Friday, March 31, 2006

Chevron Enters India

As FDI continue to flow in Indian Markets one sector which did not see any FDI inflow was the refining sector. Finally it will.

Chevron, A US energy major is planning to pick up some stake in the 27000 crore hallmark Jamnagar Refinery to become the first FDI in India's booming refining sector. RIL Chairman Mr. Mukesh D Ambani is in US to meet the top officials of Chevron and closing in on signing a pact.

Earlier media had reported that RIL was planning to sell its 10 % stake to some of the western oil majors in a bid to expand its reach into western countries and to ensure long term supplies from these markets.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Management Challenges

This post is on some critical issues which the organizations globally majority in the IT sector are facing almost every day.

If one looks at the IT sector in India we have very high performing companies such as Infosys, TCS and Wipro who started the business from the home ground and are now the global leaders in their respective areas. On the other hand there are companies which were once considered to be the best in their class but slowly they deteriorated considerably to yield neither profitable bottom lines nor shareholder value. Infact these low performing companies were not even able to retain the best talent which hurt the productivity massively in the long term.

This article tries to answer the question as to what factors contribute to an individual's success in the organization. How an organization can make a difference in an individual and how an individual can make a difference to an organization. At the end of the day any associate as most of the IT companies call their employees as wants is the job satisfaction than any other thing in this IT industry.

Employee retention is one of the key objectives of the HR department in the IT industry. The primary objective of the HR in any company should be to ensure that the goals of the individual and the organization are always in tandem with each other. But there is a kind of change which is happening now.

It has been observed that HR plays a key role only in the beginning that is at the time of recruitment where in the candidates interview and other formalities happen. But soon the focus gets shifted towards deploying the new resource in some project without first doing a role fitment exercise. The role fitment exercise is very essential because it keeps in mind the interest of the associate, uses his skillset to the maximum extent and overall gives him a feeling of job satisfaction. At any point in time if the above requirements are not met, the resource while at job does not feel contended and a question always gets raised in his mind saying that "Can I do something better than this".

Money is one major factor in case of any job shift. It has been figured out that close to 80 % of the people move from a low performing company to a high performing company not because of the company itself but because the latter can pay almost double the package. The resource crunch in the industry is so high that it is not possible to retain a resource and pay a higher package than the industry standards. More often one has to reach a compromise in terms of the affordability of the resource and the value which can be derived out of him. This is a critical piece of analysis which can actually alter all kinds of calculations.

To be continued.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Memorable Week

This week is one of the most memorable one's when I have completed one year since I passed out of the pedastals of my alma-mater TAPMI. Last year on 26th of March 2005, I was awarded the Post Graduate Diploma in Management at the 21st Annual Convocation held in Hotel Valley View. It was a great feeling for all of us who got convocated on that day. The feeling of elation is absolutely out of the world. The successful completion of the course which changed us entirely from top to bottom and gave a whole new dimension to our personality is a ecstatic feeling. The joy is although short lived since we have to also leave the place where we stayed, studied and toiled ourselves for 2 years to become what we call as CORPORATE citizens.

I was discussing this today morning with Vasudha since both of us take the bus in the morning from the same stop. Even she felt the same that time has passed away very fast and it will be soon when we will be completing one year of our corporate experience.

Meanwhile on saturday, I somehow stayed at home since there was no work outside neither I had a party to go. In the evening I completed the download of Oracle 9i which I was trying to do from the last 4 years ever since I wanted to install SQL in my PC. The total size of the download came to about 1.5 GB. But then I forgot that my PC is not capable enough to take the huge installation size.

The installation of Oracle 9i Enterprise Edition took close to 3.5 hours on my machine. Although I was able to use the SQL editor successfully but the system became very slow and was booting up in close to 10 min which is very high by all standards for a PC with 192 MB RAM. Anyhow I had to uninstall it at the earliest to get back my PC to speed up again. This was a huge exercise once again.

The second interesting thing I did in this weekend was the Beta Testing of Internet Explorer 7.0 Beta 2 for Win XP SP2. I downloaded the extractable exe from the Microsoft site and ran the install. Now these days Microsoft is not allowing its products to be installed on any PC. They are allowing the installs only on PC which have the logo of GENUINE WINDOWS ADVANTAGE or the original key which normally of all PCs is an invalid one. Somehow I was able to circumvent the validation procedure and installed IE 7.0.

IE 7.0 on the lines of Vista spots a very sleek look. Its pretty decent in terms of the menus and offers a large space for viewing the webpages. Again on the lines of its competitors it spots tabs which is a standard feature of Opera, Netscape and the most bitter rival of IE FireFox. Loading of IE 7.0 does not take much time as such and is definitely less than what is the time for IE 6.0. I had browsed only for a few minutes immedietely an error popped up which said IE.exe has caused an unknown error. Hence I had to uninstall IE 7.0 immedietely and come back to the current version of IE.

One more important thing which happened in this week was the comeback of Amitabh Bachchan. After close to 3 months being out of action, Amitabh was back to the sets of Kabhi Alvida na Kehna, the latest venture of Karan Johar. It was reported that he was again unwell after the shoot but there is no serious issue with respect to that. The crowd or the fan following was more happier when Big B returned on to the sets than the Man or the producers themselves. I remembered the screen presence of the star of the millenium when he made a short appearance in the filmfare awards. It was majestic.

Also on Sunday Morning, I attended a seminar on CISM by ISACA. ISACA is a global authority on IT Governance and Audit and is the central body for the development of COBIT which defines control objectives for information technology for Sarbanes Oxley compliance. It was a good break for me from the usual stuff I do at office daily. Got to know about ISACA and CISM and CISA certifications.
The coming week looks extremely hectic keeeping in mind today. Lets hope for another challenging week ahead.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Windows Vista Shipment Delays

Microsoft in its latest release with respect to the Windows Vista has said that the business availability for the product would happen by November 2006 but the broad consumer availability has been postponed to early 2007. This is a major setback to the plans of Microsoft and its associate partners in the launch of Vista. It seems that the OS would go for broad consumer beta to approximately 2 million users in second quarter of 2006.

Analysts say it’s a smart move, given the products' importance and longevity — but disappointing and harmful to PC manufacturers, Intel, and retailers expecting a Q4 lift in PC sales. However, Intel gets an unexpected bonus: the opportunity to make Viiv the digital home brand that matters in 2006.

Microsoft has said that VISTA needs more fine-tuning, especially on security features – a core selling point of the new OS and it said that most of its partners said that the launch should wait till 2007. Given Windows' history as buggy and unsecured, it's just plain smart to delay the release rather than ship a flawed product. However, five years and counting between operating system releases and a steadily diminishing feature list does make Microsoft look a bit foolish. Ongoing sales of Windows XP, and the fact that Microsoft's fiscal year ends in June rather than December, protect the company financially.

Most of the PC retailers and companies like Dell, HP, Intel are real losers in all this. As the consumer spending peaks around the holiday season when the initial launch of Vista was planned. It will so happen that consumers wont be able to buy Vista powered PC and this will hamper the sales considerably. It is suggested that consumers be promised to buy the PC in the holiday season with a Vista upgrade coupon attached to the purchase. But a large administrative cost could have been avoided if the release would have happened at the scheduled time.

Since the launch is delayed Intel has a big opportunity to showcase their new technology VIIV as the centerpiece of the digital home, outcasting Vista. Launch of Vista with VIIV was considered to be a dual branding strategy by the market leaders. But then Intel will have a good opportunity to leverage on an early launch and make an impressive start before Vista comes into the market.

For the unknown, VIIV is Intel's new platform designed for the enjoyment of digital entertainment—Intel® Viiv™ technology—delivers the multitasking power of a dual-core processor and enables sleek new designs that fit your lifestyle.Key components of the VIIV technology are Intel Dual Core 64 bit processor, Advanced Chipset, and Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Godavari Film Shooting

This is the second time that I was part of a movie shooting. The last time I was involved in a movie shooting was when I was in my Grandma’s house in the year 1998. It was the shooting of a Telugu movie by some name I do not even remember now. The shooting took place for about 2 weeks time but finally when I watched the movie the shooting at our place was their in picture for just about 30 sec to 1 minute. That time I realized the power of editing.

Recently one of our colleagues took us to a shoot sequence of an upcoming Telugu movie GODAVARI. Shekar Kammula one of the renowned director in the Telugu film industry and also the director of the movie Anand is directing this movie. He happens to be a good friend of my colleague so this gave us an opportunity to show our acting skills also. The first shot (If I can call it a shot) was the one, which we took near the HCU bus stand with the heroine. It was a very small still involving not much effort.

The second shot, which happened on Sunday, involved quite a few associates from our organization who participated in the shoot, which involved the Hero of the movie, Sumanth. The shoot was done in a conference room and was part of a song sequence. It was a nice break for me from the daily routine of going to the office and coming back. The shooting started at 8:30 in the morning and continued till 11:00 AM wherein we were part of close to 3 or 4 shots.

Shooting a movie is not an easy job. For a moment I felt that this is the toughest job, which one can think about since there are close to 100 things, which need to be done simultaneously. If someone wants to prove that he is a leader he should involve himself into shooting. All the leadership qualities of a person can be tested very well while shooting is in progress. The voice of the Director, the sequence of camera, action and cut, the control of the scene sequence, controlling the people out there, managing money, convincing the people, making sure the actor and actress are happy with what they are doing are some of the aspects which a director needs to take care. All in all, the director of the movie exhibits the true qualities of a leader.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Impossible is Nothing

Impossible is nothing. That’s what the South African team proved when they chased 434 against the top team of the world and three times world champion’s Australia. In a record-breaking one-day chase South Africa on Sunday chased 434 to win the series against Australia by 3-2. Australia made an impossible score of 434 way ahead of the 398 made by Srilanka against Kenya in 1996 World Cup. I remembered the star in that game was Aravinda De Silva who scored an impressive 148 to send shocks to Kenyan’s. But this contest was different

This contest was between one of the best teams in ODI. South Africa and Australia. Known for their all rounder’s these two teams always had a great contest. Some of the best memories of their contests are the World Cup Semifinal in 1999 wherein Australia won inspite of a tie because of a better run-rate.

A disbelieving crowd at the Wanderers in Johannesburg witnessed the greatest one-day international of all as South Africa hit a world record 438 for 9 with one wicket and one ball to spare to beat Australia. The fans were amazed at lunch, having seen the visitors smash 434 for 4, with Ricky Ponting making 164, they would have been pinching themselves when Mark Boucher hit the winning runs off Brett Lee after Herschelle Gibbs had led the way with 175.

This match proved it that Impossible is nothing, if one has that killer instinct to do it. No team could ever think of crossing 400 mark in one-day cricket. But then Australia did it and broke the previous record of 398 by scoring 434 and set an example. It was one of the most path breaking moments for Ricky Ponting where in he made his career best score. When South Africa started they always felt that probably they cannot reach that target but I must say that winning this match was a perfect example of team spirit where everyone in the team contributed equally to the success. Whether it was the one run of Makhaya Ntini or the winning shot by Mark Boucher everything in the match was awesome. In the past couple of months we have not seen such a finish for the match. India Pakistan series also went very dry. The feeling of elation for the team was absolutely par excellence and no one can ever expect to see that kind of stuff in one-day cricket. I believe no match will stand parallel to this match. And Then South Africa scored 438 with one wicket to go in 49.5 overs and won the match and grabbed the series. They made impossible possible with a great dedication, determination, a team effort and above all a killer instinct. But do Indian really possess it is the question?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

First Anniversary

Its exactly a year now since I started blogging. So today my blog completes one year of its existence on the world wide web. It saw close to 4200 visitors in the year which makes an average of 12 visits per day. The maximum hits were on 19th December 2005 when my blog recorded close to 49 hits which were excluding the reloads. This was the day when I had posted the article on the murder of the BPO woman.

I started blogging in the last few days of my stay at TAPMI. I was very excited about writing the things about which I felt very strongly but was lazy enough to note them down in a piece of paper. That was also the time when I shifted from the notebook or diary to the electronic medium of Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. Blog gave me a choice to express what I feel about the things around me. I believe that has driven me to write on the blog consistently in the last one year.

As I write this post I have posted close to 108 articles on my blog some clubbed under one heading of IT and related areas. Some on Compliance issues like Sarbanes Oxley, MiFiD and Clause 49. Others on Mergers and Acquisitions and some on my feelings and thoughts about certain issues which I feel very strongly about.

Blogging has been a great experience for me. I have been criticized several time and appreciated also many times. But more than that it has given me a lot of visibility and above all a presence on the web. Once someone types in the google, "Yashasvi Arun", immedietely he lands up on my blog homepage. Bitten by the blog bug, I went ahead and created a quiz blog for my Punchliners series. It has registered close to 4200 hits within a span of 5 months.

I believe, the quality of posts and also the time variation will improve considerably as I plan my time well enough to pursue my hobby in a better way. Thanks a lot to all those who visited my blog and if my Blog was helpful in providing some info to you I would feel the best satisfaction possible.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Thoughts Emotions Feelings Sentiments

It has been quite some time since I posted some stuff on the above words in which I used to believe very little until today. There are days in our lives which are just another days. But there are days which usually make a lot of impacts on our lives and take our view points to the extremes some times and make us think. Today was one such day in my life when I felt that yes that there are emotions, feelings and sentiments even in the worst of the business scenarios also.

I always felt that if we are good everything which will happen to us in the future will be good only. But often we forget that there are forces which act opposite to what we usually do. These are invisible forces which usually operate in vacuum till the time we are in our limits. But once we try to do something out of the system, these invisible forces come out of the vacuum and attack us in all directions possible and enervate us within no time. These negative forces tend to kill the enthusiasm, the dedication and the determination to make things perfect. The path to betterment is lost and suddenly the concerned human being feels that he is doing something which is not wished by others. The worst part of all this is that these invisible forces weaken you so much or hurt you so much that you sometimes start doubting as to why did you take this burden of improving the system at all.

Well the article as it sounds is not pessimistic. Its about the reality of life when we cross the system boundaries and do something which we believe is obvious and nevertheless good for the organization. But at the end we get entangled in such a web which stretches us emotionally, mentally and pscyhologically and literally kills the passion in us.

There have been days for me which always gave me a feeling that why should I suffer always in life. I questioned my existence in the organization. I questioned my education. I questioned by behavior. Above all I questioned my pursuit of perfection and belief in High Performance probably one thing in my life which keeps going me on and on. I could not never get the answer. Perhaps I can never get also.

To be continued.