Bank of Ireland has confirmed that it is entering into a major outsourcing contract that will see over 450 employees in the UK and Ireland move to Hewlett-Packard (HP), which will become its preferred IT supplier. Reports suggest that the deal will be worth close to €80m over a four-year period.
A spokesperson for Bank of Ireland confirmed that that the bank is entering into “sole negotiations” with HP. “However, it will be four to six months before a contract will be signed,” she said.
She confirmed that 350 IT employees in the Republic of Ireland and close to 150 IT workers in Northern Ireland and the UK will become HP employees.
Rumours that national telecoms carrier Eircom may also be considering opting for a similar major outsourcing deal with HP were also circulating over the weekend.
Following a drawn-out tendering process Bank of Ireland is understood to have chosen HP over IBM. The potential deal follows the awarding by the bank of a €20m contract to Microsoft for desktop and enterprise software to cover more than 600 sites and 20,000 users.
However, the decision to outsource its IT to a third-party provider such as HP has raised the ire of the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA), which, it is understood, has begun balloting members to take industrial action on the grounds that hundreds of jobs could be affected by the outsourcing decision.
Bank of Ireland was originally planning to align its IT management with that of rival bank AIB. However, EU fears of anti-competitive practices that may result helped cause the discussions to collapse.
By John Kennedy