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Pharma major AstraZeneca launches IT facility in Chennai

The company is planning to bring down the IT spend on outsourcing from 70% to 30% in three years

BS Reporter  |  Chennai 

UK-based pharma and biopharmaceutical major AstraZeneca has launched its first Global Technology Centre (GTC) to develop its world-class IT capacity, in Chennai as part of its strategy to cut down its IT budget and improve operational efficiency and data safety. With this the company would reduce the outsourcing currently handled by eight vendors, increasing the inhouse IT capability in near future.

The facility has 75 people on ground at present and it would increase to over 300 by the end of the year. While the new facility is set up with an investment of around $9 million for the physical infrastructure, the second GTC would be set up in San Fransisco in 2015 and the third probably in Eastern Europe in a couple of years, said David Smoley, Chief Information Officer, Astra Zeneca.

The company is looking at reversing its IT outsourcing operations to inhouse, considering it would be more cost efficient, and would give operational and technology leadership, the control of the main IT operations. According to earlier reports, the vendors the company has been engaged with include HCL Technologies, Cognizant, Infosys and Accenture.

"There is a shift in the strategy with most of the outsourcing works will become inhouse operations.

At present 70 per cent of the IT spend is with third parties and this would become 30 per cent in next three years," said Smoley, adding that the facility will start with SAP and middleware integration.

The IT team in its GTS would help the company to grow its own IT technolgy and operational excellence and provide support survices to global IT services. It would also help the company to simplify its support structures and improve its responsiveness to business needs, he said.

While outsourcing is generally a process to decrease the inefficency in the system, over a period of time there would be issues in that model also while inhouse operations would help the company to better co-ordinate. He said that the reverse trend of expansion in inhouse IT capabilities from outsourcing operations has started changing in many

He added that the model would help the company in customer focus, technology leadership, control on technical aspects and simplification of technology, among others. The company is also looking at implementing more cloud solutions in its operations.

The IT division of the company has around 9,000 employees including in its contract and outsourcing firms and the company is expecting this to reduce by half in next two years. "The IT spend of the company was aorund $1.3 billion last year and over a period of time, the company plans to reduce this. This would also help the company to reduce the time taken in developing and bringing a new drug to the market," he added.

The biopharmaceutical company is focusing on discovery, development and commercialistion of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases.

First Published: Tue, September 16 2014. 15:10 IST
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