Outsourcing--and Backsourcing--at JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase’s decision to first outsource IT and then bring it back in-house stands as a cautionary tale for any CIO considering an outsourcing megadeal.

By Stephanie Overby
Thu, September 01, 2005

CIO — When David Rosario got the official notice at the end of 2002 that his job would be outsourced to IBM, he was not surprised.

Rumors had been circulating for months at JPMorgan Chase, where he had worked as a network engineer since 2001, that the company would be signing away much of IT to an external services company.

The $5 billion IBM-JPMorgan contract was heralded at the time as the largest outsourcing deal on record, and it received a great deal of publicity in the mainstream and trade press as the wave of the future. JPMorgan itself had trumpeted the deal as a "groundbreaking" partnership that would cut costs, increase innovation and benefit its IT workers.

But Rosario and other employees soon discovered that they would have to reinterview at IBM for their positions. During that process, Rosario was told that his job at IBM would be secure for the foreseeable future. Others, however, were not so lucky. They were told by Big Blue that their jobs would likely be gone within a year or two. As a result, some left as soon as they could.

Rosario stayed.

But his sense of security didn't last. Rosario watched as IBM cut the pay of most of the consultants working for the bank and then eventually let many of them go. And with IBM's well-publicized penchant for sending work offshore, he wondered ifas a full-time employeehe would be next.

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But before that could happen, on July 1, 2004, JPMorgan completed its merger with Chicago-based Bank One, which itself had canceled a well-publicized outsourcing deal with IBM and AT&T a few years earlier. Two and a half months later, the merged company announced that it would be ending its much-touted deal with IBM early and "backsourcing" its information technology, bringing it back in-house.

However, Rosario wasn't sure how long he could hold on to his regained position at JPMorgan. He knew that there were now Bank One employees doing the same work he was. And sure enough, not long after he began working for JPMorgan again, he found out his job was on the list of 12 positions to be eliminated in his department. Lucky for Rosario, he had become skilled at reading the IT tea leaves, and had already secured a job for himself in another area of the company as an IT architect. But not before all the to-and-fro took its toll on him. "I lost my trust in management a long time ago," he says. "I don't believe anything they say or do. I know they'll put a spin on anything, as long as it allows them to keep retention up for just as long as they need to."

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