Roche outsources management of ERP solution to HP

Roche outsources management of ERP solution to HP

Multinational pharmaceuticals specialist Roche Products has outsourced management of the infrastructure supporting its SAP R/3 enterprise resource planning solution to Hewlett-Packard (HP).

Roche information technology director, Graham Warburton, said the multimillion dollar deal would involve HP staff assuming 24x7 responsibility for infrastructure comprising the Basis management tools function, a Unix operating system and an Oracle database.

Warburton said the deal -- between HP and the pharmaceuticals division of Roche -- was signed at the start of July. He declined to specify the length of the deal, but said the company had decided not to lock itself into a contract "for too long".

He said the decision to go with SAP was the result of a global decision from Roche head office in Basel, Switzerland. The company has employed PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to assist in customising the business applications of the R/3 solution for the enterprise. It is understood the deal could extend beyond the local marketplace.

Warburton said a comparative assessment of the costs of contracting HP and employing in-house staff to manage the infrastructure had found little difference between the two options. In fact, he said, his "gut feeling" was to go with the employment option and it was only at the last minute he decided to go with HP.

Following his decision, HP carried out the implementation over a five week period. Warburton's 30-odd member team continues to manage the network, call centre and desktop services.

Warburton said Roche's internal information systems (IS) operation had "no SAP, Oracle, HP or Unix skills" when the global directive was issued. He said the task of staffing the data centre with internal resources with permanent staff and contractors was an unattractive option for two reasons:

-- the dearth of skills in the market and;-- "Contractors tended to jump from job to job to see how much they can get rather than [concentrating] on doing the work," said Warburton.

He cited resource availability and competitive pricing as behind HP being awarded the contract. HP is delivering the services remotely from their centre at Blackburn in Melbourne.

The R/3 solution went live to 200-plus users at Roche's Dee Why, NSW site and nationwide from July 1.

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