Merger of Saga and AA triggers IT shake-up

The merger of motoring services firm, The AA with over-50s holiday and financial services company, Saga is producing some major changes within the AA's existing IT function.

Only three months after the two companies announced a deal valuing the combined firm at 6.15 billion, responsibility for IT internally has been given to incumbent Saga IT director, Jim Cameron.

The AA's IT director, Trevor Didcock will make way for Cameron to run the combined companies' IT functions at a group level as part of the handover of ownership to Saga, according to a spokeswoman for the group. She added, however, that the companies' individual brands and businesses would remain distinct.

But IBM will lose out in a deal struck two and a half years ago with the AA to handle support for its 4,500-desktop, data centre and applications estate, while a similar applications contract with Fujitsu Services will remain in place.

The decision to terminate the seven-year IBM contract over the next 12 months, would also, the spokeswoman revealed exclusively to IT PRO, enable Saga to roll out its own, in-house call centre and field agent software for handling AA customer enquiries.

"Saga will be investing 15 million within the AA business in terms of deploying its in-house call centre and patrolmen technology," she said. "The whole ethos within Saga is built on offering the best customer service and the Group wants the AA technology to also reflect this."

The AA had at times, before its merger with Saga, fended off criticisms of under-investment in IT. But it has since defended its track record by pointing to ongoing rollouts of mobile technology to its field organisation and internet protocol (IP) migration.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.