operational efficiencies.

Apart from the traditional data centre model, clients in India and West Asia markets will soon be able to avail Wipro’s cloud computing services that offer IT infrastructure and specific business applications as a service.

Further, Wipro has deployed green technologies at each of these centres to help both customers and Wipro reap the benefits of energy efficiency and savings.

Nikon to cut 1,000 jobs

Japanese camera and precision equipment maker Nikon Corp said on Tuesday that it would cut about 1,000 jobs, mostly at its domestic plants, as it braces for a loss this year.

Nikon said it would overhaul its operations making devices for use in the production of semiconductors. It will also downsize its subsidiary in Singapore and transfer part of the business to Taiwan. The group aims to reduce its annual costs by about eight billion yen ($84 million).

Facebook gets $200 million investment from European firm

Facebook, the Internet social networking leader that boasts more than 200 million users worldwide, announced that it has secured a $200 million investment from Digital Sky Technologies, a European investment firm with extensive stakes in Eastern Europe and Russia.

In exchange, DST will get a 1.96 percent equity stake in Facebook — a price that places the value of privately held Facebook at $10 billion. DST will not be represented on the Facebook board or hold special observer rights, a condition similar to Microsoft's investment in Facebook.

Job Fight: Immigrants vs. Locals

Source: wsj.com
Hard times recently drew scores of locals and immigrants to a cold sidewalk in this town, where they spent an anxious night waiting to compete for jobs in a slaughterhouse.

Burmese refugee Cho Aye traveled 60 miles from Nashville on a Thursday morning in late March to take a place at the head of the line outside Shelbyville's state employment office. The next day, the office was to take applications for $9.35-an-hour jobs processing chicken at the local Tyson Foods plant. Directly behind Ms. Aye, sitting on blankets atop the concrete, were 16 more Burmese refugees who had come from as far away as Idaho and Florida. Click here for complete story from WallStreetJournal.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ABB UK selects TCS for ERP implementation and support

Tata Consultancy Services, the leading IT services, business solutions and outsourcing firm, announced that it has carried out a successful SAP ERP consolidation for ABB UK, in order to reduce complexity, standardize business processes and systems and make better use of data.

ABB UK is part of the ABB Group, a global leader in power and automation technologies that enables utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impacts.

Wipro may suffer due to World Bank disclosure

India's IT major Wipro has informed its American shareholders and market regulator Securities and Exchange Commission that its businesses could be "adversely" affected due to the disclosure made by World Bank nearly four months ago that the company was ineligible to work with the international lending institution.

Wipro has warned that its existing and potential customers could alter their business relationship with the firm due to the "negative publicity" from the disclosure.

In a disclosure about ineligible firms in January this year, World Bank had barred Wipro from any direct contract with it for a period of four years, starting June 2007, and cited "providing improper benefits to Bank staff" as the reason.

However, after the World Bank disclosure, Wipro had said in a regulatory filing on January 13, 2009, that its revenue from World Bank was insignificant and its inability to get future business from World Bank will not adversely affect its business.

While the World Bank's debarment came into effect way back in June 2007, it was disclosed nearly one-and-half years later in January 2009. For its action, the bank had charged Wipro of providing improper benefits to its staff, which was contested by Wipro.

The debarment of Wipro coincided with the disclosure about two other Indian IT firms - Satyam and Megasoft. Satyam was debarred for eight years, starting September 2008, while Megasoft was debarred for four years, beginning December 2007.
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Why Infosys cuts H1-B visas

Even as the strong anti-outsourcing lobby in the US is forcing US lawmakers to take a relook at their H1-B visa strategy amid huge job losses, Infosys Technologies - which holds the largest number of H1-B visas among all the Indian IT services companies - has started reducing the number as a part of the company's policy to reduce its 'overseas bench' strength.

The number of H1-B visa holders in the company, which was 8,700 as of December 31, 2008, came down to 8,200 as of March 31, 2009, according to information available with Business Standard.

This number is expected to come down further by another 500 at the end of the first quarter of FY10, as the company is further rationalising its workforce in the US by inducting more locals (Americans) in its rolls, a source close to the development said.

However, even as the company is reducing its 'overseas bench', it has simultaneously committed to add another 1,000 American citizens to its rolls in the next 12-18 months, which will take the total number of US citizens on its rolls to 1,800.

However, Infosys member of the Board and Head of HR, T V Mohandas Pai, insisted that the current reduction in the number of H1-B visa holders had nothing to do with the 'reduction in the overseas bench'.

"The number of people (H1-B visa holders) go up and down based on business requirements. When the business is down due to the recession, we don't need so many people (in the US)," he said.

He said the company had been hiring in the US for the past three years and it's part of the company's strategic plan to hire more locally.

"It has nothing to do with Obama's announcement and the US government's proposals to lower the H1-B visa limit," he added.

According to the latest update from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, as against an available upper cap of 65,000 as mandated by the US Congress, only about 45,000 H1-B visa applications were received till May 19 this year.

Other than the global recession, experts say the fact that each H1-B visa costs about $3,000-5,000 per applicant is reason enough for companies not to invest so much on obtaining such visas.

Of late, most India companies have increased their uptake of local talent in the US. Wipro has already announced its intention to hire over 750 US workers for its newly opened centre in Atlanta.

IT major TCS is also focussing on more US citizens in its workforce, according the company's COO N Chandrasekharan.

"It's important to create critical mass and have a local delivery capability to service onsite clients. If we do this from India, it will be quite costly," he said.
Source: rediff.com
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Three top executives quit Satyam BPO

Three senior support managers at Satyam Computer Services’ BPO unit have resigned. A company spokesperson said Satyam BPO global head (HR) Naresh Jhangiani along with V Satyanandam (head of corporate services) and Kulwinder Singh (head of marketing-Asia Pacific) have resigned.

“Apart from Jhangiani, the other two executives are from middle management. They had put in their papers a month or two back as they look out for better opportunities,” the spokesperson said. Last week Vineet Nayyar, the CEO of Satyam’s new owner Tech Mahindra, had said Satyam has an excess staff of 10,000. The spokesperson said that these exits do not have a bearing to the statement and “there would be no impact on the company of their exit.” “The company is looking at smoothening the process and no significant impact is expected on the daily operations,” he said.
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Infosys BPO starts hiring again

It seems light is round the corner at the end of the tunnel. According to a report, Infosys BPO has opened the gates for hiring again. The company signals business needs and new projects as reasons why it has started rehiring.

The report says the company has about 200 vacancies coming up on a month on month basis. The report quotes BPO vice-president and HR head K Raghavendra saying that the openings are at the entry level and the company plans to recruit for various processes across all service offerings.

He added that the company is recruiting for both voice and non-voice offerings. Raghavendra also said that a few new positions are also being created and in certain other cases back fills are happening on account of attrition.

Infosys BPO had earlier been in news for laying off more that 600 contract workers. The BPO facility currently has about 17,238 employees. After Infosys concluded its annual performance appraisal exercise in mid-March, the company had shown door to 2,100 people across the country.

Earlier last week, Infosys Technologies said that it expects outsourcing demand to pick up in early 2010. Company's chief financial officer V Balakrishnan said, "At the macro level, there is some confidence back, people are slightly more comfortable, but on the ground things are still the same," referring to the global economic downturn that has battered information technology spending.

India's second-largest software services exporter is looking to spend between $200 million to $300 million to acquire firms in the technology infrastructure management, consulting and backoffice outsourcing to boost growth, he said.

Last month, Infosys forecast its first decline in annual revenue as global demand for outsourcing slowed down in a harsh economic climate, halting growth for India's once burgeoning technology services sector.

HCL Infosystems bags Rs 240cr BSNL deal

IT firm HCL Infosystems today said it has received an order worth Rs 240 crore from BSNL to implement high-end software solution. "The company has received an order valued at Rs 240 crore from BSNL for roll out over 60,000 ERP Licenses," HCL Infosystems said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The order also includes configuration, hardware, networking, training to BSNL employees and programme management for seven years, the filing added. Shares of HCL Infosystems were trading at Rs 123.50, up 7.39 per cent in late afternoon trade on the BSE.
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Wipro offshores 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 % lower costs than India, and availability of required technical skills across different programming languages, including Windows and Unix, Egypt is fast emerging as an attractive location for offshoring.

“We believe that 20% of our work, contracts, can be offshored to Egypt,” said Anand Sankaran, senior VP and business head, India and Middle East Business, Wipro. “We are offshoring some 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 in Egypt within two years,” Sankaran added.

Wipro has 100 professionals at its Cairo centre. Almost 30,000 of 3, 30,000 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 foreign direct investment (FDI) worth $13.2 billion, and by 2010, the country wants to have FDI of around $10 billion.

“Egypt has already reduced taxes from 40% to 20% and ITIDA does help multinationals with incentives like subsidizing the training of professionals,” said Hazem Abdulazim, chief executive of the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), Egypt.

At a time when customers and vendors are seeking alternatives to arrest rising costs in India, where 10-15% annual wage inflation was a norm until last year, Egypt can help the companies balance their costs better.

“Egypt’s low wage inflation of 5% compared to 10-15% in other emerging locations, and low currency fluctuation of the Egyptian Pound vis-a-vis US dollar, means that the costs of operating in the region will remain stable,” he added. While Wipro is currently one of the Indian software exporter having significant presence in Egypt, others including TCS are understood to be evaluating a location for establishing a development centre in the country.

Monday, May 25, 2009

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Citigroup eyeing ways to trim IT costs

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

The bank, which has been repeatedly bailed out by the US 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 (AMD) costs, said a source close to Citi.

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

While this could translate into new business contracts for Indian IT vendors, the existing AMD and IT services contract could see a 15-20% 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% of its revenues in FY 2008-2009. This has dropped by 1.5% 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."

Boeing issues another 300 layoff notices

Boeing is handing out another 300 layoff notices. About 100 of Friday's 60-day warnings are in the Commercial Airplanes division in the Puget Sound area. Boeing has been cutting jobs monthly since it's announcement in January that it plans to reduce employment this year by 10,000 with about 4,500 of those in Commercial Airplanes.

Spokesman Tim Healy says Boeing has cut the work force by 1,900 positions since November and left another 1,000 positions unfilled. At the end of April, Boeing had 159,161 employees company wide and 65,972 in Washington.

Fiat: Opel Deal Would Have Less Than 10,000 Job Cuts

Fiat SpA said Friday its offer for General Motors' (GM) Adam Opel AG unit would result in less than 10,000 job cuts, meaning the reduction of workers is similar to that of its main challenger, Magna International Inc.

The latest comments from Germany - where Opel is based - indicate Magna as the frontrunner in the race to grab the assets. German politicians are planning to continue to discuss bids for Opel at a meeting on Monday.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

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Infosys cuts H1-B visas to 'reduce overseas bench'

Even as the strong anti-outsourcing lobby in the US is forcing US lawmakers to take a relook at their H1-B visa strategy amid huge job losses, Infosys Technologies – which holds the largest number of H1-B visas among all the Indian IT services companies – has started reducing the number as a part of the company’s policy to reduce its ‘overseas bench’ strength.

The number of H1-B visa holders in the company, which was 8,700 as of December 31, 2008, came down to 8,200 as of March 31, 2009, according to information available with Business Standard. This number is expected to come down further by another 500 at the end of the first quarter of FY10, as the company is further rationalising its workforce in the US by inducting more locals (Americans) in its rolls, a source close to the development said.

However, even as the company is reducing its ‘overseas bench’, it has simultaneously committed to add another 1,000 American citizens to its rolls in the next 12-18 months, which will take the total number of US citizens on its rolls to 1,800.

However, Infosys member of the Board and Head of HR, T V Mohandas Pai, insisted that the current reduction in the number of H1-B visa holders had nothing to do with the ‘reduction in the overseas bench’.

“The number of people (H1-B visa holders) go up and down based on business requirements. When the business is down due to the recession, we don’t need so many people (in the US),” he said.

He said the company had been hiring in the US for the past three years and it’s part of the company’s strategic plan to hire more locally.

“It has nothing to do with Obama’s announcement and the US government’s proposals to lower the H1-B visa limit,” he added.

According to the latest update from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, as against an available upper cap of 65,000 as mandated by the US Congress, only about 45,000 H1-B visa applications were received till May 19 this year. Other than the global recession, experts say the fact that each H1-B visa costs about $3,000-5,000 per applicant is reason enough for companies not to invest so much on obtaining such visas.

Of late, most India companies have increased their uptake of local talent in the US. Wipro has already announced its intention to hire over 750 US workers for its newly opened centre in Atlanta.

IT major TCS is also focussing on more US citizens in its workforce, according the company’s COO N Chandrasekharan.

“It’s important to create critical mass and have a local delivery capability to service onsite clients. If we do this from India, it will be quite costly,” he said.
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Bharti, Infosys, TCS, Wipro among top tech cos: BusinessWeek

Telecom player Bharti Airtel and IT firms Infosys, TCS and Wipro have made it to the list of 100 best performing technology companies in the world, compiled by American magazine BusinessWeek.

The ‘Infotech 100’ list for 2009, based on shareholder return, return on equity, total revenues, and revenue growth is topped by Amazon.com for the second straight year.

Ranked at the sixth position, telecom giant Bharti Airtel leads the pack of Indian companies featured in the list. The three IT majors — Infosys, TCS and Wipro — find a place in the top 50. Infosys is ranked 25th, TCS 30th and Wipro is placed at the 43rd position.

The “2009 ranking of the tops in tech showcases companies that managed to thrive even in the face of a bruising global recession,” the magazine said. At the second spot is Oracle followed by SAP (3rd), Inventec (4th) and IBM (5th).

Two American entities led by India-origin CEOs also find a place in the top 100.

Francisco D’Souza-led Cognizant Technologies is ranked 51 while Adobe Systems headed by Shantanu Narayen has cornered the 99th spot.

Bharti Airtel is ahead of South African telecom entity MTN Group (12th rank), maker of Blackberry phones — Research In Motion (14), technology giant Apple (19), software major Microsoft (22) and Google (37), among others.

According to the publication, the number of US companies in the list has shot up to 43 against 33 last year. There are five firms from China in the top 100. PTI

BusinessWeek said that it combed the financial results of “tens of thousands of publicly traded businesses and ranked tech players on shareholder return, return on equity, total revenues, and revenue growth” to prepare the list. To qualify, the companies should have revenues of at least $500 million.

The magazine said that return on equity is the “net income available for shareholders divided by common equity, in native currency” while total return is the “return to shareholders, including dividends for the 12 months ended April 30, 2009”.

Best Technology Companies to Work For

Based on Fortune's Best 100 Employers
Based on Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For, these are the "best of breed" companies that are focused primarily on some aspect of the technology industry. Here are the top ranked employers, with information about where they fell on the Fortune 100 listing. There is also links to information about each company and what makes each a great place to work.

1. Google
Number 1 on this list and on Fortune's Top 100 Employers list is Google. With a great campus, tons of perks and a group of highly skilled co-workers, there is a feeling of prestige among Google employees.

2. Cisco Systems, Inc.
Taking the number 2 spot on my list (and the number 6 spot on the Fortune top 100 list) is Cisco Systems, Inc. Great salaries, perks and a dominant market position make Cisco are favorite place to work among their employees.

3. Qualcomm
Qualcomm is a wireless telecommunications company based in San Diego, CA. They rank number 8 overall on the Fortune 100 Best Places to Work, and end up at number 3 on this list.

4. NetApp - Network Appliance
NetApp, which was known as Network Appliance until recently, ranks in the top of many employee satisfaction surverys, including the Fortune 100 Best Companies, best places to work in Boston, Research Triangle, Silicon Valley and several other areas over the past 6 years. They also routinely rank within the Fortune 1000.

5. Shared Technologies
Shared Technologies comes in at number 5 on my list of best technology companies to work for. Shared Technologies is a technology solutions provider specializing in voice, data and converged technologies.

6. SAS Institute Inc.
SAS Institute Inc. is a leading software company, focused on statistical software packages, customer relationship management and business intelligence solutions. They rank number 6 on my list of best technology companies to work for.

7. Rackspace
Number 7 on my list of best tech companies to work for is Rackspace. A hosting service company known for their fanatical customer support, Rackspace is number 32 on the Fortune 100 Best Companies List.

8. Adobe
Adobe is a leading software company, with headquarters in San Jose, CA. They are number 8 on my list of best technology companies, and currently listed among the Best Places to Work in the US, Germany and Canada. In the US, they placed number 40 in Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For.

9. Intuit
Intuit has been named the Most Admired Software Company as well as landing on Fortunes Best Places to Work List for several years in a row. The financal management software company ends up at number 9 on my list of best tech companies to work for.

10. eBay
eBay is the well-known auction site, a pioneer in the world of ecommerce. With headquarters in San Jose, CA and over 12,000 emploees, eBay ranks number 10 on my list, and ranks number 68 on the Fortune 100.
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Satyam employees may get 9 months severance package with pink slips

According to sources:
Severance package may include: 3 months full salary and 6 months half of the salary. Satyam may offer (those 10K employees who will be laid off in June) back to join the company if there are new projects after 9 months. In the mean time, they can join with another company or they can try for Satyam.

Satyam’s new owner Tech Mahindra hinted at a possible reduction in staff as it said on Friday that the company has 10,000 excess employees and revenues are coming down.

“Some form of a least painful way of reduction in staff is an option which will have to be looked at,” said Tech Mahindra’s CEO, Mr Vineet Nayyar, after the board meeting of government-appointed Satyam directors and officials of Tech Mahindra.

Mr Nayyar said that some sacrifices will have to be made (in order to run the company successfully). “If Satyam failed, some 40,000 people would be out of jobs,” he said.

Tech Mahindra unit Venturbay Consultants had taken controlling stake in Satyam in April. However, Satyam’s chairman, Mr Kiran Karnik, said that the company is not looking at mass lay-offs. It is exploring the sabbatical and a virtual bench strategy as measures to cut costs. “Without a doubt, revenue is on a downward trend, there is definitely stress on the bottom line. We are hoping to pick up, but the pick-up will not happen immediately,” said Mr Karnik.

He said that the customer side has become stable. The board meeting discussed measures to cut costs. Mr Karnik said that Satyam had high operating costs and the new owner would decide on how to bring it down. He said that it would take KPMG and Deloitte six months to restate the accounts.

Meanwhile four nominee directors of Tech Mahindra, including Mr Nayyar, were on Friday appointed on the board of Satyam Computers, with effect from June 1.
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Satyam looking at measures to cut costs

Concerned over rising cost hitting the revenue, Satyam Computer on Friday said it is looking at cutting down costs. "The customer front is good, stable. But costs are high... the revenues would be less," company Chairman Kiran Karnik told reporters after a meeting with the board members and officials of Tech Mahindra, which is taking over Satyam Computer.

The company today discussed a host of cost-cutting measures that can be explored. Tech Mahindra Chief Executive Vineet Nayyar said Satyam had 10,000 excess employees in its 40,000-strong headcount.

"The company has 10,000 excess staff. We are looking at least painful ways to take care of this," Nayyar said.

On the other hand, Karnik said the company is not looking at layoffs, it is exploring sabbatical and virtual bench strategy.

Karnik said today's meeting discussed the challenges to the bottomline, how to handle (excess) people, HR and real estate among others.

Satyam witnessed a flurry of client loss following its disgraced founder Ramalinga Raju's admission to multi-crore rupees accounting fraud in January.

Today Satyam shares surged by 11.54 per cent on the BSE.

Last month, Tech Mahindra had acquired 51 per cent in the Hyderabad-listed Satyam through an auction for Rs 2,099 crore.

Karnik said the new auditors Deloitte and KPMG made presentation today at the meeting and said it would take minimum six months for restatement of company's accounts.

On the protracted legal battle with UK-based mobile solution firm Upaid, Nayyar said an out-of-court settlement is favourable and the company would explore that option.

Meanwhile, in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange, Satyam said four nominee directors of Tech Mahindra, including its Chief Executive Vineet Nayyar, have been today appointed on the board of the company, with effect from June 1.

The other three nominee directors on behalf of Venturbay Consultants (an arm of Tech Mahindra), include C P Gurnani, Sanjay Kalra and Ulhas N Yargop, Satyam said.

Gurnani currently heads Tech Mahindra's global operations, Kalra is President Strategic Initiatives while Yargop is President for IT sector and a member of the Group Management Board of Mahindra & Mahindra.

"Following the effectiveness of the appointment of Venbturbay Directors, there will be a total of 10 directors on the board," Satyam said.

In January the government had appointed Kiran Karnik, Deepak Parekh, C Achuthan, Tarun Das, T N Manoharan and S Balakrishna Mainak on the board of Satyam Computer after its founder Ramalinga Raju disclosed of a multi-crore financial fraud in the company's books of accounts.

BPO, ITes sector see 22 p.c. fall in hiring in April: Naukri.com

Corporate India's hiring activity saw a decline in April, with the BPO and IT enabled services industry registering the sharpest drop of 22 per cent, a report by job portal Naukri.com says.

Naukri.com's JobSpeak index fell 4.7 per cent to 677 in April compared to 711 in March, but the drop was not that sharp as in the previous month, the report said.

"In the past we have always seen a slight slowdown in hiring in the months of April/May when companies get busy with planning for the year," Info Edge (India) Hitesh Oberoi COO and Director said.

BPO and ITeS were was most severely affected industries, which saw a sharp drop of 22 per cent in hiring activity in April, even as most of the other industries saw a marginal drop when compared to March, the report revealed.

The insurance sector saw a decline for the second consecutive month, with hiring witnessing a dip of 11 per cent, compared to March 2009.

Meanwhile, Banking and Financial Services saw an improvement in hiring activity by 4 per cent.

Hiring in IT, construction and engineering, auto and auto ancillaries sectors moved down marginally by 2 per cent, the report added.

Friday, May 22, 2009

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Satyam may lay off over 12,000 employees

Satyam Computer Services, which is now controlled by Tech Mahindra, is planning to lay off 12,000 to 14,000 employees. Sources said that the new management made a formal announcement before senior management personnel on Thursday on the issue of reducing manpower by up to 14,000 people.

Satyam currently has just over 40,000 employees, of which 19,000 are 'billing employees,' while just over 20,000 are 'non-billing' staff. Almost everyone currently on the 'bench' is in danger of losing employment at Satyam, a source said.

Of these 20,000-odd non-billing staff, around 12,000 employees are those who work on various projects onsite or the foot-soldiers; while some 7,000-odd are from general management, operations, HR, and other competencies.

Sources say that 80 per cent of the foot soldiers and 50 per cent of the management staff among these will be asked to go on a 'sabbatical', an industry euphemism used to sugar-coat a brutal lay off.

The junior staff that would be asked to take a sabbatical will get a compensation of six months of basic pay, while the seniors would be given three months of basic pay. Basic pay ranges between 25 per cent and 30 per cent of total salary.

Ever since Tech Mahindra took control of Satyam in April, there were apprehensions among the Satyam employees on whether the new management would resort to manpower cuts.

Earlier this month Satyam board chairman Kiran Karnik had said that there had been no layoffs in the company, but it was essentially up to the new owners to take any such decision.

Industry sources say that the decision to lay off almost a third of the workforce points to the new management's desperation to try and get the company back on track following the destruction of its goodwill by its founder chairman B Ramalinga Raju and the continuing economic recession.

The company stands to save substantially through these retrenchments.

However, others are of the opinion that Tech Mahindra is looking at very short-term solutions to a problem that needs a long-term redressal strategy.

Experts say that the new management might have missed a trick or two in assessing the true strength of Satyam which, they say, lies in its excellence at delivery of complex services.

They say that laying off employees on the bench who primarily are involved with the company's delivery areas might weaken its core strength and turn it into an IT entity that looks mainly at low value-chain business. With giants like TCS, Infosys and Wipro already holding sway over that space in India, Satyam might find the going very difficult, they say.

Notwithstanding Karnik's statement that there had no layoffs at Satyam, company insiders say that the last two weeks have seen the maximum attrition at the company: even more than when the scandal first came to light.

Another source said that the layoffs, or sabbaticals, that will now be forced upon the employees could have come much earlier but for the Lok Sabha elections.

She said that the Satyam issue is very close to the heart of the people of Andhra Pradesh and any retrenchments before the country went to polls could have had a major impact on the outcome of the election.

She added that the Congress had earlier intervened and 'not allowed Satyam staff from being sacked to keep the Andhra story going.' But now with the elections over, the axe is about to swing freely in Satyam.

Satyam Computer had plunged into a crisis after its founder B Ramalinga Raju in January admitted to having cooked the books of the company for years.

In April, IT firm Tech Mahindra announced to acquire a 51 per cent stake in the beleaguered firm for Rs 2,900 crore (Rs 29 billion).
Source: rediff.com

Satyam losing more clients

Two US-based clients of Satyam Computers, Agilent Technologies and Lowe's Companies, along with another banking sector client Euronet Worldwide, have terminated their contracts with the scam-hit IT firm.

The firm had been losing clients from the time the scam broke in January this year and Tech Mahindra's (TechM) takeover has not been able to arrest the trend.

Agilent, a measurement company, that withdrew its project last week, including a 24-hour customer support facility, had earlier terminated another ongoing project with Satyam in January, soon after news of B Ramalinga Raju's confession to the Rs 7,000-crore fraud broke.

While this project is said to have gone to TCS, sources indicate that the earlier project had been bagged by Hewlett Packard. "Agilent will prove to be a huge loss for us. Not only did it bring good business to the company, but also had close to 300 associates working on its projects," said a mid-management level Satyamite.

Many associates on the Agilent project until recently are now on the bench awaiting either a new project or a pink-slip. Lowe's, a chain of retail home improvement and appliance stores, also called off its project with Satyam recently. The project had close to 120 employees of the IT firm working on it.

"Any project which involves a team that has more than 50 members is considered to be big. Hence, this too was a big project and would definitely add to the woes of the company and its staffers," said another Satyamite.
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Wipro may cut up to 1.5% staff by June

Around 300 people have been asked to leave since April. An additional 50 were fired two months ago from departments such as human resources and administration.

Several information technology firms are firing people citing non-performance, and Wipro Ltd may be the latest one to join the list.

Around 300 people have been asked to leave since April. An additional 50 were fired two months ago from departments such as human resources and administration. “The employees were given a month’s notice and were told that their retrenchment was due to non-performance,” said a Wipro employee, requesting anonymity.

Last year, 1,000 so-called underperformers were fired. People familiar with the development said that after an appraisal cycle in June, the number this year is likely to touch as high as 1,500, or 1.54 % of its headcount of about 97,000.

“The information is speculative. We have not completed the appraisal process yet,” a Wipro spokesperson said.

IT cos may cut variable pay to manage costs

Indian IT companies have refrained from going in for significant variable pay cuts of their employees in FY09. TCS, for instance, paid out 95% of its variable pay to 95% of the staff in FY09.

But early indicators show IT exporters may not fight shy of it in FY10, if the market situation in the US does not improve and if they come under pressure due to a stronger rupee.

Some of the smaller IT firms, such as the RPG Group-owned Zensar Technologies, have tweaked their variable pay structure starting FY10. The firm has introduced a variable pay component of 15% for junior-level employees, and revised the variable pay structure at the middle and senior-management levels.

Under the new structure, the variable pay component has been hiked for employees in the senior management from 20% to 35% and for mid-management employees from 10% to 25-30% of their salaries. The variable pay at the CEO-level is highest at 55% and there has been no change in that. Zensar vice-chairman and CEO Ganesh Natarajan said the new structure would reward performers.

The IT industry has been under pressure to manage costs, and in the past two quarters of FY09, profit growth has come from prudent cost management as much as from higher revenues.

“In FY09, I estimate the top firms would have paid between 85% and 90% of their variable pay. In the current fiscal, this could be 60-70%, especially if the rupee appreciates,” said Edelweiss Securities VP-research Viju George.

A recent calculation by ET showed employee costs accounting for 60-80% of the total operating expenses with variable pay accounting for 10-15% of the total employee expenses for a large number of IT firms. In other words, a 50% cut in variable pay would translate to a bottomline impact of 10-20%.

“The ability to adjust the variable component gives you some amount of leeway to handle the uncertainties and also inculcates a performance culture,” TCS global head (HR) Ajoy Mukherjee told ET.

While the variable pay component is higher at the senior levels, most firms have now changed the structure, which allows even junior level employees to have a variable pay component in their salary.

For TCS, the variable pay is around 30% of the salary on an average — this is across the company. It is similar for Infosys Technologies, where the variable pay is around 30% of offshore salaries.

Capital One cutting 180 jobs in Baton Rouge

Capital One Financial Corp. said Wednesday that it will eliminate 180 jobs at a Baton Rouge telephone sales and loan processing service center.

The McLean, Va.-based banking and credit card provider is consolidating the functions of telephone sales to small businesses, consumer sales and loan processing operations now handled in Louisiana to centers in the Dallas suburbs of Irving and Plano and Laurel, Md., said Capital One spokesman Steven Thorpe. About 70 percent of the layoffs will occur in mid-July, with the remainder scheduled for November, Thorpe said.

WNET.org lays off 50 more staff from Channel 13 and Channel 21

Declining donations and cuts in corporate sponsorships have led WNET.org, parent of WNET/Ch. 13 and WLIW/Ch. 21, to lay off 50 staffers. These staff reductions come on top of a cut of 80 people in January. None of those laid off so far have been on-air personnel.

Infosys hiring 100+ in Bellevue, CEO sees rebound in '10

Bangalore-based outsourcing giant Infosys is hiring - in Bellevue. The company plans to add more than 100 new employees as part of a big U.S. expansion in anticipation of growth resuming in 2010.

Altogether, Infosys plans to hire about 1,000 people across the U.S. over the next 12 to 18 months, according to Chief Executive Kris Gopalakrishnan, who is in town for Microsoft's CEO Summit this week and who sat down for an interview before making a presentation there.

Already, 14,000 of the company's 104,000 employees are based in the U.S.
It remains to be seen whether the hiring will blunt concerns about outsourcing during a time when the U.S. is spending billions to create and preserve jobs.

But Infosys isn't trying to score publicity points with the jobs as much as finding more people to work with its big customers such as Microsoft.

"We believe business will be there if we add capabilities, more services and solutions to our portfolio and increase the business volume with the existing customers - that's how we see growth coming to our business," Gopalakrishnan said.
Since it was started in 1981, Infosys has grown to become one of the top three outsourcing firms in India, where its stature is comparable to Microsoft's.

Gopalakrishnan said the CEO Summit is "a good way to network with the leadership in the industry, especially in times like these."

"It's important to understand and get to know different perspectives, what everybody thinks," he said. "A lot of impact and influence is because of the collective thinking of people, right? If everybody believes things are going to become better, they do become better."

Gopalakrishnan also is hoping the gathered executives will have insights into what fundamental changes will result from the downturn. To figure that out, you need to distinguish between the greed that marked the financial meltdown and innovations that were happening, he said.

"If you look at the Internet boom, everybody jumped in, many of those companies got funded, lots of money was poured in," he said. "Of course many of those companies failed, lots of money was lost but some good things happened - some companies emerged very strong, became the leaders in that space. In telecom, the same thing - a huge amount of money was spent creating bandwidth. A lot of us are benefiting from that.

If there was no expectation of higher returns, that money would not have been spent. Because of the higher returns, a lot of people jammed in, a lot of risk is taken, but I think everybody benefited out of that. Then there was a period of consolidation, a lot of players dropped out. A few companies survived and it goes on."

What's next?

"I think we need to figure out what is the role of regulation in this and how we can manage it better."

Has the recovery begun in India?

"Very early stages," Gopalakrishnan said. "I hope it is sustained and picks up. The difference with the U.S. is in the U.S. it has gone from 2, 3 percent in GDP growth to approximately zero, about a 3 percent decline. India has also declined 3 percent - it's gone from 8 to 9 percent growth to 5 percent to 6 percent.

On the positive side it's still 5 to 6 percent growth, but the decline is similar, actually."

How concerned is Gopalakrishnan he about U.S. perceptions of outsourcing, especially now that the country is spending heavily to create new jobs?

"I'm concerned," he said. "It is a very important question to be addressed. There is a short-term and a medium- to long-term issue. Short term, it's about job losses and what are the right things to do. Medium to long term, you need to focus on the underlying causes, the underlying issues related to that.

If we talk about our industry - if we look at medium to long term - there will be shortages of people in this industry for multiple reasons. If you look at the people coming into this industry, it has been declining in developed countries and increasing in developing countries."
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After Infy, Wipro drops Satyam from rival list

Scam-hit Satyam seems to be losing its status as a noteworthy rival for the top Indian IT firms, as Wipro has become the second major player in this space after Infosys to drop its name from the list of competitors.

Satyam used to be a regular in the list of competitors mentioned by its larger peers like Infosys and Wipro in their annual report filings with the US market regulator Securities and Exchange Commission.

However, Satyam's name is conspicuously absent in Wipro's latest annual report filing for the financial year ended March 31, 2009. Prior to this, Infosys also dropped Satyam's name from its list of noteworthy rivals in its latest annual report filing, filed with SEC earlier this month.
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Infosys to add 1,000 more US citizens to its rolls

Indian software firm Infosys plans to hire about 1,000 people in the US in the next 12 to 18 months amid a gloomy job market. In an interview with the local media, Infosys Chief Executive Kris Gopalakrishnan, who is currently in Seattle for Microsoft's CEO Summit this week, said that the company plans to add more than 100 new employees as part of a big US expansion in anticipation of growth resuming in 2010.

Altogether, Infosys plans to hire about 1,000 people across the US over the next 12 to 18 months, he said. Already, 14,000 of the company's 1,04,000 employees are based in the US.

"We believe business will be there if we add capabilities, more services and solutions to our portfolio and increase the business volume with the existing customers -- that's how we see growth coming to our business," Gopalakrishnan said.

Regarding the recovery in the Indian economy, he said that it is in, "Very early stages." Gopalakrishna said, "I hope it is sustained and picks up. The difference with the US is that it has gone from 2-3 per cent in GDP growth to approximately zero, about a 3 per cent decline.”

“India has also declined 3 per cent -- it's gone from 8 to 9 per cent growth to 5 per cent to 6 per cent. On the positive side it's still 5 to 6 per cent growth, but the decline is similar, actually."

Hoping the gathered executives will have insights into what fundamental changes will result from the downturn, so they can distinguish between the greed that marked the financial meltdown and innovations that were happening, he said.

"If you look at the Internet boom, everybody jumped in, many of those companies got funded, lots of money was poured in," he said. "Of course many of those companies failed, lots of money was lost but some good things happened -- some companies emerged very strong, became the leaders in that space..."

Gopalakrishnan clearly sees the dangers in industry consolidation and in changes in the nature of outsourcing, with more businesses taking the same tack as they have with their internal IT organisations by looking at business process applicability rather than discrete technical capability.

Infosys seems well-oriented to adapt to this new world since Gopalakrishnan identifies their value proposition as a strong knowledge of customer businesses.

High Street Fashion Company Cuts 1,230 Jobs

High street fashion firm Bay Trading has been sold, but around 1,230 jobs will be lost as part of the deal. The company was bought by Rinku Group, a wholesaler and retailer with brands including Tigi-Wear, Viz-a-Viz and iZ.

Epcoscan Limited, which trades as Bay Trading, employed 1,800 people and had about 260 outlets before it went into administration last month. But the Rinku deal involves only 566 jobs and 130 shops and concessions, meaning job cuts and store closures, administrator Deloitte said.

Air France-KLM reports first loss, 2,700 job cuts

Air France-KLM, Europe's biggest airline, on Tuesday announced losses of 814 million euros (1.1 billion dollars) for the 2008-2009 fiscal year and said it would have to cut 2,700 jobs.

The losses were the first incurred by the French-Dutch group since the 2003 merger of Air France and KLM and the airline's chief executive Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said job cuts were inevitable.

Some 2,700 jobs were slashed during 2008 and 2009 and further cuts "on the same scale" were planned for the next financial year, Gourgeon said.

To reduce costs, the group "will continue to gradually reduce staff, with a hiring freeze, by resorting to internal professional mobility, by asking staff to take holidays and by developing part-time positions," he added.
Financial director Philippe Calavia told journalists that "about 3,000" jobs would be cut.

Premji takes pay cut, but hike for Wipro brass

The senior management of leading IT services firm Wipro seems to be unaffected by the global slowdown.

In its recent filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), India's third-largest software company stated that all its senior management team — including CFO Suresh Senapaty, HR Head Pratik Kumar and Joint CEOs for IT business Suresh Vaswani and Girish Paranjpe — took hefty hikes in their salaries for the financial year 2008-09.

However, Wipro's chairman Azim Premji took a 10 per cent drop in his annual compensation in FY09 when compared with the previous fiscal.

In the financial year ended March 31, 2009, Premji — who holds nearly 80 per cent stake in the company — received a total compensation of $296,142 (about Rs 1.37 crore), which is $32,414 less than what he was given in the previous fiscal. In 2007-08, Premji was paid a total remuneration of $328,556, the company stated in its annual filings with the SEC.

It also said Premji was paid $84,729 towards salary and allowances in 2008-09, down from $107,701 in the previous fiscal. He also received a lower amount of $105,710 as commission and incentives in the latest fiscal, compared with $127,621 in 2007-08. However, other members of the company's top brass were given a hefty hike during FY09.

Wipro CFO Senapaty was given a total annual compensation of $408,246, up from $317,751 in 2007-08. Executive Vice-President (HR) Pratik Kumar's total remuneration during FY09 increased to $290,201 from $230,507 earlier.

The pay packet of Joint CEO for IT business Vaswani went up to $420,607 from $315,013, while that of his counterpart Paranjape increased to $398,652 from $292,324.

However, the annual compensation of Vineet Agrawal, who is now heading the consumer care and lighting business of the company, dropped to $281,081 in 2008-09 from $304,915 a year back.

Wipro also increased the attendance fee paid to its non-employee directors to Rs 20,000 per meeting from Rs 10,000.

Satyam employees on virtual benches?

Source: ndtv.com
Satyam is sold for good now. But will this once India's fourth largest software services exporter turn around and regain its past glory? How will it beef up its margins and profits? How will it tackle the burden of excess employees on its benches? The company, it seems, has found a way out through virtual bench.

Benches are no more wooden for Satyam employees as those with no work at hand will now sit on a virtual bench and the number is almost 5000.
Well, this is one of the innovative ways to get rid of excess flab in the company.

How will it work?

Those on the virtual bench will not get full salaries, 50-60 per cent of salaries may be cut and the number of working days reduced. Also, some people may be put on training with only 25 per cent of the salary paid. Besides, sabbaticals of over a year's time will be encouraged and employees will also be given a choice to leave with severance package.

Raju Kapur, business head at Ikya Human Capital, said, "Virtual bench is a partial lay off. It is a cost cutting method. Employees are the biggest cost for an IT company and the result of cutting the amount of salary out flow, will immediately reflect in the company’s books."

Tech Mahindra in its due diligence process of Satyam had estimated over 15,000 employees as excess on base of 45,000 employees eating heavily into Satyam's margins.
But a straightforward layoff in Satyam is not an option for Tech Mahindra, especially with the government involved in the process.

Meanwhile, apart from creating a virtual bench, Tech Mahindra is also absorbing about 2000 Satyam employees in its fold and has opened recruitments in Pune, Mumbai and Noida. But these employee-trimming plans are still on paper and margins will still bleed some more. It’s time for Tech Mahindra to see through some tough decisions.

Outsourcing offers less economic value: One-third CEOs worldwide

At a time when the Obama administration is coming down heavily on companies shipping jobs overseas, a survey shows that one-third of the CEOs worldwide believe outsourcing offers less economic value than five years ago.

Moreover, the chiefs at American firms find outsourcing less attractive than their counterparts in non-US-based entities.

"One-third of CEOs believe outsourcing offers less economic value than five years ago," the survey conducted by leading bourse NYSE Euronext.

The 'CEO Report 2010' showed that chiefs of non-based companies find outsourcing more attractive than those of US businesses.

Spread across 23 industries and 24 countries, a total of 284 CEOs participated in the survey.

Regarding the economic value of outsourcing, 45 per cent of the respondents felt that it remains the same as compared to earlier whereas only 22 per cent believed that such a move is economically more attractive.

Interestingly, the percentage of outsourcing has little changed in the last two years, the report said.

India is one of the most favoured outsourcing destinations in the world mainly on account of low cost and skilled manpower.

The Obama administration has restricted the hiring of H-1B visa-holders by companies bailed out by the Federal government and recently announced a plan to end tax incentives for American entities generating jobs overseas.

Both moves are expected to impact the Indian IT sector, whose major chunk of revenues come from the US.

When asked about plans to maximise the opportunity in emerging markets, 21 per cent of the participants said they are seeking and or expanding local partnerships, including outsourcing arrangements.

About 46 per cent of the chiefs noted that they are looking at establishing and or expanding local marketing, sales activity.

"Larger companies as well as those outsourcing companies, involved in manufacturing/construction and business/information services are most likely to have used outsourcing," the report noted.

Of that total, 195 responses were from the US; 48 from Europe and the UK; 12 from Latin America; nine from the Asia-Pacific region; and 18 from Canada and Bermuda, among others.

Independent market research and consulting firm Opinion Research Corp conducted the survey through the internet, phone and mail from March 5 to April 13, 2009.

Meanwhile, the latest report by A T Kearney's Global Services said that India, China and Malaysia are among the most favoured outsourcing destinations in the world.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

USCIS updates count of H-1B petition filings, continues to accept petitions

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced April 27, 2009, that it has only receive about 45,000 of the 65,000 H-1B non-immigrant visa petitions needed to meet the fiscal year (FY) 2010 cap (beginning October 1, 2009). This represents approximately 3,000 additional filings since USCIS' April 8 announcement and means that new H-1B petitions may still be filed. This is the first time in many years that the cap for H-1B nonimmigrant visa petitions was not hit in the initial five-day filing period. USCIS began accepting petitions on April 1.

The agency has received approximately 20,000 H1-B petitions for aliens eligible for the advanced degree exemption. However, USCIS continues to accept advanced degree petitions since experience has shown that not all petitions received are approvable. Congress mandated that the first 20,000 of these types of petitions are exempt from any fiscal year cap on available H-1B visas.

Once the relevant H-1B cap has been met, USCIS will issue an update to advise the public that, as of a certain date (the "final receipt date"), the respective FY 2010 H-1B caps have been met. The final receipt date will be based on the date USCIS physically receives the petition, not the date that the petition is postmarked. The date or dates USCIS informs the public that the respective caps have been reached may differ from the actual final receipt date. To ensure a fair system, USCIS may randomly select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit from the petitions received as of the final receipt date (this would be done subject to a lottery). USCIS will reject cap subject petitions that are not selected, as well as those received after the final receipt date.

For cases filed for premium processing during the initial five-day filing window, the 15-day premium processing period began April 7. For cases filed for premium processing after the filing window, the premium processing period begins on the date USCIS takes physical possession of the petition. USCIS will provide regular updates on the processing of FY 2010 H-1B petitions.

Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap do not count towards the congressionally mandated H-1B cap. Accordingly, USCIS will continue to process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position
  • Updates on the cap count can be found on the USCIS' website: http://www.uscis.gov/h-1b_count.

H1-B visas are given to US companies seeking to hire nonimmigrant aliens in specialty occupations of distinguished merit and ability when such workers are in limited quantities in the United States. A specialty occupation requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge and a bachelor's degree or the equivalent in the specific specialty (e.g., sciences, medicine and health care, education, biotechnology and business specialties, etc). The numerical limitation on H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2010 is 65,000. Additionally, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of aliens who have earned a US masters' degree or higher are exempt from the fiscal year cap. Holders of these visas can stay in the United States for up to six years.

Swan to outsource IT, back office work to TechM

New telecom entrant Swan Telecom is set to outsource its IT and back office functions to Tech Mahindra and award a network equipment deal to Ericsson together in a transaction worth about $250 million. The deal, the first of its kind in the telecom outsourcing sector, is aimed at bringing down operational costs and compete more effectively with incumbents such as Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications (RCOM).

"Swan has decided to retain the computer hardware part, and decided to bundle its IT and network management contract in order to avoid a high value outsourcing deal and retain many of these functions in-house," said a person familiar with the matter on conditions of anonymity.

Traditionally, telcos such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Unitech Wireless and Aircel have outsourced their entire IT and network infrastructure to vendors as separate contracts. However, Swan plans to retain the control of its computer hardware systems, and will make Ericsson responsible for the entire network with an IT vendor working in tandem for application development, maintenance and integration work. For instance, IBM manages Bharti Airtel's entire outsourcing of IT, back office and network management along with Nortel and Ericsson.

Panasonic to cut top execs' pay 30%

Japan's Panasonic Corp plans to cut the annual pay of its president and chairman in the current business year by 30 per cent to take responsibility for the company's projected financial deficit in fiscal 2009, company sources said today.

The pay cuts will target president Fumio Otsubo and chairman Kunio Nakamura, and other board members will see their pay slashed 20 per cent, they said.

The Japanese electronics giant incurred a group net loss of 378.96 billion yen in fiscal 2008, its first deficit in six years, and is also expecting a second straight annual net loss totaling 195 billion yen for fiscal 2009.

Panasonic, formerly Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, had already cut remuneration for board members between 10 to 20 per cent and for those on managerial positions by five per cent since February due to the deterioration of its corporate performance.

Further top management pay cuts are part of the electronics maker's restructuring efforts that include cutting 15,000 jobs and closing a total of 40 production facilities worldwide by the end of fiscal 2009.

20,000 H-1B visas still left

Once the most sought after H-1B American work visa is still having nearly 20,000 slots open seven weeks after the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) started receiving applications for the financial year 2010 beginning October this year.

The USCIS yesterday said it has so far received approximately 45,500 H-1B petitions counting toward the Congressionally-mandated 65,000 cap. As such, the USCIS would continue to accept petitions subject to till the cap is reached.

This is in contrast of the previous few years when the USCIS had to resort to computerised draw of lots as it received petitions outnumbering several times more than the Congressional mandated cap of 65,000 within the first few days after it started receiving H-1B applications.

USCIS said it has received approximately 20,000 petitions for the advanced degrees category. However, it would continue to accept advanced degree petitions since experience has shown that not all petitions received are approvable, the USCIS said in a statement.

Congress mandated that the first 20,000 of these types of petitions are exempt from any fiscal year cap on available H-1B visas.

Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft still hiring in India

Global majors like Microsoft, Yahoo! and Google may have decided to trim their workforce worldwide to cope with the economic turmoil,but these entities do have openings in India.

Interestingly, the companies are cutting jobs in India too, even as they have hiring plans in the country.

For instance, software giant Microsoft recently said it would create employment opportunities in tune with the growth of the Indian economy.
The announcement came from its Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer amid the firm proceeding with 5,000 job cuts worldwide, including 55 employees in India. The workforce reduction in the country would be completed in the next 18 months.

Few months ago, search engine giant Google unveiled plans of trimming as many as 200 jobs in sales and marketing operations worldwide. Nonetheless, the firm is hiring for about 20 positions in engineering operations, finance and software engineering, among others.

Internet entity Yahoo! too would be slashing its employee strength as part of its efforts to bring down costs. At the same time, the company has over 100 vacancies in India, according to its website.

Steve Ballmer noted that Microsoft would continue to hire and create employment opportunities in line with the recovery and growth of the Indian economy.

"We had said that we would lay off about 5,000 people. We are still filling other jobs. We are mostly through that process globally and there is still some work to do.

"... There are areas where we are continuing to add people. As I said, these are global additions, so it is a little hard to separate our work globally from our work in India," he said.

Yahoo! recently said in a statement it would be cutting as many as 700 jobs, representing nearly five per cent of its worldwide headcount, and has given pink slips to around 60 employees at its R&D centre in Bangalore, India.

Still it is hiring for over 100 positions in the country. This month alone the company posted an offering of 10 vacancies, according to information available with Yahoo's website.

According to its website, Google has over 20 job openings in different areas such as advertising sales and enterprise, engineering operations, finance, human resources and software engineering.

India, which is one of the largest locations for Google outside the US, has different positions at its offices in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Gurgaon.
Meanwhile, in a sign that financial crisis is hitting the search engine giant also, Google would be reducing its headcount by 200 employees.

More than 120 William Morris employees laid off ahead of Endeavor merger

The 111-year-old talent agency Monday laid off more than 120 people, or about 15% of its staff, in preparation for its pending merger with competitor Endeavor. About 40 of the affected employees were agents, and the rest were support staff.

The layoffs, which have been expected since the two companies agreed to join forces late last month, hit the motion picture and television talent and literary departments the hardest. Those departments have been significantly downsized in anticipation of Endeavor's more successful groups taking control.

Medtronic To Cut 1,500-1,800 Jobs By End Of June

Medtronic Inc. (MDT) will eliminate about 1,500 to 1,800 jobs from its global workforce by the end of June amid efforts to control costs and manage economic pressures.

The medical-devices giant, which has about 39,000 workers around the world, recorded a $27 million restructuring charge related to job cuts and " realignment" in its recent fiscal fourth quarter and will record an unspecified restructuring charge in the current quarter.
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HP profits down, to cut another 6,400 jobs

Hewlett-Packard Co. said Tuesday it plans to cut 6,400 more workers — or 2 percent of the company's total work force. The cuts are on top of the 24,600 layoffs HP is doing as part of its huge acquisition of technology services provider Electronic Data Systems, and will come from its product businesses.

Palo Alto-based HP, whose products include PCs, printers, computer servers and toner cartridges, announced the additional cuts Tuesday in a conference call with analysts to discuss the company's fiscal second-quarter results.

HP's chief financial officer, Cathie Lesjak, told analysts the new cuts will be "targeted actions to structurally change and improve the effectiveness of our product businesses," but didn't provide more details. The new cuts will happen over the next year.

HP reported Tuesday that its profit dropped 17 percent to $1.72 billion, while sales fell 3 percent to $27.4 billion, in the latest period.

HP had 321,000 employees as of Oct. 31 of last year, the latest period for which headcount data is publicly available.

MTV signs deal with HCL for online support

HCL Technologies on Wednesday announced signing a global outsourcing deal with MTV Networks (MTVN) to develop and support its online media platforms. The financial details were not disclosed.

MTV Networks is part of media conglomerate Viacom and owns brands such as MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. The outsourcing engagement with HCL is aimed at supporting content delivery on the Internet.

HCL and MTVN signed the deal in the October- December quarter last year. It was not disclosed when HCL will start generating revenues from the contract.

Yahoo eyes acquisitions, social media

Yahoo Inc is looking to buy companies that will allow it to become a bigger player in social networking and revamp its family of products, Chief Technology Officer Ari Balogh said on Wednesday.

"It's a good time to be buying now," he told the Reuters Global Technology Summit, pointing to valuations that have come down from levels six to nine months ago.

Intelligroup focuses on infra outsourcing

US-based Intelligroup Inc, a provider of strategic IT consulting, application management, support and implementation services, is betting big on infrastructure outsourcing to garner a higher offshore revenue mix, said company’s senior vice-president (global marketing and alliances) Alok Pant.

“In today’s environment, the major driver for most companies is cost take-outs, especially from infrastructure such as data centres, networks and printers. Customers are now taking a hard look at taking costs out of these and infrastructure is on the top of their lists. This is where we are set to grow,” he told Business Standard.

Yash Birla moves into IT sector

The Rs 3,000-crore Yash Birla Group (YBG) marked its foray into the IT sector with the acquisition of Mumbai-based Melstar Information Technologies. Listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange, Melstar is a service provider of professional consulting and project services and solutions.

“The Melstar acquisition fits into the Group’s ongoing thrust on growth and exploring new-age sectors like education, healthcare and IT. We see a strategic fit between the Yash Birla Group and Melstar vis-à-vis the directions that the Group has set for itself,” said Yash Birla, chairman.

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