Unisys Gets $90M BPO ExtensionBy John Moore | Print
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A Unisys subsidiary is picking up a big new business-process outsourcing contract, following the customer's acquisition of Swiss Life UK. Separately, Bearing Point has signed a major deal to do compensation processing for Fireman's Fund.
Resolution, a United Kingdom-based insurance company, has extended its BPO deal with a subsidiary of Unisys Corp.
Unisys Insurance Services Ltd.'s extended contract will incorporate administration and support services for Swiss Life UK, which Resolution Life Group Ltd. acquired late last year.
Under the arrangement, Unisys will process and administer Swiss Life's 750,000 file and pension policies, in addition to the work it is already doing for Resolution, the company said.
The pact covers an initial term of 10 years and is valued at $90 million, based on projected policy volume. Unisys announced the deal Tuesday.
Part of the agreement includes raising current levels of customer service and creating a new customer-support business unit, according to a statement on Resolution's Web site.
"Financial services outsourcing is a key BPO [business-process outsourcing] segment for Unisys, especially in the areas of check remittance and insurance administration," a Unisys spokeswoman said.
She added that the company's strategy is to "focus on BPO opportunities" in such traditional company strongholds as banking and insurance, rather than on horizontal areas such as human resources.
The Yankee Group recently reported that the market for HR BPO will grow at a 27 percent clip this year.
The spokeswoman said the company believes that more organizations with similar core operations will outsource to a business "utility."
She cited Unisys Insurance Services Ltd. as an example of a utility and also identified Unisys Payment Services and Solutions in the Netherlands, which handles check processing for Dutch banks.
Outsourcing, including the IT and BPO varieties, was Unisys' largest revenue-making service line last year, contributing $1.7 billion, or 37 percent of the company's service revenue. Outsourcing revenue grew 2.6 percent in 2004.
BearingPoint's Agent Management Project
BearingPoint Inc. is using a mix of package software and service-oriented architecture to implement a compensation management system for Fireman's Fund Insurance Co.
The project taps GlobeNet Technologies Inc.'s Firestorm Compensation Suite.
The EIM (enterprise incentive management) product provides sales-force administration and compensation processing, among other functions.
At Fireman's Fund, Firestorm Compensation will support agency administration, agency business planning and incentive compensation management, according to BearingPoint.
The solution will help Fireman's Fund manage its network of independent agents.
In addition to software, the Fireman's Fund deployment also requires a heavy dose of integration.
Among the challenges is the problem of how to link GlobeNet's application to 70 other legacy systems.
James McConnell, a senior manager at BearingPoint, said the company employed a service-oriented architecture integration strategy on the project.
Another project challenge: converting from Visual Basic to .Net, McConnell noted.
The Fireman's Fund deal marks BearingPoint's first implementation of GlobeNet, but it may not be the last.
McConnell said the company is in the process of signing a vendor agreement with GlobeNet.
GlobeNet, for its part, has worked with other large consulting and integration firms in the past.
In 2002, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young entered a partnership with GlobeNet.
GlobeNet's rivals in EIM also cultivate integrator relations.
Centive, for example, lists Accenture and IBM Global Services among its implementation partners.
Synygy Inc., meanwhile, maintains relations with consulting, implementation and outsourcing partners.
Channel-Friendly Wares From Check Point.
Channel-Friendly Wares From Check Point
Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. on Monday unveiled products geared toward service providers and resellers targeting midsize businesses.
The company announced Check Point Express CI, a security solution for midsize businesses.
The original version of the product, which debuted in 2003, provided an integrated firewall, VPN and an intrusion detection solution.
The new version, however, includes anti-virus protection via an arrangement with Computer Associates International Inc.
Dave Burton, director of product marketing at Check Point, said the revised product gives resellers "an additional part of the solution that they can offer customers."
He noted that a number of resellers have built medium-business practices.
Check Point sells entirely through indirect channels.
Check Point Express CI is slated for availability on April 19. Pricing starts at $4,000.
Check Point also debuted its VPN-1 Edge W, which the company termed an enterprise-level wireless security appliance.
The product targets remote site business locations and branch offices.
The product may be managed through Check Point's Provider-1, which lets service providers manage numerous appliances from a central location.
End-customers for Check Point VPN appliances often lack on-site IT staff and often rely on partners for management chores, Burton noted. Check Point's centralized management tools let service providers manage multiple customers, he said.
VPN-1 Edge W appliances support 802.11b/g/Super G standards to reach wireless speeds of up to 108 Mbps, according to Check Point.
The product is available immediately with pricing starting at $799.
D&H Teams With Xirrus
D&H Distributing is among the channel players teaming with Xirrus Inc. and the company's newly launched PartnerAdvantage Program.
Xirrus offers a line of WLAN (wireless LAN) Array products, which combine a WLAN switch-like array controller, up to 16 integrated access points, and an antenna system.
The company's channel program, unveiled Tuesday, provides marketing, sales and technical support to its partners.
The company markets its WLAN Array solutions exclusively through indirect channels.
D&H Distributing plans to pursue education, health care, manufacturing and other high-growth Wi-Fi markets through the Xirrus alliance, according to the distributor.
D&H Distributing's pact with Xirrus tracks with the company's plans to expand its wireless solutions focus in 2005.
PartnerAdvantage is a three-tiered program.
The entry-level tier, Certified Level, caters to solution providers that want to sell Xirrus products "with minimal investment of resources," according to Xirrus' partner Web site.
Certified partners receive online sales and technical support and vertical market discounts among other benefits.
Specialist Level resellers qualify for additional benefits such as co-op funds, service incentive rebates and volume incentive discounts.
Top-tier Pro Level partners receive a higher co-op fund percentage and may purchase six demo kits at a discount.
Certified partners make an annual revenue commitment of $25,000, while Specialists commit to $250,000 and Pro Level partners commit to $500,000.
Partners must also meet sales and technical training requirements.
Xirrus formally launched in March. The company's WLAN Array products will ship in volume next month, although evaluation units are now available.