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Belo, IBM deal outsources back-end technology management

Many industries outsource their technical operations in order to cut costs and complexity of maintaining infrastructure. Media companies are no different, and some are outsourcing difficult and expensive technology-related tasks and quality control issues related to servers, data centers, and help desk support among other products and functions. The general thinking is that it is best for companies not to force themselves to be technology experts and let companies with specific expertise maintain infrastructure and monitor the market for potential new improvements. If it all works right, media companies can focus their efforts on running their businesses and think of technology in strategic terms only.

Belo is the latest company to endorse this strategy. The diversified media company recently awarded IBM a comprehensive outsourcing services contract to manage its IT infrastructure. IBM will assume operational support of the information technology functions that support television stations, newspapers, interactive media and cable news operations across the nation.

Belo will retain responsibility for setting the strategic direction of its technology functions and IBM will provide day-to-day technology production support for four functional areas: data center and server management, voice and data network management, help desk and desktop support services. A six-month transition period began this month, and Belo estimates that IBM will assume responsibility for the bulk of these support services on October 1. At that point, the company will begin another project that will see nine regional data centers consolidated into two IBM data centers over a one-year period.

Significant enterprise-wide technology and business benefits that are planned include:

  • Improving overall systems efficiency by centralizing and standardizing technology platforms;
  • Upgrading data transmission capacity to support major business objectives through network expansion and development;
  • Increasing business technology continuity controls and reducing risk through data center upgrades and consolidation;
  • Improving customer service levels and systems reliability with 24-hour help desk and desktop services coverage for all technology operations; and
  • Enhancing Belo’s ability to meet Sarbanes-Oxley and other compliance requirements.

Belo is optimistic the project can be finished in 18 months, which if achieved would be significantly faster than what the company thinks it could have done independently. The company also expects to be able to adapt to changing needs while better controlling technology and capital expenditures.

For more information, please visit www.ibm.com/services.

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