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BHP finalises its global IT strategy

BHP finalises its global IT strategy

Plan opens the door to determine the fate of a $700 million computer outsourcing contract that has been in limbo since late 2007.

BHP Billiton has finalised a new, global information technology strategy that opens the door for the resources giant to determine the fate of a $700 million computer outsourcing contract that has been in limbo since late last year. The company also named Ken Matthews its chief information officer following the appointment of former technology boss Jon Dudas to oversee BHP's aluminium business. Mr Dudas had headed the miner's information systems department since August and took on the role on a temporary basis after previous CIO Dave Richardson retired. Mr Matthews previously served as the commercial manager for corporate IT.

Mr Dudas initiated a review of computing strategy that led to BHP terminating an outsourcing initiative known as Project Delta, which was to select a new global IT services supplier for the business.

BHP's existing $700 million contract with Computer Sciences Corporation expires next year.

A spokeswoman for BHP Billiton yesterday confirmed the company's group management committee had finalised the information technology strategy and renamed its computing division BHP Billiton Corporate Information Management.

"An important part of the IT strategy is making sure that [information management] works in a way that fits in with the BHP Billiton group operating model," the spokeswoman wrote in an emailed response.

"The group operating model is based on the philosophy of ensuring that those areas of our business with the greatest levels of activity have full access to the capabilities and resources they need."

Information systems at resources companies such as BHP and Rio Tinto are under pressure to perform as the businesses attempt to extract more efficiency from their operations to meet demand for coal and ore.

The pressure has led to the launch of a number of major software projects in the sector, including a BHP initiative that will install a global business system known as OneSAP throughout its operations.

The spokeswoman said the new technology strategy was divided into seven main work streams that included sourcing, systems simplification, change management, function development and the execution of the company's SAP program.

OneSAP is built on software from German vendor SAP. The sourcing component of the strategy will determine the fate of BHP's applications and computer outsourcing contracts, both of which are held by CSC and are due to expire next year. It is also likely to guide the selection of a vendor to take over the management and support of the miner's existing SAP systems, as well as the OneSAP platform once it is complete.

It is understood that companies on the SAP services contract short list include Accenture, CSC, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services. CSC and IBM are believed to be in the running for an infrastructure outsourcing agreement that would replace the existing CSC deal.

KEY POINTS

· BHP Billiton will install a global business system known as OneSAP.

· The SAP services contract short list includes CSC and Infosys.

Fairfax Business Media

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