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IBM Snags A Pair Of Outsourcing Deals

Health-claims processor Nasco and Campbell's Soup tap Big Blue for tech services.
IBM's services arm appears to be benefiting from the economic downturn of late.

The company in the past two days has announced outsourcing deals with companies looking to reduce costs and operate more efficiently at a time when corporate IT budgets are under close scrutiny.

On Thursday, IBM announced a $184 million deal with National Account Service Co., which provides claims processing services to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans.

Under the seven-year agreement, which extends a previous relationship between IBM and Nasco, Big Blue will support Nasco's claims-processing infrastructure and related software applications. The plan also calls for IBM to migrate Nasco's application environment to a more efficient service-oriented architecture.

A SOA allows businesses to cut programming costs as it reduces application redundancy in part by facilitating more efficient data interchange between programs.

IBM also will help Nasco manage its storage, server, and mainframe operations while providing help desk services.

"We are confident that with IBM, Nasco, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans we serve will have the expertise and scalable resources to aggressively compete in the health care arena," Nasco CEO John Ladaga said in a statement.

On Wednesday, IBM announced that it had won a 5-1/2-year outsourcing contract from Campbell's Soup. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Under the deal, IBM will provide Campbell's with a range of tech services, including infrastructure and network support, application maintenance, and security services. The arrangement calls for Campbell's to access infrastructure services from IBM on an on-demand basis, meaning the company will pay only for what it actually uses.

"The current environment is driving companies of all industries to aggressively manage their operations," said Justin Dragoo, VP for consumer products in IBM's Global Technology Services Group. The group saw revenue decline 4% in the most recent fourth quarter, but sales may be poised to rebound if more businesses come to believe that outsourcing can help them better weather the economic downturn.

IBM is slated to report first-quarter financial results on April 20.

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