Whirlpool chooses IBM for IT services

announced Wednesday it has inked a deal to provide with an array of IT and process standardization services that are aimed at improving Whirlpool's operations and better aligning IT with the business.

IBM Global Services in December 2008 signed the multi-year IT services agreement that will include mainframe, server, storage, network, desk-side support and help desk services with the home appliance manufacturer. Whirlpool will also tap Big Blue's services arm for process standardization, according to IBM, which Whirlpool will help the company more quickly deliver product and services. Under the terms of the deal, IBM will provide Whirlpool infrastructure services in more than 40 countries. Services are scheduled to commence in June 2009.

"The relationship with IBM supports our strategic road map by providing standardized infrastructure processes backed by IBM's industry expertise," said Kevin Summers, corporate vice president and global CIO at Whirlpool, in a statement. "We expect these changes will allow Whirlpool Global Information Systems to more quickly flex to changing business conditions and improve the quality of service we provide to the business."

While an IBM spokeswoman says that Whirlpool has requested to keep the new contract value and duration undisclosed, the two companies have been working together for more than 20 years. Whirlpool has been an IBM hardware and software customer and IBM has provided "limited services" to the company in Asia and Latin America, but this new contract is expected to address Whirlpool's needs globally.

, currently the leading provider of IT services worldwide (ahead of ), reported in the fourth quarter 2008 that strategic outsourcing signings were up 20% worldwide and 44% in North America specifically. IBM also reported that US$17.2 billion in services signings that quarter included 24 deals greater than $100 million in value.