EDS's Upper Hutt site at Lane Street will become one of the biggest service outlets in New Zealand, initially supporting up to 7500 desktops with more than 60 support staff.
The former Tritec premises will be one of nine EDS Renascence centres worldwide, also offering support services to the Asia-Pacific region.
Renascence is EDS's brand name for outsourcing and other services for the distributed environment.
"The global trend has been repositioning of the mainframe, and a proliferation of distributed services," says Renascence programme manager Alan Dickson.
"EDS has built a 30-year history on complex structures around the mainframe, but to be competitive we needed to shift.
"Distributed systems are one of the huge growth areas."
He says EDS in New Zealand has been working for the past couple of years to change its portfolio mix of services.
"We've been reskilling a lot of people, consolidating data centres and building a new management control centre at Lane Street."
Renascence is based on a road map of processes. "We've tailored the level of procedures and tools to meet the New Zealand climate.
Flexibility begins at the service level. Some customers may never need the full suite of services."
Two initial customers are Social Welfare and Corrections. DSW has been client-server for some time and, in its case, EDS is providing continuation of services. But Corrections is more of a greenfields site.
"The move [to distributed computing] is happening right across our client base," Dickson says.
Renascence is a set of outsourcing services "but we're at an early stage".
"The speed of change and complexity [of client-server] is causing the move to outsourcing. That's what's driving it."
General Motors is the first customer which Lane Street will support in Asia. It is maintaining key servers for GM in key locations in 10 countries.
Typically, servers supported are a mix of Unix and NT, and a lot of customers are requesting support for SAP.
"The key is to standardise on products. For example, we use Remedy and Vantive for the helpdesk in different locations. But we've decided the strategic way forward is Vantive, for a number of reasons."
Hewlett-Packard OpenView is used for overall network management.
Dickson says EDS is looking to identify an overall event manager product that will include the mainframe. Products being considered include Command Centre, from Boole & Babbage, and Computer Associate's Unicenter, particularly TNG.
In the past, EDS has focused on sites with 1000 or more PCs. But it is now targeting organisations from 200 desktops up.