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

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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