Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Sopra flying high with easyJet

(By Anthony Miller – Wednesday 7th October 2009 3:45pm). I had the pleasure of presenting our views on the prospects of the UK software and IT services sector at Sopra UK’s client conference yesterday. But I’d have to say, the real star of the show was easyJet IT Director, Tim Newing, who explained to a gob-smacked audience how they do ‘more for less’ with corporate IT. I say gob-smacked because when Newing explained that easyJet, Europe’s fourth largest airline by the way, spends no more than 0.75% of its some £2b p.a. revenues on IT, and has a total IT headcount of 59, well, that caught everyone’s attention.

You’ve probably guessed by now that offshoring plays an important part in achieving such a high level of IT efficiency. Indeed, Sopra’s India-based offshore development team is very tightly embedded into Newing’s organisation and seems to operate as if they were part of the family. The arrangement has been so successful that Newing is looking to move other IT functions offshore.

Two things were clear to me. Firstly, you don’t have to be running a massive IT department to make offshore work, and work very effectively. Newing’s strapline is “Twice the productivity for half the cost”. Secondly, there’s always room for mid-sized suppliers in the marketplace (as Sopra is in the UK), when you have great customer relationships and, of course, an offshore proposition. Indeed, the relationship with easyJet was originally established with Scotland-based SI, Newell & Budge, which Sopra acquired in 2005 and since extended. It’s great to hear some good news stories for a change!

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