ACE IT partners split over Telecom business

A consortium that is one of Telecom's two candidates to outsource much of its IT business has split. The ACE consortium - comprising EDS and Andersen Consulting - was, along with IBM, in the market to bid for the telco's business. A Telecom framework to encompass standards and guidelines for the potential outsourcing is expected to be completed this month.

A consortium that is one of Telecom's two candidates to outsource much of its IT business has split.

The ACE consortium — comprising EDS and Andersen Consulting — was, along with IBM, in the market to bid for the telco's business.

A Telecom framework to encompass standards and guidelines for the potential outsourcing is expected to be completed this month.

Telecom will give an up-to-date position this week. Industry observers say this is a big chance for IBM, which they say has been about six months behind the ACE consortium in offering deliverables.

But two weeks ago the ACE consortium split. "We're reviewing what we will do," said Andersens partner in charge of outsourcing, Martin Ralston, from New York last week.

"We [EDS and Andersen's] decided it was in our best interests to pursue things separately."

He says Telecom has always issued documents to the three parties, rather than just to IBM and the ACE consortium. "We expect to make a decision in a week or so."

Ralston says that the ACE consortium has successfully worked with "a couple of applications". These were both for Telecom: the strategy project, and "in the customer self-service area".

The ACE consortium, he says, was dissolved by mutual agreement.

Should Telecom follow through with outsourcing, up to 660 permanent staff and several hundreds of contractors will be affected.

At the desktop level, Telecom has finally signed a contract with Wang, after six months' delay.

Under the agreement, procurement and support for asset management will be delivered by Wang in a deal expected to be worth $30 million over time. Current service providers Computerland, Fujitsu-Southmark, CSC and Wang will provide technical support, according to Telecom. The deal is funded by Comdisco. Business managers will have a choice of three PCs: Compaq, IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

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