AstraZeneca to outsource international IT operations

AstraZeneca plc, Europe’s second largest drug manufacturer, has announced that it is to outsource most of its global IT...

AstraZeneca plc, Europe’s second largest drug manufacturer, has announced that it is to outsource most of its global IT operations to IBM.

Arlene Martin

Under the terms of the $1.7bn (£1.15bn) seven-year services contract, IBM will run most of AstraZeneca’s IT operations in 45 countries. The services giant’s responsibilities will include PC management, network and communications services, and computer operations support.

AstraZeneca will retain control of its IT technical strategy, and the development and support of its application systems.

A spokesperson for AstraZeneca said the company had outsourced the management of its IT infrastructure because it wanted to concentrate more on the development of Internet-based business systems and computer-based analyses of genetic data.

“Pharmaceuticals is a fast moving industry, especially in the areas of genetics, genomics and DNA. Infomatics in R&D and e-business are where pharmaceuticals sees its future challenges,” a spokesperson said.

The deal is one of the largest IT outsourcing contracts in the pharmaceuticals industry.

“Outsourcing is not new to us; we did the same with our telephony. However, this is the biggest outsourcing contract we have ever undertaken. I doubt whether we will ever take the management of our IT infrastructure back. I can’t say whether IBM will be permanent partners. The contract will be up for review after seven years,” a spokesperson said.

The company’s 1200 IT staff, located in offices in the UK, US and Sweden, will become IBM employees. At present, no redundancies are anticipated.

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