Eisai strikes extensive multiyear IT outsourcing deal with Accenture

Eisai has become the latest in a long line of companies to look to IT outsourcing for cost savings. The drugmaker has handed responsibility for the maintenance, operation and monitoring of much of its IT infrastructure in Japan and the U.S. to Accenture ($ACN) in a pair of long-term deals.

Accenture is contracted to do the work in Japan until 2024 and in the U.S. until 2022. Only a portion of Eisai's R&D network is excluded from the 7-year U.S. deal, while the agreement in Japan goes beyond servers and other IT infrastructure to cover some of its accounting, production management and other enterprise resource planning systems. The idea is to increase efficiencies through the establishment of a global governance structure and drive down IT costs, prospects that have been luring drugmakers to strike outsourcing deals for years.

"We will use our experience accumulated in the pharmaceutical industry, our IT operational processes that are standardized globally and our deep expertise in continuous business improvements to support Eisai's successful business," Atsushi Egawa, senior managing director, products, at Accenture in Japan, said in a statement. Accenture will provide most of its support for Eisai from its facility in Manila, Philippines, with a site in Pune, India stepping in to help with some of the U.S.-focused application services.

Eisai's faith in the wisdom of long-term global IT outsourcing deals contrasts with the ethos now guiding AstraZeneca ($AZN), which has turned its back on such arrangements in favor of a network of in-house sites. AstraZeneca began setting up facilities in India, California and Eastern Europe after concluding long-term outsourcing relationships are ill-suited to the needs of modern biopharma. The reaching of such a conclusion represented a dramatic reversal for AstraZeneca, which became the posterchild for IT outsourcing when it inked a 7-year, $1.7 billion deal with IBM ($IBM) in 2001.

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