General Motors has opened an IT innovation center in Austin, Texas, that will hire up to 500 software developers, project managers, database experts, and other IT pros. The center is a major step in GM's IT overhaul under new CIO Randy Mott, under which the automaker is hiring employees to do technology work and moving away from outsourcers such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM.
GM plans to have four of these IT development centers in the U.S. One will be located in the Detroit area; the other locations have not yet been identified. Mott said the centers' locations would be chosen based on the quality of talent they'll be able to attract, including their proximity to universities.
GM has relied on outsourcers for about 90% of its IT work, from developing software to operating data centers. Mott, who was named GM CIO in February, intends to reverse that percentage, bringing 90% of the company's IT work in-house, using outsourcers for just 10%. It's a high-risk strategy change that will mean hiring thousands of tech pros and building a new culture of IT innovation and collaboration with the rest of GM.
[ For analysis of GM's IT strategy read General Motors Will Slash Outsourcing In IT Overhaul. ]
Mott maintains that IT staffers will have a better understanding of the automotive business than outsourcers do, and will thus come up with more creative ways to use technology. And he thinks employees can deliver more quickly than outsourcers.
Mott has close ties to the Austin area, where he has worked since he joined Dell as CIO in 2000. While Mott was later CIO at Hewlett-Packard, he remained in Austin as the company built two of its six global data centers in the area (the other four are in Atlanta and Houston).
GM already has about 4,500 employees in Texas. About 1,800 work in GM Financial offices, and about 2,500 work at the Arlington assembly plant building Chevrolet, GMC, and Cadillac SUVs. GM plans to add a third shift to that plant in the first quarter of 2013. GM has two call centers in Texas, and it's building a $200 million stamping plant in the state that will employ about 180 people.