Will Foster's review lead to offshoring?

Summary:Australian beer and wine giant Foster's has acknowledged it is conducting a wide-ranging review of its technology operations, but stopped short of confirming offshoring jobs was one option on the table.

Australian beer and wine giant Foster's has acknowledged it is conducting a wide-ranging review of its technology operations, but stopped short of confirming offshoring jobs was one option on the table.

An anonymous Crikey tipster today claimed the company was getting ready to outsource its IT department to an Indian company. "Estimated 70 Australian IT jobs to go offshore. 25th August is the key date," they wrote.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed it was conducting what it described as an "enterprise architecture" review that would touch its Business Process and IT department, which is believed to be led by chief information officer Andrew Leyden.

The spokesperson said Foster's had been very open with its IT staff about the review, but had not as yet gone into what the specific options were on the table. They declined to specifically confirm or deny the Crikey allegations as per their normal approach to "rumour and speculation".

It hasn't been an easy few years for the company's technology operation. Back in April 2007, the company renewed a contract with local IT services outfit Commander for the provision of managed services under the junior telco and integrator's Volante brand.

However, shortly after, Commander went belly up, with various portions of the company's business being sold off. A number of the company's staff who dealt specifically with Foster's were believed to have commenced contracting work directly with the beverage giant.

In February this year, another local IT services company, UXC, revealed it had recently inked a deal with Foster's, but no further information was available.

According to MIS Australia, Foster's is currently attempting to move to a single ERP platform, as well as cutting down its list of systems integrators and upgrading its datacentre.

Foster's operates some of Australia's largest beer brands, including Victoria Bitter and Crown Lager, and also has a significant business in wine — with brands such as Wolf Blass, Penfolds, Rosemount, Yellowglen and Lindemans. The group has some 7000 staff located in Australia and internationally.

Foster's Leyden was appointed after the group's former chief information officer Ian Farnsworth left the company in late 2006.

Topics: Outsourcing, India, Telcos

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