IT workers better off with IT service provider, says Lufthansa CFO

Lufthansa CTO says outsourcing deals could put some employees in a better position

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IT professionals transferred as part of outsourcing deals could find more opportunities to develop their careers, says Simone Menne, CFO of Lufthansa.

Lufthansa is in final negotiations with IBM Global Services to outsource its IT infrastructure services in a seven-year deal. This will see the German airline’s IT services division broken with the infrastructure element sold to IBM. Besides providing IT services to the airline, Lufthansa Systems has 450 external customers.

With 1,400 employees from the Lufthansa System's infrastructure division set to move to IBM, Menne said employees moving to IBM will have better job prospects. 

“This will also give employees of the Infrastructure division clear job prospects and enable them to participate in future technological developments,” she said when announcing the IBM deal.

The division will continue to supply Lufthansa with IT infrastructure services and there will be opportunities for these staff to move on to other IBM projects.

Large global businesses are already heavy outsourcers with thousands of previously internal IT roles being carried out by third-party suppliers. Today’s trend appears to be mid-sized multinationals moving to outsourcing models, to reduce costs and keep pace with rapidly changing IT demands.

The number of recent transformative IT infrastructure outsourcing agreements in the mid-sized multinational sector is further evidence of this.

Recent deals saw South African diamond-mining and jewellery company De Beers announce plans to transform its global IT infrastructure through a deal with outsourced IT services company HCL. Last month also saw German company Vorwerk outsource its IT infrastructure and application development operations to Cognizant in a six-year deal to centralise and standardise IT.

Despite some examples of big companies, such as General Motors, bringing IT back in-house, it appears that the balance of IT professionals working at suppliers will continue to increase as in-house IT staff numbers decrease.

Modern IT infrastructures today, with developments around automation and cloud computing, will inevitably mean less manual work. Staff carrying out support functions might not be required in as high a volume. But people with IT skills and a good understanding of how IT works in business could play an important role in getting the most out of these new technologies.

There is also opportunities to work in different sectors with a service provider, where existing industry knowledge can be transferred to other sectors of new sector knowledge learned.

Sean Finnan, former head of Europe at IBM Global Services, said suppliers can be a good option and IBM rewards good staff well. 

"If  you like a bit of variety in your job suppliers are good and IBM is a real meritocracy that rewards staff that work hard and know there stuff," he said.

He said one day you can be working on a project for an airline and the next day for a bank.

This IT services sector can offer career development or IT professionals. It can broaden their technology and business skills.

In 2010, Computer Weekly spoke to one IT industry executive who flourished under a transfer to a supplier when his job was outsourced. Bob Scott, who got a mine manager certificate in 1987 and became a fully qualified mine engineer, joined the supply side when his role as part of a mathematical modelling team at British Coal was outsourced to Hoskyns in 1992, which was later acquired by Capgemini.

He has since been the head of Capgemini's global testing business.

While working at Capgemini, Scott completed a masters at the London School of economics, which was supported and funded by Capgemini. By 1996, Scott was given the task of heading up business development for Capgemini in the UK. He relocated to Paris from 1997 to 2001 to take control of the new e-commerce and internet business at Capgemini. He has since held several senior roles at Capgemini including head of UK public sector business as well as taking charge of market strategy for services related to the police.

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