HP, Accenture form outsourcing alliance

Hewlett-Packard Co. and Accenture last week announced an alliance to provide information technology outsourcing services to government agencies and private enterprises.

The two firms will focus on migrating legacy mainframe applications to newer architectures and platforms, as well as supporting backward integration to legacy applications, said Milton Weatherhead, federal sales program manager at HP.

"Government is a potential marketplace for this alliance," Weatherhead said. "The federal government is interested in this type of outsourcing...and this partnership could allow federal agencies that have problems with getting and keeping people to have an [advanced] IT infrastructure" that they don't have to run and migrate.

The alliance combines Accenture's management and technology knowledge with HP's experience in technology and operational services. The duo can offer enterprises the ability to design, build and operate applications across an array of outsourced IT infrastructure solutions.

Weatherhead said the major challenge with outsourcing projects in the past is that they have not proven to be profitable for customers, but this alliance is unique because of Accenture's ability to migrate legacy systems.

"We're not taking one mainframe; that's not the value-add," he said. "What makes the value-add is migrating to a lower total cost of ownership with a new infrastructure and being able to modify it as technology changes."

The alliance was 2.5 years in the making, but both firms were sidetracked along the way, with Accenture breaking away from Arthur Andersen and HP's past interest in acquiring PricewaterhouseCoopers' consulting business. "Both companies took a hiatus from the project, but it is pretty well-thought-out," Weatherhead said.

"Senior executives want results quickly, and we have already shown that our relationship with HP can deliver proven, battle-tested solutions and methodologies to our customers," Martin Cole said, managing partner of outsourcing at Accenture, in a release. "Going forward, it is what this alliance will provide to the even broader market for outsourced solutions."

The companies have already had discussions with a few civilian agencies, but HP's Weatherhead would not speculate as to when the first government customer would be announced.

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