EDS brings .Net Centre of Excellence to Victoria

EDS Canada is increasing its focus on moving clients from legacy systems onto Microsoft’s .Net platform with the creation of a .Net Global Centre of Excellence.

The first centre will be located in Victoria, and if successful

will be rolled out globally. It will also create 100 jobs in Victoria, doubling the company’s current employee base in the British Columbia capital.

Jim Hamilton, vice president of application services for EDS Canada, said the new centre will be focused on attacking the legacy market and moving them to the .Net platform.

“”It seems to us to be a very cost-effective, very high value proposition in terms of a strategic platform for our clients,”” said Hamilton. “”The legacy market seemed to be a good place to look at ways to take our clients from their current environment, which is typically costing them a lot of money in support or in licence costs.””

Hamilton said they’re trying to provide a mechanism for clients to easily move to a platform that’s more strategic in nature, and higher value in terms of flexibility and cost.

“”This is the first time we’ve taken as comprehensive a set of processes and assessment tools, coupled them together with some acceleration tools we’ve got for application re-engineering, and moved them to the .Net platform,”” said Hamilton.

The company’s Victoria employees came up with the initial idea for the centre. Geographically, Victoria is also close to Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash., and the Victoria centre will help strengthen the company’s relationship with Microsoft.

The company has had close relationships with local universities and community colleges, and Hamilton said he’s hopeful the company will be able to draw most of the new employees, mostly application services analysts, from the local market.

The centre has already opened and will be ramping up staffing levels over the next year. Hamilton said they’ll be responsible for proving the concept, and if it’s successful, helping duplicate it elsewhere.

“”We’re responsible, from an EDS corporate perspective, for rolling out this capability around the planet,”” said Hamilton. “”We have 100 solution centres that do application development and maintenance for our clients. Our responsibility here will be to develop this capability and then assist with the franchising of that capability.””

For the Vancouver Island Advanced Technology Centre, a Victoria-based industry association, EDS Canada bringing 100 more jobs to Victoria is a great boost for the area’s growing technology cluster, said Dan Gunn, VIATeC’s director of communications and IT. The tech sector currently employs about 15,000 to 17,000 people on Vancouver Island.

“”One hundred jobs for the Island is significant compared to an area like Toronto or Seattle; it’s a much greater percentage impact,”” said Gunn.

With three educational institutions producing graduates locally Gunn said the EDS expansion would provide important entry-level positions to let that talent stay after graduation. Currently, he said senior people close to retirement moving to Victoria to build a home on the ocean fill many of the junior jobs.

“”It’s becoming easier and easier for us to attract companies based on the merits of the lifestyle we provide, the education facilities, and the infrastructure we have in place,”” said Gunn. “”Each opportunity that comes makes it easier and easier to attract the talent we need and come closer to building that critical mass.””

Earlier this year EDS laid off close to 3,000 people worldwide but added 350 Canadian jobs through its “”Best Shore”” strategy of relocating client work.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.

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