Sunday, November 16, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Brazil: IT's next India?
Brazil's IT workforce offers the business savvy and technical skills to make offshoring there a worthwhile option for IT's outsourcing needs
Whereas India, China, Eastern Europe, and Russia get the most attention when it comes to outsourcing IT work, Brazil is fast becoming a competitive destination, offering top-quality IT talent in an intriguing location, business-wise.
Of course, every location and workforce, including here in the States, has pluses and minuses -- be it wage scale, time zone, professionalism, or understanding of business requirements. With that in mind, Brazil offers a workforce of IT professionals worth considering for your next outsourcing endeavor.
[ For tips on landing an IT job in Brazil and beyond, see InfoWorld's guide to offshoring yourself. ]
I spoke with Antonio Moreira, CEO of Stefanini IT Solutions' North American operations. Stefanini is a Brazilian IT service provider with 7,000 employees specializing in IT consulting, software development, and integration.
Brazil: an alternative to India and China
First off, Moreira doesn't believe that choosing between, say, India and Brazil as your outsourcing location necessarily has to be an either/or proposition. Rather, he believes companies may want to mitigate risk by using alternative sites.
That said, Moreira does promote Brazil as a place with a lower turnover rate than India, and as a place where IT professionals have a high degree of technical skills and business savvy. Stefanini, for example, experiences an average of 15 percent employee turnover, Moreira says.
As for technical skills, São Paulo has the second-largest community of Java programmers outside of the United States.
Brazil also has what Moreira calls a "western" business culture, including a large financial and banking industry footprint. This means the Brazil IT workforce includes a great many mainframe programmers as well.
"Brazil has a fabulous infrastructure to support the banking industry, and it is leveraged for other industries," Moreira says.
Moreira also says that if you have a Brazilian team on a project and there is a problem that would jeopardize the delivery deadline, Brazilian IT culture is such that Brazilians will share that information with the team back in the United States immediately.
"Brazilians are more proactive," Moreria says. "If they see they are not able to meet the deadline, they do something. They won't wait until the last minute and then say they can't meet the deadline."
I spoke with two U.S. companies about their experiences working with the Brazilian outsourcer.
HNI Corp., in Muscatine, Iowa, and Idera, based in Houston, turned south to Stefanini rather than east to augment their IT staffs.
HNI, a large office furniture manufacturer, and Idera, a software company that creates tools for managing and securing Microsoft Windows Server, first turned to outsourcing because the available local talent pool in their respective areas was tight.
Rural Iowa isn't the easiest place to find IT talent or attract young, upwardly mobile IT professionals, says Mike Roelf, applications manager at HNI. Moreover, Roelf adds, HNI competes for the available talent pool with local giants such as Monsanto and John Deere.
Competition is what keeps Idera from finding sufficient IT talent in local Houston, as it draws from the same pool as do the giant oil and gas companies.
"We compete with the energy industry here, so anyone that can write code, even poorly, is hired by those companies," says Rick Pleczko, Idera's CEO.
Those are the companies' rationales for outsourcing. But why Brazil, I asked Pleczko and Roelf?
Brazil's advantage No. 1: Synchronized business hours
Time-zone overlap proved key to both HNI's and Idera's decisions to outsource to Brazil.
Idera's Plezco says that trying to manage an outsource development team across an 18- to 24-hour time difference would be a daunting task that would have to change the way Idera's teams work.
"If we had a time-zone difference, we would have to write amazingly detailed specs and hand them over and wait for a period of time for feedback and agreement before we let them build. That's not the way we work," says Plezco. Idera's development teams work iteratively. The teams are "exploring and learning as they go."
"What we needed was an outsource team that could provide us with remote people but who could embed themselves in our teams rather than having a separate team," Plezco says.
São Paulo is never more than three hours ahead of the Eastern time zone in the United States, giving Stefanini the ability to adjust hours locally to suit the customer.
For HNI's Roelf, the biggest internal barrier to a successful outsourcing partnership is developing the kind of documents, aka "artifacts," that work well with the outsourcer's environment.
With a decade's work with outsourcers in India, and having traveled to Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, Roelf has come to realize that outsourcing venues such as Brazil offer much fewer hurdles to collaboration in terms of the culture of IT here and abroad.
Brazil's advantage No. 2: Cultural alignment of IT
Plezco adds yet another plus to working with a near-shore country that shares many of the same cultural values.
"We didn't want the culture of 'You tell me what to build, and I will build it, even if I think it is the wrong thing to build,'" says Plezco.
Working with IT staff in Brazil has provided a different experience for Plezco. In Plezco's experience, a Brazilian team will say something like, "We understand what you are trying to do, but we think you will be better off to do this another way."
"This approach is prevalent in the Brazilian workforce," Plezco says.
Cost savings over U.S.-based talent is about two to one, says Plezco.
Both companies believe they could not have developed the number of applications they have completed if they didn't outsource.
"Brazilians embrace the opportunity to work long hours without saying a word, and the next day they are right back first thing in the morning," Plezco says.
Posted by Ephraim Schwartz on November 11, 2008 03:00 AM
Monday, November 10, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Find Out What You Need To Know
Global Customer Support is pleased to announce the launch of your new online support portal, OracleMetaLink 3. To deliver a more streamlined customer and partner support experience, OracleMetaLink 3 will replace Customer Connection, your current support portal, beginning the weekend of November 7-9, 2008.
During the November 7-9 transition weekend, you will not be able to access Customer Connection or MetaLink 3. This means that you will be unable to create, update, or escalate service requests (cases) via the customer portal for your PeopleSoft and JD Edwards products. If you need to perform any of the above tasks during the transition weekend, please contact Global Customer Support via telephone for your service request needs.
The transition to MetaLink 3 is part of the move to consolidate all of Oracle's support applications to a single platform. Because Customer Connection will retire this weekend, it is important to review the information below to ensure you are prepared for the migration to MetaLink 3.
- Important Outage Information
- Ensure Uninterrupted Service - REGISTER NOW FOR MetaLink 3
- Enroll In Free MetaLink 3 Training
- How To Handle Existing Product-Related Issues
- Helpful Resources
Important Outage Information
Customer Connection will be decommissioned at approximately 6:00 p.m. PST on Friday, November 7, 2008. At this time, you will no longer have access to search the knowledge base, view cases, and download patches using the Customer Connection portal. If you need to perform any online service request tasks during the retirement weekend, please contact Global Customer Support via telephone for your service request needs. You should begin using MetaLink 3 as your online support portal on Monday, November 10, 2008.
Beginning Thursday, November 6, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. PST and through the transition weekend, you will not be able to access the PeopleSoft Update Gateway and the JD Edwards Update Center, Change Assistant, and Web SAR (Software Action Request) search. Once the migration is complete, PeopleSoft Updates & Fixes and the JD Edwards Update Center can be accessed from the MetaLink 3 "Patches and Downloads" tab, and these systems will continue to function as they do today. This means that authentication to the patch delivery systems will be through your new MetaLink 3 login/password. IMPORTANT: Please make sure that you pre-register for MetaLink 3 so that you can continue using these tools once the migration is complete. For more information regarding this change, please review our frequently asked questions or access the “Bugs, Patches and Product Updates for PeopleSoft and JD Edwards Products” recorded training module.
Ensure Uninterrupted Service - REGISTER NOW FOR OracleMetaLink 3
It is very important that you register for a new OracleMetaLink 3 account BEFORE NOVEMBER 7, in order to have uninterrupted online service request activities after the transition weekend. If you do not pre-register your account, you will need to register for a MetaLink 3 account after the transition weekend before you can access support through the web. To help you begin your registration process, please access the MetaLink 3 registration instructions. Your registration will require the use of a unique Support Identifier number.
Enroll in Free MetaLink 3 Training
Prepare for the upcoming transition from Customer Connection to MetaLink 3 and enroll in a free training webcast "Moving from Customer Connection to MetaLink 3". This training will provide you with pertinent and useful details about how to best leverage the portal's benefits, functionality and use.
How to Handle Existing Product-Related Issues
The transition to MetaLink 3 does not affect all Oracle customers and partners at this time. Customers and partners using Siebel and Hyperion products were transitioned over to MetaLink 3 earlier this year and should continue using MetaLink 3 for any support interactions. The MetaLink 3 portal will be available for these products during the PeopleSoft and JD Edwards migration weekend.
Beginning November 10, 2008, you can access MetaLink 3 as your online support portal for your PeopleSoft and JD Edwards products. PeopleSoft and JD Edwards support phone numbers will remain the same; however, there will be a new menu that allows you to choose between technical and non-technical options for all product lines.
If you use other Oracle products (E-Business Suite, Oracle Database, Fusion Middleware, BEA etc.) you will need to continue using your existing customer numbers and support web sites (My Oracle Support, Classic MetaLink, and eSupport) for these products until these product groups are migrated to MetaLink 3 at a later date.
Monday, November 3, 2008
With Larry Ellison's OpenWorld 2008 announcement of the HP Oracle Exadata Storage Server and the HP Oracle Database Machine, Oracle is revolutionizing high performance data warehousing. Customers are experiencing performance boosts of 10x or more over their current Oracle data warehouses.
The HP Oracle Exadata Storage Server has smart storage software that offloads data-intensive query processing from Oracle Database 11g Servers and does the query processing closer to the data. It is at the heart of the HP Oracle Database Machine, a complete system, including software, servers, and storage, designed to run high performance multi-terabyte data warehouse.