India deal clears Skandia’s app maintenance backlog

Insurance firm Skandia has cleared a backlog of more than 1,000 software maintenance tasks in seven months after starting an outsourcing contract with Indian IT firm HCL.

Insurance firm Skandia has cleared a backlog of more than 1,000 software maintenance tasks in seven months after starting an outsourcing contract with Indian IT firm HCL.

The contract, which began in February, covers nearly all of Skandia's application development, IT maintenance and infrastructure. Skandia retained control of systems architecture, business analysis, security and supplier management.

Tim Mann, Skandia's customer services and technology director, said the intention was to increase the delivery of project work. "The maintenance backlog was getting in the way of that, so HCL's effort to clear it was an early and very tangible indicator of the overall benefits of the contract," he said.

Mann said Skandia signed the deal to improve margins, cut costs, reduce the range of technologies used, and to focus its IT staff on value-adding activity rather than maintenance.

Catherine Tye, Skandia's head of vendor management, said the contract allowed Skandia to restructure its IT department. Previously it had about 295 roles filled by 140 permanent staff and 155 contractors. Now the headcount has halved, but the number of business analysts has risen from 15 to 100.

Mann said Skandia was good at designing systems and managing relationships. "We were good but not world-class in software development, so we felt we would rather work with a partner," he said.

Skandia settled on HCL for four reasons: capacity, standards-driven software development, cost savings, and, after several trips to India, the interpersonal relationship that developed, said Mann.

"HCL had an engineering-oriented approach, and a detailed way of getting information. Also, we never felt they would try to upsell us," he said.

Skandia's core application is a policy management system, which runs on IBM iSeries servers.




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