ArcelorMittal has signed a £13.9m global network services agreement with BT covering its wide area network services at 700 sites spread across 40 countries worldwide.
The deal forms part of the steel giant's IT consolidation and standardisation strategy, which was put in place after the merger of Arcelor and Mittal towards the end of 2006.
The contract gives BT first and last refusal for any additional sites to be added to the network. It also paves the way for BT and ArcelorMittal to work together to deliver other forms of networked IT, such as VoIP and local area network services.
Under the deal, BT will install a "highly resilient" IP network to connect ArcelorMittal’s sites across the world. The network should be a key enabler for the firm's global IT plan to optimise its production capability by moving work orders more efficiently around the world. It is also being touted as enabling global shared services for functions like HR.
BT already manages Arcelor’s international backbone and network, and ArcelorMittal's group CIO Patrick Vandenberghe said BT was trusted by the steelmaker to go the extra mile "to make best use of our existing infrastructure.”
When Mittal Steel merged with rival Arcelor last year to create ArcelorMittal, it embarked on a major project to develop core business processes supported by a standard SAP system for deployment across the world.
But the enlarged firm recently rethought its plans and is now standardising business processes and SAP systems in each of 10 business segments, determined by market and geography.
ArcelorMittal has an IT operation with an annual budget of £355m and 4,000 staff. It is now managing IT process standards between segments by maintaining seven global SAP competency centres to share experience and develop some shared resources and application features across the company.