Last week AT&T announced the signing of a second five-year contract with GM to continue building out the U.S. automaker's global IT infrastructure for voice, data and video traffic. The deal, worth nearly one billion dollars, differs from the previous agreement not only in scale, but also in that it places AT&T as the manager of regional telecom providers (some of them competitors) around the world in providing local and long-distance phone service, global voice mail, phone and videoconferencing, high-speed Internet access and other telecom services.
As the global market grows, the need for a secure and dependable global networking infrastructure is increasing in importance, making such a large-scale move likely motivated by GM's desire for consistency of service and support.
According to GM CIO Ralph Szygenda, achieving this consistency is a necessary step to efficiency and increased production. "Information technology providers have to work as one in a corporation," Szygenda said.
"They can't work as a bunch of IT companies competing against each other inside your own company. I want our employees to be able to wake up anywhere in the world and not need to know where they are," Szygenda added.
The functional result of this deal will be to ensure that all GM employees located in 33 countries around the globe will have the ability to collaborate online in real time on engineering, manufacturing, design and supply chain issues with minimal technical difficulties.
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