Cable & Wireless Communications is to outsource its IT department to IBM under a 10-year, #1.8 billion agreement, as predicted by PC Week (2 June, 1998). The partnership will involve the transfer of 1,000 staff from C&WC to IBM Global Services, and the creation of 400 jobs at IBM. A spokesman for C&WC said: "We will retain responsibility for our IT strategy and systems security, even though the PCs and servers will be physically located at IBM. C&WC will keep a small in-house team responsible for IT strategy and managing the IBM relationship." IBM software will be used to monitor customer profiles, and customers experiencing problems with C&WC service will now deal with IBM. Deutsche Bank telecoms analyst Simon Weedon commented: "Within this outsourced IT department is C&WC's billing system, which is fundamental to the operation of its business. The merger last year with Nynex, Videotron and Bell Cablemedia caused C&WC an enormous headache in terms of integrating staff, systems and customers and billing has subsequently become impossible for it to manage. IBM will straighten this out, but it's a pity C&WC has let go of its family jewels in the process." IBM's Telecommunications Industry unit will establish an international customer support centre in the UK. This will house the C&WC IT department. Graham Wallace, CEO of C&WC, said: "This partnership brings significant benefits to us. It will enable us to deliver the IT systems necessary to provide high levels of business efficiency and customer service in a growing communications company. We will be able to do this much more quickly and effectively as a result of this partnership by harnessing the skills, experiences and global resources of IBM."
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