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Volunteer to build an IT multinational

Atos Origin has extended its IT services agreement with the International Olympic Committee through to 2012. At a signing ceremony last week, the IT services provider and the IOC have extended an existing technology partnership where Atos Origin will now also design, build and operate the IT infrastructure for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, and the 2012 Olympic Games, the venue of which will be announced this week during the IOC session in Singapore.

A worldwide IT partner for the Olympic Games since 2001, Atos has already been preparing for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, and the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. IOC's president Jacques Rogge said the long-term partnership provides the "opportunity to bring the past [knowledge and expertise] to the future".

According to Atos Origin's chairman and CEO Bernard Bourigeaud, each Olympic Games serves as "a research centre and training ground", helping to improve the skills of its employees which now total about 46,000 in 40 countries.

The company also has on-site teams in Torino and Beijing. Speaking at a media conference here, Bourigeaud said that Atos is "well-set" for the Torino games next year, and "has very ambitious development plans in China" for the 2008 Olympics. "Managing the games in China will clearly improve our visibility," he added.

Neoh Kok Cheng, Atos Origin's CEO for Asia-Pacific, reiterated Bourigeaud's view in an interview with ZDNet Asia. "We're a long-term worldwide IT partner for six Olympics, and we've got a proven track record and proven success; if we can bid for the Olympics, we can do a lot of things around the world," he said. Neoh added that the company has long-term plans for the Asia-Pacific, and he is targeting to "outpace market growth" by growing and expanding the business through mergers and acquisitions.

To coincide with the Olympics in China, Neoh revealed that the company is targeting to grow revenues in the country by at least five-fold before 2008. Atos Origin is also looking to boost its staff strength in India from the current 900 to 3,000 by 2006.

From: Atos awarded 2012 Olympics,, Vivian Yeo [ZDNet Asia], 05 7 05

More at: Very Ambitious Plans

Planning for the technology infrastructure that will underpin the London Olympic Games in 2012, including the need for thousands of volunteer IT staff, will begin ahead of the 2008 Beijing games. As part of its newly renewed outsourcing deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Atos Origin will now be responsible for all the IT systems and support in London after the city came from behind to defeat the favourite Paris in a dramatic vote today.

Alan Crompton, operations manager at Atos Origin for the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics, told that planning for the London Games will begin about a year before the Beijing Olympics. "We will start to communicate with the organising committee about security, games management systems, accreditation and helpdesk services," he said.

Once the Beijing Games are finished in 2008, Atos Origin will then send its full front-line team to London to begin the rollout. Crompton said the fact that the Greenfield East London Olympics site will virtually have to be built from scratch will make it easier to build the IT from the ground up. But he acknowledged that there will also be challenges. "Venues and infrastructure are always going to be a challenge. Typically we are the first ones in and last ones out and any lateness in delivery means we have to react quickly to that," he said.

Staffing will also be an issue, with the Olympic spirit of volunteering extending to IT support for the games. For the Athens games last year Atos Origin had around 1,400 of its own staff along with 2,000 IT volunteers who had to go through police background checks in order to work in low-level support positions.

From: 2012 London Olympics: 2,000 IT volunteers needed,, Andy McCue, 06 7 05

More at : IT volunteers needed