Despite several high-profile deals, utilities remain cautious about outsourcing their key business processes.
It seems that "outsourcing" has become a dirty word among utility executives. But though left unsaid in polite conversation, the word is still on everybody's mind. They might even be doing it. They just aren't talking about it.
A case in point is Xcel Energy. The company's IT-outsourcing relationship with IBM dates from 1995, when Xcel predecessor Public Service of Colorado engaged IBM Global Services for technology and data-processing services. After Xcel was formed in 2000, the company expanded its contract with IBM to include automation and integration services. "That has evolved into what I would call a true partnership," said Xcel CEO Wayne Brunetti in an interview for Fortnightly’s June cover story ("The Ultimate CEOs," June 2005). "We have one of the most unique contracts with IBM. I always remark that I can't tell an IBM employee from an Xcel employee."