AT&T, IBM in On-Demand Deals With Fireman's

Another customer decides to shift to on demand and managed hosting.

By internetnews.com Staff | Posted Jan 13, 2005
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Fireman's Fund (FFIC) is ensuring that its IT infrastructure is current with on-demand services and managed hosting, and it's getting ready for Voice over IP (VOIP) deployment too.

The insurance agency has awarded IBM a seven-year, $157 million contract in order to build an on-demand infrastructure, the company said. AT&T also was hired by Fireman's for managed hosting services in a five-year, $42 million contract.

Big Blue said it planned to create an on-demand technology infrastructure that will automate many IT tasks, substantially increase system performance and help the insurer achieve increased return on equity goals. In addition, the contract means Fireman's Fund will only pay for the back-end computing power it uses, enabling it to save $10 million each year in IT costs, according to IBM.

The job includes automating the insurer's key IT functions, such as turning computing capacity on and off, monitoring system performance and taking corrective action with, IBM said.

IBM plans to create an infrastructure for Fireman's Fund that draws computing power as needed from a shared pool of data center resources. Approximately 500 applications, including policy processing, billing, and claims handling will run on the new IT infrastructure.

Not only that, the deal calls for IBM to manage and support the company's 5,200 PCs, including help-desk and desk-side support.

Fred Matteson, Chief Information Officer for Fireman's Fund, said the arrangement will enable his company to embrace the future of property-casualty information technology by using IT resources to match business and eliminate fixed infrastructures.

Meanwhile, the deal with AT&T calls for the telecommunications provider to build out a secure, high-speed network. To that end, AT&T said its design and management of an Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network (IP VPN) would provide 4,500 employees in 60 FFIC locations across the United States with faster access to data on premiums, claims, insurance quotes and other critical customer information.

In a statement about the deal, Matteson said AT&T's technologies, like VoIP, "will further the company's corporate mission of making it easier for customers to work with us and is critical to our goal of using technology to lead our industry."

Fireman's said its new network is expected to replace several disparate voice and data networks provided by multiple vendors; it will also support FFIC's mission-critical applications, expanding the company's range of services both internally and externally.

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