News UK reduces IT supplier complexity with single outsourcing contract

News Corps UK subsidiary outsourced its IT infrastructure services in an effort to bring all its supplier management together and reduce complexity

News UK outsourced the management of its IT suppliers to UK IT services provider Maindec to reduce the complexity of supplier management.

Most of the News Corp subsidiary’s IT is hosted in a third-party datacentre, but the large number of infrastructure suppliers, and a short window for changes to be made every day, made it complex to co-ordinate suppliers altering the infrastructure. The company had different people liasing with all 20 different suppliers.

John Morris, head of technology contract and vendor management at News UK, said the company wanted to move to an outsourcing model where one services provider managed all technology suppliers.

News UK put out a request for proposal, for a single supplier, involving technology from HP, Aruba, Cisco, Juniper,F5, and Sun, over a three-year term.  It had six responses, including a Tier one IT services company. It wanted a single supplier that was capable of managing all of its technology suppliers, rather than managing them all separately.

“The supplier we needed had to have appropriate relationships with all our suppliers so it could provide end-to-end support,” said Morris. News UK’s major suppliers include HP, Oracle and Cisco. It selected Maindec because it felt the company understood its business and was small enough to develop a close relationship. 

Morris said part of the reason the organisation was not happy with its supplier management was the difficulty in getting more out of suppliers beyond the contract. He said, for example, that it has a window between 4am and 7am when all IT infrastructure changes can be made. Before Maindec took over supplier management, negotiating change was difficult, said Morris.

After 18 months Morris said the real benefit is that the company had only to deal with one supplier. This had improved the management, ensuring it got everything out of suppliers, such as the latest firmware and other updates – and freed up internal resources to focus on other areas of the business.

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