Thomas Cook has defied contemporary outsourcing wisdom and signed long-term IT outsourcing contracts with Accenture.
The travel giant has signed a new ten-year contract with Accenture and a three-year extension to an existing ten-year deal with the outsourcer, with both contracts relying on cloud-based infrastructures for the delivery of services.
Last year, Thomas Cook said it aimed to make annual savings of up to £50 million through a range of measures, including consolidating its IT infrastructure, renegotiation of supplier costs and reduction in buying requirements.
The new deals the travel firm has signed with Accenture include technology infrastructure outsourcing and business process outsourcing across Europe. While the financial terms of the extensive contracts have not been disclosed, Thomas Cook obviousy thinks it is in safe hands.
Accenture will design and implement "an agile IT infrastructure that integrates the company's separate European IT structures into a single group organisation", said Thomas Cook.
The new infrastructure "will draw on public and private cloud technologies to help transform IT operations, processes, methods and systems to provide a platform for the efficient growth of the business," it said.
In addition, Accenture will deliver technology infrastructure management, IT service delivery, service management, service desk, data centre services, workspace services, network services and security services.
Accenture will also provide finance and accounting BPO services to Thomas Cook as part of the new contract. There is also a three-year extension to a 10-year contract signed in 2007 for Accenture to provide application management, technology infrastructure management, finance and accounting, human resources and payroll services to Thomas Cook's UK operations.
In addition, there is a seven-year extension to a five-year contract for hotel settlement support services at Thomas Cook Germany.
"We are delighted to expand our collaboration with Accenture to leverage their world-class expertise and capabilities in transforming our IT operations by implementing new, lean technology that is 'cloud enabled'", said Gary Edwards, group CIO at Thomas Cook Group. "This will help Thomas Cook deliver significant savings, while creating the agility we need to respond to customer needs."
Using Cisco kit, Accenture says it will deliver scalable "any-to-any" connectivity, ready to support voice over IP, video, and unified communications data traffic. Collaboration, it said, will be supported across a simplified and optimised single network using multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) networking technology.
Accenture will also work closely with fellow IT services provider Lufthansa Systems to provide Thomas Cook with virtualisation, automation and cloud-based services to deliver infrastructure-as-a-service platforms. This promises to allow Thomas Cook to streamline applications and data centres.By working with Accenture, Thomas Cook said it will consolidate the number of its existing IT suppliers.