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IBM Insures Manulife's IT Performance

Padding its financial services client roster, IBM has signed a $56 million IT outsourcing contact with Manulife Financial Corp. , the companies announced today.

Over the next four years, Big Blue will manage 3,000 desktop PCs and 200 mid-range servers for Manulife's recent acquisition, Maritime Life. The pact features variable pricing and the ability to scale up and down based on customer need.

About 35 former Maritime Life employees will transfer to comparable positions at IBM, Tom Nunn, a Manulife spokesman, told internetnews.com.

Canada-based Manulife has been an IBM customer for several years. IBM provides IT service and infrastructure support for the insurance giant's North American operations, including help desk, server, storage and desktop services.

Manulife expects the arrangement to save the company money and allow it to focus its IT resources on other projects.

According to the Meta Group, a single PC costs $2,000 to $5,000 per year to manage with help desk support, fixes and maintenance. Neither Manulife nor IBM provided an estimate of the insurer's expected savings as a result of outsourcing.

Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM believes the deal strengthens its foothold in the insurance and financial services industry, which is seeing significant merger and acquisition activity.

The consolidation leads to opportunities for IBM to integrate different IT systems and manage operations more efficiently after the hard work of combining infrastructure is accomplished, the company said. IBM competes against HP , EDS and others for large, multi-year IT services contracts.



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