Unisys in, Gen-i out at MAF

'Extremely disappointed', says Gen-i's Biggs

Gen-i chief executive Garth Biggs says he's "extremely disappointed" that Unisys has beaten Gen-i, the incumbent provider, to MAF's new IT services contract beginning in November.

"The marketplace has always been competitive and this is the first customer we've lost in my time."

Biggs says given the recent acquisition of Gen-i by Telecom, "it would have been great if we'd been able to bring something from that to MAF."

As to why Gen-i's contract wasn't renewed, "I don't know - you'd have to ask MAF and it's something we're trying to understand.

"I haven't had a conversation with MAF about it at this stage," Biggs told Computerworld last week.

Approximately 12 equivalent full time Gen-i staff worked on the MAF contract and Biggs says after it finishes at the end of October, "we'll need to find some work to replace it and continue our growth."

Gen-i has had the MAF contract since 1998 and in a statement last week, MAF acting corporate information manager Stewart Watson said Unisys "was able to offer the best mix of performance, capability and resources, resulting in better value for money for the ministry."

Unisys has the contract for three years from November, with right of renewal for another two years.

Earlier this year, Watson told Computerworld there had been seven initial bidders for the contract, a figure whittled down to five after two were found to have incomplete documentation.

He wouldn't say who the bidders were, but confirmed IBM wasn't among them, which raised eyebrows in the IT community at the time, considering now-IBM subisidiary Logical CSI had recently won a tender to supply network hardware, supporting infrastructure hardware and RISC hardware to MAF.

IBM's absence from the MAF services tender is also noteworthy in light of its lack of a bid for the Fonterra outsourcing contract ultimately won by EDS last year.

MAF tender documents show requests made of bidders included stating how they would manage the increasing use of scanners and digital cameras by MAF staff in light of the network and storage demands created by content from the devices and how bidders monitored customer satisfaction levels.

Unisys declined to comment and the MAF statement says it and Unisys are still negotiating the final terms of the contract.

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