Getronics: Grass is greener in outsourcing

Getronics Solutions believes the pasture is indeed greener, and lo and behold – the pains and pleasures of being in the outsourcing business are really different.

Not too long ago, a project team in British Petroleum were poring over their plans to roll out the latest networking protocol that will be implemented over their company’s intranet. It is called OSPF, a hierarchical IGP routing algorithm proposed as a successor to RIP in the Internet community, and they believe it will revolutionize their network and improve the efficiency and security of their network.

John Maloch

In a typical day, after three hours of examining the pros and cons of each process and drawing the schematic diagrams, they would decide to call it a day and postpone the decision to next month when they can test out their network on a router that will be shipped to their office on a date to be determined by their local supplier.

Well, they can wait… as the discussion has been going on for the past seven months and they are looking forward to testing out their proof of concept on the new equipment. One year later, they jammed it into their network and it worked and they felt elated. It was worth it, they thought.

YES

In retrospect, John Maloch, who spent six years as Telecoms manager at British Petroleum in Houston, believed that it could have been better handled by a professional services company who knows what works and could have done it in less than half the time.

“I don’t blame them because most internal IT do these things once in their lifetime. Now, we do five in a year,” said the vice president for Asia at Getronics Solutions. In his seven years in Getronics todate, he believes the pasture is indeed greener, and lo and behold – the pains and pleasures of being in the outsourcing business ARE really different. John related how purchasing managers can play a significant role in raising the efficiency of the IT outsourcing industry as a whole: “They have a direct impact on their company’s total cost of IT ownership, and outsourcing companies like ours have demonstrated that we can lower their global unit costs like desktop and server support to under US$1,000 per desktop.

“We have the economy of scale and they don’t. They have to play smart. Of course, unit costs vary from countries in Asia but when compared to US TCO models like TPC-C, we beat them all the time here.”

Also, he chided purchasing managers who try to outsmart their outsourcing vendor by dragging their feet during negotiations: “When you take three months to close a contract with your supplier, it hurts them. But then they will price it into the contract later and you end up paying more,” he explained. As a provider, he is upfront with his customers on his cost points.

“If you look at the cost points of a service level agreement (SLA), there are usually four or five things that really matter, and purchasing managers do themselves a favor by focusing on them rather than the small things because a happy supplier will do those (small) things anyway,” he continued.

What he has observed in Asia is that some companies give “gold” service for bronze pricing and that is a sure formula for disaster because one will have high expectations which the other cannot meet.

“Our margins are not negotiable,” he stressed, “but we will help them reduce their unit costs over a period of time. Global companies like Shell and Philips appreciate these and we have won them over from other IT outsourcing companies.”

Speaking to ZDNetAsia after the opening of their S$250,000 (US$142,000) Customer Solutions Center located Singapore, John said that Getronics Solutions will offer Microsoft Windows 2000 and Exchange2000 compatibility testing and risk management. With this new center, Getronics can simulate e-business solutions, knowledge management, security, IP telephony and wireless LAN solutions.

A similar solutions testing center will open in China later this year, either in Beijing or Shanghai. Getronics already has offices in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.

Getronics was the first Cisco Global Support Partner to achieve both Global Voice Access and Global Security Specializations back in July 2000. The company has also been awarded Advance Security Specialization in Singapore

John is candid when he talks about the e-transformation of business processes by the Internet. “I can collaborate with our engineers across the globe without looking at the guys but the job gets done – and it gets done fast!

“In software applications, you don’t care who cuts the code but customers just want something that can do the job – they don’t want the best code. But they want it fast and cheap,” he concluded.