Tag Archives: British Telecom

The name of the sponsor

The article that was in the Guardian on Friday, gives us a few issues. You see, I have been looking at several issues in the tech world and I overlooked this one (there is only so much reading that can be done in a 24 hour range and it is a big planet). You see the article ‘Yahoo faces questions after hack of half a billion accounts’ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/sep/23/yahoo-questinos-hack-researchers) gives us the goods from the very beginning. The quote “Yahoo’s admission that the personal data of half a billion users has been stolen by “state-sponsored” hackers leaves pressing questions unanswered, according to security researchers“, is one I would go with ‘and the evidence?‘, which gives us all kinds of related connections. The quote “Jeremiah Grossman, head of security strategy at infosec firm SentinelOne, said: “While we know the information was stolen in late 2014, we don’t have any indication as to when Yahoo first learned about this breach. This is an important detail in the story.”” is only one of a few issues at the heart of the matter. You see, when we look at the issues that are the plague of these start-up firms (Yahoo and Sony), we should think that they are start-up firms or they are massively negligent. In both cases their routers allowed for the transfer of massive amounts of data. As they are the same size in start-up (sorry, sarcasm prevails), we need to wonder how a few hundred million packages fall between the cracks of vision of whatever security element their IT has. We could wait until someone states that there is no security on that level and the race is truly on then!

This whilst additional support as seen stated by Chris Hodson, EMEA chief information security officer at enterprise security firm Zscaler, when we read: ““With no technical details included in Yahoo’s report about how the data was exfiltrated, just that it was, it’s impossible to assess credibility of the ‘state sponsored’ claim“, a statement I agree, but in addition, I also wonder why we aren’t seeing any reference or initial response from the FBI that this was from North Korea. It fits the time frame doesn’t it? First a dry run on Yahoo and the actual heist was Sony. Or perhaps some players are figuring out that North Korea was never an element and that someone clever enough found a flaw and hit both Yahoo and Sony. The quote “both from the date of the hack, almost two years ago, and from the first appearance of the dumped data on the dark web almost two months ago where it was being sold by a user named “Peace of Mind””, the speculation comes to mind: ‘perhaps this person is the second owner and this person is reselling acquired data’, which would make sense in several capitalisic ways. The article also enlightens what I believe to be a callous approach to security: “The breach also highlights a strong problem with “security questions”, the common practice of letting users reset passwords by answering questions about their first house or mother’s maiden name. Yahoo did not encrypt all the security questions it stored, and so some are readable in plaintext. While it may be irritating to have to change a stolen password, it is somewhat worse to have to change a stolen mother’s maiden name.” The insensitive disregard is clear when the security question is not encrypted and mum’s maiden name is given in plain text, adding to the personal data the thieves borrowed (long-term). Now, we know that there are in these situations several questions, and not all are really about privacy sensitive based data (like a favourite pet), but consider the 2013 movie ‘Now You See Me‘ Consider the dialogue in the New Orleans Show scene:

Jack Wilder: How could we, Art? We don’t have your password.
Henley Reeves: We’d need access to information we could never get our hands on.
Daniel Atlas: Yes, security questions, for instance, like, I don’t know, your mother’s maiden name or the name of your first pet.
Merritt McKinney: Where would we get that information, Art? You certainly would never tell us.

A movie gives us the danger to our goods a year before this data is stolen and nobody presses the alarm bell? The only part that would be even funnier if this was a Sony movie, but no, it was Summit Entertainment who brought this gemstone! Now, we know that life is not a movie, yet the fact that this part is stored as plain text, perhaps not the best solution! In addition as IT developers tend to be lazy, how many other firms, especially those who are a lot smaller, how are they storing this data? Also in plain text?

You see, I have seen parts of this issue too often. Too many firms have no real grasp of non-repudiation and go through the motions so that they seem (read: present themselves) to be about security, yet not really security driven. Because if the client doesn’t want it (many are too lazy), they have opted for it and they are in the clear. Yet when we see that the security questions are in plain text, questions should be asked, very serious questions I might add!

There is one more side to all this, the Guardian raises it with: “what happens to the company’s multi-billion dollar merger with Verizon now? Kevin Cunningham, president and founder at identity company SailPoint, argues that the breach should already be priced in“, we then see the issues of thoroughness raised from Verizon, but in all this, the data theft does not makes sense. You see, if my speculation is true and “Peace of Mind” is the first sales iteration, was this ID the only customer? If so, how come that the sale took this long, the timeout between the event in 2014 and the optional sale a few months ago is weird, as accounts change so quickly, the power and value is in quick sales. To put it in perspective, selling the data to 10 people for a total of 5% of the value is safer then awaiting for one person getting 70% of the value 90 days later. This is a movers and shakers world, the 90 day person is a perhaps and these people are about the ‘cash now’. The market stall people! So in this an 800 day customer implies that there might have been ulterior reasons. Which one(s) I can only speculate on, and I prefer not to do that at present. Now, in that side, it is of course possible that this was ‘state-sponsored’ and it was sold on to keep the wolves at bay, but that too is speculation with absolutely no data to back the speculation up.

Verizon might have taken a calculated level of risk in acquiring Yahoo, yet if the data transgression was never divulged, would this be a case of fraud? The US has the “benefit of bargain” rule, so there could be a decent case of represented and actual value. In addition if we allow for Special damages from a legally recognizable injury to be held to be the cause of that injury, with the damage amounts to specificity. If the data theft would have been known, the value of the firm would have been a lot lower.

Unless this was clearly disclosed to Verizon (I actually do not know), Verizon might have a case, which would be disastrous for Yahoo.

If we consider the news from July at NBC (at http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/25/verizon-to-acquire-yahoo.html), the setting is not just “Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL lag far behind and have lost market share“, there is no guarantee that those hit by the hack will remain in their Yahoo setting. Google has made it far too easy for people to switch over. The effort made in the past to transfer towards Google could inspire those people to switch to Google, import their mails and start with little or no loss at all. Which means that it is not impossible that Verizon after the merger remains a one digit digital marketing group, something I feel certain Verizon never counted on.

So where is this going?

There are two sides to this, not only is this about cyber security, or the lack thereof. The fact that Verizon has no unlimited data and those with Yahoo accounts who had them will now see their prices go up by a lot (when is this not about money?). Verizon has a 100GB shared option at $450 a month, which is beyond ridiculous. In Australia, iiNet (an excellent provider) offers 250GB for $60 a month and in the UK British Telecom offers a similar plan for no more than £21 a month (which is about $35), considering that BT is not the cheapest on the block, I have to wonder how Verizon will continue, when people have to switch, because their music apps (radio and so on) drain their data account at 6-8GB per day (a harsh lesson a friend of mine learned). Meaning that Verizon is actually a disservice to open internet and free speech. As I see it, free speech is only free if the listener isn’t charged for listening, or better stated, when certain solutions are locked to be not via Wi-Fi, meaning charged via bandwidth. So the accounts were one side, the amount of data breeches that we are seeing now (on both the Verizon and Yahoo side) imply that not only are they too expensive, they aren’t as secure as they are supposed to be and in addition, cyber laws are blatantly failing its victims. Having your data in plain text at $450 a month seems a little too unacceptable, merely because the odds to keep your fortune in Las Vegas tend to be better than this.

So now consider the sponsor, the people behind the screens on both the corporate and hacking side. So let’s take a look

Corporate

Here the need for security is essential, yet there is clear indication that those aware of spreadsheets (read: Board of Directors) are in equal measure naive and blatantly unaware that data security is essential and not the $99 version in this case. The cost of secure data is ignored and in many cases blatantly disregarded. The Yahoo case is inferior to the Verizon data transgressions that have been reported in this year alone. It is so nice to read on how the health industry is hit by organised crime, yet the amount of theft from their own systems is a lot less reported on. I find most amusing the text that the Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report shows: “Yes. Our vulnerability management solutions identify and fix architectural flaws in POS and other patientfacing systems“, “Yes. Our identity and access management solutions prevent the use of weak passwords, the main cause of data breaches in the healthcare industry” and “Yes. Our intrusion detection and threat-management solutions help detect and mitigate breaches more quickly, limiting the damage caused” (at http://www.verizonenterprise.com/resources/factsheet/fs_organized-crime-drives-data-theft-in-the-healthcare-industry_en_xg2.pdf), I reckon that a massive overhaul of their own systems has a slightly higher priority at present. In addition there is no information on how secure the Verizon Data Cloud is. It doesn’t matter who provides it (as I see it), and I reckon we see that iteration hit the news the moment we learn that the UK Ministry of Defence Cloud gets tweaked to another server that is not under their control. It is important to realise that I am NOT scaremongering, the issue is that too many players have kept the people and corporations in the dark regarding monitoring options, intrusion detection and countermeasures, with the cloud, any successful intrusion has the real danger that the data hack is more complete and a lot larger in data loss. Moreover, Microsoft and Microsoft employees have one priority, Microsoft! Consider that any Microsoft employee might not be as forthcoming with Cyber transgressions, no matter what agreed upon. After the agreement, any internal memo could sidestep a reportable transgression. It is a reality of corporate life. In this, until the proper military staff members get trained, the Ministry of Defence (read: as well as GCHQ to some extent) will be catching up through near inhumane levels of required training, which gets the Ministry burnout issues soon enough.

Hackers

No matter how small, these attacks (yes plural) required serious hardware and access to tools that are not readily available. So whomever involved, they are either organised crime, or people connected to people with serious cash. This all gets us a different picture. I am not stating that some hackers work for reasons other than ideological. The rent in mum’s basement and hardware needs to be paid for, if not that, than the electricity bill that will be in excess of $130 a month. It might be trivial to mention, yet these little things add up. Hardware, electricity, storage, it gives the rising need of a sponsor for these hackers. There is no way to tell whether this is ideological (to show it can be done), technological (selling the flaws back to the makers of the solution), or criminal (to sell the acquired data to a competitor or exploiter). We can assume or speculate, but in reality, without additional evidence it is merely a waste of words.

So even if we know the name of the sponsor, this hopefully shows that the need to divulging information on data transgression has been way too light. In the past there was a ‘clarity’ that it was onto the firm to give out, but as they seemingly see it as a hazard to their wealth, too many victims are kept in the dark and as such, the financial danger to those victims is rising in an unbalanced way. If you would doubt my words, consider the article at http://www.geek.com/games/sony-psn-hack-is-only-the-4th-largest-data-breach-of-all-time-1390855/, which was set in June 2009. Geek is not the news cycle you might desire, but the summary is fine and confirmable. The hack to the Heartland Payment Systems January 20th, 2009 might be one of the more serious ones, the 130 million records was more complete and could have a more devastating effect on the US population then most others. From my point of view, a massive shift to proactive data security should have been law no later than 2010, I think that we can safely say that this never happened to the extent required, which is another nice failure of the political parties at large and as such, this could get a lot uglier soon enough. The article also shows a massive Sony failing as there have been 6 large breaches in 2011 alone, so the Sony hack of 2012 shows to be a continuing story of a digital firm who cannot get their act together. That was never in question, in combination with the latest revelations, there is the added pressures that this cannot be allowed to continue and these firms need to start being held criminally negligible for transgressions on their systems. Just like in torts regarding trespass, it should be actionable perse. In addition, the hackers should be held in that same way, with the bounty changed to no less than double digit jail with no option for parole. The mere realisation that there is a high price for these transgressions might be the only way to stop this and in this age should not be a distinguishing factor, so any teenager hoping for an adventure with a nice pay package could end up not getting laid until they turn 30. The last part is unlikely to be a reality ever, but the fact that this is where we should have been going needs to be stated, for the mere reason that a shown failure of nearly a decade is no longer an option to ignore, not when the stakes are getting to be this high.

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Slaves of a different nature

The sci-fi fan sees in his/her mind a woman, all green, preferably close to naked growing lust in their mind. It is the Orion Slave girl fantasy. This comes from a TV-series that is half a century old. In that universe created by Gene Roddenberry these green ladies were introduced in the original pilot of the Star Trek series in the episode ‘the Cage’, there they were depicted in a sexual context. This is not that kind of slave. Neither is it the kind that is forced to create products through prisons or work camps where they make license plates, or set up governmental mailings. Neither are they children under 18, forced into some kind of servitude. No, these are not one of the 5 forms that the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is illuminating, this is a sixth kind.

It is the kind of servitude that was once a calling, once a choice of life, which governments and insurers alike have been putting under pressure beyond any normal acceptance of labour. That part has been ignored for too long. People all believing in the wealth that a doctors and lawyers income brings. Later in a career that might have some level of truth when you ignore the elements on the other side of the scale. The fact that someone in IT will surpass the income of those graduates from the very beginning is often ignored. When I see some of my friends in health care, I see friends who are exhausted 70% of the time, some working in excess of 14 hours a day. So when I read ‘Nearly 60% of Scottish GPs plan to leave or cut their hours‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/apr/28/nearly-60-of-scottish-gps-plan-to-leave-or-cut-their-hours), I am not overly surprised.

We all claim that we are against slavery and injustice, yet the governments on a global scale are seeing their health systems collapse and as such, hiding behind the false image of all doctors are wealthy, they have been cutting into the incomes of doctors and stretching the hours they have to make. Underfunding practices and making them work ungodly hours. What we see in Scotland is only the beginning. In the Netherlands we saw in 2014 that GP’s would work around 60 hours per FTA (Full Time Equivalent), making that 13 hours per day, whilst IT staff would get more for a mere 40-45 hours a week, 9 hours a day at the most.

So in all this, whilst health care workers availability are at an all-time low, we see the quote: “26% planned to leave general practice in the next five years“, so one out of four is stopping whilst one in 6 patients will at current pressure not receive the minimum level of care which will now get close to another 1.5 out of 6. This gives us 33% to 50% of the patients in a tough spot. One foot in the grave will get a whole new meaning soon enough when that comes to pass. Certain elements of these changes are already visible in France and the Netherlands, the United Kingdom is in a harsher place than the Netherlands, but I cannot confirm how France is set. Outside of the large cities the information tends to be sketchy and cannot completely be relied upon (read: my knowledge of French sucks big time). Sweden is heading towards a new economic crises on more than one side. Healthcare is one (but less visible), the issue that is visible is the economic drain that the refugees are causing, well over 100,000 have no place and no matter how obliging Sweden is. The refugees are confronted with language issues and a skill set problem. The latter one can partially be adjusted, the first one can be overcome by the refugees who truly want this, but it takes time, which is one side Sweden is having less of. Sweden is trying to recruit doctors in many ways and their approach might work, but it will work slowly and it will cost the Swedish government a fortune. The reason for focussing on Sweden is because for the most, Sweden is a social success. Sweden has made social changes that the nation accepted (including paying a lot more tax than there neighbouring nations). The refugees are changing this, a social system can only survive in balance, the refugees arrived in such massive amounts that the system cannot cope. The total refugees that recently arrived have surpassed the size of the Swedish city of Västerås, which by the way is not the smallest of places. With the banking in disarray and Sweden missing sales marks gives additional problems for Sweden and healthcare will feel the brunt as doctors are now moving to other non-Swedish shores. Sweden illuminates the required need for the UK, a need that the UK is unable to adopt at present. In addition, the approach that Jeremy Hunt is taking will not help any.

When we see the British Telecom News page, we see “But in a letter to the BMA’s junior doctor committee chairman, Dr Johann Malawana, Mr Hunt said: “It is not now possible to change or delay the introduction of this contract without creating unacceptable disruption for the NHS.”

As I see it, my response would be ‘Yes, Mr Hunt!‘ you had alternatives but you chose to ignore them. Focussed on a system that had collapsed, focussing on the approach of slavery, you saw in your school years the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, yet as we see the words from the English poet William Cowper (1785) as he wrote:

We have no slaves at home – Then why abroad?
Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs
Receive our air, that moment they are free.
They touch our country, and their shackles fall.
That’s noble, and bespeaks a nation proud.
And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then,
And let it circulate through every vein.

 

Bankers are overprotected whilst being vultures, for not being held accountable for the mess they created (as it was not illegal), whilst at the same speed, junior doctors are reset with contracts that amounts to becoming an involuntary slave labour force. This to the degree that doctors are packing their cases and moving to Australia and other Commonwealth nations that will take them and with the shortage the world at large has, for them moving to Nassau and live by the beach with a small practice would be preferred to a city job with a mortgage they cannot pay off and working 60 hours a week. Jeremy Hunt dropped the ball. He did not do this intentionally. He was given a bad hand from the start, yet in all this instead of going on the same way, the NHS needed another direction entirely, that part was never really investigated.

For me, with whatever I have left?

If I had to go into healthcare, I would try for Radiologist position in Essex or something like that. I still have 15 years in me. For now, I have a nice idea for Google to grow their revenue by 3.5 billion dollars over the next 5 years, and gradually more after that and for £25M post taxation it is all theirs! For now, I am considering to do some teaching in Italy in the future. Teaching English in Catholic Public Schools near the Vatican. You see, this crazy merry go round we have in Europe now will collapse, there is no viable way to stop that at present as I personally see it. We must focus on what comes after. That part is now gaining visibility as we see the US President (read: Mr Lame Duck Obama) is quoted in Forbes “President Obama’s Implicit Message To Taxpayers: ‘I Own You’“. My response?

No, Mr President, you do not. You never did. Like a weakling you stopped taking taxation to a realistic level, you refused to do anything to stop greed. That part was clearly shown at the G-20 in 2013, three years ago. You might actually end up becoming the most useless president in the history of the United States of America

That would be my response!

When we look at Forbes (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntamny/2016/04/10/president-obamas-implicit-message-to-taxpayers-i-own-you), we see that the Obama treasury stopped one deal, one deal only. This is about a lot more than just that 212 billion dollar deal. You see, this is not about the Panama Papers, this is what they enabled. When we consider the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/may/06/panama-papers-us-launches-crackdown-on-international-tax-evasion), we see that same duckling state “the president will take executive action to close loopholes used by foreigners in the US and call on Congress to pass legislation“, how interesting that it is just about the foreigners, so how much is in Rothschild wealth management directly from foreigners and how much is arranged through American agents?

In addition we have “The Panama Papers underscore the importance of the efforts the United States has taken domestically, and the efforts we have undertaken with our international partners, to address these shared challenges”, which is an empty statement as I see it, because over the next 6 months too little will be done and it will be left to the next person in office. The final quote is “The problem is that a lot of this stuff is legal, not illegal”, which is something we already knew. Yet when we consider the change that could have been brought in 2013, he (read: the Democratic Administration in power) backed off, forcing a watered down version that was close to useless. This is the evidence I see as to the level of uselessness that the USA currently represents. Poverty levels are still at a high and in Europe that number is growing, this is the foundation that allows for the growth of what can be regarded as legal slavery. It is legal because it is governmentally arranged, it is slavery as the medical industry is pushed into a level of servitude of no-choice. In Europe, some are now claiming that the amount of people under the poverty line is now one out of four. That push is a great hammer for Jeremy Hunt to use to push for cheap contracts and ungodly working hours, but in the end, when doctors stop working, there is no NHS to continue to cure people (source: http://www.euractiv.com/section/social-europe-jobs/news/eurostat-one-out-of-four-eu-citizens-at-risk-of-poverty/).

There is no clear solution, but another path needs to be taken. The push from NHS and the deal that people get through what I call ‘deceptive insurances‘ and ‘skewed medicinal solutions‘ is changing the game. It now reflects back towards the change I was willing to make. What if we make hospitals self-sufficient? What if we take the insurance out of the equation and push for a self-sustaining level of hospitals on local foundations? You might think that the given logic forces us to look at Behemoths like the NHS and large medical corporations. I am stating that it is my belief that the medical gravy train is losing too much cargo on route. So it is our need to have a neutral solution. When medical suppliers start pushing on ‘how it will be too expensive that way‘, the people will have to push back. So that means that the UK hospitals start getting supplies from other sources, independent and possibly even non-UK sources. How long until greed driven corporations cave? They only need to fail 2 quarters of forecasting and THEIR nightmare begins! Trust me when I state that a merger making the board of directors over 200 billion means that their margins were really really good and via Ireland they were only getting better.

That is the issue and solving that is a first step in solving the slavery riddle, which is not a riddle, it is a mere puzzle that can and should be solved.

 

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Calling a centre

It seems that BT is one of the first one making a step back, a step towards the old times. They are moving away from those bulk cheap Indian call centres. I wonder if they are just the first. The title ‘BT hires 1,000 UK staff after complaints over Indian call centres‘ is not wrong, but I feel it is misleading. The article (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/18/bt-hires-1000-uk-staff-after-complaints-indian-call-centres),

I have had my share of experience with Indian call centres. The quote “The recruitment drive follows reports from customers that they preferred speaking to people in UK call centres rather than Indian staff based in Bangalore and Delhi. BT said the new jobs would be “frontline roles” in customer care“. You see, there are many places where the solution might to some degree work, yet the UK is different in many ways. They excel in dialects and expressions, so when an Indian call centre has an employee that would speak ‘English’, the idea that all versions of English are the same, they will come back from a cold turkey dinner with an added icy cold shower.

The fact that 80% of the call must be repeated because the friendly voice on the other side did not understand it is at the core of what is wrong, and it is one of two massive issues. In all fairness, none are actually the fault of the friendly voice on the phone, they are the core of the issue the flaw of the boss of his/her boss, likely even one level higher. Talking to someone in England in BBC English works perfect for the person on the non-Indian side of the phone conversation, the person responding is for the most ignorant of the BBC English condition and before the Indian call centre operator realises it.

So when the call starts and that person hears “I needed a bullseye before going off to Bedfordshire, now the fast sausage and mash machine has gone bollocks and ate me card!

How long until the call centre operator gets a clue that the man is trying to get $50 from the ATM and it swallowed his bank card? It could take 10 minutes just to get that sentence translated. I know it is an exaggeration, but consider how inaudible some dialects are especially from people in places like Hounslow or Cardiff. Now most UK people have a small problem comprehending people from there, so how will someone in India have a clue? These examples are a little out there, yet considering the vast wealth of expressions and dialects, the issue remains and for BT and some banks, the Indian call centres are not a solution, they never were and I personally talked to people in the late 90’s where that prediction was clearly given, yet it was all about cutting costs and getting a solution where people could live with a degradation from 100% service to 80% service, not just in the UK, this issue is nearly global.

The second issue is even more of a problem, again, the kind Indian voice should not be blamed, for the simple reason that this was all management. To get a certain path, people were ‘taught’ scripts and clear paths of choices. Almost like the automated system when you call places like Telstra, Optus, Vodafone (and Vodafail too) and many others. The system that takes you from choice to choice, a path with 1-5 choices, the call centre person got a similar path, and for 70% it works, for 70% of the issues, that they are receiving a call for, that gets resolved. Yet the other 30% are out of luck. The system is unrelenting and the call centre was not allowed to deviate. Having have worked as a Technical Account Manager in the service field, I saw and have been through many iterations where the customer has that 1% flaw, a dozen a day, data fields can be a relentless one and as more systems interact, more flaws creep into the connectivity. Now add the language to the procedural part and yes, now 1 in 3 would have an issue and the call centre would see new escalations on how one would infect another and soon the system was unworkable, the call centre person never had a clue on how things went from bad to worse and the worst part is that this is not some average count, in this system, the issues stack, so we get issue on issue with an ever increasing population who go from ‘tolerating’ to ‘extremely oppositional’.

A flawed system that came into play from the need of cost suppression. A sales driven industry that would never properly value the power of quality service, interesting is that it took this long to realise it. or is the issue not really costs, but the need for having home shaped jobs, more and more are needed in a current economy where local jobs are essentially more important.

In all this, we now need to consider the following: “But while BT performed badly overall, data on how quickly telecoms firms resolved complaints undermine reports that customers find it hard to communicate with Indian call centre staff“. Here we see two parts, the first one is ‘how quickly telecoms firms resolved complaints‘, there was not a technology part, for the most the issue was communication, clear communication both ways, when you consider that the UK population side does not speak BBC English (apart from perhaps those in the BBC building, and those in that large London donut), so as far as I can tell, most issues could be easily resolved though ‘proper’ English and the actual issue when identified would be resolved almost immediately. The part ‘hard to communicate with Indian call centre staff‘ gives the other part from the resolution, but overall there is another question, how do the numbers hold up when every case from beginning to end is checked on timeframes and quality? The given statement might not hold up, for the simple reason that the operational system is still an issue that path will not be the greatest issue when it is all in the UK, but overall there is an operational side that is not addressed. What operational call centre solutions will become part of the BT frame? Because the data that follows will need to be monitored and even as places are ‘preparing’ for the new solution, the question that follows is ‘are the right metrics being considered?‘ When we take that into consideration, we would need to see who will be looking at those metrics. A sales person will look at different metrics than a solution, service or consultancy manager, even though the consultancy manager is about sales, it will be about the satisfaction of the sold solution, so there will be a much stronger overlap.

The question now becomes, what will be the next hurdles for BT?

The infrastructure and the technology is one, the IT and the call centre system will require different solutions today than most solutions offered a decade ago, are those solutions up to speed to remain scalable, evolutionary and easily deployable? You see, the Indians who developed those solutions have created a decade of infrastructure expertise, that knowledge is partially lost to the UK solution industry.

the final quote to consider is “It said staff had recently agreed to more flexible working hours, to make sure calls could be answered from the UK at the weekend and in the evenings. “This demonstrates the commitment from everyone at BT to work together to improve customer service and to make things easy for our customers,” said Barr“, part of this has always existed, many places, including in the late 90’s required solutions to be working for a longer time. In that part there are two solutions, one is the variable times, which are at the current core of the solutions, in some cases (possibly not in the case of BT) is to have a time zone coverage, where large corporations have coverage in Europe, the US and Australia, creating a near perfect 24 hour coverage. When one call centre shuts down, the other one starts, or has been operating a few hours, meaning that any issue not dealt with in call centre one, the one to the east will pick up those issues as well as the ones they receive until they shot down, this moves forwards and in that solution a global service system comes to play, that level of service is now more and more required, because saving money was only an option where sales is king, in a system where sales is no longer staying up to speed, services needs to create a pillow for new sales and new steps to higher revenue.

That time is now returning, or perhaps better stated, the core of business needs to return to their home fields. In a state where mobiles rule, where Telco’s can be started from a living room with the mere need to have access to bandwidth to sell on, the home field advantage relies on service and interactive response, that step is now the place for the larger home players to get back their consumer base and from that step, reclaim the foundation of income to return to those large players. The sharks are returning and they are getting rid of the pilot fish that have been feeding themselves on too much food, the shark has been hungry for too long.

In that example, we all understand that in the healthy environment the shark will need, allow and even require the pilot fish. Yet as its food supply has been reduced to a mere fraction of what it was, the shark needs to evolve into being better and more efficient in devouring the food it gets, as there is less. So it sucks to be the pilot fish, but for too long every shark had not one but 5-10 pilot fish around its teeth, that part can no longer continue, whether those 5-10 were ‘validly’ there. In the end, cutting costs for those banks might have been a jump that is a lot more expensive than they bargained for, which will be at the centre of the numbers that the new call centre solutions would be trying to show in the pursuit of growing their grades, qualities and key result areas. So where is the flaw in my last statement?

You see, past the shark we get the issue that it was about cheap that was not, which is not completely correct, it is the change towards the new location that is the new cost, not the lack of old profits. We can argue that the not predicting that change is short sighted, but is that the flaw of the past, or our obsessive need to lay blame in the now?

It seems to me that BT is only the first in many, for those who have the quality and the knowledge, this will be an evolving field of need. Personally I see that this could be a potential job bringer to places like Scotland and Wales. When this evolves into a separate global call centre with a global coverage, those who have it will come to a decent growing field, a field of need where for the last few years there was none.

You see, there is another side in this, in the last few weeks there have been reports from places like Digital India we see titles like ‘Digital India will take off on the strength of call centres in small towns‘ (at http://indianexpress.com/article/business/business-others/digital-india-will-take-off-on-the-strength-of-call-centres-in-small-towns-ravi-shankar-prasad/) which makes perfect sense for their local market, a local market that has been evolving for some time now. Now consider the quote “There is enough data work available in the country (to be handled by these centres)”, which remains a fair call, yet the article is absent of international parts, which is a little odd, considering that this is about Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications and Information Technology. Yet, in that same line of thinking we now get lines like ‘Serco on the road to recovery with £250m sale of Indian call centre business‘, Serco seems to be on a road, leaving that outsourcing solution to Blackstone.

The issue is a little hard to set, as Serco has had its fingers in so many pies, many failing to a larger extent, so that issue on Call centres is not easily settled here, but consider the dive they took by ridding themselves of it at this time and at the massive discount it was sold at, it starts to form a speculated pattern. You see, the fact that Indian call centres are all growing in their local market, and ‘speculated’ must remain the operative word here, because the needs of one Telco, does not give way to an early summer feeling in the employment market. For that we need to take one additional look to the BBC article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31762595), called ‘The country training people to leave‘, the quote there is ““British companies love us because our English is not accented. The brightest graduates from our universities fight to get a job here. We only take the smartest kids. And after we’ve finished training them they even get your British sarcasm,” says Tubbs“, which is actually at the heart of the matter for one of the Indian issues, yet the part that is not addressed is that India had grown a strong infrastructure. That part was shown in the NY Times a year earlier, “The 2.2 million vehicles a day that grind away on Manila’s crumbling road system cost the country 876 billion pesos a year, or more than $20 billion, in lost productivity and wasted energy, according to a recent study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. That is a serious drain on an economy of about $250 billion“, now add to that “Manila is plagued by power failures, chronic water shortages and an antiquated telecommunications system“, I am taking the airport out of that equation, which remains an issue too. The bottleneck was not addressing the growing options that required a massive overhaul, now it is too late, the power from Manilla in language was shown, making the move back to the UK an easy step. Consider the earlier BBC article, which gave “the government teaches thousands of people the skills they need to get jobs abroad“, we now have a rolling economy moving back to the UK, with additional options for workers who could be relocated to the UK should the call centres run dry on willing staff, even more optional is getting a hold of all that call centre staff, should the UK market not be providing enough early on, the UK has options to home grow a market they had lost, even more important is that this is a service filed Scottish workers could be trained in, giving additional solutions when the cost of corporate costs in the greater London area falls short, that is providing Birmingham does not pick up this opportunity.

As stated, it is speculated, but I see that BT has opened a door, a door that remains ajar for others to consider. Even if they are not in the UK, large US and Japanese corporations requires more and more the need for service solutions in the European timeline, the Indian solution was not the success they expected and the Manilla crises will continue at least 4-5 years, that is, if the infrastructure gets a massive overhaul as per immediate, if not, they lose the market too and Europe is hungry for real revenue, revenue that requires a service solution, one they had abstained form for too long.

Will this pan out correctly?

Even as the Philippine government is projecting a 15% growth from 2014 onwards, getting it from $11 billion, to $15 billion this year, the issue remains infrastructure, they have no real solution and the issues started to play in 2014, whilst no true overhaul had commenced, which means that it needs to address a near 32% growth and need in resources, whilst Manilla has no way to deal with it. This means that the summer drains will leave systems collapsing, something that we would start to see soon enough, it also means that those with Manilla support choices will need an alternative they did not bargain for. So the BT move is timely (in Philippine terms), if not essential to their path to repair.

Whatever comes next will be interesting to watch, because when that move does go forward, it becomes interesting to see how the larger corporations deal with their vested interest in places like Germany and France. In that regard, BT’s step (as stated by the Financial Times) comes with additional needs, as Sir Mike Rake saw the outsourcing as an ‘Achilles heel’, which might have been an understatement. In all that, Deutsche Telekom, who is connected in all this, might be seeing new trends to insourcing (pushing for could be a better word), as it also closes the door for the UK to leave the EEC as insourcing becomes more and more successful, which means many business players will be pushing for this success.

That part has additional reasons when we see that Sir Mike Rake, possibly UK’s largest Europhile in history gets to voice on how UK business at large does not want any form of Brexit, a move that can be given strength as call centres will grow in need within the EEC, which is just what the UK Conservatives hoped for, they just never expected to get saved by a call centre, which is amazingly hilarious in its own right.

 

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