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Atos Origin back on track with Olympics extension

John O'Brien | May 29, 2009
This deal extends Atos relationship with the IOC beyond London 2012, and is a big coup for chief executive Thierry Breton

Atos Origin has successfully extended its IT relationship with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for four more years, to include the Sochi Olympic Winter Games in 2014 in Russia and the Olympic Games in 2016.

This deal extends Atos relationship with the IOC beyond London 2012, and is a big coup for chief executive Thierry Breton who has re-instilled confidence and stability to the group since being brought on board in November 2008 to accelerate the roll-out of [Atos] transformation plan, refocus on key businesses and reinforce its market share'. This commitment from Atos highest profile customer shows that the market is responding positively to the progress.

Tried and tested is key to the IOC

The IOCs expectations from its suppliers are to provide tried and tested solutions in order to minimise risks. Sticking with the incumbent supplier is a sensible approach - the IOC will now have established a ten-year relationship with Atos since its first Games in Salt Lake City in 2002. This is also the second extension Atos has won with the IOC, following the first in July 2005 to take on the 2010 Olympic Winter and 2012 Olympic Summer Games.

Trust is the watchword for Atos

For Thierry Breton, Atos relationship with the IOC is based on enduring trust. By this we suspect he means that both parties have a deep understanding of what expectations they have for each other in terms of investment, delivery and returns.

Although financial terms of the deal are not disclosed by either party, there is a significant amount of goodwill involved from Atos. But rather than viewing returns in pure financial terms, Atos is right to take a broader view on what it gets out of the relationship. Patrick Adiba, VP for major events at Atos, says that there are three measures of profitability for the contract: first is the amount of business Atos wins adjacent to the Games; second is the ability to benefit the business through showcasing its capabilities; and third is being able to use the profile of the Games to attract the best talent.

Flexibility and the ability to respond to changing demands from one event to the next are critical for Atos. For instance, each Olympics is located at a different city in the world, and therefore requires a provider that can scale up quickly in the chosen market the UK is the first Olympics location where Atos has a significant presence. Equally, many key decisions such as selecting partners and their responsibilities are taken by others such as the Olympic Organising Committee and the IOC. As the lead IT integrator, Atos has to be flexible to respond to this direction from one Games to the next.


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