Despite its recent coup at Optus, Compaq's local outsourcing services group is set for a major revamp and the company's managing director, Ian Penman, is taking personal responsibility for the project.
According to an internal Compaq memo obtained by ARN, Penman has "decided to assume leadership of the operations management services (OMS) organisation . . . effective immediately".
The move follows the resignation of OMS' previous director, Beth Jackson, just two months after joining the company as part of its post-integration executive team (ARN July 15, 1998).
The memo, authored by Penman himself, states his tenure will continue "until the strategy work that Jackson and her management team commenced is completed and the role of OMS in the organisation is clarified".
The memo does not specify what work has been commenced or why the role of OMS needs to be clarified, but it does indicate that the division is not meeting internal expectations.
"The sometimes unclear boundaries between NSIS (network and systems integration services) and OMS need to be clarified in the new Compaq," and that "gaps in resources, capabilities, current performance and direction need to be fulfilled."
Penman acknowledged the existence of the internal memo, but refused to comment on its contents or whether he will be responsible for OMS.
Penman also declined to comment on Jackson's future. However, a Compaq spokesperson told ARN the parting was "amicable", and Jackson will remain at the company until the end of the month.
Merv Langby, senior consultant for International Data Corporation (IDC), told ARN he would not be surprised if Compaq is redefining its outsourcing strategy.
"The whole outsourcing environment has been one of an exploratory nature and all of the market anticipation and hype has led to over-expectations," Langby said. "In fact, the market is still relatively thin and the major players are beginning to realise they have to realign their strategy to reflect the scenario that the top end of market is really only the playing field of IBM GSA, EDS and CSC."
Instead, most services organisations will have to start focusing on networking and desktop infrastructure outsourcing, an area in which Langby believes Compaq shows good potential.
"Notwithstanding the patchiness emanating from the various internal problems that have impacted on their consistent strategy and delivery of services in the past, they have the heritage [as part of Digital], technical knowledge and expertise in networking and the overall services environment to be quite competitive in the marketplace."