Tuesday, 30 January 2018 11:22

Toll set to outsource more than 200 IT jobs to India Featured

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EXCLUSIVE Logistics giant Toll Holdings is set to make more than 200 IT positions redundant and outsource the work done by these staff to the Indian outsourcing company Infosys and a number of other Indian contractors, iTWire has been reliably informed.

The headquarters for the Toll IT operations will be located in the Indian city of Pune, about two hours travel from the commercial capital Mumbai. An official newsletter from Toll indicates that the Pune centre will be staffed by 250 IT professionals.

A reliable source told iTWire that some work would also be done by company-contracted India-based staff, claiming that this appeared to violate local workplace laws.

toll pune

A screenshot from the Toll newsletter that indicates the proposed staffing levels in Pune.

The staff who will replace Toll's workers in India are being trained in Australia. Visas could not be obtained for some, it has been claimed.

Detailed charts have been drawn up for the relocation process. iTWire has seen these charts which seem to indicate that the process is now an irreversible one.

The charts indicate that some IT roles will be based in Melbourne and Sydney but others — referred to as "transition role" and indicated by blue rectangles in the charts — will be filled by Indians.

iTWire asked Toll for comment early this morning and requested a reply by 10am. A company spokesperson called at 9.59am to ask for a further two hours, a request which iTWire agreed to. However, an email then arrived from Toll's group general manager, Communications, Zed Ivankovic, at 11am, asking for a further two hours, saying: "Will have something to you by 2pm."

Given that, the company's reaction will be incorporated in this story whenever it is received. (see below)

The company has attempted to soft-step the process for staff. In December 2017, Toll launched a newsletter called Global IT Connect, which appears to be a means of getting staff attuned to the latest changes.

In part the newsletter outlines the operation in India as follows:

"An introduction to Project Offshore

"Establishing our IT operating hub in India is a core component of the IT Strategy and new

"Global IT operating model. The Technology Centre (TTC) will complement our current service strategy, with a more flexible and efficient way of operating across a global business.

"The TTC is being mobilised by the HPO Project Offshore team. The core scope of the project is to:

"Establish the TTC in Pune through a partnership model with Infosys.

"Recruit our new TTC team members.

"Establish governance and processes for the management of the TTC, ensuring alignment with the overall IT governance and process models.

"Transition existing in scope services to TTC and development of new IT capabilities in TTC."

Mamunur Rahman, head of IT Services Offshore at Toll, was quoted in the newsletter as saying: “The Toll Technology Centre is an integral part of the IT Transformation, led by the HPO program. In the last IT Communication, Francoise shared some key highlights on the progress made in relation to the Toll Technology Centre.

"It is an exciting time for Group Information Technology as we continue to build momentum and establish our Offshore Toll Technology Centre in Pune, India.”

Over the last few years. there have been a number of reports indicating that Toll intended to outsource some part of its operations.

In 2013, the Australian Financial Review  reported that the company had a plan to outsource about 200 mainly customer care jobs to an operator in the Philippines.

In 2015, the now defunct Delimiter news site reported that Toll had junked a plan to outsource vital parts of its IT infrastructure, application support and development. There were reports that both Optus and Infosys were in the running to obtain this work.

Regarding the 2015 plan, Toll Group managing director Brian Kruger said during a results announcement: “The Toll Global Technology Transformation, the next stage of Toll’s IT strategy, will drive significant efficiencies throughout the company, reduce IT operating costs and provide Toll with a leading edge platform to support its growth.”

However, in November, Toll's group director of Corporate Affairs Andrew Ethell said in an internal email that a preview of the Global Technology Transformation project had shown that the net benefits would be less than expected.

The following month, Toll's chief information officer John Ansley quit, and was reportedly set to leave the company early the following year.

Update: A Toll spokeswoman said: "Toll is a global organisation operating across more than 50 countries and we are building a global approach to our IT strategy and capabilities.  Over the next three years, we are investing over $400 million into new technology to improve our customer experience and drive efficiencies.

"Part of Toll’s IT strategy is to ensure we have the right capabilities and that work is being performed in the right location, which could be anywhere in the world. As part of this, we are introducing new skills and expect to outsource transactional activities to our global IT partners and operate centres outside of Australia.

"We expect about 200 roles in Australia to be impacted by these changes over a two-year period. At the same time, we are creating more than 380 new IT roles in Australia that are directly linked to our new technology transformation and will enable us to transform our digital capabilities.

"We are fully committed to supporting our employees through these changes and our priority is to redeploy as many staff as possible.

"Toll employs about 43,000 people around the world with a global IT team based in locations across Melbourne, Sydney, Pune (India) and Singapore."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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