Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG (SNI), the Paderborn- based computing hardware and services company, has re-ignited speculation that its parent company, the mighty electronics and engineering conglomerate Siemens AG, is lining it up for a joint venture with a big name partner to help kick its earnings into shape. Figures released by SNI in advance of its October year end show 12% growth in both sales and new orders to $7.275bn and $7.715bn respectively. Nothing has been disclosed regarding earnings, but the company has set itself a clear target of doubling its sales by 2005. The growth figures may seem adequate, but SNI, like all Siemens group companies, is under severe pressure to boost its earnings or risk being paired off in joint ventures or sold outright. Hence SNI has announced a re-think of its internal structure and business strategies, part of which involves the formation of a new company to house one third of SNI’s business. The formation of Siemens Business Services GmbH, which will house SNI’s outsourcing activities, makes it easier for the company to strike up partnerships and joint ventures with outside interests. SNI said it was constantly looking for partnership opportunities but wouldn’t be drawn on the size or identity of possible suitors. Merger and acquisition activity is the only way we can expect to become a global player, the company said. The full structural evolution of SNI’s activities will involve the splitting of the company into two divisions. The Product and Technology Services business, headed by Rudi Lamprecht, will deal with hardware and software under the guise of a new Holistic Systems Strategy which will attempt to draw together all the strings of SNI’s product orientated activities. The Solutions and Business Services division, headed by Dr Friedrich Froschl, will handle outsourcing, aiming for the higher margin ground of full business process outsourcing, rather than just the plain IT element. SNI is hoping that the two divisions will work together to create what it calls User Centered Computing, offering clients an unbiased, industry-wide range of hardware, software and services as a complete one-stop shop. Despite the fact that Siemens Nixdorf is SAP AG’s biggest implementation partner in Europe, employing around 950 full time SAP R/3 consultants, the company emphasized that SNI had no interest in being just a value added reseller. Dr Peter Page, head of technology, insisted that if a client’s user centered computing needs were better served by software from BAAN Co NV, or Peoplesoft Inc, then so be it. Did this approach extend even to the supply of non Siemens Nixdorf hardware? Apparently so.
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