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