After IBM dust-up, AstraZeneca reboots IT outsourcing

As software providers know well, AstraZeneca ($AZN) has been one of the most prolific users of information technology in the pharma world. So the drugmaker's IT preferences and activities garner attention, including the messy court showdown between the company and IBM ($IBM).

After the failure of its IT outsourcing marriage with IBM, AstraZeneca has taken on a new strategy for working with tech partners that stresses rapid action on technical problems under a cooperative structure, ComputerWeekly reported. More than a year ago, AZ replaced the megadeal with IBM with contracts from a variety of oufits--including AT&T and Computacenter and Wipro--that operates with the cooperative structure in place.

"We had been operating outsourcing under outcome-based criteria for a number of years and felt we had lost sight into how the work was delivered," said Sam Covell, head of IS procurement at AstraZeneca, as quoted by ComputerWeekly.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot

At the end of the day, AstraZeneca needs to boost productivity and IT can play a supporting role. A string of R&D setbacks have driven plenty of changes at the company already, including the management shakeups that have given the top ranks of the company a new look. And new CEO Pascal Soriot has made clear that the company is seeking new ways of doing business to improve performance.

The changes in the way IT operations get outsourced appear to reflect the company's desire to keep a stronger handle on work that gets thrown over the wall to third-party providers. Yet whether it's called "outcome-based" or "cooperation-based" is unlikely to matter to results-oriented Soriot, who is demanding that business units deliver or be subject to more change.

- see ComputerWeekly's article

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