General Motors, which is insourcing the majority of its IT work, Friday said it is hiring 500 IT positions in Austin to staff a new "innovation center."
The announcement is part of far-reaching GM plan to hire as many as 10,000 IT workers worldwide over the next three to five years as the automaker takes work back from outsourcers, the company said.
Austin was picked to house one of several planned new centers because it "already has people with the skills GM is seeking," the company said. GM based that assertion on U.S. Labor Dept. data showing that employment in IT-related occupations at about 46,000 in the Austin area.
Alan Adler, a GM spokesman, said the company won't yet specify the number of centers it eventually hopes to open.
GM's IT reorganization is led by Randy Mott, a former CIO at Hewlett-Packard and Dell. Mott previously spent more than two decades at Wal-Mart in a number of IT roles, including CIO.
"We plan to rebalance the employment model over the next three years so that the majority of our IT work is done by GM employees focused on extending new capabilities that further enable our business," Mott said in a statement.
Mott's was named CIO of GM in February.
General Motors is posting a flurry of IT jobs on its Web site. On Aug. 30 it listed more than 20 IT jobs, on Aug. 31, seven IT jobs, on Sept. 1, 13 IT jobs, and so on. The list is long.
The company is seeking software engineers, business analysts, messaging engineers, analysts, developers, testers, planners, infrastructure architects, and other roles. They are also want platform-specific expertise, including people with knowledge of Maximo asset management tools, Tableau analytics software, and Peoplesoft.
GM has relied heavily on outsourcers to run its global IT for several years.
In 2006, for instance, the company announced it had signed outsourcing contracts valued at about $7 billion. Most of the work was to be done by Electronic Data System Corp (EDS)., which GM once owned before spinning it off.
EDS was acquired by HP in 2008 for $13.9 billion.
In June, HP announced a plan to restructure its enterprise services business. That plan includes the elimination of 8,000 positions.
Those layoffs are part of a plan to by HP to cut its overall workforce by 27,000, or 8%, by 2014. It is not known whether there is any connection between HP's services business cuts and GM's decision to insource the IT work.
Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT, doesn't believe that the cuts in HP's services division can be pegged to any specific customer action. HP's recent $8 billion charge against its services division "suggests that there were more fundamental, systemic issues at play rather the issue of losing one, large lucrative client," he said.
King sees Mott as someone with the experience and inclination to restructure GM's IT operations. He noted that HP's decision to consolidate some 85 data centers into six was made in 2006, not long after Mott was hired as CIO.
Mott's insourcing plan appears to have strong top-level support at GM.
The Detroit News recently obtained recording of a a recent conference call where GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson spoke with employees and was was critical of GM's outsourcing path. "We have a 1970s IT overlay in a company that's operating in the 21st century," the newspaper quoted him as saying.
Regarding Austin, in May the U.S. Department of Labor, in a report, said jobs in computer and mathematical group accounted for 5.9% of local area employment in the Austin area, "significantly higher than the 2.7% share nationally."
Included in the overall total of 46,000 IT jobs in that area, were nearly 9,500 computer systems analysts and 8,400 software developers. System software developers were the third largest group, at just over 7,000.
Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov, or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.