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GTL -“Concentrate on the core and outsource”

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VoicenData Bureau
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GTL's service framework consists of nearly 4,000 associates working out of

nine global delivery nodes that include: New York, Singapore, Melbourne, Dubai,

Riyadh, Surrey (UK), Torrance (California), Mauritius, and Mumbai. Furtado is

responsible for initiatives, internal operations, and strategies related to IT

at GTL. Excerpts of his interview with VOICE&DATA.

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CIOs are always under pressure to get the best from their partners and

also reduce the IT and telecom budget. How do you keep a balance between the

two?



We basically divide our perspective into two: tactical and strategic.

Tactical would mean optimization and consolidation of technologies and also

ramping up our existing business. While one has to clearly ensure that network

should be configured to deliver the defined service levels, one has to also look

at solutions that can deliver better return both from cost standpoint as well as

performance. The strategic part is based on how the business model gets evolved

and runs parallel to the business strategy. Some preemptive investment has to be

made keeping in view the future and the way to go there is to be standards based

and use appropriate benchmarks.

You have been managing IT it for years. But now you have to look after

telecom-related solutions also. How easy or difficult is it for you to manage

connectivity solutions and other communications aspects?

key mantra

We divide our perspective into tactical and strategic. Tactical would mean optimization and consolidation of technologies and also ramping up our existing business...The strategic part is based on how the business model gets evolved and runs parallel to the business strategy. Some preemptive investment has to be made keeping in view the future and the way to go there is to be standards based and use appropriate benchmarks

Savio Furtado

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GTL as an enterprise has business lines that span across many technologies,

as diverse as telecom and networking. But there are no problems as there is a

substantial knowledge pool as well as subject matter experts, especially in

these areas across the globe.

What is the technology roadmap that you have chartered for your company

and what are the challenges ahead?



Some of our key initiatives for the year ahead are: seamless multi-location

delivery (distributed architecture), security/DR/BCP, softswitches, IP/MPLS-based

initiatives, knowledge repository, CRM, e-learning, storage solutions, and ERP

enhancements.

Vendors are talking new technologies on a regular note. Also different

vendors promote different technologies. What is the process that you have laid

for choosing technologies so that companies like yours can benefit in terms of

costs and employee productivity? Do you opt for a pilot before full-scale

deployment of technology or do you straightway deploy technologies?



The adoption of any solution goes through a standard process where the

product is evaluated against industry, client, and internal benchmarks. Then,

solutions are validated through pilots, wherever possible in parallel with the

existing solutions. Delivery parameters and processes are clearly defined and

conformity to these is clearly validated and signed off before any solution is

deployed.

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What are the top five technologies that are going to make a mark in

future?



The top five technologies are: WiMax, grid computing, wavelength division

routing, combination of push technology and GPRS, and open source.

With mobility gaining grounds, lots of mobility-based solutions are being

talked about and being deployed by enterprise users. Have you deployed any

mobility-based solutions? If not, when are you planning to deploy?



We have plans to deploy GPRS with push technology. Until 3G networks are

deployed, an interim solution that allows business users to access data cost

effectively across a medium, with a relatively lower bandwidth, needs to be

deployed.

IP is gaining ground. What is the promise that IP has for your company and

do you plan to deploy IP-based technologies like IP-phones and MPLS-based VPN

solutions?




GTL has already deployed an IP-based MPLS-VPN for voice. IP is already being
deployed at the core of the network. At the moment it still does not make any

commercial sense to rip off the entire TDM infrastructure right up to the

desktop and replace it with IP. The cost of IP phones is still on the higher

side in comparison to the TDM counterparts. However, using a combination of

aggregation points (like gateways) is sometimes the best solution.

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What are the top five concerns of a CIO?



The top five concerns are: security, disaster/business continuity

management, seamless integration both in terms of infrastructure and

applications backend, cost effectiveness, and impact of the changing regulatory

landscape.

Are you satisfied with QoS on the bandwidth front (both local, domestic,

and international)? What steps do you take so that you get quality as well as

quantity bandwidth at all fronts?



Prices of bandwidth have fallen drastically but TDM circuits (IPLCs) are

still expensive. On the packet switched network front it depends on the service

provider and the level of service subscribed to-the performance on shared

services is bad. However when one subscribes to uncontended bandwidth, one could

achieve acceptable levels of performance by deploying IP-QoS.

Getting best value from communications service providers is often a

challenge. What all should a CIO keep in mind while dealing with a service

provider? What do you think are the key elements of a good SLA?



It all depends on the services being subscribed. For bandwidth, the

following parameters are crucial: RTT (to an IXP in the US), max values and not

the average should be included in SLA, jitter, throughput, response, and

restoration times.

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What are the regulatory issues that hamper deployment of new communication

technologies in India?



There is lack of clarity in policies. First, policies on TDM- and

packet-switched networks need to be separate. Second, isolation of call center

networks from domestic networks is a big problem, and third, lack of policies

like anti-spamming.

With networks becoming cumbersome and difficult to manage, do you feel

outsourcing is the need of the hour. If yes, why? If not, why not?



The trend in all areas of business is to concentrate on the core and

outsourcing makes complete sense. It not only provides cost effectiveness but

also helps in doing away with the administrative burden.

What was your IT/telecom budget for FY 2004—05 and what is your

projected expenditure in IT/telecom in FY 2005—06?



We are in the process of consolidating our budgets and at this stage it

would be very premature to talk about it.

Pravin Prashant

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