Wednesday, December 8, 2010
BIG BLUE TAKES THE RED: AIRTEL IT MOVES TO IBM
There was much trepidation today at Parkside Towers as Airtel (formerly Zain) IT department trooped to HR to pick up their new contracts.
In its true red colours, Airtel has outsourced almost everything starting with its engineers who were farmed out to Nokia-Siemens.
The IT guys who basically keep all the business intelligence data, configure new tariffs and keep track of new activations, ARPU spend etc etc are next.
Just like in India, they have been moved to IBM Business Services Kenya which set up shop in the country a couple of months back.
Effective, Jan 1, 2011, they will be employees of IBM not Airtel. While most are happy to be working for the Dow Jones featured company, there are fears as to the contract terms. Will they get the same benefits?
The Nokia-Siemens lot was lucky. When they moved, they capitalized on a clause in the contract calling for a two-month notice or compensation for the same period if either party (Zain or its employees) terminated the contract early.
So the engineers were given two month compensation.
According to sources, IT were told at a meeting that "terms would be comparable to what they were at Airtel."
The lot will however continue to operate from Parkside until further notice.
Airtel is trying to replicate its minutes factory model from India where it outsources everything except customer care.
The Kenyan outfit has so far managed to push subscriber numbers to just over 3million.