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Prudential predicts outsourcing deal will play a major role in enabling £26m savings

Bill Goodwin
Financial services organisation Prudential has said an outsourcing contract with India-based supplier Wipro will play a key role in helping it save an estimated £26m over five years.

The company has used Wipro and enterprise software supplier Informatica to build a database containing information on 13 million customers and various products and services. Prudential's IT division, PruTech, is also using software from Informatica to integrate and access customer data. Some of the development work is being done offshore.

The contract highlights the trend among financial firms to outsource a growing proportion of their IT to countries such as India in order to cut costs.

The data systems form a key part of what Prudential calls its data integration competency centre. Other integration projects include an enterprise datawarehouse to help analyse customer trends and a forthcoming campaign management system for marketing.

"As our integration partners, Informatica and Wipro have been pivotal to the success of Prudential's customer service transformation programme, which is projected to achieve a return on investment of $48m [£26m] over five years by enhancing our customer responsiveness and satisfaction," said Jeremy Gray, head of architecture at PruTech.

"Our data integration competency centre is helping us gain a holistic view of customer information across our business -including data residing on mainframes - while ensuring we can scale our integration efforts as data volumes continue to grow."

Earlier this month the Financial Services Authority gave offshore outsourcing to India a clean bill of health after investigating concerns about the safety of customer data.

The City regulator visited 10 outsourcing companies in India to study their operations. Most of these firms provide services to UK retail banks and insurance companies.

A spokeswoman for Wipro said Prudential's database was hosted centrally at its UK datacentre and complied with data protection rules.

l IT staff at Abbey face an uncertain future after the high street bank announced last week that it would cut a further 1,000 jobs.

The jobs will go mainly from back-office operations but a spokeswoman for Abbey said it was too early to say whether IT staff would be affected. Abbey is consulting its workforce.

The latest job losses come on top of the 3,000 cuts announced by Abbey's parent company Banco Santander Central Hispano earlier this year. IT staff at Abbey have lost their jobs under previous cutbacks.

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