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GM To Open IT ‘Innovation Center’ In Texas

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GM CIO Randall D. 'Randy' Mott. GM photo.

GM CIO Randall D. ‘Randy’ Mott. GM photo.

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – General Motors is opening a new computer center in Austin, Texas, where it plans to hire up to 500 people.

The automaker said Friday that it will hire software developers, project managers, database experts and business analysts to run the first of several information technology innovation centers it plans to open in the United States.

GM CIO Randy Mott insisted that the opening won’t mean layoffs of GM IT staffers in Michigan.

“There are no layoffs (at GM’s tech center) in Warren, in fact we are hiring there,” Mott told a conference call of reporters Friday morning. “What we are talking about is part of what we announced a few weeks back … an IT transformation, trying to drive innovation inside GM and really grow what we’re able to deliver in terms of IT capabilities and applications to drive our business as part of the overall transformation of GM as a company. There will be a lot more people doing development and innovation inside GM.”

Last spring, Mott announced that GM would slash its spending on outsourced IT services as part of an overhaul to bring more IT functions in-house. Included was a three-year plan to shift from having 90 percent of GM’s IT services, from running data centers to writing applications, performed by GM employees. Previously, 90 percent of those services were provided by outsourcing firms such as Hewlett-Packard, EDS, IBM, Capgemini and Wipro. Mott led a similar overhaul in a previous post as CIO of HP. Earlier, he was CIO of Wal-Mart and Austin-based Dell Inc.

GM said it picked Austin because it has a ready workforce with the skills that it’s looking for. Mott said Austin is “supported by a university system that makes it a growing community.”

Mott said the Austin center is the first of several that the company plans to open in the U.S. He said state and local tax breaks didn’t play a part in the location decision.

General Motors Co. already has operations in Austin and has begun hiring, spokeswoman Julie Huston-Rough said. Other sites have not yet been picked, she said.

Mott has already announced plans to consolidate down to two main data centers and cut the number of apps GM uses by creating global standards for 80 percent of GM’s apps, up from 30 percent today. GM also plans four innovation centers along the lines of the one announced Friday for Austin.

GM bought EDS, an IT provider founded by H. Ross Perot, in 1984 as part of a diversification strategy. EDS then took over most of GM’s IT functions. GM spun EDS off in 1996 to refocus on carmaking, giving EDS a 10-year contract to continue performing its IT work. In 2006, then-GM CIO Ralph Szygenda spread out the work, with EDS retaining the greatest share but not all of it. HP bought EDS in 2008.

Mott said GM would recruit in Austin by pointing out that “we do something really fun, we build cars … if you’re a student of technology and a student of business there’s no better place to be.”

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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