How Capgemini's transition management leader rose through the outsourcing ranks

HM Revenue and Customs' IT outsourcing contract is one of the largest in UK history. The man who was brought in to oversee the contract's transition from the previous supplier to the current one, Capgemini, has one of the biggest jobs in IT outsourcing.

HM Revenue and Customs' IT outsourcing contract is one of the largest in UK history. The man who was brought in to oversee the contract's transition from the previous supplier to the current one, Capgemini, has one of the biggest jobs in IT outsourcing.

Ray Murrell, who has spent 34 years in IT as both an IT user and an outsourcing supplier, was chosen by Capgemini to run HM Revenue and Customs' Aspire outsourcing deal.

Murrell is Capgemini's transition management leader for its largest new business wins, and is responsible for managing contracts as they move from a customer to Capgemini.

His career in IT began when he joined Plessey Information Engineering as a trainee in the defence company's datacentre. Although Murrell became the operations supervisor for the datacentre - the number two IT role - his big break came when Plessey outsourced its IT to Capgemini in 1989.

Capgemini promoted Murrell to a variety of roles in datacentre management, application development and transition management throughout the 1990s.

Murrell said, "The one thing I think outsourcing did is move much quicker because there are no dead men's shoes. Outsourcing really took off because companies realised they were spending a lot of money on IT that they could have reinvested."

As the IT outsourcing market grew during the 1990s, IT managers who had been outsourced at the beginning of the boom, including Murrell, were presented with career opportunities that were unavailable in their original companies.

Murrell said, "Outsourcing allowed me to work in a variety of roles that enabled me to broaden my skills. My value is that I have a lot of experience. I could go and run our datacentre business or our applications business."

Murrell's first big promotion at Capgemini came in 1991, when he was made regional director for the company's outsourced contracts in the Solent region.

In 1994, he was made head of its datacentre business in the UK. Murrell ran the division of Capgemini that was responsible for making its outsourced contracts Y2K-compliant.

Later Murrell worked full-time on transition management for the company's new business. He has overseen Capgemini's contracts with British Gas, British Steel, the Ministry of Defence and Vertex.

His role includes hiring people for the outsourcing supplier's transition management division.

Murrell said, "We look for experience, and people with aptitude and drive. We pull together the right team and that is the secret of this. All of these things are teams of people building relationships."

IT users who join a large outsourcing supplier can choose different careers. Some of those who joined Capgemini with Murrell have found careers outside IT with the company, for example, in finance or human resources.

However, many of the largest companies and public sector employers have already outsourced their IT functions. Low-skilled IT jobs are being outsourced to India rather than Scotland.

The freedom for employees in large outsourcing suppliers to work in different areas of IT or to leave IT altogether may shrink.

"Outsourcing will continue, but it will change in style and shape. It will become a mature industry at some point," he said.

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