Walk Like an Outsourcer

Stephanie Overby schreibt unter anderem für die US-Schwesterpublikation
Die IT an einen externen Dienstleister auszulagern, führt häufig weder zur gewünschten Qualität noch zur Kostensenkung. Bei der US-amerikanischen Versicherungsgruppe Farmers wurde die IT daher wieder eingegliedert. Die Maßstäbe für die Abteilung setzen allerdings die Outsourcing-Dienstleister.

A few years after leaving Xerox, Cecilia Claudio got burned by a big-name outsourcer. When she took over as CIO of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in 1996, she inherited a five-year, $30 million datacenter deal with Unisys. Claudio was dissatisfied with service levels and increasing costs, so she got out of the contract and rebid the work, ultimately going with Affiliated Computer Services.

Since then, Claudio has proved that she knows not only how to get out of a bad situation but also how to bring outsourced IT back in. As senior vice president and CIO of Farmers Group, which she joined in1998, Claudio did just that after the company acquired Foremost Insurance for $812 million in 2000. The Caledonia, Mich.-based provider of insurance for mobile homes and RVs was outsourcing all of its mainframe IT support, application development and maintenance. The company was eight years into a 10-year, $150 million arrangement with Integrated Systems Solutions (a division of IBMIBM that eventually became the core of IBM Global Services). Foremost Insurance had originally outsourced the work for financial reasons but, according to Claudio, savings never materialized. In fact, costs were escalating. "They didn't have a strong contract that allowed the customer to reap the benefits of total cost of ownership going down over time," explains Claudio. Alles zu IBM auf

So after Farmers brought Foremost into the fold, Claudio and her team chose to bring all the work in-house rather than offer it to another outsourcer. By doing that, she believed she would have better control over the work being done and the costs involved.

Although Farmers would have to pay $4 million in cancellation fees and early termination penalties, Claudio's financial analysis showed that the company could recoup those initial costs within a year and then begin to save money.

First she had to break the news to the service provider, which was difficult. "I pride myself on having excellent relationships with partners and vendors, and I don't do things lightly," explains Claudio. "It's hard to go to a big partner and say, 'This is no longer working for us. We're not seeing the benefits."

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