Gen-i pulls out of health tender with IBM

Leaves way clear for sister company

Gen-i has pulled out of a major platform upgrade tender at Canterbury District Health, apparently leaving the way clear for its sister company Computerland as front-runner.

Computerland is proposing Hewlett-Packard to the health board and Gen-i was pitching IBM. The tender closes on March 4.

An IBM spokeswoman says it was Gen-i’s decision to withdraw from the bid. “You’ll have to ask them why. IBM is continuing to bid with another partner.” She wouldn’t name the other party.

Canterbury District Health CIO Chris Dever says the board had gone to selective tender to “a couple of national organisations” partnering with two major vendors which were already providing services to the board.

“It’s not for me to comment on vendor relationships,” he says.

The board will upgrade 2500 PCs, move to Windows XP and Office 2003, and rationalise from Novel to Active Directory in what Dever describes as an infrastructure stabilisation project. It has been running disparate systems inherited when Healthlink South merged with Canterbury Health Ltd.

Sources suggest the contract will be worth around $3 million.

Gen-i boss Chris Quin didn’t respond to phone calls, but the sources suggest the withdrawal probably had little to do with Telecom owning both Gen-i and Computerland. Rather, they say, it may have been about a warranty risk argument between Gen-i and IBM.

Canterbury District Health is also evaluating its telecommunications services under a request for proposal that closed recently.

“We’re testing the market for pricing,” Dever says. “It’s all about reducing cost.”

He expects the project, when decided, will be the biggest in telecommunications in the South Island this year.

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