GE Capital plans 7,000 layoffs

Amtrak says it hopes to save US$85 million over the next seven years through an outsourcing deal announced Monday with IBM Global Services.

The deal calls for IBM Corp. to provide IT support to Amtrak, which has 24,000 employees. IBM will deliver business recovery services; provide desktop support services for 7,500 workstations; and manage Amtrak's voice and data networks, including systems at its three reservation call centers in Philadelphia, Chicago and Riverside, Calif.

IBM also will operate and service Amtrak's Arrow reservation system - which processes up to 3,300 Web, telephone and ticket-counter transactions per minute - from a data center in Manassas, Va.

As part of the agreement, IBM will work with Amtrak to sell the Arrow reservation system to other transportation companies, which will help grow Amtrak's revenue, say Dwayne Ingram, vice president of travel and transportation industries at IBM Global Services. Ingram says there's a trend among outsourcing customers to look to IBM Global Services not only to drive down operational IT costs but also to increase business revenue opportunities.

Amtrak underwent an evaluation of its computing infrastructure by The Outsourcing Institute, a global sourcing advisory association, before committing to the IBM deal.

The new deal is worth $229 million. IBM currently is in year eight of a 10-year outsourcing contract with Amtrak. Combined, the total value of the IBM-Amtrak IT services deals is about $330 million.

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