Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Software development firm CEO settles in Deerfield Beach

David and Roberta Noderer bought a three-bedroom, two-bath home at 1968 N.E. Seventh St. in Deerfield Beach from 1521502 Ontario Limited for $355,000 on July 6.

1521502 Ontario Limited paid $460,000 for Unit #2-3 in May 2006. The 1,374-square-foot home was built in 1995 in the Deerfield Beach East neighborhood.

Noderer has served as the president, chief executive officer and founder of Computer Ways Inc., a software development firm which specializes in Microsoft technologies, and the founder and treasurer of the Florida Dot Net User Group. He has held technical, management and marketing positions at Prime Computer and Encore Computer and managed architecture, hardware and software design teams. He was also the director and treasurer of the Florida Chapter of the Internet Society, a founding board member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a former Trustee of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.

He received his B.S. from the Rochester Institute of Technology and completed continuing education courses at the University of Rochester and Northeastern University.

There were 1,064 sales in Deerfield Beach in 2008, with a median sales price of $51,000.

Source: http://southflorida.blockshopper.com/news/story/300028786-Software_development_firm_CEO_settles_in_Deerfield_Beach

Engine Yard launches robust Ruby cloud-based deployment platform service

Engine Yard is working to make life easier for Ruby on Rails developers. The San Francisco-based application automation and management start-up rolled out two new products on Monday with an eye toward the cloud.

Ruby on Rails is a Web programming framework that’s rapidly emerging as one of the most popular ways to develop Web sites and Web applications. Popular Web 2.0 applications like Twitter, Hulu and Scribd are built using Ruby on Rails, and Ruby usage has increased by 40 percent in 2009 alone, according to Evans Data. Even though only 14 percent of developers are using Ruby, Evans predicts 20 percent will adopt the technology by 2010.

Engine Yard is preparing for Ruby growth in the next 12 months and beyond with its latest offerings: Engine Yard Cloud and Flex. Engine Yard Cloud is a services platform that leverages 100 man-years of experience deploying, managing and scaling some of the world’s largest Rail sites and makes that know-how accessible to companies looking to run Rails in the cloud. Meanwhile, Flex is a cloud service plan for production-level Rails applications.

Tackling Tough Issues

What Engine Yard is, in effect, taking Ruby a step beyond application development. These new tools tackle tougher issues like deployment, maintenance, scalability, uptime and performance — skills most developers either don’t have or don’t want to acquire. Cloud management solutions abound, but Engine Yard charging forward with a platform to specifically address the needs of developers building applications in Rails.

Unlike an infrastructure cloud, Engine Yard Cloud provides application-aware auto-scaling, auto-healing and monitoring and a highly optimized, pre-integrated Rails runtime stack. Engine Yard Cloud is also backed by 24×7 Premium Support from Engine Yard. It runs on Amazon EC2 infrastructure cloud.

Pricing for the Flex Plan starts at $349 per month. Pricing for Engine Yard Premium Support starts at $475 per month. Engine Yard Cloud will be generally available in August.

“Companies like Amazon and Rackspace are doing a good job at the hardware resource provisioning level,” said Tom Mornini, CTO of Engine Yard. “But they don’t actually help you with assembling your raw virtual machines, storage, object stores and file systems into an application architecture. Engine Yard Cloud is the layer on top of the hardware that helps you get from raw resources to functioning application architecture.”

Under the Hood

With its Flex plan, Engine Yard Cloud serves customers running production applications that want to leverage the on-demand flexibility of a cloud but also need application-level scaling, reliability and support. With developer features like automated deployment from source check-ins, handling rapid application changes driven by agile development is easier for developers.

Behind the scenes, Engine Yard Cloud is automatically scaling applications. Engine Yard can come to the rescue of a site that’s under stress or low in memory by adding more application capacity on the fly. Here’s how it works: Essentially, the technology provisions a new Amazon virtual machine, lays down the operating system, lays down Ruby on Rails, lays down the source code, hooks it up with a load balancer, and assembles the monitoring so the developer — who is not a systems administrator — doesn’t have to.

Engine Yard Cloud also offers reliability features to make sure sites don’t go down, such as an automatic database replica and an auto-healing capacity in case a server fails in the application tier. Engine Yard Cloud even offers what it calls “one-click cloning” that lets developers duplicate production sites — even if they are running 15 or 20 or more servers — in order to perform testing or stage new code.

This is all coming together for integrated app-stack in one cloud automation. I expect this will also be of interest for private clouds. And I’m hip to the notion of personal cloud as a means to ease the deployment of robust apps.

Competing in the Cloud

On the Ruby front, Engine Yard has a strong position in the market. Engine Yard’s competitors are Joyent, Rails Machine, Devunity and RailsCluster, among others.

But Engine Yard isn’t just competing with vendors in the Ruby space. It’s competing with other platforms. Google App Engine is doing something similar for Java. Microsoft is shipping Azure in November. Even if Engine Yard dominates on the Ruby front, there’s still a battle for market share in cloud platforms.

Source: http://blogs.zdnet.com/Gardner/?p=3083

Monday, May 25, 2009

AT Kearney: Bulgaria holds ground in office outsourcing

The latest rating of the global business consultant AT Kearney indicates that Bulgaria still has positive potential for outsourcing of offices in spite of the economic downturn. It is still an attractive destination, especially in the financial and accounting sectors, maintenance and development of computer systems and databases, client support, research and development and labour intensive services.

Office building investors have an increasingly arduous task in the midst of the downturn: finding tenants for hundreds of thousands of sq m of office space at a time when managers are trying to cut costs.

According to the latest edition of global management consulting firm AT Kearney’s Global Services Location Index (GSLI), deteriorating cost considerations and improved labour quality are driving a dramatic shift in outsourcing locations.

The GSLI report shows that once competitive central European countries have yielded ground to countries in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. India, China and Malaysia retain the top three positions they have occupied since 2004.

The downturn has been particularly marked in central and eastern Europe where established premier outsourcing destinations have slumped in popularity. The Czech Republic, for example, has fallen to 32nd place from 16th, Hungary to 37th place from 24th and Slovakia to 40th from 12th. Meanwhile, Bulgaria has also registered a decrease, albeit a significantly milder one - from ninth down to 13th place.

Reasons for the decline of central and eastern European countries were said to be the drastic escalation in costs driven by wage inflation. Meanwhile, low-cost countries in Southeast Asia and the Middle East have made substantial advances as the quality and availability of their labour forces improve. Egypt, Jordan and Vietnam ranked in the GSLI’s top 10 for the first time ever.

In Bulgaria, in particular, according to Stroitelstvo Gradut, the market has been facing increasing pressure over the past few months due to economic weakness. This forces companies to reduce spending on office space, so releasing more unused areas.

Vacancy rates in Sofia have soared up to double digit percentages while rent levels have regressed to the values of two years ago. A few major property transactions like Hewlett Packard Global Delivery Bulgaria Centre, which completed a 8 000 sq m move in an office complex in Kambanite business centre, and the VMWare software developer with five storeys in the East Tower at GM Dimitrov Boulevard, have been hailed as positive indicators for the future by local analysts.

Source: http://www.sofiaecho.com/2009/05/25/724507_at-kearney-bulgaria-holds-ground-in-office-outsourcing

Thursday, May 21, 2009

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 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, 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 US. It remains to be seen whether the hiring will blunt concerns about outsourcing during a time when the US 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 US is in the US 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 US 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."

Source: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/technologybrierdudleysblog/2009244972_infosys_hiring_100_in_bellevue.html

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

HCL inks outsourcing deal with MTV

HCL Technologies, part of the Rs. 24,000 crore HCL Group, today announced that it is entering into an outsourcing services engagement deal with MTV networks. MTV or Music Television is owned by US-based Viacom.

HCL will provide technology solutions to MTV in digital content creation, media asset management, community networking and cross brand programming on different platforms.

The platforms include media player development, sites development, social networking site development, games development, application and data support and platform development.

The offshore development centre will be based in Chennai, while the user interface design services will be located in Noida.

Source: http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/hcl-inks-outsourcing-dealmtv/62422/on

Monday, May 18, 2009

E-learning Outsourcing in India to be Worth $603M

ValueNotes Outsourcing Practice has published a report on the Indian e-learning outsourcing service provider landscape where it has revealed that revenues from the latter will touch US $603 million by the end of 2012. At present, the Indian e-learning outsourcing segment has reported to have earned approximately US $341 million at the end of 2008. Titled 'E-learning Outsourcing 2009: Advantage India', the report documents the competitive landscape of providers in the e-learning space in the country.

Market will Recover

According to ValueNotes, the economic recession will continue to impact growth in the industry for the next six to eight quarters. The market will recover and grow much faster until 2012. As a result, according to ValueNotes suggests that the e-learning offshoring industry will grow at a CAGR of 15 percent till 2012 -- though this growth will be more subdued till 2010. This 'growth' will be to the tune of US $603 million by the end of the calendar year 2012.

According to ValueNotes, since companies are forced to make their 'training dollar' last longer, outsourcing e-learning operations to countries such as India are a more viable solution. Realizing the cost advantage and service expertise available India, companies will move from international e-learning service providers to Indian ones.

The E-Learning Outsourcing Industry in India

According to the report, today the Indian e-learning outsourcing industry consists of third-party providers, offshore delivery centers of international e-learning providers and consulting firms. In the last decade or so, apart from 'pure-play' e-learning firms, companies from fields such as IT, BPO, publishing and domestic retail education have also made a foray into the market.

At the same time, Indian e-learning providers are now moving on from doing low-end outsourced work for international providers to rival international standards in emerging technologies like Web 2.0 applications, high-tech learning environments, and tools to develop better, faster and economical learning. This includes small, niche providers that are now developing specialized applications such as rapid mobile learning tools.

ValueNotes estimates that there are no more than 35 e-learning providers who have more than 100 employees and there are well over a hundred other smaller providers in this space.

Source: http://www.enterpriser.in/India/Know_It/E-learning_Outsourcing_in_India_to_be_Worth_603M/551-102071-449.html

General Motors Leaves US Workers by the Wayside as it Accelerates Operations in China

For decades, General Motors Corp. was an icon of American industry. But over the past decade its sales in China have steadily increased, while dwindling sales at home have turned the company into a relic.

Now facing bankruptcy, GM has an opportunity to shift its operations to China, its fastest growing and most profitable market. The company is already attempting to move its manufacturing operations to the Asian powerhouse, and that has given rise to speculation that it will move its headquarters as well.

Of course, if GM – which has already received $15.4 in government loans – were to pick up stakes, the political fallout would be epic. What could be more “un-American” than a 101 year-old American automotive company that’s being propped up by taxpayer dollars moving to a communist nation?

But the reality is that American consumers aren’t buying GM vehicles and Chinese consumers are. That means if the company is going to remain viable, China, not America, is GM’s land of opportunity.

GM CEO: Bankruptcy ‘Probable’

GM still has two weeks before the government imposed deadline to demonstrate sustainable viability expires on June 1. But even GM Chief Executive Officer Fritz Henderson has admitted that bankruptcy is “probable” at this point. And in the minds of analysts, it’s almost certain.

“[Bankruptcy] is looking like a real high probability,” Brett D. Hoselton, an analyst with KeyBanc Captial Markets, told the New York Times. “Chrysler is the best indicator at this point of where we’re heading with GM.”

GM reported a first-quarter net loss of $5.98 billion, compared to a loss of $3.3 billion a year earlier. Revenue fell to $22.4 billion, a 47% drop from 2008. The company burned through $10.2 billion in cash in just three months. GM has now lost $88 billion since 2004.

Last year, GM lost its crown as the world’s largest carmaker to Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. And a company that 40 years ago produced one out of every two vehicles sold in the United States, has seen its US market share slide to just 19%.

On Friday, GM notified 1,100 of its 6,000 US dealerships that it is terminating their contracts, and it plans to cut its network down to 3,600 dealers by next year.

“This company is sick,” Charles Ballard, an economics professor at Michigan State University told Michigan NBC television affiliate WILX 10, “they’re likely going to file for bankruptcy.”

Investors are equally pessimistic. GM stock has plunged 70% since the Obama administration announced it would give the company 60 days to restructure outside of bankruptcy court. GM has lost 94% of its equity value in the past year.

Is China the Right Cure for GM?

So if GM is sick, what then is the medicine? Many analysts believe it’s a healthy dose of China.

While its US sales have plunged, sales in China continue to grow exponentially. In fact, GM sold more vehicles in Asia in the first quarter than it did in the United States. Only 26% of GM’s first-quarter sales came from the US, a 36% decline from a year ago.

And while global car sales continue to plunge, auto sales in China are expected to grow between 8% and 9% this year. China actually overtook the United States as the world’s largest auto market for the first time in history in the first quarter.

And unlike the United States, there is actually a strong demand for GM model cars. In China, where the company is neck and neck with Volkswagen for the market-share lead, GM set a monthly sales record of 151,084 vehicles in April. That’s a 50% increase from its April 2008 results.

“Within 10 years, this will be our largest market in the world,” Kevin Wale, president of GM China, told TIME magazine.

GM has been so successful in China it is reportedly negotiating plans with US lawmakers that will send the carmaker’s production overseas, the UK’s Telegraph reported.

GM will start shipping cars to the United States from Shanghai in 2011. The company plans to export slightly more than 17,000 vehicles in the first year before ramping up to 50,000 by 2014.

Backlash from GM’s China Plan

While many carmakers import components from China to save on labor costs, GM would be the first company to import whole cars from the Mainland.

Of course the plan doesn’t sit well with unions.

“GM should not be taking taxpayers’ money simply to finance the outsourcing of jobs to other countries,” Alan Reuther, a Washington lobbyist for the United Auto Workers (UAW) union wrote in a letter to US lawmakers.

Indeed, the UAW and others argue that the whole point of bailing out the US auto industry was to save American jobs and help prop up the sagging economy.

Two weeks ago, GM CEO Henderson said his company would cut an additional 21,000 factory jobs, close 13 plants, eliminate about 2,600 dealerships and close its Pontiac division. GM aims to shed 23,000 jobs – 38% of its workforce – by 2011.

But the company expects to open a new factory in mainland China within the next few years and continues to build upon its 21,000 Chinese employees.

“I think that’s wrong,” Keith Pokrefky, a Michigan autoworker, told NBC’s WILX. “I think that’s wrong for America. I think it’s wrong for American jobs. It’s un-American.”

On the other hand, GM argues that it is only logical to produce cars where they’re going to be sold.

“GM’s philosophy has always been to build where we sell, and we continue to believe that is the best strategy for long-term success, both from a product development and business planning standpoint,” GM’s China office said in a written statement to the Associated Press.

Plus, GM already imports cars from other countries, just not China. The Chevrolet Aveo and Pontiac G3 come from South Korea. The Pontiac G8 comes from Australia. The Saturn Astra comes from Belgium, and the Vue from Mexico.

Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christenson – who was also a consultant to Richard Wagoner, the architect of GM’s China strategy – told TIME that inexpensive, Chinese-made Chevys, exported to the United States could be the “disruptive” force the company needs to resuscitate North American sales.

“It’s exactly the right thing for them to do,” Christenson said.

While China keeps its data on labor costs under lock and key, analysts estimate that wages and benefit payments per factory worker are less than a tenth of what they are in North America, TIME reported.

MSU professor Charles Ballard says that while the notion of outsourcing more jobs to China may not be pleasing, it is also in GM’s best interest.

“I think everyone needs to keep in mind that if this company fails, that’s the worst case scenario," Ballard said. "It would be really good for the people of Michigan and for Lansing for GM to become a viable company. Right now, it’s not."

And perhaps that’s the root of the issue. There was a time when what was good for GM was good for America. But somewhere along the line, the interests of the two diverged. Now, they’re too far entangled for there to be an amicable solution to this problem, and the Obama administration is left with a political powder keg.

The government stepped in to fire former GM chief Richard Wagoner, but it doesn’t want to be too heavy-handed in its treatment of the private sector. It has already spent months sidestepping questions about whether or not it would nationalize US banks.

“We didn’t think in America that the President could fire the CEO of a private company,” one Chinese executive told TIME. “For us Chinese it was very confusing.”

But if the Obama administration lets GM move ahead with its plans, it must confront the unpleasant reality that it is subsidizing the outsourcing of US jobs with taxpayer money.

“Production location is a corporate decision, but when it’s on the taxpayer dime, there are different sensitivities, so the notion of billions for a rescue package and offshore production, I think, could be politically combustible," Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California at Berkley who specializes in labor issues

Source: http://www.moneymorning.com/2009/05/18/general-motors-china/