Home & Office

AA in £10m network outsourcing deal with C&W

Aiming for more than 40 per cent cost savings...
Written by Andy McCue, Contributor

Aiming for more than 40 per cent cost savings...

Motoring organisation the AA has outsourced management of its voice and data networks to Cable & Wireless (C&W) in a £10m deal.

The three-year deal replaces separate managed services contracts the AA had with Energis for voice, and BT for data and its wide area network.

Trevor Didcock, director of information systems at the AA, told silicon.com the new deal with C&W will result in cost savings of more than 40 per cent, mainly from better tariffs.

He said: "It was primarily an opportunity to save money."

The managed services deal covers all AA businesses - including its breakdown and financial services units - and C&W will take responsibility for the AA's voice, call centre and data network, and work towards supporting future convergence requirements.

Didcock said work has already started on migrating to an MPLS-based network that will be used to trial voice over IP later this year.

C&W beat off competition from BT, MCI and Siemens for the deal and Didcock said the main reason for choosing C&W was that it was the "lower risk option" because of the Energis connection (C&W having bought the telco for £674m last year).

The consolidation of the networking contracts follows on from the AA's £50m IT outsourcing deal with IBM last year, which Didcock said is aimed at getting a smaller number of supplier contracts.

Three AA staff will transfer to C&W under the Tupe outsourcing employment regulations.

The AA today also separately revealed that a project to provide customers with better online information has dramatically reduced the workload of its call centre staff - enabling them to respond more effectively to customers.

The AA.com website replaced its static FAQ section with neural network technology from Transversal to handle questions from its 8.2 million website visitors each month. The technology dynamically updates the FAQ function by remembering previous questions and answers and self-generating relevant information.

Since doing so the Association claims only two per cent of customers have needed to take their enquiry further by resorting to email. Although no figure was provided, it claims this is a major decrease on the previous number of customers who had to resort to contacting the AA for an answer.

Editorial standards