Tranz Rail, gen-i in unconventional deal

The awaited outsourcing agreement between Tranz Rail and gen-i has been announced, but it will include more than conventional outsourcing elements.

The awaited outsourcing agreement between Tranz Rail and gen-i has been announced, but it will include more than conventional outsourcing elements.

Gen-i, formerly Wang New Zealand, will also be investing over time, alongside Tranz Rail, in investigations of technologies which may be of value to the rail company. These projects will be selected periodically by a joint technical team.

"We want a long-standing partner so we can leverage off their expertise," says Tranz Rail IT manager Bruce Caldwell.

In return for its investment, says gen-i boss Garth Biggs, gen-i will gain a closer awareness of the ongoing technological requirements of Tranz Rail, an addition to its own knowledge and a good chance of getting the implementation contract when and if the new technology is implemented. The implementation work will, however, still be contestable, Caldwell says.

On the outsourcing front, gen-i has been retained to provide asset management, installation support and management of more than 1600 PCs and a large number of servers distributed throughout New Zealand, with a few overseas. The contract is initially for three years, as were previous outsourcing contracts with CSC.

No equipment will be moved, at least in the short term. There may be some rationalisation of servers, but that might have occurred in the normal progress of business, says Biggs.

The agreement succeeds one that was in place with CSC for the past seven years. "In that time, everyone has learned a lot [about outsourcing and related matters like assured service delivery], and more players have come on to the market," Caldwell says. "So we decided to review the whole thing."

The timing of the review was dictated by the end of CSC1s latest three-year contract, on September 1.

"We have changed the model on which we outsource," Caldwell says. Rather than simply outsourcing, we are buying an end result." The elements of this result comprise performance, economies and business relationship. ÿ

Why select gen-i rather than incumbent CSC or third contender Unisys? "We worked through a process, involving detailed evaluation of all the aspects, over several cycles," says Caldwell. "At the end of that process, the decision made itself."

The signing of the contract itself was delayed by the need to settle some final "administrative" points, and meanwhile practical work on the transition had to go ahead to meet the deadline. The parties saw no risk in proceeding without a contract. A heads of agreement was in place before work started, and among the final contractual points "there were no dealbreakers", Biggs says.

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