BT Cellnet deal with IBM to enable "CRM on steroids"

BT Cellnet has struck a 10-year deal with IBM worth £50m in the first year for equipment and services that will be the core of...

BT Cellnet has struck a 10-year deal with IBM worth £50m in the first year for equipment and services that will be the core of the company's customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

IBM Global Services will design, build and manage an IT infrastructure which will give a fully integrated basis for BT Cellnet's voice, data and mobile Internet markets.

Analyst Neil Ward-Dutton of Ovum, said, "This is CRM on steroids. This is a significant sea change in the mobile sector - outsourcing a really critical business system which will enable BT Cellnet to serve customers more effectively."

IBM will create a business support system comprising 42 different software packages for BT Cellnet's 2G, 2.5G and 3G operations.

All business functions will be fully integrated in a platform that will link the mobile networks and manage customers through contact centre operations.

IBM's MQ Series middleware will connect the various off-the-shelf applications running mostly on P Series AIX Unix servers.

Such a configuration will allow instantaneous provision of services - when a customer contacts BT Cellnet, the integrated connection between contact centre and mobile network will mean services can be switched on there and then.

Ian McNeill, IBM's client services principal for MM02 group - BT Cellnet's parent company - said, "Providing data means providing a higher level of complexity of services than with voice - IT becomes central and is a bigger challenge."

Flexibility was a basic tenet in the way the architecture of the system was designed, he said, acknowledging that change is normal.

"Creating new products will be able to be done very quickly, he said.

"With data held in different application databases it is a case of linking them in new ways to give new business processes."

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