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The contract, effective from October, replaces a joint outsourcing deal between Thames Water, the third largest water company in the world, and Siemens Business Systems with Schlumberger Sema.
Jim Brown, director of information systems at Thames Water, which has 6,500 IT users in the UK and Ireland, said working with two partners had created difficulties. "We chose Accenture because we wanted a single point of accountability," he said.
Minimising the number of IT failures and increasing availability and reliability are the primary aims of the contract, Brown said. "We want employees to see IT as a service and not have to worry about it when they come in to work in the morning. The contract will help the business to exploit IT as our IT development team will not have to worry about day-to-day running of systems."
Under the terms of the contract, how much Thames Water pays Accenture will be closely linked to the levels of availability achieved, Brown explained. And the utility hopes to expand its use of mobile technology. "We want to increase our use of handheld devices among our field force, including introducing graphical information systems," he said.