Wednesday, September 30, 2009

If you want to know the technical terms on your income tax forms read on

I found this article interesting enough for things related to Taxation. Hope you will find it useful.

Source: The Star

IF you are like the average taxpayer, chances are you are often confused by the terms “deduction”, “allowance”, “relief”, or “exemption”.
These words are not given separate meanings in the tax legislation but they all operate to reduce your tax bill. It is helpful to distinguish them and to know the meanings usually attributed to them.
A deduction is an expense or “outgoing” of the taxpayer which he is entitled to take into account in arriving at any particular figure of income.
It is generally a cost of earning income of a particular source, which is deductible in computing the net income from that source.
Deductions allowed in arriving at “income” occur frequently in relation to certain types of income but rarely in relation to some others.
The most frequent deductions encountered are those made against the income received from a trade or business to arrive at the profits, which, by definition, is the balance of income over expenditure.
Whilst this represents the general scheme of how the tax law operates, there are many situations where an expense is specifically treated as not deductible.
Examples are expenses of a capital nature and donations to unapproved charitable bodies. Deductions are not widely permitted for income from personal earnings such as income from one’s employment.
This is because such earnings do not normally involve cost, other than the cost of travelling to and from work and the cost of maintaining the human body and mind in good order.
Nothing may be deducted for these since the test is strict; the expenditure must be “wholly and exclusively incurred” in earning the employment income.
Some items of expenditure may yet qualify, such as travelling incurred by the employee in the course of his duties where the employer does not reimburse the expenses.
The terms “allowance” and “relief” are sometimes used interchangeably and sometimes in different senses.
Generally an allowance is an outgoing, which, when the amount of income has been ascertained, is allowed as an offset against it.
An allowance may be allowed against a particular type of income. Thus allowances on the cost of machinery used in a manufacturing business would be allowed against income from that business.
If a business has made a loss, allowances for losses may be allowed against future or previous income of the source of the business from which the loss occurred.
Allowances may be allowed against an individual taxpayer’s income.
Relief due to an individual
An individual pays no income tax on a part of his income. The extent of that part is determined by the number and extent of various personal relief, which he may be entitled to claim.
Thus the totality of personal relief due establishes the minimum tax threshold. A relief is an offset allowed against the net income but unlike an allowance, does not usually require an expense outlay on the part of the taxpayer.
Most relief is dependent on the personal circumstances of the individual taxpayer. Examples of such relief, which is not dependent on any outlay by the taxpayer can be seen in the table on the bottom left.
An exemption may occur in two ways; first, certain classes of persons are wholly or partially exempt from tax; second, certain types of income are exempt from tax.
Usually the right to an exemption depends on a combination of some particular feature of the income with some particular attribute of the taxpayer. For example, in Budget 2009, the following types of income were granted exemption:
>Travel allowance from home to work up to RM2,400 a year;
>Travel allowance for business purposes up to RM6,000 a year;
>Parking fees or allowance;
>Meal allowance;
>Child care allowance RM2,400 a year;
>Charges for phones, PDAs and Internet subscription;
>Discounted purchase of employer goods up to RM1,000 a year;
>Discounted employer services;
>Interest subsidies on loans up to RM300,000 for housing, cars and education; and
>Expenses on maternity and traditional medicines.
The examples cited do not represent an exhaustive list of the various items of allowances, relief and exemptions but are intended to show the nature of each group of items. Full details of these are available at the official website of the Inland Revenue Board (
>Kang Beng Hoe is executive director of Taxand Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thai Food & Health..

Last weekend we went to this new mall.. which opened near Bukit Jalil - it is a large "Giant" Mall ( Giant is a chain of hypermarkets in Malaysia.. So at this mall we came across this restaurant called "Mango Chilli" this is Thai restaurant which has most of its dishes Mango flavoured by using slices of Mangoes (not so ripe one).. One of the walls in this restaurant had this picture which I am pasting down.. it is nice to know.. what the ingredients do as part of health supplements :)

I asked for Pattaya dish on this day and my wife had some Dried Chilli Chicken with Rice but it turned out to be pretty bland. Price wise it is between the range of RM 7-10. They have a variety of drinks to offer again of course mango is something quite a lot in the form of pulps and juice.. but they tend to use too much of Ice in these drinks.. 

Any of you visiting please do let me know how you found it.

The address can be checked out at their website on the link I have given - The place in Bandar Kinrara 5, it can't be missed. On the way going from Sri Petaling towards Puchong.. 

Sunday, September 27, 2009

LRT extension in Kuala Lumpur

Analysts are generally more bullish on the construction sector since last week’s announcement that state transport firm Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd has been given the nod to extend the Kelana Jaya and Ampang light rail transit (LRT) lines, estimated to cost RM7bil.
A local analyst said the project would have significant and positive impact on the sector, create spin-offs to boost employment, besides helping to ease traffic congestion.
“The extension of the Kelana Jaya and Ampang LRT lines will also help increase the value of properties along the lines,” he told StarBiz.
He said it was not uncommon for properties within walking distance to the LRT stations to appreciate, but it also depended on the location.
“These properties located near LRT stations are definitely more easy to rent as people can opt for an alternative mode of transportation, to driving.”
He also said the extensions, slated to be completed in three years, would serve the transport needs of those living or working further from the Kuala Lumpur city centre, thereby easing congestion and improving transport efficiency.
At this moment, it is unclear whether Prasarana, a wholly-owned unit of Ministry of Finance Inc, will award the entire project to one company or a consortium of companies.
“Many leading construction companies are definitely eyeing a major slice of the cake,” the analyst said.
An analyst with OSK Research also concurred that the extension lines would help lift property prices, especially for properties near the stations.
He said prequalification tenders for the construction of the extension lines were expected to be called next month and contracts awarded only from early 2010.
“This, we reckon, is very timely as the estimated completion of the extension lines by early next decade will likely coincide with the expected boom in the mass to mid housing market, thus giving many of the townships along these upcoming LRT lines the leverage to ride on the next major upcycle,” he said.
The Kelana Jaya line would extend from the Kelana Jaya station to Subang Jaya and USJ, before ending in Putra Heights.
A total of 13 stations will be located along the 17km Kelana Jaya extension. There will also be an interchange at the existing KTM line located behind Carrefour in Subang Jaya.
The analyst said the extension would serve the densely populated and mature townships such as Subang Jaya and USJ.
“There is a sizeable student population within the enclave and its vicinity as it houses a number of colleges and universities, such as Taylor’s College, INTI College and Metropolitan College,” he said.
The analyst said the Ampang extension line would start from the existing Sri Petaling station, pass through Bandar Kinrara, Bandar Puchong Jaya and Bandar Puteri Puchong before ending in Putra Heights.
The 17.7km Ampang extension will also have 13 stations. Both the Kelana and Ampang extension lines will connect at an interchange in Putra Heights.
The OSK analyst said in contrast to the Kelana Jaya extension line, the Ampang line would pass through many new but fast growing townships in the south-east of the Klang Valley.
Foreign research house Credit Suisse said in its Sept 14 note that the rollout of this RM7bil project was the next major catalyst for upward re-rating of the construction sector in the country.
Source: The Star

Saturday, September 26, 2009

India Passports to Go Digital Next Year

I was wondering when will I get this news from Indian administration & finally it is here. Just for the records: Over 70 countries have already issued e-passports..

Source: Businessweek

The Indian government next year will launch its e-passport initiative, as well as the Passport Seva Project, with pilots expected to commence this year.
Implemented by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme, the Passport Seva Project entails digitization of the entire passport services. It seeks to deliver all passport-related services to citizens in a timely, transparent, more accessible and reliable manner, through streamlined processes and trained workforce.
This US$207.3 million (10 billion rupees) project is part of the government's National e-Governance Plan (NeGP).
"The unique feature of Passport Seva is that citizens will be able to get a passport in three working days," Neel Ratan, executive director at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), told ZDNet Asia in a phone interview. Currently, it takes nearly a fortnight or longer, for local citizens to get a new passport. For travel documents that are needed urgently, arrangements are made under the "tatkal" scheme for passports to be issued within a week. The Passport Seva project aims to cut this down to a day.
Under the initiative, passport offices across the country will also be spruced up. "The offices will wear a more contemporary look," Ratan said. PwC assisted the government in designing and conceptualizing the project.
Indians will also get new e-passports designed to facilitate international travel by allowing automatic identity verification and faster immigration inspections, as well as provide efficient border protection and security.
"An e-passport incorporates a security microcontroller, embedded in the back cover of the passport, which securely stores information printed on the document," Mahendran Kathiresan, Infineon Technologies' business development manager of chip card and security, said in an e-mail interview. Infineon is the supplier of contactless security microcontrollers (MCU) for the e-passport initiative.
Kathiresan explained that e-passports support a combination of electronic and optical security features including watermark, optically variable device and hologram.
If an e-passport is misused, the immigration checkpoint will be able to detect a mismatch between the printed and digital information, and authorities can take necessary action against the offender.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) sets the standards for e-passports that have been implemented in over 70 countries. Data in the Indian e-passport can be read in other countries as it adheres to the ICAO global standards for biometrics and secure storage of personal data in travel documents.


The Passport Seva Project was unveiled in October 2008, after the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) signed the agreement with TCS, which included plans for the first pilot trial to commence in June 2009 from centers located in Chandigarh and Bangalore. The rest of India, to be serviced by 77 stations, will be issued e-passports in 2010.
However, the project has since missed its June 2009 deadline.
TCS declined to speak to ZDNet Asia, but A. Manickam, joint secretary and chief passport officer for the Union Ministry of External Affairs, said the government will make a major announcement regarding the project next month. "I would not like to make any comment prior to that," Manickam said in a phone interview.
In a local newspaper report, Tanmoy Chakrabarty, vice president at TCS, said it was hoping to proceed with trials at the Chandigarh and Bangalore centers in October. This timeline was reiterated in a government Web site, which stated that TCS was looking to implement the project at six pilot locations next month and 77 centers by June 2010.
Explaining the missed deadline, Chakrabarty said in the newspaper report: "The Ministry of External Affairs did not make us available to the disaster recovery site for this project, which led to the delay."


Meanwhile, the government launched its e-passport scheme on Jun. 25 this year, where President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Vice President Hamid Ansari were the first ones to receive their biometric passports.
E-passports have been issued to diplomats since July this year, but are expected to be extended to all citizens from September next year. Around 800,000 e-passports are estimated to be issued by 2010.
While Infineon has secured the initial e-passport trial, its competitor NXP Semiconductors is hopeful it has a role to play when the scheme is extended to the general public next year. Claus Hansen, NXP's Asia-Pacific senior director of sales and marketing, said at the Identification Summit 2009 held in Delhi last month that the company in January delivered some 170 million e-passport chips.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Finally - Post offices willl get the recognition what they deserve to have!!

It is pretty common in countries in Singapore and Malaysia where i have been staying for the past 8+ years., to have post offices doing multiple functions which include bill payments, banking related stuff etc. The recent times have seen these type of organisation setting a standard for the competition like DHL's & other leading courier companies to work for their business. In Singapore it is POSB (Post office savings Bank) which was taken over by DBS few years back. Similarly in Malaysia, POS Malaysia postal department of Malaysia has also grown to become a self reliable system & competes with the private sector. It is delightful to read about Indian postal department being revamped & prepared to handle larger portfolio & compete with the main liners & hopefully surpass the expectations of critics to that of the Indian Railways. All the best.... to all involved.. Here are more details on the subject.. 

Source: CIOL 

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Union Minister for IT and Communication, A Raja, today said post offices in the country will soon begin core banking system.

"We will shortly begin core banking of post offices saving banks," said the minister after rededicating the Parliament Street head post office to the public under 'Project Arrow'.

"Our aim is to change and transform post offices all over the country to be better places for people to go to and where work can be done efficiently," said Raja.

The minster assured that around 4000 post offices in the country would be brought under core banking solutions within next three years.

'Project Arrow' envisages upgradation of 500 post offices both in urban and rural areas from 11 circles in terms of physical 'look and feel', conducive and friendly work environment both for staff and the customers visiting the post offices.

This will include providing IT enabled services through secure connectivity, improving the service quality levels in the core business area like mails, remittances and postal savings. These 500 post offices would be equipped with modern computer hardware and software required for running daily operations.

Modernization work of 50 post offices was to be completed before August 15, 2008, but it could be done only this year. The Department of Posts claims that in Delhi, 36 post offices have undergone complete overhaul in their look and feel as in their core functions and operation. These post offices have been provided with computer hardware and single window service system has been attempted with a view to reduce waiting time for customers.

Another 30 post offices are not going to have complete change in their look and feel but their functioning is said to have improved to meet the service norms devised by the department.

To improve customer interaction, the post offices employees, particularly the front line staff, have been sensitized and imparted training in soft skills and IT, said the department officials.

Raja admitted that the process of modernizing post offices will take time but it is now in the direction in which post offices will be moving for development.

"Since there are large number of post offices in the country, including Delhi, we cannot change everything at onces. Plan funds are required and as per availability of funds we could change things in a phased manner. But the gradual change has already begun," said Raja.

He said he had recently approved the proposal for setting up of new automatic mail processing centres at Delhi and Kolkata at the cost of Rs 65 crore. New machines will be installed in 10 major cities.

The minister has also approved appointment of an IT consultant for India Post for the planning and execution of integrated IT solutions, which will aim to create seamless integration of the postal network.

"More than 12,000 post offices in the country have been already computerized. Under the 100 days agenda of the Prime Minister, I have made commitment of behalf of the department for networking of 1,25,000 branch post offices in the rural areas for proving financial as well as state social security schemes," said Raja.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Moment of Pride for Indians...

I came across this article on CYBERMEDIA INDIA ONLINE LIMITED - (CIOL) India's first website to focus on Information Technology which was created with a vision to provide quality and relevant IT information to the growing Internet community. 

Five Indians among Top 35 innovators of the year
Technology Review named Kevin Fu of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as the 'Innovator of the Year'

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Five Indians made it to the Technology Review's 2009 TR35, its annual list of 35 outstanding men and women under the age of 35 who exemplify the spirit of innovation in business and technology.
Ranjan Dash, Ashoke Ravi, Vik Singh, Pranav Mistry and Shwetak Patel will be honored on September 23 at EmTech 2009 to be held at Cambridge campus of MIT, for doing ground-breaking work in Nanotechnology, TelecomInternet and Hardware, respectively.
This year's winners are united in their urgent desire to do things better and get them done sooner, to help us achieve more and live better. Technology Review also named Kevin Fu of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as the "Innovator of the Year" for his work defeating would-be hackers of radio frequency chips in objects from credit cards to pacemakers. Jose Gomez-Marquez of Innovations in International Health was selected as the "Humanitarian of the Year" for his work creating practical medical devices for use in poor countries.

"Discovering the amazing young men and women who make up the TR35 is one of the highlights of the year for us," said Jason Pontin, editor in chief and publisher of Technology Review. "We honor them for their achievements today and look forward to their future accomplishments."

Ranjan Dash, 32, co-founder of Y-Carbon, a startup based in King of Prussia, PA, commercialized a technique which enables nanoporous carbon power hybrid cars. As the chief technology officer he led Y-carbon develop a prototype ultracapacitor. The plan is to partner with other companies to develop this and other applications for the porous material, which Y-Carbon will manufacture. The first ultracapacitor products could be on sale in about two and a half years, says Dash.

Ashoke Ravi, 32, a researcher at Intel, is working on how future cell phones and netbooks won't need separate circuits to transmit multiple radio signals (over a cellular network, Wi-Fi, and WiMax, for example); a single transmitter will handle all of them. Radios that use software to receive signals over different wireless protocols exist, but progress has lagged on the transmission side. Ravi's software-controlled transmitter solves the problem.

Vik Singh, a programmer with Yahoo, at 24, developed the BOSS (build your own search service) model which enabled developers take Yahoo search results and manipulate them to provide services tailored to users' needs, in some cases by considering personal data that a website has collected.
For instance, Singh says, typing jobs into Yahoo gives a user links to job-search websites such as But a social-networking site could use BOSS to design a search that considered a user's hometown and current job, or even where his or her friends work.

Pranav Mistry, 28, a graduate student at MIT, has made it easier to retrieve information from the Web while traveling. With Sixth Sense, an economical device worn like a pendant, digital information can be superimposed on the physical world. Users control Sixth Sense with simple hand gestures; putting fingers and thumbs together to create a picture frame tells the camera to snap a photo, while drawing an @ symbol in the air allows you to check your e-mail. It is also designed to automatically recognize objects and retrieve relevant information.

Shwetak Patel, 27, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington, has shown that each electrical appliance in a house produces a signature in the building's wiring; plugged into any outlet, a single sensor that picks up electrical variations in the power lines can detect the signal made by every device as it's turned on or off. He has shown that slight pressure changes in gas lines and water pipes betray the use of specific appliances or fixtures, such as a stove or faucet. Patel believes that providing people with information about their patterns of resource consumption can help them reduce it.

The 2009 TR35 were selected from more than 300 submissions by the editors of Technology Review in collaboration with a prestigious panel of judges from leading organizations such as Caltech, Flagship Ventures, Google, MIT, PureTech Ventures, and the University of California, Berkeley.

The EmTech@MIT 2009 Conference, being held from September 22 to 24 at MIT, will honor the winners in a series of "Meet the TR35" presentations, dedicated breakout sessions, and receptions.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Top 10 Mistakes When Implementing Shared Services

This is an interesting article which I found on the shared services network subscription. Some very fine pointers have been mentioned.

Source: Shared Services

No-one ever said adopting the shared services model was a walk in the park (indeed, plenty of people have said entirely the opposite!). It simply isn’t meant to be easy. However, some of the biggest problems arising when an organization moves to shared services are of that organization’s own making: simple mistakes creep in which if not discovered and averted can spell serious difficulties further along the line.
SSON reached out to some of the biggest names in shared services and outsourcing to get their take on the most common - and potentially most devastating - mistakes companies make when setting up shared service organizations. The result: the Top Ten Mistakes Made When Implementing Shared Services. It’s literally a catalogue of errors - so just make sure you don’t order from this particular catalogue when it comes to your own great adventure… Ready? Then read on - and try not to wince too often…

1. Not measuring costs or service levels before a move to shared services
As we all know, shared services can perform a host of functions for an organization, from cutting costs and increasing efficiency through to driving wholesale business transformation at a philosophical level. But all too often all those gains are overshadowed by an inability to assess exactly how successful the SSO is proving, caused by a lack of proper measurement of existing service levels and operating costs before beginning a shared service implementation. It seems obvious (if you haven’t marked where you came from, how do you tell how far you’ve come?) but in the rush to implement what many at a senior level might persist in seeing as a cure-all, quite often those initial metrics are ignored or pushed back - and cue general lamentation down the line when what would be impressive results appear less impressive simply because there’s little to measure them against.
“In many cases,” says Alejandro Abella, partner with Ernst & Young in Argentina, “the highest priority in the SSC implementation project is that ‘processes should work OK‘, and all other key elements like defining KPIs and obtaining information are set aside. When the time comes to negotiate SLAs or to start offering the service, clients demand quality and efficiency levels far superior than the ones they need or can internally obtain. Therefore, it is essential to gather information on costs and service quality levels before implementing the SSC so that one can negotiate with the client on objective bases and set reasonable goals. It is understandable that clients may wish to obtain a better and less costly service from the SSC than the one they currently have, but clients should also understand which is the starting point and how long it will take for the SSC to reach its ideal performance level.”

2. Not documenting processes and work streams pre-implementation
As with metrics telling an organization how well a task is carried out, it’s also critical to assess just how the task is carried out, and who’s doing what in relation to it. Tight process documentation and clarification of employee responsibilities should be standard operating procedure for any firm whether or not it’s operating shared services - but it’s particularly important to have those things down in writing before starting to implement an SSO as only then will you have anything like an accurate idea of how all the myriad individual pieces making up the shared services jigsaw puzzle fit together.
“As work and functions are identified to be moving into shared services, get a jumpstart on documentation of processes and work streams of all types. You should do this regardless of whether or not employees currently doing the work are also transferring into the SSC. Sometimes they don’t transfer in or leave before training a back-up, and the knowledge in their head I lost. Build extra time into the business case if necessary, to keep employees longer to document the work,” advises Kathy Bishop, former VP/GM Finance Shared Services at Pitney Bowes.
3. Not appointing a full-time head honcho early in the process
A good shared services center needs a strong, solid team - and like any successful team in history that team needs someone to direct and coordinate its efforts. The general manager performs that role: however, it’s surprising how frequently the appointment of that general manager is left until comparatively late in the day, with non-specialist managers ‘filling in’ during a crucial period for the whole organization. It’s important that firms make an appointment early as the responsibilities of the general manager - or whatever the particular job title may be - don’t just start at go-live. You want someone in charge who’s totally focused on the task in hand, not part-time players who might be juggling other responsibilities while not possessing the specific experience required to hit the ground running..
All too often, says PwC’s Charles Aird, organizations “do not hire or appoint a full-time general manager of the SSC early in the SSC development life cycle. Once the feasibility of the SSC has been agreed upon, the GM of the SSC is critical to the recruiting of the team who will take ownership of the SSC and be responsible for the knowledge transfer from the legacy organization to the SSC. [Organizations] also often do not appoint a full time project team. Project managers and transition staff often are part-time doing both their ‘day job’ as well as the SSC project.”

4. Not focusing sufficiently on the transition period
In an ideal world, once given board approval a shared services organization would spring into existence at the click of a CFO’s fingers and would be operating at 100 per cent from the word “go”. Unfortunately this is not an ideal world, and even with the leanest, sleekest and best-performing SSOs a period of transition is inevitable. An inability to focus on what that transitional period entails, and what it requires, can give rise to serious issues both during the transition itself and long into the future.

“The transition is an important part of the shift to shared services,” explains KPMG’s Cliff Justice. “Many organizations invest most of their time and effort on strategy, design and deal execution when vendors are involved, but dedicate inadequate resources to transition activities. But mistakes made during the transition can be magnified for years to come. For example, a poor transition can lead to delays and loss of financial benefits. But potentially more costly is that it can also possibly lead to stakeholder dissatisfaction, which can prevent a broader adoption of the shared services model throughout the organization.”
5. Not having a robust project plan clarifying employee resources
Staffing a shared services organization is of course a major aspect of the operation - but it’s unfeasible to expect that every last one of the SSO’s employees will (or should) be a new hire. Much of the groundwork - especially during the early stages of the project - is going to be carried out by existing employees, with existing responsibilities. Drawing up a solid and very granular project plan outlining what’s required of every member of the team - however temporary their involvement might be - may be a clunky and irritating task but it’ll save tears and tantrums further down the line. If you know exactly who’s meant to be doing what, and when, your implementation will be all the smoother - and your success all the sweeter.
“One of the keys to success is having a strong project plan with reasonable deadline/completion dates in regards to your employee resources,” believes Debbie Kraft, Shared Services Supervisor at International Automotive Components. “Let’s face it; the majority of the work will not be done by VPs and Directors, but by middle management and those reporting to them. More than likely most of your employee resources will be employed by the company already. Will the employees be pulled from their current responsibilities, forcing that position to be back-filled requiring extra time for training, or will the employee have extra work on top of current responsibilities?  These will be the people putting in the extra hours needed to complete the projects by the requested deadlines. Taking employee resources into consideration when creating a project plan will save on over-worked employees, stress and the dreaded frustration from senior management when your roll-out is pushed back.”

6. Fighting the battles of yesterday, not those of tomorrow
Creating a quality SSO doesn’t happen overnight - indeed, it can be a matter of several years between concept and launch, let alone full operating capacity. One problem with this is that the challenges which shared services must overcome develop and evolve over time - but the methods and processes designed to overcome them remain stuck in what quickly becomes an increasingly distant past. Each part of the team working on a shared service implementation must be aware that their own creations need to have embedded within them both a flexibility and a degree of foresight, in order to avoid becoming obsolete even before going live.
“Too often, the design team works to deploy a common business process that is geared for the business profile of yesterday,” cautions Peter Allen, Group President, Strategy & Business Development at CSC. “An SSO must service the business needs of tomorrow, so the design approach must engage the business and corporate function leadership on the form and nature of the business to come.”

7. Becoming bogged down standardizing technology and processes pre-implementation
It’s crucial, of course, to try to iron out as many wrinkles as possible before putting on a dress shirt: applying that metaphor to shared services, it’s important not to move a wrinkled “mess” - in the form of numerous different and potentially incompatible platforms and processes - into a new SSO. However, while the ideal is to standardize all those platforms and processes before moving them over, in some instances it might actually be better in the long run to avoid lengthy delays to a project by compromising and moving a handful of different systems over and working to standardize them while the SSO gets up a full head of steam. It’s a fine line to walk and it might terrify you to consider anything other than a full standardization pre-implementation - but is it worth putting back by months or even years a potentially game-changing SSO implementation while the tech team agonizes over yet another incompatibility?
“[Organizations] think they must implement a standard technology platform and common processes before moving to the SSC. In practice, the common platform is significantly delayed and it becomes very difficult to harmonize distributed processes. While it's not good practice to run a center with 20-plus difference technology platforms, it not uncommon to have a center with four or five systems. The resulting labor cost reduction and productivity gains can be invested in the technology. Also once the processes are under control of the SSC, it becomes less difficult to standardize these processes,” opines Charles Aird of PwC.

8. Believing that “it’s already a centralized process: there’s nothing we should do”
In almost the direct opposite of the last point, problems can arise when companies consider processes that are already centralized and standardized to be perfectly able to fit into a new shared services organization. Just because they’re already homogenized to a certain extent, or have already been standardized and brought into a single point of delivery, doesn’t mean they’re automatically fit for purpose. Take a good hard look at even your most centralized processes and assume not that they’re ripe for transition but that they need to be analyzed and potentially overhauled just like everything else. Chances are you’ll have to change at least something - and there’s a possibility that major work will be required even here.
“In some cases,” says Ernst & Young’s Alejandro Arbella, “companies which have implemented a shared services center include processes which are already operated in a centralized manner, and people thus make the mistake of believing that ‘there’s nothing we should do’ about those process. In practice, this notion is actually untrue because, even though it may not be necessary to make significant changes from an operating point of view, there certainly are other aspects just as important that can be worked on. Some of these aspects are:
  • Services scope: Business units for which the centralized service is offered are usually not the only clients using the services offered by the SSC. These other clients' requirements thus need to be identified and products and processes should be adapted to their needs.
  • Process role: Centralized services not operated within a SSC also have control functions not compatible with the new model. Therefore, those functions need to be redefined and processes and organizations need to be adjusted accordingly.
  • KPIs: In most cases, centralized services lack the appropriate KPIs to be measured as part of a shared services model.
  • People skills: Even though users probably know how to operate the process, their attitude toward customers and their customer service skills should be reinforced, since these are skills that are not considered to be important when things are centralized.”
9. Having no, or inadequate, risk management or monitoring
There’s no excuse for this one - which makes it all the more shocking that so many firms fall foul of it. Any project on the scale of a full shared services implementation - especially if added complexity is thrown into the mix via offshoring or building new infrastructure - comes with its own risks inherent within it, and it’s critical to be aware of those risks and to have in place contingency plans (which of course are useless without a monitoring system that allows you to know when you need to initiate them). It seems obvious - so why does it trip up so many?
“There are many value levers that organizations can pull to increase savings and improve effectiveness in a shared service organization,” says KPMG’s Cliff Justice. “What most companies fail to realize is the corresponding risks associated with these decisions are usually left unchecked. This can lead to surprises and costly mistakes. Setting up a risk monitoring dashboard can provide insight into the key areas that should be monitored based on the structure of the organization. For example, monitoring the status of offshore delivery markets (currency, politics, labor pool), contractors, outsourced service providers and infrastructure can provide an ongoing risk profile to the shared services organization.”

10. Omitting the “make versus buy” equation
Shared services can be a wonderful solution to a plethora of problems - but it’s unlikely to be the only one, especially considering what’s been taking place in the outsourcing world in recent years. Organizations considering implementing a shared services model need to look at every other option before giving the SSO the go-ahead; it’s all very well crowing about the efficiency increases and cost savings that have resulted from your new SSO, but if twice those increases could have been gained at half the cost through the judicious use of outsourcing, it doesn’t really sound so great, does it?
“In all cases, it will be important to demonstrate that you considered the merits of contracting for a managed service versus investing resources in constructing your own delivery capability. Increasingly, senior management is challenging the thinking on proprietary solutions (especially when capital expense is required),” explains CSC’s Peter Allen.

Friday, September 18, 2009

World's Most Expensive Cars

Courtesy: MalaysiaFinance

I love cars and almost all men love them.. and this portion of information can atleast help us own them (wish) or atleast own them in dreams :)

World's Most Expensive Cars
What is the most expensive car in the world? The 1931 Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe was sold for $8,700,000 in 1987. However, that car and many alike will not be included in this list because it is not available on the market today. It is hard to imagine someone would actually spend 8 million dollars on a car instead of using it for something more productive.

1. Bugatti Veyron $1,700,000. This is by far the most expensive street legal car available on the market today. It is the fastest accelerating car reaching 0-60 in 2.6 seconds. It claims to be the fastest car with a top speed of 253 mph+. However, the title for the fastest car goes to the SSC Ultimate Aero which exceed 253 mph pushing this car to 2nd place for the fastest car.

Lamborghini Reventon $1,600,000. The most powerful and the most expensive Lamborghini ever built is the second on the list. It takes 3.3 seconds to reach 60 mph and it has a top speed of 211 mph. Its rarity (limited to 20) and slick design are the reasons why it is so expensive and costly to own.

McLaren F1 $970,000. In 1994, the McLaren F1 was the fastest and most expensive car. Even though it was built 15 years ago, it has an unbelievable top speed of 240 mph and reaching 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. Even as of today, the McLaren F1 is still top on the list and it outperformed many other supercars.

Ferrari Enzo $670,000. The most known supercar ever built. The Enzo has a top speed of 217 mph and reaching 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. Only 400 units were produced and it is currently being sold for over $1,000,000 at auctions.

Pagani Zonda C12 F $667,321. Produced by a small independent company in Italy, the Pagani Zonda C12 F is the 5th fastest car in the world. It promises to delivery a top speed of 215 mph+ and it can reach 0-60 in 3.5 seconds.

SSC Ultimate Aero $654,400. Don't let the price tag fool you, the 6th most expensive car is actually the fastest street legal car in the world with a top speed of 257 mph+ and reaching 0-60 in 2.7 seconds. This baby cost nearly half as much as the Bugatti Veyron, yet has enough power to top the most expensive car in a speed race. It is estimated that only 25 of this exact model will ever be produced.

Saleen S7 Twin Turbo $555,000. The first true American production certified supercar, this cowboy is also rank 3rd for the fastest car in the world. It has a top speed of 248 mph+ and it can reach 0-60 in 3.2 seconds. If you are a true American patriot, you can be proud to show off this car.

Koenigsegg CCX $545,568. Swedish made, the Koenigsegg is fighting hard to become the fastest car in the world. Currently, it is the 4th fastest car in the world with a top speed of 245 mph+, the car manufacture Koenigsegg is not giving up and will continue to try and produce the fastest car. Good luck with that!

Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren Roadster $495,000. A GT supercar, the SLR McLaren is the fastest automatic transmission car in the world with a top speed of 206 mph+ and reaching 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. It is a luxurious convertible with a really powerful engine, which results in outstanding performances and style.

Porsche Carrera GT $440,000. A supercar with dynamic stability control and a top speed of 205 mph+ and it can reach 0-60 in 3.9 seconds. The Porsche Carrera GT applies the absolute calibers of a true racing car to offer an unprecedented driving feeling on the road.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In Leadership

It is important to get a daily dose of things you know but one tends to forget in our busy daily chores. It is never too late to learn about new things & that's why I started subscription to Robin Sharma & love to read the newsletters which are refreshing & provide a newer perspective to the way I look at things. Below is the newsletter for this month... 

Hi Amol,
I'm in Central America as I write this. Finishing up my new book and preparing for a busy Fall, full of presentations, travel and new learning.  Towards the end of the new book, I've written about the best practices that I've witnessed our clients use to play at their leadership best. I wanted to share a few of them with you so as you round out 2009, you feel it's been your best year yet:
1. Affirmations. Yes, this daily tactic sounds cheesy yet it's a fact that the words you speak have tremendous power to affect your emotional state as well as your mindset. Every morning, recite sentences and phrases that will deliver the results you want in the hours that follow. Examples include: "Today I am full of energy and focused on the best uses of my time" and "This day I will see problems as opportunities and be the most positive person in every meeting."
2. Journal writing. Writing in a journal will make you a much cleaner thinker, leading you to much clearer actions. Record what you are learning about yourself and life. List your goals, hopes and dreams. Note your feelings and frustrations. Self-awareness is the foundation of world-class leadership.
3. Goal setting. Without a superbly clear sense of where you are going, you're certain to get lost. Set daily goals. If you've attended one of my leadership presentations, you know my Daily 5 concepts. By setting 5 little goals every morning and ensuring that they get done before you end your day, you'll have achieved about 150 goals in just four weeks and close to 2000 in 12 months. 
4. Relentless learning. These are turbulent times for businesspeople. An antidote to the dramatic change we are experiencing is consistent learning. To stay at your leadership best, make some time to read every day. Read from industry publications, premium business books, inspiring biographies and other materials that will move you to innovate and excel. Also, use your driving time for learning time by listening to audiobooks. And attend many seminars as you possibly can. All it takes is one good idea to revolutionize your career and transform your life.

In Leadership,


Affirmations is something I follow more so in putting some motivating posters in my home near my bedside, so when I get up in the morning, I can have a look at them. It sure does help.

Journal writing - Me and my wife have got ourselves small notebooks where we tend to put our thoughts, aspirations etc. 

Goal setting - i need to improve in this area - daily goals is something which will surely help I think, i shall try to get this in practice.

Learning is what I do from articles like the ones in this newsletter & other stuff which I have subscribed to... but I know I got to improve..  !!!

What about you guys out there.. what are your thoughts on these 4 points?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ownership is a two-way street!!

This was a lovely article in the The Star newspaper on Friday 11th Sept. one of the most popular ones in Malaysia with lot of pages in it which tends to make it weigh about few 100 gms..:) 
It's a fact today that the job cycle has shifted its focus from employees to employers to customers and back again to employees.. although we all know for all of them to survive, the eco-system has to be well organised and maintained.. we have seen one of the worst recessions that we are passing by.. which hopefully has taught us few more good lessons... and more the need for articles like this one........
here it goes.. 
TODAY, many organisations talk about the importance of “ownership”. They talk about how all employees need to act less like employees and more like “owners”.
The logic goes that when everyone starts thinking like an owner or a stockholder, there will be more drive and motivation, and less wastage and complacency.
I actually agree with this. It’s about a change in mindset more than anything and this can bring about positive change to an organisation.
Unfortunately, in some organisations there is a clear delineation between “management” and “staff”. A schism, whether real or perceived, is created. “Management worries about the bottom line, while staff worry about themselves”.
In this sort of environment, the mindset among many staff members is self-centred. “I’m just here to look out for my own needs, my own career, and I will do all I can to get the most out of the company. Why should I bother whether the company is doing well or not. Those things affect the upper management, not me.”
This kind of mindset creates a very antagonistic work culture, where employees are incredibly resistant towards change and any initiative that may involve sacrifice on their part is quickly rejected. There is very little willingness to stretch, to adapt, to compromise, or to go the extra yard; all of which are important to attain the organisational fluidity needed to compete in the global arena.
Conversely, when you have a high level of ownership in the organisation, you find that the general culture is open and receptive of change. People are willing to think and act for the good of the organisation even though it involves sacrifice and extra challenges.
Similarly, in their efforts to rationalise cost, many companies implore staff to treat company resources with the same care and prudence they treat their own personal resources.
“Turn off the lights and air-conditioners when not in use. Don’t waste water. Don’t overindulge using the company expense account. Be restrained when photocopying and printing.” In other words, “if this was your house, you wouldn’t be wasting all of these resources because you’re the one paying the bills.”
Ownership among staff certainly has the potential to change the organisational culture for the better.
However, don’t expect staff to take ownership of the organisation unless the organisation takes ownership of its staff.
You see, ownership is a two-way street.
When we expect staff to go beyond the call of duty, to go the extra mile, it is only fair that the organisation also goes the extra mile in taking care of its staff’s welfare and needs.
The form of “ownership” that management should show is to consider all the issues and problems the staff are facing, whether in the workplace or outside, and say “these are our problems and issues too and we want to help you deal with them. We don’t need to. It may not be in the employment contract or the company’s standard operating procedures but this company has a different culture. We care for one another as people, not just as workers. Just as you serve the company with dedication and loyalty that goes beyond what is expected, we too want to honour and serve you as one of our staff.”
If we want to nurture a culture of “ownership”, we need to meet more than just our financial obligations. We’ve got to make it part of the company culture that we take the needs of our staff seriously. We care for their physical and psychological well-being. We contribute meaningfully to their personal and career development. We ensure a healthy work-life balance.
I’ve often said that the leaders who command the greatest respect and loyalty are those who take care of their staff. They put their staff’s needs above their own. They are the type of bosses who are willing to take a pay cut to save the jobs of their team members in a time of recession. They are the army commanders who lead from the front and never subject their platoon to unnecessary risk.
In short, great leaders take ownership of their team. And one day, when they ask their team to walk that extra mile, their staff are only too happy to do so, because the sense of ownership is mutual.
l Dr Goh Chee Leong is vice-president of HELP University College and a psychologist. We welcome feedback on this article.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Broadband speeds...."Pimp My Broadband"

We got our office located in PJ area and we have Time Broadband service and it sucks quite often while we are in the midst of working our butts delivering something. Funny thing is when it comes to service you cannot take it any more..

Usually the answers we get from the service provider are please check the speed of internet by using Time analytics service. If this shows lower speeds, then they themselves mention that the website is not functioning properly & that we should look for other website which can give better analysis of the speed of our internet. Normally it doesn't end there, they tend to tell us that we have to check with our hardware vendor about compatibility etc... end of the day.. hardly any proactive moves from their side.

Hope things will improve soon & we can benefit from a better broadband.