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By | Paul Kunert 28th November 2012 05:55

IBM outsources UK desktop support operation lock+stock to Phoenix

180 engineers get new business cards for Xmas

Exclusive IBM is the Global Services Provider (GSP) that is outsourcing desktop support to Phoenix IT Group, The Channel can reveal.

Yesterday Phoenix confirmed it has penned a five-year £40m contract with an unnamed GSP to provide desk-side services for the firm's employees as well as its customers.

Around 180 IBM staffers are to be moved across to the Northampton-based company under a Transfer Of Undertakings (TUPE) regulation early next month, say sources.

A note from Mark Thomas, director of delivery operations for IBM Global Technology Solutions - seen by The Channel - has been sent to IBMers last month confirming the move.

He revealed that IBM had set up an Employee Consultation Committee to discuss proposals to strike a deal with a third-party company to "supply desk side support in the UK".

Thomas added in the note: "I can now confirm that the vendor with whom we are currently discussing the potential for provision of a services contract is Phoenix."

IBM says on its promo material that it provides desktop support to small or multinational corporations.

But channel sources reckon Big Blue was struggling to make money from the mid-sized accounts it is transferring, and questioned if Phoenix will have any better luck.

Kate Hanaghan, research director at TechMarketView, argued that IBM's move made sense and was "not a new thing".

"Running a field engineering service comes with all the challenges of running something like a cross between a consultancy and a logistics operation," she said.

In essence, there are times when services providers have to "shoulder the costs" of an engineer waiting to be deployed, "alongside the challenges of co-ordinating engineers and parts around the county or even country," she said.

"Some of the IT outsourcers and SIs just don't want to operate in that world - which makes perfect sense. Someone like Phoenix, with its dedicated approach - developed over many years - is well-placed to take this on," Hanaghan added. ®

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