IBM announced it has signed a major outsourcing deal with
oil and gas giant Sunoco, under which it will provide a wide range of
office and application support services.
The companies said in a joint statement that the agreement
will allow Sunoco to focus more of its resources on its core growth
initiatives, while IBM will take on responsibility for finding ways to improve
Sunoco’s back office processes.
“This arrangement marks another important step in Sunoco’s
continued expense reduction program, which is critical to improving the
company’s competitiveness,” Sunoco Chief Financial Officer Brian MacDonald said
in a statement.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Sunoco has
an annual IT budget of about $90 million and employs some 250 IT personnel
under CIO Peter Whatnell.
In a video
interview with Roger Green on CIOZone, first published following the
Society for Information Management SIMposium 2009 conference, Whatnell hinted
that a major outsourcing arrangement might be in the works for Sunoco. In the
video interview Whatnell said the economic downturn had forced many CIOs to
look for ways to bring down IT costs while maintaining services.
That, in turn, was leading more CIOs to explore the benefits
of outsourcing. “Up until this point you could describe the role of IT as to
construct and operate . . . we built things and we ran them,” he said.
“Now the leadership of IT is moving to what I would call
acquire and deploy. Our job is to scan the horizon for how we can acquire services
the business needs and then deploy them beneficially within the business.” While outsourcing was once relegated to more “janitorial”
type services, like IT help desk support, Whatnell said companies were now increasingly
looking to outsourcing partners to take on more critical functions.
Under the terms of the outsourcing agreement IBM said it
will provide services to Sunoco from its global operations centers. That will
include application enhancement, application maintenance, support for finance
and accounting and indirect procurement processes.
Sunoco is headquartered in Philadelphia
and employs 11,200 worldwide.
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