Air New Zealand is about to sign a multi-year desktop management contract with Wang, rumoured to be worth $20 million.
It follows a multimillion-dollar deal done recently with IBM to outsource the airline’s data centre services.
“We’ve been talking to Wang about central LAN and desktop management,” chief information officer Garth Biggs says. “The talks are well advanced and I expect a decision within the next 30 days.” Air New Zealand has thousands of PCs and more than 100 LANs.
Biggs says a pilot has been done, with 400 PCs which have been given a minimum hardware configuration and central
“We audited the difference in cost between them and the traditional processes. We found there are significant savings to be made.”
Biggs was an early enthusiast when network computers were announced, seeing them as a way of cutting the cost of managing PCs. But he now says there are not enough applications available to make the NC a viable solution.
The outsourcing deal with IBM was confirmed after more than a year of negotiations since the deal was first announced. It was initially delayed over price negotiations, then was put to one side when Air New Zealand bought Ansett.
“These things are complex and take time,” says Biggs. “We bought Ansett in the middle of it and had to hold up the project while we ensured it made sense in context of the new relationship.”
In fact, Air New Zealand bought 50% of Ansett from TNT last September. It’s anticipated that Ansett in Australia will outsource its data centre, so the Air New Zealand deal makes IBM a strong front runner for that business.
Australian sources say the airlines have set up a joint committee, chaired by Ansett, to investigate a merger of IT departments.
Under the New Zealand contact, IBM has purchased a lot of equipment, including an Amdahl mainframe, and is renting the airline’s data centre in Newton, Auckland. Barry Armstrong, general manager of IBM global services in New Zealand, says there is a worldwide trend for airlines to focus on their core competencies.