Engineering firm Smiths Group is replacing 170 disparate email systems as part of a company-wide drive to consolidate its IT infrastructure.
Headquartered in the UK, the FTSE 100 company operates worldwide in the aerospace, medical, sealing solutions and industrial markets.
Pilot testing of the email system is due to finish next week, and Smiths Group expects to complete migration to a hosted Microsoft Exchange 2000 mail platform for up to 20,000 users by the end of the year.
The project is being run by Hewlett Packard (HP) in a three-year deal worth $5m (£3.12m).
Dave Anning, chief technology officer at Smiths Group, told vnunet.com that the company is simplifying its IT infrastructure because of the complexity of many systems and supplier relationships.
"About two and a half years ago we looked at overall IT spend and it was clear that, because we had made many acquisitions, we had acquired lots of variety and diversity that was costing a lot of money," he explained.
Smiths Group is already in the process of moving to a fully meshed private IP network, and has negotiated global single vendor deals with the likes of Veritas and Microsoft for various parts of its IT infrastructure.
It also negotiated a major desktop hardware deal with HP and Compaq last year.
The company currently uses a mixture of Microsoft Exchange, CC Mail, GroupWise, Lotus Notes and other niche products.
But a hosted Microsoft Exchange 2000 platform was chosen after Smiths Group evaluated various packages, including Lotus Notes and Oracle.
"We didn't want someone to run what we already had. We decided it was better to get someone to build a completely new system," said Anning.
He would not reveal exact cost savings, but indicated that the main driver was "cost avoidance".
"Many of the mail systems were beyond their life and, if we didn't do something soon, our business units would individually begin to replace mail systems," he said.
Anning suggested that the standardisation of IT infrastructure across the company could lead to other outsourcing deals in the future.
David McLachlan, director of managed services at HP Services in the UK and Ireland, explained that global companies are increasingly looking at consolidating and outsourcing non-core parts of their IT.
"It's a general trend across the industry," he said. "It's about value for money and not cost per se. It is what you can get for that cost."
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