A Simple Solution to Moving IT Jobs ...

... offshore is to make U.S. developers' salaries more competitive. But who wants to take pay cuts? Plenty of you, it seems. That's the discovery made by Mark Jennings, a vice president at Synergroup Systems Inc. in Aliso Viejo, Calif. His company augments personnel shortages in IT shops with U.S.-based workers -- a rare phenomenon of late. But, Jennings says, "if you're willing to let them work from home," U.S. programmers will take wages that are competitive with those of workers in Bangalore. How competitive? How about $38 per hour? That's what Jennings proved with three pilot projects using mainframe developers with 15 to 20 years of experience. Two of the companies signed follow-on contracts with Synergroup and kept the jobs that were once destined for overseas inside the U.S. Jennings says he initially thought that most of the developers he'd recruit would be "between the coasts, where the cost of living is lower." So he was surprised when he found many willing programmers who live in pricey Los Angeles. Given that U.S. workers are willing to be flexible on wages, Jennings thinks CIOs "should look in their own backyard" before choosing overseas staff.

Look to offshore companies for jobs ...

... in the U.S., suggests the Organization for International Investment, a Washington-based group representing 120 foreign subsidiaries doing business in the U.S. According to the OFII, these subsidiaries employed more than a half-million IT workers here last year. Better still, it said foreign subsidiaries pay on average 19% more than cheap U.S. firms. To date, no Indian-owned subsidiary belongs to the OFII.

IT helps VC dream IPO ...

... once again. Venture capitalist Mark Levine, managing director of Core Capital Partners LP in Washington, estimates that 90% of start-up companies that achieve success today do so by a merger or acquisition. Mergers and acquisitions in the past accounted for only about half of these fruitful "exit strategies," with the other half of the best high-tech start-ups going public. Levine sees signs of a swing back toward that 50/50 split, though the breakdown may be closer to 60% mergers and acquisitions and 40% initial public offerings. IT managers help venture capitalists determine not only the viability of potential investments, but also the exit strategies for current ones by explaining how they would buy a young vendor's product, Levine says. For example, if you say a product is ideally suited for a direct sales model, that start-up might need more capital and be more prone to an IPO. But a company that has technology that's ideal for integrators may be a good candidate for a merger and acquisition.

Mark Levine, managing director of Core Capital Partners LP
Mark Levine, managing director of Core Capital Partners LP

Massive BI queries answered ...

... in the blink of an eye. That's the charter of Herndon, Va.-based Clareos Inc. The business intelligence company uses cheap Intel boxes in a massively parallel processing configuration to swiftly analyze gobs of data. CEO Steve Foley claims that his software, CrossCut, can slice through 2TB of data strewn across 16 billion rows in a table to extract an answer faster than any competitor. If you want even more speed, you only need to add another low-cost server to share the load. And those low-cost servers will be even cheaper in August, when Clareos plans to ship CrossCut 2.0, which will run on 64-bit Linux machines. Pricing starts around $200,000.

Don't rely on technology to defend ...

... your systems from viruses, Trojan horses and worms. That's the advice of John Watters, CEO of iDefense Inc. in Reston, Va. Antivirus technologies, he deadpans, "are the first to tell you that your house has burned down." But you need to know about product vulnerabilities before they are exploited by crackers. For that you need human intelligence evaluating products targeted by bad guys. That's what his iAlert service does for 1,500 products from 83 vendors while supplying links to patches. And through its partnership with Secure Elements Inc. in nearby Herndon, patch updates can be done automatically.

NetScaler knocks F5's tardy ...

... addition of compression to its network load-balance technology. Mark Weiner, a vice president at Santa Clara, Calif.-based NetScaler Inc., claims that F5 Networks Inc. "is late for this [compression] game." Seattle-based F5 has said compression will be added to its technology soon. But Weiner boasts that with this week's announcement of an upgrade to the NetScaler 9000 network traffic management appliance, F5 is even further behind. NetScaler AppCompress, part of the July release, will compress all TCP-based applications, not just HTTP data. The upgrade also includes AppDefend, which can inspect packet payloads and apply security policies to them. The NetScaler 9000 starts at $115,000 for a 5,000 user license.

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