EDS gets mega windfall from merger

Services giant EDS has been contracted by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) to integrate the bank's IT system with that of newly acquired financial institution Colonial Limited.

The contract is believed to be one of the most lucrative ever signed by US-based EDS and the CBA is betting the contract will generate $1.2 billion in combined IT outlay over the next 10 years.

CBA did not think twice about its choice to engage EDS as its systems integrator, said Russell Scrimshaw, the bank's head of technology, operations and property. "We were very happy with the relationship," he said. "We'll get additional benefit and more scaling advantages." The contract builds on an existing $5.6 billion, three-year IT outsourcing relationship already in place with EDS.

Scrimshaw said it was "too early" to reveal what CBA and Colonial systems and platforms would become uniform under the merger. "It literally is at the point of planning, so we can't tell you," he said.

CBA estimates EDS will have the overhaul completed by the end of next year's first quarter. Despite Scrimshaw's confidence the project will run "on time", he conceded the bank was "still mapping and deciding" what resources it needed.

The contract win comes hot off the heels of EDS' announcement to extend an existing consulting relationship with UK-based global aerospace group Rolls-Royce. The $US2.1 billion agreement will see EDS deliver e-business and supply-chain consulting.

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