Crest Nicholson got more from IT outsourcing contract second time around

House building company Crest Nicholson used the end of an outsourcing contract to fine tune the relationship and drive a better deal

House building company Crest Nicholson used the end of an outsourcing contract with Computacenter to drive a better deal.

The experience it gained in the initial contract has helped to fine tune the relationship.

The company recently extended an IT services contract with Computacenter, which had been in place since 2008, by an additional three years.

Its experience over the previous six years has given it the insight and confidence it needs to reconstruct the deal.

Changes include offshoring more work and bringing staff that were transferred to the supplier back in-house.

The IT managed service includes service desk – which provides incident, problem and change management; IT procurement and asset management; datacentre hosting; server, storage and backup management; and network management.

Most of it will be delivered from a Computacenter operation in South Africa.

The company had about 850 IT users spread across remote sites and in the field, supported by 15 in-house IT staff and service providers.

IT director Myles Gibbins said in 2008 the company had a programme to do a major refresh of its technology estate and decided to outsource. It outsourced to reseller Digica, which was later acquired by Computacenter.

When the previous arrangement with Computacenter was coming to an end it decided to look at other suppliers when the prices went up. “We looked at bother suppliers because the price that we were quoted by Computacenter was significantly higher than we were paying,” said Gibbins.

But after evaluating the market and looking at customer satisfaction benchmarking studies it resigned Computacenter. Research in 2013 carried out by Whitelane Research revealed 85% of UK businesses are satisfied with their IT services agreements, and Computacenter – as well as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) – were voted top of the satisfaction league.

Through the new contract, Compuacenter will deliver more services offshore.

Gibbons said now that the relationship with Computacenter’s South Africa based delivery centre gave him more confidence to send higher value services there.

“The South African delivery centre offers us more flexibility than we can get in the UK. The knowledge and confidence we now have has enabled us to offshore more work with enterprise architecture and project management roles done offshore.”

The company has also brought staff that were transferred to Digica back in-house. Gibbons said the five members of staff were transferred but remained a dedicated resource. He decided it would be good for motivation to bring them back. “They always felt they were employed by us and were happier to be part of our company again.”

Increasing motivation by making outsourced staff part of the team has its benefits. David Smoley, CIO at Astrazeneca recently told Computer Weekly, that one of the advantages of the company’s decision to bring large parts of offshored IT back in house through an Indian global delivery centre was motivating staff.

“We are able to create a team that feels it is part of a company that is saving lives and creating drugs. We also see it as being important in career paths to give staff exposure to other parts of the company across the world,” he said.

“This creates the stickiness of being part of a global operation.”

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