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RSA awards 7-year infrastructure overhaul deal to Wipro

IBM politely shown the door in digital revamp bid

RSA, one of Britain's oldest insurance firms, has awarded a seven-year IT infrastructure transformation deal to software company Wipro.

Wipro will assume responsibility for RSA’s data centres, cloud, and end-user services, plus a multi-lingual service desk in the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia.

The value of the deal was not disclosed. It covers all aspects of infrastructure provision, including hardware and support. A significant aspect is digital transformation, with RSA calling Wipro a “key enabler.”

The insurer is grappling with a legacy IT infrastructure accumulated through decades of mergers and acquisition as it tries to haul itself forward.

The new contract covers three data centres, the repackaging of 2,000 mainframe apps, and a shift from Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange to Outlook and Yammer.

RSA group CIO Darren Price told The Register: “This partnership with Wipro will provide RSA with a secure, cost effective and agile infrastructure service upon which we can continue to support our business transformation.”

The firm hailed the deal as a “major step forward” in its technology strategy that would allow it to provide “a market-leading, agile, affordable and secure infrastructure platform”.

RSA's trio of data centres in UK and Ireland are run by IBM, with one in Scandinavia run by CSC. It's one of those UK data centres that houses the majority of RSA's IT infrastructure and legacy apps, with additinoal connection to SaaS providers and AWS from Amazon.

The insurer has a further six data centres outside this deal, which are in Canada and run by RSA and CGI.

Wipro beat 20 bidders over a 10-month process. The India-based firm replaces incumbent IBM as provider for all RSA infrastructure services in the region. IBM had previously served as the umbrella provider for RSA’s infrastructure in the UK since 2007. RSA had signed a “multi-million” pound deal with IBM to manage the UK’s infrastructure, spanning 40 suppliers.

Price told The Register last year, fresh from having issued the request for proposal (RFP), that he wanted to reset the existing relationship with IBM and others. Revealing the infrastructure RFP, he said the new supplier must demonstrate flexibly and willingness to work with RSA and not simply take over servers and storage.

“I want to set us up for simplification and to leverage advancements in technology,” Price said.

A veteran of past outsourcing deals, Price had previously hinted at an interest in Wipro, Tata and Cognizant as new generations of IT suppliers who he reckoned would guarantee cost reductions through advancements in technology. ®

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