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back to article Colt quietly offshores network ops

Networking provider Colt has quietly offshored some of its network operations to a team based in India. The firm claimed today the move of its transmission backbone monitoring team to the sub-continent, which took place on Monday, will have no impact on customers. "Customer contact will still be handled by our team in Barcelona …

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Not good

I was looking to move from desktop support into networking in the hope it would be more secure and to this end I am starting the Cisco certifications next year.

Wonder if I'm making a mistake

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Unhappy

Trained?

Knowing how keen the Indian's are in bidding for these off-shore contracts I bet the Indian staff haven't all been fully trained, only enough to pull the wool over the eyes of the UK staff who negotiated the contract. Once they get the contract, then they hire in new graduates and train them up. And as always with off-shoring, has Colt taken into account the increased management factors which mean increased hidden costs which bean counters never think about.

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Pirate

Untrained Offshore Staff?

Unheard of!

Unless it's HCL, or someone with similar business practices, who were quite happy to take on all the development and support activities at my last company with absolutely no knowledge transfer and no technical (or even user) documentation whatsoever.....

Pirates, because I couldn't find a "Bunch of Cowboys" icon....

(Yes, I realise the irony in calling Indians cowboys.....)

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Probably an improvement

Having run a reasonable sized network over Clot, I welcome this move.

Firstly out of spite, since I personally hate the staff at Colt, and a bunch of them losing their jobs is something I'd like to see.

To quote their former CEO when I asked him why they had screwed up a minor s/w fix so badly that several banks had fallen off the network, "some teenagers are actually quite good".

I'd been angry that they had failed to carry out simple tasks yet again, and had asked why they were using teenagers to do jobs meant for grownups. Even though by this point we had someone whose fulltime job was hassling Colt to do what we paid them for, I hadn't really thought that they were using children, but I learned that in the name of cost saving there is nothing so recklessly stupid that Colt won't do it.

I'd rather talk to a Spaniard who had no English than any of the dimwits that Colt UK has in support.

I am no fan of BT, but once when they'd also screwed up, the account exec did at least say "but at least we're not Colt". When BT use your pathetically incompetent staff to prove they are not the worst comms supplier to deal with, you know you're dealing with Colt.

We also could never even get them to bill us properly either.

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Anonymous Coward

tip of the iceberg

not only that, but I've heard that Colt is in the process of off-shoring 90% of it's European based Engineering team to India. This is the team who are responsible for product innovation, 4th line support & selection of new equipment for the network.

Good luck to Colt & it's customers after this 'bold' move.

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Fingers and toes crossed

'She said insider reports received by El Reg that the Indian staff had not been properly trained to run the relevant equipment were untrue.

"This has been planned for a long time," she said.'

What - Colt had planned to not have properly trained staff to run the relevant equipment for a long time?

So the customer service function is still being performed in Europe. But the "techie" stuff is now in the hands of Indian staff, who may not be sufficiently trained.

I thought the idea of offshoring was to save money. A single major outage that might still have occured whilst the network ops was outside of India is sure to be blamed on the offshoring strategy. Prime customers will be off to the first supplier who can assure them as soon as their contract comes up for renewal.

'Course finding a telecoms supplier who hasn't offshored could be a toughie, but it appears the Board of Directors of Colt have decided to take a bit of a risk-hoping that a horrible f^&k-up doesn't take place before the new staff pick-up enough experience and knowledge if the inside whispers are indeed correct.

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Bronze badge

Long time? Two weeks was it?

Ever since the last outage

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FAIL

Colt customer service

1.) Send out email saying that they are going to take down the service in the middle of the day.

2.) Complain bitterly when the customer argues that this breaks agreed SLA and won't let them do it.

3.) Receive an email stating agreed new date.

4.) Carry out the work at the original time anyway. Bring down customer.

Customer " Why did you carry our the change at a time that we asked you not too"

Colt "We decided the risk of impacting customer was low."

Customer " But it took out our service in the middle of the day"

Colt "Yes"

Customer "So the risk of impacting the customer wasn't low, was it?"

Colt "Erm.....No"

5.) Cause another outage at the time that was agreed with customer in 3.

Customer "But why was this outage needed if you went ahead and did it erlier anyway?"

Colt "Well the original change didn't work."

6.) Bring down customer a third time

Customer "What caused this outage?"

Colt "We were still trying to implement the change"

Customer "The change that has already taken us down twice?

Colt "Yes"

Customer " So why didn't you tell us in advance?"

Colt "We assessed that there was very little risk to the customer"

It can't get any worse.

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FAIL

COLT are still in business?!?!?

I thought they had gone the way of GTS, PSInet, FLAG, VANCO and friends, they certainly deserve to. The sooner Reliance buys them and moves the remaining 20% of jobs to India the better, at least they will then be cheaper.

The marketing coming out of there is pure fantasy, and the technical engineering "skill" is wishful thinking. Have you seen the turnover in senior management in the last 3 years?

Run away! Run Away!

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Anonymous Coward

Timely article again from El Reg

We're soon to move offices, I won't be looking at Colt to provide telco services then...

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Pint

Ah, nothing changes..

Why this is news is beyond me - offshoring to India has been the COLT Board objective for at least the last five years. The sad fact is that for COLT, the Indian operations are completely unnecessary and tarnish what would otherwise be a purely pan-European operator, the cost models are set up to make it look like it's saving money when it clearly is not (excluding international line costs etc), and customers don't like it. Where's the gain? Perhaps to help hide the huge amount spent on applications because the board don't have a clue about what's required for a telco of this size because they don't understand technology.

All just part of the lack of vision the company has suffered from ever since Chisholm and co left all those years ago. The day they stopped providing milk for tea was the day to switch to BT!

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Pint

Re: Ah, nothing changes..

Whilst I have a lot of problems defending most of the above statements I can definitely say that Colt do provide milk for tea, they even provide the tea bags!

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Anonymous Coward

Boffins despised

Most company's in the UK hate their technical staff as they are normally all clever cloggs and make the management and general pen pushers feel inferior.

Solution ? farm the job out to some idiots you can revel in telling off on a regular basis (normally somewhere in the 3rd world so you can feel financially superior also)

This makes said managers feel superior again for the brief 5mins they still have a job.

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Anonymous Coward

Offshoring isn't automatically bad..and another classic COLT story

Gotta say, there are an awful lot of very bright Indians out there. So don't assume that just because colt are outsourcing to bangalore or wherever that they're going to get idiots. And let's face it, given colt's record things might actually improve.

My favorite COLT story comes from a friend who had to support an app running on colt's servers. They called up one day in a tiz cos the servers had dropped off the network. Obviously an outrageous outage. Could he find out wtf was going on?

Few hours later, turns out that the techs in the CO had decided the servers couldn't be very importasnt cos no one ever visited them so they pulled them out of the racks and stuffed them in a Transit van. Stellar.

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So what if the Indian staff are trained ?

It does not really matter if the Indian staff are "sufficiently trained", does it ?

Because they will leave.

Staff turnover in Indian support centres is huge, and so even if the Clot staff were up to speed, 6 months from now they won't be.

As the learned respondent earlier pointed out, these contracts are driven by price, not quality, and so the bidders will not try very hard to retain good staff, since they can replace them with cheaper ones, and not spend much on training

Also, the good ones they keep can be moved to show prospective clients the quality of their people. The incentive is to get business, not satisfied customers.

In that, there is no real difference between outsourcing to India, or to a firm in your home town.

However, the short term savings look good enough to earn bonuses executives, especially accountants, .so they do not really care all that much.

That being said, there is something quite special in the culture at Colt. Why did they not outsource years ago when if was fashionable ?

If you'd met Colt executives, then you'd know why.

They are only dimly aware that they are a telecoms company, and I disagree with the earlier poster who said they hate boffins. That is true of middle management at Colt, but the senior execs don 't really meet techies enough to hate or like them. They have the same understanding and relationship with technology that the Queen has when she opens a high energy physics lab. Like the Queen, they are polite to the greasemonkeys, feign interest, and then go to lunch to chat about golf.

I was going to use Prince Phillip as the example there, but he actually has an interest in technology, something Colt board members would regard as making the Prince their social inferior. I don't think he even plays golf, so certainly is not qualified to be an exec at Colt.

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WTF?

It amazes me.

I think the biggest problem here is communication. COLT aren't communicating with its people, hence you see all the drivel posted here by Pimps and other uninformed muppets.

COLT are doing this because they don't have a choice. They aren't making any money and certainly not enough to be independant. When I worked at COLT the retention in the India centres was incredibly high, so again not sure who is spouting the BS that the people will leave. Clearly someone ill-informed. What most of the clowns on this website forget is that here in the UK we do not have a monopoly on technical knowledge. Having hired many people from India they are as good if not better (certainly harder working) than similiar people here in the UK.

COLT has clearly lost one of its key differentiators in the past which was technical leadership. COLT used to be a million miles ahead of the competition in Ethernet and Hosting, now they've slipped back and are losing ground to just about every other telco out there. Laying off all the engineering team seems incredibly short sighted.

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