domingo, octubre 26, 2008
lunes, octubre 20, 2008
La empresa californiana de internet Yahoo tiene previsto implementar un plan de recorte de gastos que incluye, entre otras medidas, el despido de más de 1.000 trabajadores, informó 'The Wall Street Journal'.
Según el rotativo norteamericano, que cita a una fuente cercana a la operación, el número de despidos podría superar así los 1.000 que fueron anunciados en enero y que suponían el 7 por ciento de la plantilla, que a 30 de junio estaba compuesta por más de 14.000 empleados.
Con este plan, que se anunciará posiblemente mañana, coincidiendo con la presentación de los resultados trimestrales, Yahoo pretende mejorar su situación para hacer frente a la crisis económica y a la dura competencia existente en el sector.
De materializarse el anuncio, se tratará del mayor ajuste de empleo en la historia de Yahoo, superando al ejecutado en 2001 cuando despidió a 660 trabajadores.
La nota de Worthen es comentada por Vinnie Mirchandani, que desde hace algún tiempo le viene dedicando espacio a SAP, particularmente por su política de costos de mantenimiento a sus clientes. Que muy probablemente también sufrirá cambios.
SAP announced last week that its revenue for the quarter would fall short of its guidance due to a sudden drop in orders at the end of September. That sent the company into cost-cutting mode, as outlined in an email co-CEOs Henning Kagermann and Leo Apotheker sent to staff last week. A copy of the email was obtained by the Business Technology Blog.
The party line in the tech industry is that businesses will keep spending on tech because it makes them more efficient. This, in turn will help them survive the downturn. We’re not sure whether to file this under irony or hypocrisy, but SAP is – you guessed it – halting new spending on information technology. “We will review all planned investments in IT equipment, hardware, software, facilities, and company cars, as well as internal IT projects,” the co-CEOs wrote in the email. “Do not order any new equipment at this time.”
The email captures the uncertainty at SAP – uncertainty that is no doubt shared by other companies in the industry. “No one at this point can say how markets and customers will react in the coming months,” the email says. “In this turbulent economic environment, we will be giving added attention to sustaining our margin and earnings health.”
Aside from halting its tech spending, here’s how SAP plans to do that, as taken verbatim from the email:
* Headcount and Hiring Freeze: “There is a complete headcount and hiring freeze, and all existing job vacancies will be canceled. This includes any temporary workers, interns, and students. There will be no replacements for employees leaving SAP. No internal transfers may take place. Only those written offers sent to a candidate and/or internal transfers agreed to on or before October 7, 2008, will go forward.”
* Third-Party Expenses: “Since we are not hiring, all engagement with external recruiters must cease immediately. We will discontinue engagement with management consultants and evaluate the impact this has on ongoing projects. Until further notice, all external training is to be canceled. Internal meetings must be held within SAP buildings, and you cannot rent external conference facilities for this purpose.”
* Travel: “Cease ALL internal non-customer-facing travel in October…Any non-customer-facing travel already booked should be canceled immediately, even if this incurs penalties.” SAP sales people will also have to fly coach from now on unless they use miles to upgrade.
jueves, octubre 16, 2008
En primer lugar, los nuevos anuncios:
The company is today [10 de octubre] due to announce M, for building textual domain-specific languages (DSLs) and software models with XAML. Microsoft will also announce Quadrant, for building and viewing models visually, and a repository for storing and combining models using a SQL Server database.Gavin Clarke, para The Register, destaca el impulso que Oslo implica para las Software Factories de Microsoft. Los subrayados en verde, como siempre, son míos:
(...) Wahbe said [Quadrant] will be a generic editor that lets you view a model as a list of nodes, a tree, graph, or boxes of lines laid our for a workflow and combine views to visualize the model.
(...) Underpinning this will be the repository, where you will be able to combine models. Wahbe said models could be combined because they'd be translated into their basic elements - tables. The repository will support models from third parties and those built using UML in addition to those constructed in M and Quadrant.
Kathleen Richards, en Application Development Trends, dice sobre Oslo:
Oslo is Microsoft's big new push to give developers tools and techniques in modeling and code re-use to improve the design, build, and testing of software. The SOA tie-in comes through the ability to combine models with things such as Microsoft's Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) for process and workflow.
It's a fresh take on an existing model and code re-use concept. Some years back, Microsoft was pushing the idea of Software Factories that featured in the then-new Visual Studio Team System (VSTS).
Software Factories used DSLs and XML for you to build re-usable models that punched out code for specific uses - or domains such as, say, HR in banking.
The factories idea came as it attempted to "democratize" application lifecycle management (ALM) with VSTS by making tools for modeling and testing easier to use. Also, Microsoft was adopting the idea of working with highly tuned DSLs rather than the more generic industry standard Unified Modeling Language (UML), which was seen by some as bloated with version 2.0.
While an admirable strategy, Software Factories have not taken off as Microsoft had probably hoped, and modeling remains a pursuit not of coders but mostly of architects and designers.
Robert Wahbe, corporate vice president of Microsoft's connected systems division, told The Reg that Oslo would give Software Factories a "huge boost" as it would make models easier to build both textually and visually. Wahbe said M will provide unique services not available in other languages - in declarative keywords and syntax and how the DSL is translated and stored in the repository.
Oslo is designed to unify Microsoft's modeling technologies. It is likely to be the successor to the company's modeling tools such as the Web Services Software Factory: Modeling Edition, which offers guidance and code generation in Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008.Kathleen agrega un aspecto probable en cuanto al objetivo de Quadrant: su utilización como herramienta de modelado para analistas de negocio:
First announced in October 2007, Oslo will enable .NET developers to more easily create domain-specific languages -- custom mini-languages, often industry- or component-related, that can be used to solve similar problems in a common domain. Microsoft's existing DSL toolkit, which focuses on graphical DSL, first appeared as an extension to Visual Studio 2005 and was baked into the Visual Studio 2008 SDK.
Oslo extends the existing DSL Toolkit; adds support for UML, BPMN and BPEL via a visual designer; and stores the artifacts and conceptual diagrams in a common SQL Server database. The goal is to enhance traditional imperative programming techniques with higher-level models to improve flexibility in terms of extensibility and changing the behavior of the app, as well as to increase transparency and productivity.
Todavía sigue pareciendo un bosquejo. Sigue produciendo(me) la impresión de ser un modo de llegar al diseño dirigido por modelos a partir de herramientas de tercera generación que se desea preservar.
Data-driven app developer Roger Jennings, a contributing editor to Redmond Developer News' sister publication Visual Studio Magazine and OakLeaf Systems blogger, said that with Oslo, Microsoft is moving to a repository for componentized software. The company's intention is to make the visual designer Quadrant usable by business analysts -- to modify workflows, for example -- but whether that will work is unclear. "My feeling about Oslo is that what they are trying to do is get business analysts involved in the design process, but not necessarily doing the design," Jennings said.
According to Wahbe, the first version of Oslo is definitely targeted at the development community. For business analysts and end users, he said, "What we expect is that those models will be surfaced naturally within their existing toolsets." For example, SharePoint has document approval that "under the covers" is using a model and workflow but that is not directly exposed to the user.
However, he added, "The tool that we've built is very easy to use and we imagine over time analysts and IT using that tool."
lunes, octubre 13, 2008
Entonces, quizá no venga mal analizar un poco qué pasará con la industria del software.
Mirando las cotizaciones de acciones en las principales bolsas, no se ve a las mayores empresas de software entre las principales afectadas, salvo algunas excepciones. Sin embargo, un enfriamiento de la economía implica posiciones conservadoras de parte de todas las actividades económicas, servicios, y administración estatal: ahorro, recorte de proyectos, simplificación de objetivos. Existe otro aspecto contrapuesto, ya que a mayor necesidad, se requeriría aguzar el ingenio para sobrevivir, y quizá haya lugar para innovaciones de retorno efectivo.
Pero los proyectos dispendiosos, ¿continuarán? Aquellos que dependan de las administraciones gubernamentales o de grandes corporaciones, estarán bajo celoso seguimiento probablemente, si acaso consiguen presupuesto.
Probablemente habrá que seguir de cerca la evolución de los grandes ERPs, por ejemplo: Oracle, SAP, que por de pronto, han presentado algunos signos de dificultad.
¿Qué pasará con el outsourcing? Tendrán prioridad los grandes centros, o se pronunciará la tendencia al outsourcing más cercano, en regiones próximas? Latinoamérica se beneficiaría frente a Asia.
Por unos días, trataremos de tomar casos y opiniones: estamos en el borde de cambios de varios años.
viernes, octubre 10, 2008
Lo más importante de la nota:
Outsourcing is becoming more and more common place for companies and clients in the developed world. The Internet, email, and lately collaborative applications like Skype, ClockingIT, Basecamp, and WebEx have made it easier to outsource work that can be sent digitally. Creative Work has long been considered difficult to outsource since it needed close contact between client & provider and is often culture specific. Creative work is now the new outsourcing threshold. Where can you best outsource Creative Work? To India where the majority of programming is going, or to China, the manufacturing giant? What about Eastern Europe or Mexico? Finally all water flows to the lowest point. The lowest point is defined as the place where we find the best price and quality relationship. We have reason to believe that Argentina will become the global center for Creative Outsourcing. The abundance of creative talent, highly educated specialists, Western culture and low cost make Argentina ideal for the outsourcing of Web Design, Graphic Design, Flash, 3D, Games and Video.Podríamos decir que este artículo fue escrito a mediados de septiembre, o algo antes. La visión optimista de un mercado creativo creciente está ahora para ser revisado, frente a una probable recesión de mediana o larga duración. Sin embargo los recursos humanos están allí, avanzando a pesar de las dificultades de todo tipo. Ciertamente, la idea de outsourcing se generalizó en Argentina como una alternativa e iniciativa en las peores circunstancias. Quizá también encuentren su camino en este nuevo escenario próximo.
What makes Argentina so well suited for Creative Outsourcing?
1. Economic setting
Companies in Argentina only started to export services after the big depreciation of its currency at the end of 2001. Let me explain why. Up until the late 1980s telecoms companies were monopolies or state owned and famous for their inefficiency. It took the average Argentinean citizen up to 15 years to get a telephone land line connection. Then, in 1989 President Menem came to power. He did two things that eventually turned Argentina into an export country for services. First, he freed up the telecoms market. The state owned companies were sold to European buyers. Companies like Telecom from Italy and Telefonica from Spain invested heavily in a modern telecoms infrastructure. They placed fiber optic lines throughout Buenos Aires and connected the major urban centers. Within a few years people had easy access to modern telephone systems. This alone, however, did not turn Argentina into an outsourcing power house. Menem's second priority was to curb the country's endemic inflation. The Argentine government attached the value of the Argentine Peso to the US Dollar in equity of 1 Peso to 1 Dollar. This meant that, by law, the Peso could not decrease in value more than the Dollar. Hyperinflation came to an immediate standstill but prices kept rising, albeit at a slower pace. Soon a Coca Cola cost more in Buenos Aires than in New York. Argentina started to import more and more and its local industry began to perish. Argentina could not compete with the modern and highly capital intensive industries of Western Europe and the United States. To matters worse, Menem was unable to balance the books. The government spent more money than it received. The holes were filled with loans which resulted in an ever growing debt burden. Finally, at the end of 2001 the system collapsed. The country defaulted on its loans and its currency depreciated 3 to 1 to the dollar. This left Argentina with a modern telecom infrastructure, a competitive telecom market, highly skilled labor and wages that could be compared to India, but no one to benefit from these enormous opportunities. The first players to jump into the market were international call center giants like Teleperfomance and Teletec. Soon after, companies that included services like programming and web development were investing time and resources into Argentina. Everything that could be sold digitally prospered. You might wonder where this new situation will lead. What is the comparative advantage of Argentina over the rest of the world? While browsing local web pages and observing the quality of local television ads you will find that Argentina has an excellent price and quality for creative services. Creativity or Western culture cannot be taught in a university. It is something deeply ingrained into a country's genes. Where India and China can beat the world in programming and manufacturing, Argentina can be best at providing high quality creative services with a Western style. Let's look a bit more into the elements that make Argentina well suited to deliver creative services.
2. Abundance of Creative talent
When hiring creative talent in Argentina you will be surprised at the number and quality of people that apply for a creative position. The abundance of highly qualified people that look for work as a web designer, graphic designer, 3D specialist, animator and video developer is just stunning. Upon a closer look to the existing creative outsourcing industry you will find a plethora of very professional companies with great design capacity that you will not see in other countries like The United States or Europe. Digging deeper, you will find that Argentina has always had the highest cultural standing in South America. Buenos Aires is the center of South America for cabaret, cinema and TV productions. Recently MTV decided to move their regional head quarters to Buenos Aires. As one can guess, MTV is one of the most creative companies worldwide. MTV Networks' CEO Robert Bakish commented that "Exporting Argentine creativity will enforce our commitment to create the best content for our audience".
3. Highly Educated Population
Historically, Argentina has the best educational system in South America. There is great availability of highly skilled professionals, especially in the field of IT, as this sector has developed significantly in Argentina over the past few years. Argentineans have always been very successful abroad and are well-known for their professionalism.
4. Western Style favors Argentina
98% of Argentineans are of European descent with the majority being a mix between Italians and Spanish immigrants. Argentina has always looked at Europe as their point of reference, and this resulted in Buenos Aires claiming the title of the "Paris of South America". Visitors are unanimously enthusiastic about this cosmopolitan city with its architecture, night life, cultural activity, tango, and fashion industry with its creative flair and international style.
5. Wage prices can be compared to India
Since the end of 2001 the country has recovered most of the jobs that were lost and some of its purchasing power. Salaries for highly qualified creative people still run at around 700 USD per month. Due to the abundance of people aspiring to work in the creative sector the wages remain stable. Exceptional people accept relatively low wages just to be able to work and gain experience in the industry. Furthermore, Buenos Aires is one of the cheapest capitals in the world. Salary costs in Argentina are 60% lower than the average salary costs in Eastern Europe, which are 15% higher than the average wages in India.
6. Creative Outsourcing Market booming
Argentina has seen an enormous boom in its outsourcing industry since 2001. Companies like Connaxis (www.creative-outsourcing.com); Latin3 (www.latin3.com), WebAr (www.webar.com), WUNDERMAN (www.wundermandigital.com.ar), crossmedia (www.crossmedia.com), Boogie Man Media (www.boogiemanmedia.com), XAGA (www.XAGA.com), 451 (www.451.com), Bridger Conway (www.bridgerconwayinteractive.com), Group94 (www.group94.com), and Gameloft (www.gameloft.com) have experienced significant exponential growth over the past 6 years. Lately, companies like MTV made Buenos Aires its local Latin American hub to produce all creative work for the Latin American Market. Connaxis is the first company to recognize Creative Outsourcing as one of the countries greatest strategic long term opportunities. Connaxis CEO, Peter van Grinsven, commented that "The strength of Argentina lies in its abundance of creative talent, highly educated specialists, Western culture and low cost". Latin3 is the premier provider of "Exponential Marketing" services in Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic markets. This company is a creative outsourcing giant, employing 120 professionals and developing creative work for companies like Cisco Latin America, Dell Latin America, Lexicon, Microsoft Latin America, Nextel International, Pepsi Latin America and many more. Gameloft has been developing mobile games in Argentina since 2001 and expanded its staff to over 400 professionals in 2008. Recently, MTV has announced its plan to create 200 new full time work positions. MTV Buenos Aires will become the creative center of Latin America for MTV, Vh1 and Nickelodeon, with the responsibility of creating a portion of all the creative work done for cinema.
The success of these companies is only the beginning. It is a story in the making. Argentina is transforming itself to be the creative outsourcing center of the world. It is already a success story for the first mover companies described in this article. These companies are experiencing exponential growth and worldwide recognition for creative skills delivered to their international clients. It is not a story of selling web design but one of 'creativity'; it is something more abstract that originates from deep within a country's culture and history. The mix of citizens with western European dissent, the particular history, and the recent introduction of email and the Internet is generating a new industry of Creative Outsourcing in Argentina.
jueves, octubre 09, 2008
Como no podía ser de otra manera (y ojalá un día alguien lo asuma), una de cal y otra de arena. El primer comentario a la nota de Vinnie apunta a las contras:
"Outsourcing of Creative Work is to Argentina what Outsourcing of Programming is to India..."
While this report I wrote about last week, basically said forget country, focus on cities when it comes to global sourcing, a press release I saw this week says - wait, it's not either or. Country competence is still important when it comes to tech. It was talking about Argentina's focus on creative web design.
"The abundance of highly qualified people that look for work as a web designer, graphic designer, 3D specialist, animator and video developer is just stunning. ...Argentina has always had the highest cultural standing in South America. Buenos Aires is the center of South America for cabaret, cinema and TV productions. Recently MTV decided to move their regional head quarters to Buenos Aires. As one can guess, MTV is one of the most creative companies worldwide."
Fair point, and as we look around in technology there are definite signs of country competence.
For example - before Argentina gets too confident about its creative juices, check out this article about animation skills in Korea. And notice the article was dated over a decade ago. Taiwan, which contributes many components to the iPhone, and is home to HTC has like Finland, with Nokia made a name for itself in mobile world. Singapore has been establishing itself as a bio-medical hub. Israel leads in various security areas - though Estonia has been building its own cyber-security reputation. Brazil is being called the "Saudi Arabia of biofuels" - I saw ethanol used there in cars on a visit in 1984. Dubai is leading the Middle East with its innovation and architecture, construction and engineering. Philippines has made a name around call centers and increasingly other BPO.
I could go on and on.
Ok, country and city choice are both pretty important when it comes to global sourcing. And of course the vendor, and probably most importantly the vendor team.
martes, octubre 07, 2008
- Los argentinos están muy preparados. Hay una base de empresas importantes, con gente formada, buenas universidades, abundancia de ingenieros y entramado empresarial en todos los niveles –de grandes multinacionales a PYMES-.
- Tanto la economía como la población tiene una gran concentración en el Gran Buenos Aires que suma casi la mitad de la población y buena parte de las empresas. No obstante oras ciudades como Córdoba, Mendoza, Rosario o La Plata tienen empresas pujantes que, en muchas ocasiones, son contratadas por las ubicadas en la capital.
- Hay una apuesta nacional por el desarrollo de software y ello ha implicado una ley a la medida, la creación de un barrio tecnológico al estilo @22 y fuertes estímulos a la exportación con la creación de la ley de Promoción de la Industria del Software y Servicios Informáticos
- Muchas empresas ya están exportando e incluso adaptan sus horarios para coordinar la relación, entrando algunos de ellos a las 6 de la mañana para incrementar las horas simultáneas con clientes europeos.
- La mayoría de los exportadores tienen ya una buena base de clientes en EEUU incluyendo un abanico muy amplio. Desde Google –aquí se ha desarrollado parte de CheckOut y OpenSocial- a PYMES de un par de empleados.
- La mayoría de los exportadores tienen en las empresas de desarrollo de software y diseño web a sus principales clientes.
- Las empresas bonaerenses empiezan a tener problemas en captar personal cualificado y muchos de ellos tienen freelances o otras empresas fuera de la zona a las que subcontratan en puntas de trabajo.
- La forma de operar con ellos puede ser tanto por proyecto –precio cerrado sobre un desarrollo concreto- como por horas –contratación de recursos cualificados por horas-. El coste de hora de un programador con más de 3 años de experiencia ronda de los 12 a los 25 euros.
- Hay muchas más empresas con conocimiento en Java y .Net pero pocas en PHP o Ruby.
Como no podía ser de otra manera, en otro post describe los puntos débiles y cargas que se deben afrontar. Y como en otros sectores que podrían aportar crecimiento a la economía, encontramos la carga que reclama el Estado. Es de observar que las iniciativas que ayudaron a salir de la crisis, en general han nacido del esfuerzo de particulares, con poca colaboración de la Administración. Así, apunta Antonio:
Siempre nos quejamos de impuestos, ya sea como aprticulares o como empresarios. Así que, aunque sea un mal consuelo, os dejo unos datos de como está la situación impositiva en Argentina.
Toda empresa debe pagar lo siguiente:
Impuesto sobre ingresos brutos. Un 3% directo sobre la facturación a liquidar mensualmente -independientemente de tus beneficios-.
Impuesto sobre las transferencias. Un 0,6% con cada movimiento de ingreso o pago en cuenta. En total, un 1,2% que el banco cobra y liquida posteriormente al estado.
Impuesto de utilidades o nuestro equivalente a sociedades. 35% sobre el beneficio.
IVA o Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido. 21% del total.
En especial me asombra ese 4,2% sobre las ventas entre los dos primeros impuestos.
Para más dolor, añadirle que cualquier dinero que se recibe del extranjero debe de ser canalizado a través de un banco central que despues retrasa el pago hasta tu cuenta final entre 15 y 30 días. Esto es, un cliente español paga a un banco que actúa como consolidador y controlador para después liquidar a la cuenta del empresario argentino.