Vodafone in multimillion-euro managed services deal

11 Feb 2005

Aiming to strip cost out of its contract renewal process, Vodafone Ireland has signed a multimillion-euro contract with Sun Microsystems and its country partner Horizon Open Systems (HOS) for a managed services contract incorporating Java Enterprise System (JES), Sun’s flagship business applications platform.

“Due to the complex nature of Vodafone’s IT and supply chain requirements, the traditional renewal process for each contract was disparate, an administrative headache and costly. This new deal eliminates this process and includes a number of cost-effective benefits including the Java Enterprise System,” said Tony Cooney, senior commercial manager, Vodafone Ireland.

The contract includes the provision of a team of onsite Sun engineers who will be able to track system availability and make recommendations to Vodafone engineers to ensure optimum performance at all times. In addition, there will be a four-hour call-to-fix target time on all critical servers designed to ensure minimum downtime and disruption to business.

Other benefits include Solaris upgrades, continuous remote monitoring, on-going system health checks on Sun equipment and patch management and installation, which is performed on a regular basis to upgrade applications with the latest features.

“With resources on site the support that Vodafone receives will no longer be reactive,” commented Fiona Kelly, support sales account manager, HOS. “Response times will increase dramatically as the expertise is on hand including spares for mission critical servers. Additional Sun expertise will also be available to deal with any problems of a specialised nature at no extra cost.”

Roland Noonan, managing director of HOS, added that the contract also resolved the issue of potentially costly software licensing by operating a per-employee licence charging strategy that makes JES available for €92 per employee per annum. “By including JES in this contract, with its unique per employee pricing structure, issues around expensive software licensing are virtually eliminated,” said Noonan.

JES provides a complete set of infrastructure software that is integrated to work as a whole and that offers shared components, common technologies, a consistent architecture and user experience. Sun last week announced the availability of Java Enterprise System, Release 3, along with the debut of five smaller custom software suites that cost $50 (€41) per employee, per year. Each addresses specific client problems like identity management, application platform services, system availability, web services and enterprise communications.

Joe Keller, vice-president of marketing for Sun’s Java web services and development platforms, described the new JES subsets as “on ramps” for businesses that wanted particular suites but didn’t want to go the whole hog and buy the entire JES system.

By Brian Skelly