BT Global Services will next month sign a long-term, multi-million pound deal to outsource all the routine IT work that it has picked up as part of its managed services business.
The firm presently manages global and local networked applications for 420 global firms such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Reuters, 16,000 mid-sized companies, and 620,000 small and medium-sized firms.
Speaking at an exclusive briefing in Montreux, Switzerland, ahead of BT's annual general meeting tomorrow, BT Global Services CEO Francois Barrault said full details of the project, one of the biggest IT outsourcing contracts in the UK, would be announced next month.
He said BT had whittled down 600 potential partners to one final choice. However, BT would continue to take responsibility for some 300,000 lines in 136 countries for its customers.
Barrault said the deal reflected BT Global Services' own philosophy. "We all have to decide what's core and what's non-core in our operations," he said. "When times are good, you want to own everything when things get harder, you reappraise what is your core business."
The news came as BT Global Service announced it had installed its 10,000th data communications line for the Reuters news organisation, and renewed a five-year, £325m contract with Procter & Gamble, the US soap and groceries maker.
Barrault revealed that the firm is developing a knowledge management system to enable it to store organisational knowledge.
In its present form, BT Global Services is using a social networking interface to a Siebel back-end system to collect, store and make available details on large accounts. These include key account representatives, meeting and incident records.
Barrault said the aim was to improve the service it could provide to key clients, especially if key staff changed. "It will also help us to remove the emotion when things go wrong, because it will help us to be pro-active in identifying potential problems and raising them with customers before they become serious," he said.
Originally planned for internal use, customer response has already indicated a wider market potential, he said.