Qantas IT jobs head to IBM

Around 200 of Qantas's IT staff will reportedly be offered jobs at IBM as the airline outsources yet more of its technology function.

Around 200 of Qantas's IT staff will reportedly be offered jobs at IBM as the airline outsources yet more of its technology function.

Both The Australian Financial Review and the AustralianIT reported this morning that the airline had confirmed it would ink a new deal with Big Blue. The deal reportedly involves outsourcing Qantas's IT program delivery team.

The move was flagged as a potential option back in June.

The news comes as a Qantas spokesperson this week did not return several calls querying the veracity of an anonymous tip circulated in the Crikey newsletter.

The tipster claimed that a "damning report" published internally by Qantas's frequent flyer arm had been circulated to senior managers, flagging an intention to revert to in-house IT services in the Qantas Loyalty portion of the business. The report, the tipster wrote, complained of poor quality work from outsourcing partners that took much longer to carry out and cost two to three times more.

The tipster also said there were internal sensitivities around the IBM outsourcing discussions being led by Qantas executive manager of corporate services and technology David Hall.

"At the same time as promising openness and transparency to staff, Mr Hall has circulated a confidential memo to senior IT managers highlighting certain words and phrases that are not to be used in describing outsourcing to staff," the tipster wrote.

"'Cost' and 'Offshoring' are not to be used, while terms such as 'value' are to be emphasised."

Last week Qantas revealed its technology costs had risen slightly over the past year, reaching $406 million.

The airline has increasingly been handing off internal IT work to external suppliers over the past few months. In June, Perth-based IT services outfit ASG revealed it had signed a five-year, $13 million deal with Qantas to provide application management services around the airline's financial reporting and planning applications.

The contract added to another deal that ASG had signed in 2006 to provide IT systems integration and management services for the airline's eQ Finance project. In April, Fujitsu won a five-year deal to provide Qantas with all of its user-facing services for both domestic and international operations. The deal sees Fujitsu provide and support all Qantas desktop, email, storage and collaboration systems in Australia and overseas.


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