General Motors intends to stick with its global supplier of product-design software and support services even as it moves aggressively to bring 90 percent of its information technology back in-house.
GM Chief Information Officer Randy Mott said Siemens PLM Software remains a key partner. "It's going to continue to be a critical relationship," he said during a conference call with reporters this month.
The Siemens software is extremely complex to reflect the complexity of designing and building vehicles, said Stan Przybylinski, director of research at CIMdata Inc., an IT consulting firm in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Not only is that software integrated throughout GM's global technical operations, but parts suppliers also use it to produce components for the automaker, he said.
GM last year chose Siemens to remain its predominant supplier of product-design software after a major review. Typically, those contracts are for five years, Przybylinski said.
Siemens supplies GM with a broad array of software, support and training services that allows GM engineers and technicians to design vehicles and their manufacturing systems virtually. Siemens' product-design software is called NX, and the data management system needed to store and distribute the information is Teamcenter.
At the time of the GM-Siemens deal, it was estimated that GM's annual spend with Siemens was more than $70 million. That's a fraction of GM's $3 billion annual IT budget. But Mott said vendors like Siemens are crucial to boosting GM's product cadence. Mott said this month that GM would rely on the company more to bring products to market, not less.
GM is embarking on a major overhaul of its global IT system, 90 percent of which is outsourced to large vendors such as Hewlett-Packard Co. GM wants to reverse that ratio by having 90 percent of its IT work done internally within five years, a transition that will result in the hiring of thousands of employees.
As a first step, GM said it was planning to hire 500 engineers and technicians at its technical center in Austin, Texas, to "drive breakthrough ideas into GM vehicles and business processes globally." It is hiring software developers, business analysts and other IT workers. The Austin center is the first of four software development centers that GM has planned. Mott said GM expects to hire nearly 10,000 IT professionals. It now employs about 1,500 IT workers.
GM also plans to consolidate 23 data centers that it and its vendors operate worldwide to just two, both in Michigan.