Operating in 100 countries and transporting goods around the globe, at first glance it would appear Danish shipping company Maersk Line is already handling all the cargo it can manage. But when Maersk determined that the volume of most of the goods it was shipping had not grown to full capacity, the company decided information technology outsourcing (ITO) would be a crucial part of rectifying the situation.
“There was a ‘mind-opener’ where Maersk said, ‘How can we support the overall business strategy, and also from an IT perspective,” says Soeren Lorenzen, an account general manager with Hewlett-Packard company who is involved first-hand with Maersk’s ITO efforts. “There was a new CIO who wanted to outsource every part of IT, but without [negatively] impacting shipping.”
In an effort to support further business growth and increase organizational flexibility, Maersk decided to consolidate all of its data centers and server rooms operating worldwide onto a single outsourced platform. HP was already hosting some of Maersk’s IT environment, and in March 2011 Maersk initially approached HP about expanding the scope of the relationship.
“We ran through a global setup,” recalls Lorenzen. “The solution took our responsibility to 38,000 end users. The service desk was the first line, with significant consolidation. For the data centers, we reduced cost by making them more agile.”
Lorenzen says ultimately Maersk sought a flexible solution catering to all their needs, including managed print services around the world, ease of business, on-time delivery, and affordable cost. After a planning period that lasted from March to October 2011, HP and Maersk signed a five-year agreement in November 2011 and immediately put the project into development, with delivery date categorized by Lorenzen as “ASAP.”
Maersk Bucks Trends with Big Deal
Maersk may have recently signed a large-scale ITO deal with a single provider, but that does mean most other companies outsourcing IT functions are following suit. According to Bill Martorelli, principal analyst at Forrester, selective, multisourced ITO deals are the current norm, but may not make sense for every situation.
“There is no way around the nearly universal observation that for the most part, outsourcing deals include more than one service provider with shorter length and smaller scope contracts,” says Martorelli. “That does not mean all ITO transactions necessarily follow that template.”
Martorelli says that data suggests very large outsourcing deals, such as the Maersk ITO deal with HP, tend to offer lower customer satisfaction than other types of outsourcing deals. However, he does offer some specific advantages a large-scale outsourcing deal can provide.
“It’s not easy to orchestrate multiple providers working together in a multisource scenario, as opposed to one supplier doing it all,” he says, adding there is a “fundamental tension” created by having multiple suppliers involved in an ITO project.
Full Speed Ahead
Moving forward, Lorenzen says Maersk is currently changing over its IT setup to an HP-based solution, starting with the desktop environment, and that HP is building a cloud environment based on HP technology. HP will create a private cloud computing environment for distributed and local applications, creating a flexible, agile technology infrastructure.
Although there is a mix of technology currently in place in the Maersk environment, HP was an existing supplier of a number of technology and support services, which Lorenzen says will help ease the transition. Also helping the ease and speed of the IT changeover is Maersk’s request for a “factory approach” to the implementation.
“They said we don’t want something specifically for us,” Lorenzen says. “They want the flexibility to make changes fast and move to other standards.”