The UK financial services group has appointed BT to manage the day-to-day communications infrastructure from 1 December. BT Global Services will also renew the company’s networking infrastructure around work already announced earlier this month on a core IT banking systems transformation.

Darren McKenzie, A&L chief technology officer told CIO today: “This is a critical enabler for us to distribute any service across the Group over the voice and data infrastructure, and web-enable communications to our agents, back office and branches.

“It will also be key to our ability to respond to change,” he said, adding that A&L had built a number of legacy technologies like LANs and WANs from a number of different suppliers. The new deal will simplify supplier management, as well as core service delivery.

“The technology has matured enough in terms of convergence, simplification and cost for us no longer to need the buy-build-maintain complexity and associated timescales of managing a network like ours in-house. Most of the changes we need to make are software-based ones and can be handled through BT much more effectively, like adding voice recording and outbound call capacity,” said McKenzie. “A key thing for us is to be able to distribute calls to the best people in our business to handle them.”

From 2007 he added that the infrastructure refresh will begin a phased implementation lasting three years, of which the network part affecting its contact centre, branch, ATM and corporate network is due to complete at the end of the first year. Those changes will be based on better usage of direct channels to the customer, enabling the addition of emerging technologies like web-based telephony over the new voice over internet-protocol (VoIP) based network in future.

Alliance and Leicester has 250 branches and employs 9,000 staff, in addition to its online banking arm. The value of the deal was not disclosed.