Systems integrator gen-i has shed 20 contractors prematurely following the halt of an Ansett PC software migration project.
Gen-i was more than halfway through switching Ansett’s 7000 desktop PCs from IBM’s Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange when the airline collapsed, having been cut loose by its debt-ridden owner, Air New Zealand.
Gen-i chief Garth Biggs says staff working at Ansett were brought back to work on other projects within gen-i, and contractors that had been taken on as “back-fill” for those staff were let go “a couple of months” early. He says the contractors were always aware that they were there “to give us coverage through the peak only”.
Biggs says gen-i is continuing to provide outsourcing services to Air New Zealand as per its contract and long-term relationship and says it still has “slightly more than 50” staff working on the contract. Gen-i has 400 people at six offices across New Zealand and in Melbourne.
He denies that up to 30% of gen-i’s revenue is dependent on ailing Air New Zealand, but acknowledges the percentage is in the double digits.
He says other large customers include the Department of Corrections, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and Tranz Rail. Gen-i has a three year contract with Tranz Rail to provide asset management, installation support and management of more than 1600 PCs and a large number of servers throughout New Zealand. “They are all significant accounts, with infrastructure components, and some have software development as well.”
Another Air New Zealand/Ansett project that has hit the skids is a massive e-procurement initiative which was to have pulled together Air New Zealand’s SAP system with that of Ansett and upgraded the system to provide procurement, financials and HR/payroll. The system was to have been rolled out to Air New Zealand staff worldwide.
A question mark also hangs over Air New Zealand’s search for a new reservation system to replace legacy systems. Air New Zealand has been conducting due diligence on Madrid-based Amadeus for the contract, believed to have originally been worth $125 million, to replace aging systems at both airlines.
Computerworld understands Air NZ is currently laying off independent contractors across the board including in IT areas. The airline says it can’t comment on the projects at this stage.