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IBM tries to come up with creative ways to help companies jump on the outsourcing train.

IBM has a new idea for business software, which it feels is unique enough that it deserves a patent.  The computer industry giant has filed application for a patent, which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is currently mulling over.  IBM seeks to patent "Outsourcing of Services", which is briefly defined as a "method for identifying human-resource work content to outsource offshore of an organization". 

The patent application, which can be found here, is an attempt to patent the use of computer software to algorithmically analyze a workforce and the various workloads on a company and determine which parts should be cut and outsourced.

The patent application was filed July 12, 2007.

IBM is also seeking to patent a software system for "matching a knowledge worker" with a corporate entity via means including "experience levels, salary, geographic location, job starting date and duration, and industry sector".  The patent application can be viewed here.  The patent has a figure attached which demonstrates its software, which looks like a small calculator.  The figure shows an example of the device displaying the lower costs of dealing with IGSI (Indian) professionals.  IGSI stands for IBM Global Services, India.  The device also seems to be closely connected to outsourcing jobs, as its main purpose appears to be demonstrating to employers that labor can be found far cheaper in non-U.S. locations.

Finally, IBM has at least one more patent in the works.  They currently have an application for a patent for a "System and method of using speech recognition at call centers to improve their efficiency and customer satisfaction".  This application attempts to patent a system for accent reduction in international workers.  The patent's language clearly indicates that it is targeted for situations such as call centers, where a large number of non-native English speakers will be answering calls. 

The patent first propose to electronically transcribe and then provide a digital voice for the caller.  In order to do this IBM proposes using its text transcription system, IBM ViaScribe, developed for hearing-impaired individuals.  Finally, the patent also suggests the speaker take accent reduction classes, such as the programs which IBM offers.

Some may be troubled by the developments that IBM's patents are contributing to the trend of outsourcing technology jobs outside the U.S.  They should not be surprised, however, with the overly broad scope of the applications or of the fact that the applications appear to be for existing or common sense practices. 

There is a long history of tech patents with overly broad language.  There have also been many patents which attempted to patent a well-defined existing technology that already had become common-place in an industry, which the applier was not necessarily the first to develop.  A famous example is Microsoft's 2004 successful attempt to patent the "double-click" (note--their patent only applied to PowerPCs).

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RE: All IBM has to do ....
By sinful on 10/3/2007 2:02:42 AM , Rating: 2
American's above all others have an uncanny knack (do college keggers somehow contribute to this?) for management and human resources........So yes, swapping CEO's could be a disaster, but no, moving engineering jobs may not necessarily be.

First of all, I'm not saying "swapping engineers will result in failure 100% of the time".
What I'm saying is that while CEO's are important, a lot of jobs are under-rated in value in comparison to the CEO.

Second, do you honestly believe that Americans comparative advantage ONLY applies to management & HR, and not other fields??
I think that's a pretty silly statement.

You're also giving a CEO way too little credit...

No, I'm giving proper credit, you're just giving too much.

Let's put it this way: If we win/lose the war in Iraq, is it President Bush's credit/fault? He's essentially the "CEO" of the army. Or are you going to go "Ok, well he controls the overall direction, but for a lot of things he relies on his subordinates, and thus success/failure cannot be solely pinned to him?

Like I said, I recognize the importance of the CEO, but I'm also not such a fool that I believe a CEO of a company full of dull-wits is the same as a company with a company full of sharp witted people.

You're also not qouting a single bit of economic principle to back any of it up.

Have you ever heard the saying:
"For want of a nail the shoe was lost..."?

Sometimes, it's the small details that make the difference.
If your theories do not incorporate common sense, maybe you'll discover why they're still theories.


Hopefully you've seen and understand that while yes, pawns do the heavy lifting, different management can take similar resources and produce astoundingly different results.

Yes, and I've also seen where pawns doing the heavy lifting have made a big difference, and success cascaded from there.

For instance, I know of someone that made slightly more than minimum wage. They saw a problem in their company, devised a solution, and sent it along to management. Managment liked the idea, and implemented it. In the end, it saved the company $50,000-$100,000/year.

Ok, small potatoes for a major company; but then, the story goes on. In some part because of this (not the sole factor, but a contributing one), the company's costs to its clients were less than their competitors -- which weren't implementing this solution.
When the company landed a multi-million dollar contract, it turns out that one of the big factors in landing that contract was that the company's costs were lower than its competitors.

Now, you can say that it's not a direct cause-effect relationship; you can say that it might have only been a contributing factor; but it's hard to deny that one minimum wage employee made a major difference, and (may) have ultimately generated millions of dollars worth of business.

To put it bluntly: Yes, employees might only make a 10% difference in a company, but then again in a cut-throat industry, an advantage of 10% can mean the difference between success and failure.

Second, imagine what would happen if this one company had 10 employees like this. You're talking about millions of dollars/year.

You sound like a UAW rep :P

And you sound like a self-absorbed manager that can't get over the idea that managers aren't the center of the universe.

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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