EDS looks after Telecom as local ICMS team dies

Telecom's needs in the ICMS billing sphere are being "looked after" in the wake of the disbanding of IBM's Petone-based development and maintenance team, says spokesman Andrew Bristol.

Telecom’s needs in the ICMS billing sphere are being “looked after” in the wake of the disbanding of IBM’s Petone-based development and maintenance team, says spokesman Andrew Bristol.

Colorado utility billing software company CSG Systems bought the ICMS product from IBM in August, and will provide day-to-day support for most ICMS clients remotely.

However, CSG’s mechanisms for upgrades and help for the standard ICMS package will be of less importance to Telecom since it has its own unique version of the product, Bristol says. That is supported by a local EDS team.

IBM spokesman Jeremy Seed says the termination of 100 jobs at the Petone plant at the end of this month, to be followed by a remaining 40 in late January, will not affect day-to-day support, as Petone had been a development facility.

Routine ICMS helpdesk service, he confirms, has been provided by IBM from India for about the past year.

CSG spokeswoman Carrie Schafer, in Colorado, says the company anticipated IBM’s decision to close the development facility.

“CSG is pursuing alternatives that will ensure long-term support of ICMS software development more cost-effectively,” she says.

“We expect to solidify a partner or partners to fulfill this need by the end of this year.

“Potential partners will have deep expertise with both the telecommunications billing industry and ICMS development, in particular,” she says, “and will be able to fulfill future product roadmap or custom development obligations.”

Seed is unable to be specific about the skills the redundant Petone staff have.

“They are technical people, developers and the like.”

IBM’s HR department is offering career guidance and support and is looking at redeploying staff with transferable skills. The company won’t know how many will be redeployed until the end of the month, Seed says.

Steve Willoughby, a consultant for IT recruiter Robert Walters, an IBM preferred supplier, says his agency has been dealing with some of those who are losing their jobs. The plant has been making people redundant for some time, he says.

IBM staff tend to be “high calibre”, he says. He has found a job for one ICMS developer in a non-development role.

How others might fare will be “hard to say” but he says the Wellington market is “very positive” despite an oversupply of job seekers.

Willoughby says he has been talking to an employer with a potential contract amounting to “tens of thousands of man hours”.

“They are currently bidding for the business. If he wins the bid, he knows where he is going for his staff; he knows he will be able to get them out of Petone.”

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