IBM's Business Analytics Center of Competency, headquartered in the tech center of Bangalore, will employ more than 200 consultants skilled in applying business analytics and data mining techniques to complex information challenges and opportunities, IBM said.
Make no mistake--this isn't low-margin, end-of-life commodityware Big Blue is tossing over the border. IBM CEO Sam Palmisano last week told my colleagues Bob Evans and Rob Preston that the business analytics wave "is just at the beginning" and that the technology, along with cloud computing, will have a profound impact on the IT segment in the years ahead.
The reasons behind vendors' rush to India for their business analytics needs are pretty straightforward. The country offers an abundant supply of low-cost, highly skilled labor, and geographic proximity to growing emerging markets--including India's own burgeoning domestic economy.
To boot, the creation of business analytics tools takes more than just traditional software development skills, it also calls for high-end math capabilities given the emphasis on data mining, statistical sampling and forecasting. India produces about 690,000 math and sciences graduates each year, according to a study released Friday. The comparable number for the U.S. is 420,000.
Nice article in Information Week. Having developed some solutions through my company (www.mantrasys.com), I can say that developing business analytics is especially challenging for small businesses - considering their limited amount of budget and development resources. But, Off shoring is just what might help these companies to overcome that obstacle.
Recent article in Wall Street Journal talks about additional burden new health-care reforms will put on small business employers. For some small business owners, these reforms are welcome. But for large percentage of small business owners these reforms add extra financial burden to their already constrained cash-flow.
The bill passed in the House mandates that employers with payrolls above $500,000
must contribute -- for each full-time employee -- 72.5% of the premium
cost for single coverage and 65% of the premium cost for family
coverage. The penalty for failing to do so is a 2%-to-6% tax on
employers with payrolls between $500,000 and $750,000 and an 8% tax for
employers with payrolls above $750,000.
The Senate, by contrast, has bills that don't have employer mandates
but are highly focused on provisions that give tax credits to those
that do contribute to premium costs. One bill from the Committee on
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions rewards employers for paying more
than 60% of their employees' premiums with tax credits of as much as
$1,000 for each single-coverage employee and as much as $2,000 for each
The House bill provides that employers with fewer than 10 workers who
average an annual wage of $20,000 or less get a full credit of 50% of
premium costs. That credit amount decreases as employee count and
average salary increases, becoming null once the employee count hits 25
or the average salary hits $40,000.
Premiums for single policies rose 74% for small businesses in the past
eight years, a 2009 Kaiser Family Foundation survey found. Firms with
fewer than 200 workers are expected to pay an average of $12,696 for
family-plan premiums and $4,717 for single-person premiums this year.
There is no question that such additional burden on employers will cause them at least to think off shoring before adding more workers locally. Would off-shoring gain more momentum and rationale among small businesses which stayed away from off shoring in past, in view of these rising health-care costs?
in a meeting with support staff of one of our clients last week (let's call it
a client A), discussion revealed very interesting insight – Client A has a
large, complex application installed with a large client base. It’s an old
system; but works phenomenally well in comparison with many newer competitive
products. But over the years, experienced users client A's clients who were
properly trained years ago by client A had left to pursue other opportunities
leaving behind a knowledge void.
all started with increased support calls and increased time spent for each call
by a customer representative.
Because there were
not enough knowledgeable people at users, new users were largely relying on
check lists and basic user documentation. Client never made good investments to
train the new resources and keep the knowledge. So these new users whenever ran
in to 'How Tos' started calling the support line. This didn't happen overnight.
It was over the period 3-4 years. It started small initially and became big
enough for client to look into.
To make the matters
more challenging - client A had gone through some resource turn over in the
same period and had lost some knowledgeable resources, too. Representatives at
client A were roughly about as much exposed to the complexities of the
application as the new users at clients. this created many issues in short term:
How do you tell end clients where
customer call is not a ‘Problem’ but just an ignorance or a lack of
awareness due to insufficient training.
Even before that, how does client A
ensure that it provides good expertise and have the resources stronger and
deeper knowledge, understanding of the application.
How do you tell management of end
clients that they need to re-invest in training their new staff, when they
are hearing not-so-positive feedback from their users about your not so
And would the client invest
in training their staff on older application of Client A, or would rather
actively look at some other products.
What about bad publicity? These new
users while visiting trade shows going to talk great about client A
product or others?
Would competition use such instances
against the client A, to get their foot in?
If you were
you detect such scenario early on? What are the early symptoms?
you avoid this?
What best practices
would you implement in your company?
you make sure that you are bringing the newer versions, updates in the
market frequent enough?
you gauge the ‘knowledge level’ of the client staff and your own staff?
How do you
know the support calls – are not turning into extension of on demand training
importantly – how do you perceive and manage client management
expectations? How do you make sure that they understand as well as you do
– you or application is not entirely responsible for the increase in
Current economic conditions
have caused small and large businesses restructure the resources. as a result,
in many cases much knowledge is lost and resources left behind are working strenuous
hours to complete the work load. But, as economic condition improve, business
become active and aggressive, client becomes more demanding… chances are your
support team is going to be bogged down with more calls ultimately affecting
Mantra has some good tools
and framework to identify these issues early on. We make those available to all
our software product clients.