BAE Systems' submarine building division has outsourced IT services for 4,500 usersin a deal with Carillion IT Servicesworth "tens of millions" of pounds over the next five years.
Carillion, formerly Alfred McAlpine IT Services, won the business from CSC, which has a blanket outsourcing deal with BAE Systems.
John McCormick, head of IT at BAE Systems Submarine Solutions, said the company needed faster and more flexible responses from the IT providers to give it the agility required to meeting a fast-changing engineering environment.
He said CSC's "one size fits all model" for delivering IT services had proved inflexible for the business.He said this was one of the factors which risked delaying the June 2007 launch of the first of the Royal Navy's new Astute class nuclear-powered attack submarines - the largest and most powerful submarines of their kind to be built in Britain. This would have jeopardised follow-on orders for more boats, as well as other business, he said.
Carillion will manage the "end to end" IT that supports the £3.8bn contract to build the first three Astute boats. It will also assist in the design for the successor to the Vanguard class submarine, and provide engineering design support for the navy's new 65,000 tonne aircraft carriers.
McCormick said a user satisfaction survey showed a dramatic rise in end-user happiness. "For example, the number of first-call problem resolutions by the helpdesk has gone up and the number of unresolved queries rolled over from month to month has dropped from several hundred to around 40," he said.
McCormick said this is because Carillion set up a helpdesk inside the Barrow shipyard where BAE Systems is building the boats. "This makes the users feel that IT really is a part of the project. They no longer feel they are calling a remote call centre that doesnot understand about their problems," he said.
He added that the selection, training and management of outsourced staff has meant little attrition, and staff retention has been excellent. This continuity had been a factor in resolving problems quickly.
Carillion provides the submarine division with:
• A dedicated service desk and associated support functions located in the ship-building yard at Barrow
• 24-hour network and infrastructure management services for two "ring-fenced" secureIT environments that allow the submarine division to exchange data securely with the rest of the BAE group
• End-user support and management to maximise user uptime
• Application management, support and development
• Transition, programme and project management and technical consultancy.