Gestired, the IBM Corp-Telefonica de Espana SA joint venture, has opened its client service centre to third parties, particularly large companies anxious to sub-contract the maintenance of their networks. The company was set up in May 1993, after both partners had observed an interesting niche at the intersection of the private network services offered by IBM and the public network services provided by the Spanish national carrier, and felt it was logical for the two companies to begin to work together in this area, since many of their most important clients have traditionally overlapped. Originally, the centre served only the internal divisions of Telefonica and IBM, providing solutions to network incidents and problems. So far, Gestired, 51% of which is he ld by Telefonica Gestion de Sistemas, the systems management subsidiary of the national carrier, and 49% by IBM Espana SA, has met with considerable success in the banking sector. Talking to Computerworld Espana, recently, Gestired operations director, Ricardo Altimira, said the services the company offered were particularly suited to this sector, due to the complexity of the networks, while the company is currently wooing clients in general industry and public administration.
But attracting clients is by no means an easy task: Altimira pointed out that businesses are often reluctant to hand over a measure of control to a third party as a matter of principle; in other cases they are concerned about leaving a group of employees traditionally involved in such activities without work; and other potential clients are unconvinced of the benefits to be gained. Nevertheless, he confirmed that businesses will often call on Gestired’s services for trade fairs or during their holiday period, and once their initial confidence has been gained, firmer commitments can be obtained for the future. The company also offers a second service in the form of a network management centre. Not only can experts solve problems directly from the helpdesk, but networks can also be operated from the centre itself. It also markets products aimed at the management of private and public networks that have been specially designed and jointly developed by Telefonica and IBM to be compatible with products already available in the market.
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