A deal of this nature comes as no real surprise and more such externalisation moves can be expected in the coming months as last week BMS finally detailed its plans to trim the fat and save cash, months after first revealing that big changes would be on the cards. Amidst sweeping restructuring plans, around 4,300 positions are facing the chop between now and 2010 - equivalent to 10 per cent of the drug behemoth's global workforce - and 1,300 employees have already received their marching orders. The firm indicated that back-office operations, finance, IT and human resources departments will be hit the hardest by the intended job losses, with outsourcing and offshoring being a strategy that it plans to embrace. Through EDS, the drug heavy is aiming to streamline its global IT environment and save money, in addition to improving productivity so that it can "remain focused on what it does best", according to Paul von Autenried, vice president of Information Management Shared Services at BMS. Under the contract, EDS will administer all BMS' IT functions in the Americas and the Asia Pacific, and this scope may eventually be extended to cover Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Specific tasks EDS will perform include the management of the firm's critical operations data at a number of its data centres around the world; the supply of computer capacity to BMS from a US data centre; and the provision of multi-language help desk support for the company's employees. A number of EDS' partners - EMC, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP - will also benefit from the arrangement, providing certain products and services of their own to BMS where the need arises.