Standard Bank signs valuable Microsoft deal

Standard Bank has signed a multimillion-rand enterprise licensing agreement with Microsoft South Africa for the upgrade of its 42 000 desktop PC platforms over the next three-and-a-half years, the bank said in a statement on Wednesday.

Dimension Data has been appointed as large-account reseller to assist with the licensing and administration of Microsoft products at the bank.

The agreement, valued at more than R100-million, allows for possible future conversion of the bank’s 16 000 branch platforms — which still use the legacy platform OS/2 — to Microsoft XP, should this be necessary.

As a result of the nature and scale of the agreement, Standard Bank has been given strategic account status, which allows Microsoft to award the bank a dedicated account team.

The signing of the agreement comes after a 12-month investigation into an optimum technology platform.

“We evaluated five different platforms, including Linux and various open-source alternatives, for their compatibility with our strategic IT road map, functionality, security, staffing requirements, support implications and, ultimately, their total cost of ownership,” said Dr Alewyn Burger, director of IT and business operations at Standard Bank.

“Ninety-five percent of our software licences and support contracts were up for renewal within an 18-month period, and this step was part of our strategic road map. Hence our decision to investigate the various options and partners available to us,” he said.

“Our investigations found that our total cost of ownership would be optimised using the Microsoft environment,” Burger said.

Microsoft products covered by the agreement include its latest front-office products Microsoft Office 2003 and Windows XP, as well as its back-end SQL, web servers, security applications and the likes. Future product releases within the three-and-a-half-year period are included in the agreement.

Burger stressed that the decision to go with Microsoft does not imply that the bank no longer supports the open-source environment.

“At server level, we continue to use and access Linux. Thirteen of our servers in our data centres currently operate on two versions of Linux,” he said.

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