Saturday, May 24, 2008

The World Congress of Information Technology

Visited WCIT on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was such a good event. I spent about 4-5 hours each day attending a few talks and purely networking. The better you know the industry the more add value you are to others and the more interesting it becomes when attending these events. It was such a big event with top companies in Information Technology and Communications using the 4P’s of marketing at its best. Amongst the top booths which I remember visiting was RedTone, GreenPacket, Fuji Xerox, Dell, Intel, the State IT enquiry showcase, our governmental e-kiosk and many more. Their displays was really good and employee’s was on their feet entertaining our enquiries.

Overall, met a lot of new people and exchanged industry knowledge and shared a lot of market knowledge on hiring and recruitment. I sense a different feeling when people talk to me at these days at aforesaid events. I like engaging on knowledge conversations because you are talking to top people in industry. A bulk of information about competitors and business direction is actually gained from attending such events and you get to see companies showcasing their new product line and services. I guess it all takes efforts; you need the effort when you talk to people.

I attended Leo Ariyanayakam’s talk on Scicom’s business. I was actually impressed with his vision on making Scicom a centre of excellence and education forall-centre agents and his sheer hardwork and determination to making it work. He is one visionary which I was impressed with and his facts and knowledge on the Call-centre business was really in-depth of views from all points. He gave me new insides on the business and predicts by 2012 Malaysia will need slightly over 50’000 call centre agents. He outlines how call-centre is a career building opportunity for graduates or any individuals at all. Having this in mind, I agree with this being a career milestone for a person. Imagine if you do not have a degree and only a diploma or a SPM certificate but have worked in a bank for a few years, a company like Scicom is able to give you a new job as a customer services officer and you would able to rise to the ranks of a level-3 or a call-centre team leader. It is etiquette and how you handle people over the phone. To a certain extend, technical knowledge is not a necessary, depending on which customers you are assigned to, whether a bank or an IT firm. School leavers can grow in a call-centre environment and able to keep our employment rate low and staying at work and not robbing and snatching handbags from our sisters who are walking outside of their houses. I must say the call-centre as a career opportunity also pays well. Like I said in previous posts, with two separate graduates one in a call-centre and one in a software development house, the potential earnings of the call-centre agent is possibly higher than the s/w developer two years after graduating.

Well back to WCIT, this is one of the most informative events I’ve been to. I also like the level of creativeness that firms uses to attract participants to their booths from pretty girls, mimes, excellent tech. displays, freebies, accessorizing their display booths and not forgetting Basis Bay’s Lotus Exige. Another factor which I also realize is how detail and committed employees are to their companies. I see employee’s cleaning their booth’s window with a cloth and a window cleaner, adding small detail to making their booth look nice and simply standing there for our in inviting people in for a chat. They are really committed and it was really good to see.

Another brilliant event hosted in Malaysia and I hope to see more. It was really impressive.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

In industry…

The IT landscape looks rather good for this year. More and more big conglomerates are setting up in Malaysia hence there will be more jobs moving around. People move horizontally or to expand their skills and knowledge. We still have a very big skills shortage in IT in Malaysia. I was recently on a PeopleSoft project and learnt that most of these professionals are in Philippines. They were hard to find and locate but rather eager to explore when found. We do have PeopleSoft application which is used in our companies in Malaysia particularly with Telco’s and banks, but the problem is they are not Malaysians. I mean one of those projects take about a year to implement sometimes, and I think Malaysians should consider adopting the expertise for PeopleSoft applications. I see that as a big need very soon if not today and the salary is good!

With Shell’s 4 billion dollar outsourced deal for AT&T, EDS and T-systems coming in to effect, this would lead to more jobs in the market for only ‘in-demand’ professionals. Market predicts there would be 20-30% redundancies at worst. To me that is a lot. Good for me in some ways, in the sense that I might be able to place these few professionals elsewhere.

This is how it will/might work:

“EDS will manage desktop, service desk, onsite services, backup and disaster recovery, mobile information protection and managed messaging services.

AT&T will deliver WAN and LAN, voice services including IP-based telephony, managed security solutions, mobility services and will support Shell's Virtual Private Network service for more than 50,000 remote workers.

T-Systems will take over the infrastructure and IT professionals of Shell's global data centers, including three centers in the Netherlands and one each in Malaysia and the United States and host the majority of its global SAP services”
Source – zdnetasia.

More and more companies are opening their doors to new technologies. I have been doing a lot of sales interviews recently and a lot of companies are now moving towards digital technology. More companies are moving in to the digitalizing business such as Document Management systems, digital archiving and content management systems. Fuji Xerox would be considered as a leader in this technology firms. Their presence now is in our banks and legal companies. As most local SI companies are partnering with other companies to provide a total solution, Fuji Xerox HAS the total solution in this case hence a 70% winning deal.

Content Management professionals. From time and time throughout this year I have been telco’s, services and media online advertising people who are in need of this skillset. Although they are usually found in Maxis, Digi, Astro or Emi the shortage of this skill means we need to hire people from overseas. I’ve got nothing against that but I would rather Malaysians take on opportunities as such. Malaysia Boleh!

It’s the third year of the Ninth Malaysian Plan. From market analysis, most tenders and projects in IT have been halted for a while. Why, political change? No money? Government not Spending? We don’t know, we all have our opinions. Our local companies are still surviving on their maintenance contracts and moving out of Malaysia for more business to unchartered territories like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia or even Cambodia.

I’m quite excited to attend the WCIT next week. Will see what the outcome is.

Will update.