IBM Hops on Board Texas Railway Co.

IBM Global Services wins 10-year outsourcing contract with the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company.

The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company hopes to find new ways to make money through its recently signed outsourcing contract with IBM Global Services (IGS).

IGS won the 10-year contract—valued in the hundreds of millions—based on the strength of its cost savings bid and its "world class infrastructure services," according to Greg Fox, vice president of technology services and CIO of the Fort Worth, Texas railroad. But Burlington Northern will also look to develop new technology applications for the transportation industry with the help of IBM researchers in IBMs center for transportation innovation in Boulder, Colo.

"The opportunities that will be explored are in the areas of expert systems, advanced planning and wireless applications," said Fox. Any applications developed will be used in support of Burlington Northerns own operations, and the railroad will have the opportunity to market those applications to the transportation industry.

The contract calls for IGS to manage two Burlington Northern data centers, including the 5,000-MIPS (millions of instructions per second) mainframe data center in Topeka, Kansas and another data center in Fort Worth. IGS also will manage 450 midrange Intel and Unix servers as well as some 16,000 desktop, laptop and LAN printers.

IGS will also manage the railroads e-mail systems and operate most of its technical help desk. IGS will take on about 120 BNSF IT employees. Burlington Northern will continue to own the data centers.

IGS also had an edge over competitors, whom Fox would not name, because of its experience in the travel and transportation industries and its core competencies in managing IBM mainframe systems.

"Sysplex is core IBM technology were very dependent on. We like the synergy of going into their DB2 labs and access to Sysplex engineers," said Fox.

Burlington Northern is the latest outsourcing client to take advantage of IBMs Blue-Green initiative, designed to help outsourcing customers develop new revenue streams by marketing new technologies developed in collaboration with IBM.

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