latest generation IP Phone
the Internet Networking giant, announced the launch of its latest
generation of IP (Internet Protocol) phones recently. Cisco IP Phone
7912G brings state-of-the-art technology to address the needs of
a cubicle worker who conducts low to medium telephone traffic on
a daily basis in the office.
the need for integrated business functionality, businesses/corporates
look beyond conventional voice systems and are moving towards a
converged network. Cisco IP Phones are a part of IP Communications
which enable businesses to become more productive by becoming an
instant link to work resources like purchasing data, inventory management,
corporate calendars, travel services and web content delivery,"
said B. Ashok, Vice President, Cisco India and SAARC of the need
for such a unit. The Cisco IP Phone 7912G supports an integrated
Ethernet switch, providing LAN (Local Area Network) connectivity
to a co-located PC. In addition, the Cisco IP Phone 7912G supports
inline power, which allows the phone to receive power over the LAN.
This capability gives the network administrator centralized power
control, translating into greater network availability. The combination
of inline power and Ethernet switch support reduces cabling needs
to a single wire to the desktop.
voice and video solutions prepare organizations to compete in the
Internet Economy. By converging data, voice and video onto a single
IP network, companies are able to take advantage of IP-based business
applications for enhanced employee productivity; customer flexibility
and control; standards-based, distributed, open architecture and
exceptional customer service.
high in Call Centres survey
Sri Lanka has been rated as the third strongest potential
destination for offshore call centre activity in the Asian region
by a leading offshore call centre operator. British owned Asian
Call Centres (ACC) specializing in call centre related consultancy,
project planning and setup in its Continent Review for 2002 has
grouped the country as the 'chasing pack' behind main contenders
the Philippines and India.
The 2002 ratings
are said to have been boosted by two local companies, Hellocorp
and Hays Commercial Services setting up call centre operations here
last year. One of the companies had been contacted by ACC as part
of their research of the Asian countries.
has cited the ceasefire as a major factor for Sri Lanka's movement
to third overall from an above the tenth rating in the previous
year. However, the country has been rated as low as 13 for factors
such as telecommunications and support services. The ratings are
based on seven characteristics that include quality of English language,
costs, management capability, number of agents already in operation
While all factors
are considered for ratings, the quality of English plays a major
role, according to a local IT official. India's position as second
best is partly due to this reason. Many companies seeking outsourced
call centre support are wary of the Indian accents, according to
the report. The Philippines on the other hand is considered to have
a neutral accent because of the dominance of English in the country.
Lanka has been rated the fourth in English, the rating is hampered
by the infrastructure says a local operator. Jonathan Rasiah, Country
Manager for Hellocorp said that the voice infrastructure needs improvement
before the standard of English can be tested. Hellocorp is part
of a global outsourced call centre operation having clients like
Microsoft, America Online and AT&T as its clients largely provide
text-based support services. "In the Philippines we would be
informed ahead of downtimes, but here even an hour into the downtime
without notice and they cannot locate the fault," said Rasiah,
who has the distinction of setting up operations in the Philippines.
In an earlier
interview with The Sunday Times-FT, Devapriya Perera, General Manager
of Hays Commercial Services that also commenced operations last
year, cited lower a standard of English and the lack of support
services as reasons inhibiting the growth of this business. Perera
was of the view that they are unable to maintain competitive price
offerings because of situations such as having to purchase power
separately in a 24-hour operation.
Centres have over 30 years worldwide experience in having developed,
set and managed call centre activity for key companies such as MCI
Worldcom, Cable and Wireless, Sky, American Express, and Vodka Martini.
Debt to equity
plan for Lanka Bell to remain competitive
Loop operator Lanka Bell Ltd last week announced the conclusion
of a debt-restructuring plan to make it competitive and harness
the benefits of the telecom reforms being offered by the government.
commenced discussions with its major creditors in October 2002 to
resuscitate its debt-ridden operations. The result is a debt elimination
exercise whereby part of its debt would be written off in exchange
for a consideration in equity for the balance. "Our major creditors
have now become part owners. Lanka Bell as a company becomes a zero-debt
telecom operator. This opens us to make strategic partnerships and
seek new finances and be competitive in the market," said Joey
V. Mendoza, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
of Lanka Bell.
The debt close
to $80 million consisted of payment to equipment suppliers, a management
company and other creditors. Major equipment supplier Nortel Networks
cleared Lanka Bell of 90% of its debts in return for a 7% equity
stake, while GTE's payments for a management contract have been
written off completely. Other major creditors included Transasia
Telecom, Miel Investment and AIDEC, who were all given new shares
of the company amounting to 30% of the outstanding in return for
70% debt forgiveness. The composition of shareholding would remain
the same with Transasia Telecom as the dominant shareholder with
a 48% stake.
Asked for reasons
for such an accumulation of debt, Mendoza said, "The choice
of technology at that time catered to a particular market. Wireless
Local Loop technology is costly and it was impossible to offer a
connection to someone willing to pay Rs. 300 a month." Lanka
Bell now hopes to choose technology based on its expansion plans
enabled by the government technology neutral telecommunication licences.
However, the company did not have this option when it entered the
market initially as the licences then stipulated the technology
being used by the operator.
The debt elimination
programme now reflects accumulated profits over Rs. 7 billion in
Lanka Bell's pro forma financial results. The company has also experienced
over 180% growth in business subscriber lines, and a healthy financial
position fuelled by its launching of broadband data services, Internet
and satellite services.
to questions on the new telecom reforms, Mendoza said that the initial
signs are good and cautioned the need for strong structures. "Intrinsically
it is very good, as the barriers are being lowered. It also becomes
a double-edged sword, as it could also mean the survival of the
fittest, and that is why we need the regulatory structures in place,"
head also praised the reforms as benefiting the consumer. He added
that the future Lanka Bell would be stronger with increased products
and services and island wide presence. "We hopefully would
have a partner by then and would take a total solutions approach
to telecommunications," he added
Do you suffer
from Pre and post-mail tension (PPMT)?
People's anxieties and fears over e-mail etiquette and
the inescapable phenomenon of digital blunders has given rise to
a new term - pre and post-mail tension (PPMT).
As many as half of us fail to properly understand personal e-mails
- giving rise to conflicts which may not have occurred if messages
had been communicated face-to-face - and blame the resulting confusion
for arguments and even relationship break-ups.
The plain text
nature of most e-mail means common conversational ploys, such as
sarcasm, often do not travel well.
professor of Human Computer Interaction at London's City University:
"E-mail is a great way to make contact with people and maybe
develop a romance. The problem of PPMT we have revealed by these
statistics is caused not by e-mail itself, but how people let their
anticipation and expectation get the better of them.
a massive 61 per cent of e-mail users live in fear of becoming the
next Claire Swires, panicking about any personal or sordid information
that they include in an e-mail, worried that it may fall into the
wrong hands and be circulated.
an overnight celebrity after details of a very personal 'moment'
with her boyfriend were forwarded to his friends and then the rest
of the world.
Yahoo! Mail, who polled 26,000 e-mail users, people can also become
obsessed with 'inbox expectations'--constantly opening their inbox
to see if a particular e-mail has elicited a response.
also revealed that as many as 64 percent of us have problems concentrating
on work if we are waiting for a reply to a specific e-mail. The
findings suggest cyber-slacking is still on the increase for modern
office workers and make a further mockery of the idea that e-mail
was intended to simplify our lives.
Singapore website, News channel)
SEA to train
on project management and testing
The Human Resources
and Training arm of the Software Exporters' Association (SEA) plans
to conduct workshops on software project management and testing
from May 5 to 7. The workshops are being organized as part of the
association's plans to focus on "Quality improvement for Software
Professionals" this year. The association has already conducted
two workshops on the widely accepted CMM certifications within the
IT industry during this year.
series of sessions will comprise Training on Project Management
for CEO's on May 5 and Software Testing and Quality Assurance training
workshop on May 6 and 7.
IT project to be successful, it is vital that it be managed effectively
and efficiently to ensure timely completion within the allocated
budget. Organizations very often spend millions of rupees on IT
projects that end with budget overruns and even prove to be failures.
In this aspect CEO's of vendor as well as the buyer organizations
have vital roles to play," said Anuradha Tennekoon of SEA who
is coordinating the training programmes.
workshop of testing and quality assurance will enable local organizations
to work towards producing bug free software of the highest quality,
thus becoming competitive in the global software market. "Be
it for the local or international market the software products should
be of a very high quality in order to achieve its objectives. This
workshop will give the Sri Lankan IT industry insights into Software
Testing and Quality Assurance," he said on the necessity for
will comprise senior personnel from Mphasis, India with wide international
exposure. Mphasis is a CMM Level 5 and ISO 9001 certified company.
Those interested in participating at these events could contact
the SEA secretariat at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on phone 421745
- 6, 074-716673.
Sri Lankan heads
top 'IT stock' in US
A Sri Lankan-born
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has been rated as one of the top 25
CEO's in USA, while his company has been rated best performing information
technology stock across stock exchanges in the US for 2002 by Forbes
Magazine. Kumar Wijeyaraj Mahadeva, who was born and educated in
Colombo, is credited to having built Cognizant Technology Solutions,
a $1.4 billion market capitalization company in the US and heads
the company as Chairman and CEO. Cognizant has also been ranked
as a top Information Technology company in Forbes' 200 Best Small
Companies in America and in Business Week's Hot Growth Companies.
custom information technology design, development, integration and
maintenance services through development centres in India and Ireland,
and onsite client teams. Having achieved this top position, the
company is evaluating cost-advantages of Asian and East European
countries to expand its base and operations. Mahadeva whose vision
is to grow the company into a billion dollar enterprise in the next
few years with a truly global presence, has China, Eastern Europe
and Sri Lanka high on the list.
with the peace process taking a welcome direction, I am keenly looking
at Sri Lanka for opening a development centre, initially to take
care of business continuity and back up requirements of Cognizant.
I am convinced of the great potential that Sri Lanka has in the
IT and BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) space and I am sincerely
looking at opportunities for Cognizant in Sri Lanka", said
the Cognizant head in an exclusive (email) interview with The Sunday
Times FT. He added that Sri Lanka could possibly be his next destination
for expansion ahead of China and Eastern Europe, if the peace process
The son of
a former permanent secretary in the Sri Lankan Government Administrative
Service, Mahadeva was educated at Royal College before leaving to
pursue his Master's degree in electrical engineering at Cambridge
University, England, and later a Master in Business Administration
(MBA) from the prestigious Harvard Business School.
vast experience working as a business strategist for some of the
top global companies before forming Cognizant. Starting his career
in research and development at the British Broadcasting Corporation
(BBC) in London, he has served AT&T as the Director of Strategy
and Corporate Development, and as Chairman of Dun and Bradstreet
India and China. He was also a consultant to CEOs of information
technology companies on issues related to corporate development,
strategy, and operations at McKinsey and Company.
The urge to
leverage his rich consulting experience and spearhead his own enterprise
led him to launch Cognizant, initially as a technology division
of the Dun and Bradstreet Corporation. Today, as the Chairman and
CEO of Cognizant, he manages the company from Teaneck, New Jersey,
US. Cognizant has over 6,100 software professionals globally, spread
over eleven development centres in Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Bangalore
and Hyderabad in India; in Limerick, Ireland; and Phoenix, USA.
Cognizant reported revenues of $229 million for 2002, growing at
a rapid pace with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 84% since
its inception in 1994.
the companys performance despite the economic downturn to
its intense customer focus made possible by an "onsite-offshore
model". Cognizant's head chose to have the delivery out of
India and the leadership in the US as opposed to having both in
one location. This "best of both worlds" approach helped
Cognizant to develop better insight into its customers' business
through its leadership team located closer to the customers.The
leadership team's proximity to the customers helped Cognizant establish
tighter customer relationships and attain highest standards of responsiveness
and flexibility, and the delivery team in cost-effective India helped
the company scale up the number of professionals in keeping with
its growth potential.
attributed to Cognizant's success is the multi-national and multi-cultural
character nature of the company. "My journey across the Asia-Pacific,
Europe and the US, working across different cultures helped me build
the foundation of Cognizant.
challenge in the IT industry today is managing customers and people
across different cultures and continents; my experience straddling
this critical dimension has been an advantage," he said.
software programmes have grown 175% among large companies in the
last 18 months. More than 70% of firms now outsource at least some
of their software development. Open 24 hours and based in Teaneck,
N.J., Cognizant maintains 12 development sites across India. The
time difference means the firm can offer around-the-clock tech services
to clients. Cognizant competes against larger offshore service firms,
including Wipro Technologies Ltd and Infosys Technologies Ltd. Yet
Cognizant has grown strongly through the economic downturn. Earnings
rocketed from 8 cents per share in 1997 to $1.15 in 2001.
Return on equity
averaged 31% annually during the same period," reported Evans
Data Corporation on a recent analysis of the company.