Atos clinches new Olympics IT deal

The IT services provider extends an existing agreement that now includes technology operations for all Olympic games until 2012, and outlines its plans for further growth in the Asia-Pacific.

SINGAPORE--Atos Origin has extended its IT services agreement with the International Olympic Committee through to 2012. It also affirms its commitment to the Asia-Pacific region with specific growth targets in hand.

At a signing ceremony last week, the IT services provider and IOC have extended an existing technology partnership where Atos Origin will now also design, build and operate the IT infrastructure for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, and the 2012 Summer Olympics, the venue of which will be announced this week during the IOC session here.

A worldwide IT partner for the Olympic games since 2001, Atos has already been preparing for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, and the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.

IOC's president Jacques Rogge said the long-term partnership provides the "opportunity to bring the past (knowledge and expertise) to the future."

According to Atos Origin's chairman and CEO Bernard Bourigeaud, each Olympic game serves as "a research center and training ground", helping to improve the skills of its employees which now total about 46,000 in 40 countries. The company also has on-site teams in Torino and Beijing.

Speaking at a media conference here, Bourigeaud said that Atos is "well-set" for the Torino games next year, and "has very ambitious development plans in China" for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

"Managing the games in China will clearly improve our visibility," he added.

Neoh Kok Cheng, Atos Origin's CEO for Asia-Pacific, reiterated Bourigeaud's view in an interview with ZDNet Asia. Neoh noted that the long-term partnership with the IOC has proven to be very important for the company, as it offers both new and existing customers "a lot of assurance that they've picked the right partner."

"We're a long-term worldwide IT partner for six Olympics, and we've got a proven track record and proven success; if we can bid for the Olympics, we can do a lot of things around the world," he said.

Neoh added that the company has long-term plans for the Asia-Pacific, and he is targeting to "outpace market growth" by growing and expanding the business through mergers and acquisitions. In particular, Atos Origin is concentrating on "accelerated growth markets" China and India, he said.

To coincide with the Olympics in China, Neoh revealed that the company is targeting to grow revenues in the country by at least five-fold before 2008. Atos Origin is also looking to boost its staff strength in India from the current 900 to 3,000 by 2006.

Neoh said the company will continue to focus on larger enterprises, as they have "bigger, complex issues and needs" and Atos Origin is able to "bring the right value propositions to them". Its 100 biggest customers worldwide account for 70 percent of its revenue.

"It is important that we focus on large accounts--accounts that we can grow with--and customers that we can have long-term relationships with," he said. "This has always been the cornerstone (of our business) and our way of working."

For example, its customers in India are mostly offshore customers from Europe and the United States, and the company targets only customers in key industries and large enterprises in the domestic market. In China, Atos Origin typically works with industrial companies who are multinational corporations, as well as large local enterprises and banks.