15/02/2005 - 21:00

IT services hots up

15/02/2005 - 21:00

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Competition between Western Australia’s two biggest IT services companies could be even livelier than usual in future after an executive shuffle between Unisys West and Computer Sciences Corporation.

IT services hots up

Competition between Western Australia’s two biggest IT services companies could be even livelier than usual in future after an executive shuffle between Unisys West and Computer Sciences Corporation.

Murray Rosa surprised Unisys West last month when he switched to arch rival CSC, taking up the role of general manager and head of its Western Australian operation.

Unisys West responded promptly by appointing Peter Price as its new chief executive.

Mr Price was formerly with Unisys Australia, which owns 51 per cent of the Unisys West business.

His move to Perth follows a year of rapid growth for Unisys West, which lifted revenue by 30 per cent and profit by 60 per cent in 2004 and now has nearly 350 staff.

Mike Ettling, chairman of Unisys West and managing director of Unisys Australia, said Mr Rosa had been a “very good operator” but added that he built a good team who were looking forward to the competitive challenge.

Mr Ettling said the IT services market remains buoyant and he expects a further 12-18 months of strong growth, driven by changes in the public sector, takeover activity and growth in oil and gas.

“Structural changes in companies and markets are always opportunities for business development,” he said.

CSC chief executive Mike Shove is also looking for growth in the WA market.

“Business growth is a key priority for CSC’s Western Australian operation and Mr Rosa will further enhance our organisation in this area,” Mr Shove said.

“He will continue the strong relationships with our current customers and secure new business opportunities.”

CSC’s main achievements last year were signing new contracts with two of its existing WA customers, the Department of Justice and the police service.

At Unisys West, a big win last year was the contract to provide IT management for WMC Resources.

It has also started providing IT services to gold mining company Newmont through an arrangement with Accenture.

Unisys West’s biggest customer continues to be its 49 per cent shareholder BankWest.

Mr Ettling said the BankWest work was expanding but other work was growing even faster, and therefore Unisys West was becoming less reliant on the bank.

Unisys West and CSC both missed out on the biggest IT contract awarded in WA last year.

That honour went to Oracle and local company ASG, which have been named as preferred tenderer for the provision of business systems software for finance and payroll processing for the state’s five new shared service centres.

The contract is expected to be worth $80 million over 10 years.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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