LCG Organizing “Dream Team” At Jacksonville Startup Weekend

January 10th, 2012 | Uncategorized | Comments Off

The Laganella Consulting Group is organizing a team to participate in the Jacksonville Start-up Weekend being held Jan 20 – 22nd at the University of North Florida (more info).  The plan is to build further on the concept that our award winning team produced at the hackathon hosted at TechVenture in December of 2011.  In a nutshell the team will build a working application running on iPhone and Droid that will utilize a live XML feed, geo-location, and yellowpages.com information for a Business-to-Business application.  We already have some team members on board, but need additional skills to round out the group.  Below is a list of skills we are looking for:

  • Web Application Architect with open source portal experience.  I’m leaning towards DRUPAL, but will defer to the computer scientists to select the best technology stack.  Must have some database programming ability.
  • Middleware Programmer skills needed will depend on the architecture and have experience linking applications to databases.
  • iPhone Programmer that has written at least one mobile application.  Experience with iPhone emulators is a big plus.
  • Android Programmer that has written at least one mobile application.  Experience with iPhone emulators is a big plus.
  • UI Designer familiar with human/application interaction design concepts and the ability to work with programmers to turn conceptual designs into working interfaces.  Ability and tools used to produce wire frames is a big plus.
  • Artificial Intelligence Programmer/Mathematician familiar with parsing large amounts of data from an XML stream, and culling out specific subsets of data.  An algorithms to learn from results from that subset to prioritize the most effective information is the goal.  We don’t expect to finish this algorithm during the weekend, but need to articulate how it can be done.
  • Marketing Expert(s) with expertise in branding, presentation writing, and/or market research.
  • Security / White Hacking Expert this is a nice to have, but hey, we’re forming a dream team and at LCG we dream big.

A team organization meeting will be held via conference call  this week on Friday January 13th.  

When: Friday January 13th at noon sharp

Where: Anywhere with a phone

Conference Bridge: +1 675-475-6333  Passcode 883801

Personal Note:  I had thought about sponsoring a team, but decided I wanted hungry team members that were willing to invest not only there time, but put some financial skin in the game as well.  As you can see from above, the LCG “Dream Team” is in this thing to win it, and plan to have a intense but fun event where a lot of learning and friendship will evolve.  I hope to hear you on the call on Friday, and look forward to meeting you in person soon.  Ever forward.

About the author: Vincent Laganella is a entrepreneur with expertise in business process and enterprise application development expert with more than 15 years of experience.  He has more than 4 start-ups to his credits on projects ranging from stock trading systems to the monetization of online video. He founded the Laganella Consulting Group in 2008 to help companies large and small run more efficiently, and make more money.

No Results Until When? Too late – Your Fired!

September 27th, 2011 | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Understanding Impact Cycles of Operational Changes

Donald Trump has made the shortest and most feared sentence in the English language his moniker, and he uses it when the people working for him failed to understand how long it takes to implement change at an organizational level. Regardless of the size of your department or company, nobody can afford to make that mistake in the current economic conditions, so here is what you need to know to know about how impact cycles influence operational changes.

Defining Impact: C-level executives use a simple test to determine whether managers are making solid decisions in how they run their operations.

Question: “Do I see the impact of this initiative reflected in the financials in the quarter I approved funding for it?”

Answer: If Yes. Great, what do I have to worry about next?  If No. Is it likely I will see it soon? If no, who is getting fired?

The amount of time it takes for business optimization, or organizational improvement to show its effect depends on the size of the organization, and how drastic the changes that are being made are. There is one universal truth no manager should ever forget. It always takes longer than you think.  Refer to Figure 1 as you learn about the best strategy to make sure your organization is always at the top of its game.

impactcycle

1) Plan Ahead: As the graph shows, implementing strategic, rather than drastic change (aka layoffs), makes costs go up before they go down. The good news is it enables you be proactive, rather than reactive, which has less drastic consequences and saves a lot of unnecessary administrative churn. If you wait to be asked to solve the problem, you’re already a contributor to it, and it’s a direct reflection on your capabilities as a manager.

2) Review Quarterly: Regardless of whether you keep track, the CFO is looking at your organization’s performance on a monthly basis, so you need to do the same on a quarterly basis at a minimum. Don’t make it a big chore like annual reviews. Just give a quick grade of your people following a typical bell curve. Do the same thing for your vendors and suppliers. Give positive feedback to the top performers. Scrutinize the lower 33% in the following steps.

3) Always Have A Business Case In-hand: Whether your department needs productivity improvement, or cost-cutting, you should have the business case ready for the changes that need to be made. It should include cost projections, return on investment (ROI), and key performance indicators (KPI) that can be used to demonstrate progress. Update this plan during your quarterly reviews so it’s always current, and ready to go. If it isn’t broken- break it!

4) Show Initiative: Be proactive and take the business case to your boss as soon as it’s done. They will appreciate the forethought, and may give you feedback on things you might not have thought of. Even if they don’t pull the trigger it will let them know you’re on top of things and increase your value.

5) React With Style: If management initiates the change, having the business case ready will position you to be at the peak of costs in the graphic, and the result is everything will go down from there at a time when that’s what’s needed most. It keeps you ahead of your peers who aren’t prepared. If the pressure is on, other managers will be the ones under the microscope, while you look brilliant for thinking ahead.

The Bottom Line: Fortune favors the prepared. Understand impact cycles of implementing change, and exercise them on a regular basis so you know how your team handles it, and how long it takes. Never forget that being prepared for unexpected change can save you’re a**. It can also get you promoted by showing that you have the best interest of your employer top-of-mind. At the very least, these strategies will help you shape your organization in the way that works best for your management style, and help make your day-to-day a lot less hectic.

If you’re reaction to this article is “I don’t have time”, you need to learn to delegate, and read some of my prior blog posts on inaction.

Freelancing Horror Story

February 4th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

One of my industry news bots picked up this link today.  The blog itself needs work, but it doesn’t negate the point because I hear this same story told on a daily basis as I meet with my potential clients for my outsourcing company, Laganella Consulting Group. 

When I first went out on my own I wasted a ton of time chasing potential projects on sites like www.guru.com or www.ifreelance.com which are great in concept, but not in application.  In my next post, I’m going to focus on why freelancing is broken, and why both freelancers and the companies that hire them are to blame.  Just to whet your appetiate, here is the story posted by droolstuff.com.

-Vincent Laganella

7 Minute Setup

Wouldn’t You Like To Be Able To Crunch Out Massive Profits Month After Month?

Of course you do! But in order to do that, you need your own website.

And in order to get your own website, there are two things you can do: You can outsource it to a freelancer, or you can do it yourself.

Lets think about what it takes to outsource it to a freelancer…

First, you have to find the right freelancer, so you go to RentACoder.com and add your project. You set it up and choose that you want your website set up in no more than 7 days. You submit the project and it’s approved. No big deal, eh?

Not likely.

After your project is approved, you start getting bids from freelancers using the site. One freelancer writes to you and says “I can do it in 5 days” – Awesome! That’s 2 days faster than your timeline!

But there’s another problem hiding in that bid, and Rent A Coder.com talks about it right on their site! See for yourself:

So that great looking (though expensive) 5 day bid has a HUGE chance of being delivered late (25 days later!) or NEVER BEING DELIVERED AT ALL!

I can attest to that – my partner and I were outsourcing a very quick project, and told the bidders that all we needed was an exact copy of this one website’s menu. And my partner, knowing full well that many freelancers don’t finish their projects, awarded the bid to 3 different freelancers.

Guess how many of them finished the project on time? … Zero!

None of them finished it in the 2 day delivery date we set… for a DEAD EASY project!

Guess how many of them finished the project at all? … One!

Only one of the three freelancers finished the project… And it took him 21 days to finish it! All he had to do was copy a menu from another website, and it took him over 10 times the amount of time he said it would!

So, from our outsourcing experience, 0% of our freelancers completed the project on time, 33% of our freelancers completed the project late, and 66% of the freelancers NEVER finished at all!

Why would a freelancer finish a project late, or never finish it at all?

  • Maybe he’s “really busy”…
  • Many of these freelancers take on more projects than they can handle, because they know they can put some of them off. Yours will fall into the cracks of “I’ll do it tomorrow”
  • Maybe he doesn’t understand you…
  • Most freelancers on sites like RentACoder.com don’t speak English as their first language… That means there’s a very real chance that you’ll be up against a language barrier with your freelancer. If he doesn’t understand what you need, he’s not likely to get the job done.
  • Maybe he “had family issues”…
  • What are his priorities? Is your website as much a priority for him as it is you? Nope – you’re counting on that website to make an income for a lifetime. He’s looking at it as a one time project.
  • Maybe he just doesn’t care…
  • If he’s so overbooked with too many projects, he’s not going to care about hanging you out to dry.
  • Maybe his “hard drive crashed”…

This one is the oldest trick in the books… A few days after missing the deadline you set, your freelancer gets back to you and says “I’m so sorry, my hard drive crashed and I lost everything!” – I’ve had numerous freelancers use this excuse. Either they don’t make hard drives like they used to, or it’s just an excuse for procrastinating on my project.

Then there’s the issue of the freelancer himself. You don’t know him… You can’t see him… You don’t know if he’s even using his real name!

And you have to give him your username and password – the details that everyone tells you to keep secret – which in turn give him access to all of your valuable files, your content, all your work and effort…

How and Why Satyam Customers Should React

January 8th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

As if the overall gloomy economic picture wasn’t bad enough, another corporate scandal on par with the Madoff fallout is now impacting the integrity of your daily operations. You’re company needs to be taking immediate steps to avoid a major interruption in your ability to do business for the following three reasons:

  • Satyam’s Grossly Under Capitalized: The company has overstated it’s cash position by the equivalent of more than 1 Billion dollars, and its ability to sustain operations are questionable at best. The Indian government doesn’t have a reputation for being able to quickly structure government bailouts like we’ve seen recently in the US, which leaves very few “Hail Mary” options for the company.
  • The Vultures Are Circling: The vultures in this case are Satyam’s competitors like WIPRO, TCS, and IBM. I know for a fact of one Satyam account that was using another large outsourcing vendor in parallel, and immediately requested that all Satyam employees be rebadged to the other vendor. It’s a great option for the few companies that are in such an enviable position, but what about everyone else?
  • Employee Departures: Although the top executives have vowed to stay on, it means nothing if the rank-and-file that generate the income walk out due to lack of confidence. Nobody works for free and if Satyam can’t retain their employees, they won’t have any services to offer. This will further erode Satyam’s ability to earn revenue, and stay afloat.

The combination of these 3 factors playing out are likely to be the death sentence for Satyam and the best hope for both employees and investors is that one of the vultures mentioned above snatches them up at fire sale prices. The likelihood of this happening is relatively small since any would-be buyer would have a very difficult time assessing what they are buying since the PWC audited books are clearly not worth the paper they are written on.

So what should any Satyam customer be doing?

Build a transition plan- NOW!

If your company has been impacted by the Satyam scandal, learn more about what can do about it by visiting the following links:

 

Related Articles

Why All Businesses Should Consider Outsourcing …

December 5th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Jack Thompson has written an excellent article applicable to small and large businessess alike.  It breaks down as follows:

  • Overview
  • Outsourcing Tools
  • Increasing Competition
  • To Outsource or Not To Outsource
  • Outsourcing Business Processes
  • A Rewarding Career
  • Competition For Projects
  • Conclusion

Read the full article

US Economic Downturn Could Cool Indian Economy

July 18th, 2008 | Uncategorized | Comments Off

American’s aren’t the only one feeling the pinch of high gas prices, the weak dollar, and all-time low consumer confidence.   Corporate investments and revenues are down, regardless of the industry, and as we move over the hill of the the annual investment cycle related to outsourcing, things could get ugly.  Even in a normal economy businesses tend to invest in the first two quarters of the year and contract in the latter two, but with slow sales and a bleak market outlook that contraction is poised to be more extreme than normal. 

This hypothesis is supported today by a report in the Financial Times that says that the third and fourth largest outsourcing providers have warned of an “uncertain sales outlook” due to the slow down in information technology spending (1).  Experienced industry analysts know this is corporate speak for ‘smaller than projected’ revenue, and reduced profits.  The true impact of Friedman’s flat world is poised to come full circle and here are some ways it might manifest itself

  • Indian Job Cuts:  Since 1999 the rule of thumb was that any IT professional that wanted a job had one, and annual attrition rates have been averaging around 30% which reflect that.  If companies like IBM who have been on a hiring binge suddenly reduce their growth plans, or if one or more of the major vendors announces layoffs, the scales of supply-demand will quickly shift from one of shortages to surplus.
  • Wage Inflation Stabilization: I’ve been pointing out for more than three years that if Indian wage inflation continues at current levels, India will cease to deliver cost savings to outsourcing buyers as early as 2010.  If wage inflation levels off this could actually be a good thing for India because it will elongate the value proposition of outsourcing IT services in India.
  • Consolidation: A prolonged downturn in the Indian economy could result in consolidation for any of the major players that over reached financially to fund expansions plans based on growth continuing at past levels.  This could result in one or more of the top 10 providers being acquired at an extreme discount.  With companies that have build cash war chests over the past decade, do you think this couldn’t possibly happen?  You’d be smart to recognize that in the US Wall street felt the same way about a company called Bear-Sterns less than 6 months ago.

If all of these things came to pass it wouldn’t be a good thing, but it wouldn’t be all bad either.  But what do you think the odds are that it could actually happen?

(1) Source: Financial Times “Wipro & Satyam Warn on Sales” By Amy Kazmin
http://us.ft.com/ftgateway/superpage.ft?news_id=fto071820081437130661&referrer_id=yahoofinance

An Open Letter To IAOP Members Regarding RFI’s and RFP’s

July 1st, 2008 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

At the end of May the International Association of Outsourcing Professionlas (IAOP) distributed a survey to members stating that “IAOP is considering offering the ability to post Request for Information(RFI) and Request for Proposal (RFP) documents for members to review and respond to where appropriate”  I did respond to the survey, but felt compelled to provide an unscripted opinion that I shared with some key players involved in the decision process, and now I’m sharing it with all of you… 


Providing access to RFI’s and RFP’s is a great idea, and I believe doing so would increase both the membership base, and value that IAOP members receive from their annual dues.  My concern is that small and mid-cap organizations are going to get cut out of this opportunity if IAOP restricts it to corporate members only.  These types of companies don’t have the benefit of a deep, wide, and established customer pipeline.  If only large corporations are allowed to participate in the RFI & RFP process, the big companies with deep pockets will just get bigger and richer which is a disservice to our industry as a whole.  The fact is that the more companies there are that utilize outsourcing, the more educated business of all sizes become in the benefits of it, which allows the industry as a whole to grow. 
Consider this also.  Outsourcing is an established practice in the Fortune 500. The growth opportunity for the industry is in the Fortune 501 and below and smaller companies need smaller outsourcing services providers.  It is safe to assume that IAOP members won’t be bite off more than they can chew.  Smaller firms wouldn’t seriously consider responding to a multi-year, multi-billion dollar deal from a large multi-national based on their limited delivery scalability and capacity compared to the demands of a project that size.  I have confidence that other small and mid-tier providers will exercise restraint and stretch, but not over-reach their capabilities.  If smaller providers are excluded, who is going to pick up the deals that are too small for the WIPRO’s and TCS’s of the world to work on? 

The bottom line is I strongly encourage the IAOP to provide access to RFI and RFP’s, and give all members the opportunity to participate. 

http://www.blogged.com/blogs/not-shore.html
<img src=”http://www.blogged.com/icons/rt_1216305.gif” border=”0″ alt=”Not Shore! at Blogged” title=”Not Shore! at Blogged”>

Outsourcing’s Positive Impact: Do The Math

April 24th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

 Few things in life are as predictable as  an emotional response with the mention of a single word: “outsourcing”.  Advocates tout it as the next progression in the evolution of the US economy, which also advances emerging markets like China and India .   Detractors view outsourcing as a steady erosion of American jobs, and now that it is impacting high-paying whitecollar sector jobs,  those same detractors are asking, “Are there going to be any jobs left in the US at all?” I have personally been responsible for creating jobs in overseas markets that might otherwise have been staffed in the US and have wondered whether this is a beneficial for my company, my career, and my country in the long run.  The only way I knew to find out for sure was to take the emotion out of it, look at the numbers, and analyze them.  Here is what I found.

The perception that raises the most rancor when I meet and speak to groups of people is that “Outsourcing means the loss of US jobs right?”- WRONG!  It may do so at the individual level, but not in the economy as a whole.  In fact, the numbers of positions impacted by outsourcing are marginal at most. According to the US Department of Labor, the average number of jobs lost on a quarterly basis over a 10 year period was 7.1 million jobs1. Compare that figure to a Forrester Research study published in 2003 that predicted 3.3 million service jobs would be routed overseas between 2000, and 20152.  Broken down on a quarterly basis, if the prediction is accurate, that still equates to less than 1% of all jobs in the US economy, so anyone who’s losing sleep of the disappearance of the American workforce can get some rest.

Another frequent comment I hear is , “The  jobs lost to outsourcing may be a small number now but will they skyrocket over time and hurt America ”?  The flaw with this argument is it assumes jobs flow only one way: down like a waterfall rather than ebbing and flowing like the tide. Equaterra, a leading sourcing advisory firm, predicts that in 2008, “Indian service providers will set up more delivery centers in the US and EMEA as the Indian market is impacted by wage inflation, talent attrition; a stronger rupee, and infrastructure strain.” 3 Looking at the opposite end of the spectrum, Forbes recently published an opinion piece predicting the “Death of Indian Outsourcing” caused by lack of innovation, high attrition rates, wage inflation and the falling dollar.4 In my view I think the death of Indian IT practices is as likely as the disappearance of the American workforce: miniscule, and that we would all be well served to stay away from the extremes.

A study sponsored by the Information Technology Association of America5 that was published in 2005 concluded that more jobs are created by the existence of IT outsourcing than will be lost.  Between 2005 and 2010 it’s projected that 516,000 new IT jobs will be created worldwide, 52% of which will be based offshore.  Without the presence of outsourcing, only 490,000 new jobs would be created over the same period, 52% of which would be based offshore.   You can turn your back and dismiss outsourcing as “anti-American”, but in doing so you’d also be promoting the loss of a net gain of over 12,000 US based jobs!

Sources
1U.S. Department of Labor, Business Employment Dynamics Data Series, 1992 to 2003.
2 “Outsourcing Abroad Draws Debate at Home,” The Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2003

3 TMCnet News “Trends in IT Outsourcing” Nov 5, 2007

4 “The Coming Death of Indian Outsourcing” Forbes.com Feb 29, 2008
5 “ITAA: Outsourcing Helps–Not Hurts– U.S. Economy” United Business Media Channel Web Oct 31, 2005

Recommended Reading
Business Week: “The Future of Outsourcing”
Forbes: “The Coming Death of Indian Outsourcing” by Sramana Mitra

Coming This Week: What are the hard numbers that show the job impact of outsourcing in the United States?

April 22nd, 2008 | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Laganella Consulting Group Announces A New Partnership

Outsourcing – Trying To Resolve “The Big Gulp”

April 10th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 21 Comments »

By: Vincent A. Laganella

Emerging economies are affecting individuals in a tangible way that everyone can relate to: the wallet.  We feel it everywhere from the gas station to the grocery store.  This means that even if you’ve never left the state in which you were born, you feel the impact of globalization and outsourcing daily, and you can’t avoid it.  Playing ostrich is not an option.  When business owners or employees have to make economic compromises in order to deal with the effects of outsourcing for the first time , they are forced to ponder for the first time whether these are short-term trends, or industry-changing events.  Now comes “The Big Gulp.”.  “The Big Gulp” is the gut-wrenching realization that happens when people are forced to wrestle with the following contradictory statements in a span of less than five seconds.

  • If I consider alternate labor sources (i.e. outsourcing), I’m cutting jobs / my job will be gone.
  • Less jobs hurt Americans and by definition, makes me anti-American / hurts me.
  • I’m not anti-American, and therefore I won’t consider alternate labor sources / will do everything in my power to keep my job exactly as it is.
BUT
  • I know other companies are outsourcing, and don’t understand it. Uh oh!
  • Could outsourcing hurt me, or worse yet, put me out of business / a job?

If you’ve never confronted that reality, you just did, and guess what?   You’re O.K. and you’ll continue to be O.K.  Heraclites is credited with saying, “Nothing endures but change.” Although your world, your business, and your job won’t look the same five years from now, you still have a bright future.   Let’s deal with that reality. 

The last question of “The Big Gulp” is the crux of the issue. The only real answer to that question is: “It depends on who you are, and what you do.”  This opens up a very gray area, with many variables and few clear answers.  The purpose of this blog is to spend time in that gray area, analyze it to determine if it (what is ‘it’ referring to?)  affects you, and if it does, then how does it affect you.  It will help companies and individuals focus on advancing their business or career factoring globalization into the equation.  Rants, flames, and pettiness will not be part of the dialog.

It may help us to understand the effects of outsourcing if we compared them to those of  the last big change in business production: robotics.  If you were an assembly line worker riveting sheet-metal together on a General Motors assembly line in the 1960’s, you might have heard about the ‘Unimate’.  This first industrial robot could lift hot metal out of casting dies for stacking and cooling.  At the time, you might have discounted it as interesting, but irrelevant because it had no direct bearing on your job.  If you had had more foresight, the first half of “The Big Gulp” equation might have crossed your mind, and you would not have dismissed the emergence of the new technology as irrelevant.  Consider this however: by 2002, General Motors had more than 25,000 assembly line robots.1 Can you guess how many human riveters they had?

It doesn’t matter whether you are an small business owner, corporate executive, computer programmer, customer service representative, or a worker at the drive through at McDonald’s2, outsourcing and globalization will have as big an impact on your career over the next 10 years as robotics has already had on manufacturing over the last 40.  It’s right in front of us, and this forum will tackle the complexities of the topic head-on. I want to use this inaugural article to pose two different questions to two different groups of people.  The responses will act as the catalyst for the next topic we tackle at a much deeper level.  Please identify whether you are a business owner or employee in the subject line of your answer.

Business Owners:
Is globalization helping or hurting your bottom line?  Is international staffing something you’ve considered for your operations, and where are you in the decision process?  What’s worked well or failed miserably, and what will be your next steps as a result?

Employees:
What do you do, and what specific threats to you think globalization/outsourcing poses to how you do your job and earn money?What proactive steps are you taking to adapt to those threats?

The following are actual quotes I’ve heard from others represented as sample posts with the company names changed for privacy purposes.
Subject: Business Owner: Software Development Company USA
Our outsourcing efforts have improved our bottom line.  We realized a 40% cost reduction in the first year, and project comparable savings in year 2 now that the transition investment has been made.  Our plans are to expand our outsourced IT budget by 10% next year. 

Subject: Employee: Java Developer, BigCo USA
My company has been outsourcing to India , which makes my job harder because it forces me to manage team members that are far away.  It takes twice as long to get something done, and is much more frustrating in the process.  I’m adapting by keeping an updated resume and expanding my industry certifications at my own expense.

References:
1Source: Industry Week  “Robots Evolution” 2002
2Source: New York Times “The Long Distance Journey of a Fast Food Order” 2006

About The Blog: NotShore.us is a blog intended to develop dialog around the issues that pertain to outsourcing, and the impact it has at both an organization and an individual level.  It exists to intentionally raise controversial topics related to globalization.  Subscribers are encouraged to participate in constructive dialog that focuses on relevant, substantive, and supported issues, in a respectful manner to all participants. NotShore™ is a trademark of the Laganella Consulting Group LLC.

About The Author: Mr. Laganella has had a distinguished career over the twenty years he has worked in Information Technology(IT).  He is a Fortune 500 proven executive and entrepreneur. As the principal owner of the Laganella Consulting Group LLC, a company that specializes in global staffing for the mid-cap market, he has more than 15 years of outsourcing expertise in the financial services sector.  In addition to his work with LCG, he also runs a digital media business and an import company.  His new book based on the PowerPoint presentation ”’Ten Mistakes To Avoid In Offshoring”© is due out in mid-2008.