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Fujitsu 'friends' flag support for IT giant as bid for new contract looms

By SPP Reporter

Fujitsu employs around 40 people at its base in Alness
Fujitsu employs around 40 people at its base in Alness

A MULTINATIONAL company which employs scores of people in Ross-shire has welcomed the backing of the local business community ahead of a crunch meeting tomorrow.

Highland Council's Resources Committee is tomorrow expected to consider a fresh bid by the company to retain a contract for the IT work it does on behalf of the local authority.

That deal helps sustain up to 140 jobs across the Highlands in a deal worth around £65 million.

Around 40 jobs are located in Alness with 25 of those servicing Fujitsu’s contract with the Highland Council and the rest handling enquiries for other clients.

Jim Brophy: Highlands 'important hub' for company
Jim Brophy: Highlands 'important hub' for company

The importance of Fujitsu to the Highland economy has been highlighted by leading business people as the global IT company looks to highlight its future commitment to the region, where it has had a presence since 2000.

It's understood offshoring company Wipro is amongst the competitors hoping to land the deal.

Inverness Chamber of Commerce, the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open venue Castle Stuart Golf Links, the four-star Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness, and System2 Video have all declared themselves "Friends of Fujitsu", underlining the company’s value in providing jobs, training opportunities and economic and community benefits.

Stewart Nicol, chief executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, recognised the significant number of people who are employed by the company in Inverness and Alness.

He added: “Fujitsu pumps an impressive £4.5 million annually into the Highland economy and is constantly developing and improving its offering. That in turn is helping the Highland business community and our academic institutions stay at the forefront of the technological advances that they offer.”

Craig Ewan, general manager of the luxury Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness, said as a global IT company Fujitsu is providing world class services at a local level. “Its contribution to the local economy helps support other businesses and service companies.

“Fujitsu is committed to the Highlands and puts a lot back into the local community. It does this through wages, training and supporting many good causes.”

Stuart McColm, general manager of the Castle Stuart Golf Links, which hosted the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in July, said Fujitsu is a world-wide company bringing world class education and technological advances to the area.

“They are a huge employer in the area and bring a wealth of experience and a wealth of people here.”

High Performance Computing (HPC), introduced to the Highlands by Fujitsu this year, has been credited with revolutionising the way companies can do business.

Ian Forsyth of System2 Video, which produces video and animation for a range of clients, said: “A few months ago Fujitsu asked us to get involved in a High Performance Computing project and it was an absolute revelation for us.

“Tapping into their technology allowed us to cut the time it took to process a 3D animation dramatically. A job that previously we would leave to run overnight was reduced to just ten minutes.”

Jim Brophy, Fujitsu’s Client Director, welcomed the support: “These are high-profile business people in the Highlands and to have them as our friends and supporters is a great tribute to the work we are doing in the area.

“The Highlands is an important hub for us in Scotland. We are well established here and it’s an area where we want to grow further and use the latest IT technology to help other businesses and the area in general to develop.”

Fujitsu has had a base in the Highlands since 2000. The company started a five-year information and communications technology (ICT) contract with the Highland Council in 2010 with an option to extend for up to two years.

This partnership was subsequently extended to run until the end of September 2016.

Highland Council says the procurement processes are commercially confidential and that an announcement on its plans are expected around September 12.

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