Volvo IT Partners to Operate ERP Apps for IBS Customers
September 15, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
If you like the ERP software created by Swedish company International Business Systems but you don’t want to mess around with supporting the systems that run it, then IBS has an interesting services partner for you: Volvo IT, the IT services arm of the Swedish car maker of the same name.
Last week, IBS, one of the few remaining free-standing ERP software makers that has a strong presence in the OS/400, i5/OS, and i platform, announced that it has tapped fellow countryman Volvo IT to provide operational support services for the IBS ERP suite. Volvo IT is to Volvo as Electronic Data Systems used to be to General Motors back here in the United States. GM bought EDS not only to try to help it clean up its own IT operations, but to sell off its expertise as services to other companies for a profit. (The difference is that Volvo IT and Volvo made their deal work, and GM and EDS rarely got along.) Anyway, Volvo IT runs one of the largest data centers in the Nordic region, and its operational services are being peddled by IBS alongside its own maintenance, implementation, and financing services for the IBS ERP suite. Volvo has been involved in data processing since the punch card says of the 1920s, and was one of the first companies to consolidate its IT operations, which it did back in 1967, six years after the company got its first mainframes. Volvo IT has 5,000 employees and 1,900 contractors who work for its operations around the globe. So don’t think this deal between IBS and Volvo IT is restricted to the Nordic region.
The IBS-Volvo IT deal presents some interesting possibilities for marketing. The AS/400 and its successors are known for legendary reliability and security, and Volvo cars are also legendary for their engineering quality and safety. I seem to remember a commercial, and it could have been a fake one now that I think of it, that once said: “Buy Volvos–they are boxey, but they’re safe.” Some parts of the Internet seem to think it was “they’re boxey, but they’re good.” It is hard to imagine anything more “boxey” than an AS/400-style computer running IBS ERP being supported by the techies at Volvo IT.