Analyst group IDC has slammed Atos Origin for a series of failures that led up to yesterday’s (12 December) decision by the NYSE Euronext exchange to bring its European trading platforms back in house.

The move involves unwinding Atos Euronext Market Solutions, a joint venture originally set up in 2005 by Euronext and Atos Origin, prior to Euronext's merger with the New York Stock Exchange which completed in April this year.

IDC said it was surprised that it took the break-up of the venture with NYSE Euronext for Atos to say that it would now be able to “turn to the future and pursue its strategy going forward to reinforce the company in businesses such as payment services in Europe where Atos Origin believes it has a role to play in the future.”

A more joined-up Atos would have used the Euronext engagement as a stepping-stone for selling a broad range of services to the financial community, said IDC.

IDC also questioned a statement from Jean-François Théodore, deputy CEO of NYSE Euronext, that "bringing the expertise of a large number of highly skilled IT personnel back in-house will enable us to better deliver on our commitments to provide our customers with more efficient trading services.”

Théodore also said, “Insourcing our technology gives us greater flexibility and a competitive advantage in a fast-moving exchange landscape where technology is key.”

Flexibility and competitive advantage are usually arguments used by the vendors in favour of, not arguments against, outsourcing services, said IDC. “We find this statement quite a blow to the credibility of Atos Origin’s service delivery,” it added, noting that the comment had been made in a joint press statement with Atos Origin, “which means that Atos Origin has accepted the view”.

IDC also noted that Atos Origin has been successful in winning mid-sized outsourcing deals with three contracts valued above £50m signed during 2007 and four between £25m and £50m.

“Maybe Atos Origin’s capabilities are better suited to a position as a niche player in European outsourcing, than to the ambitions of being a tier-one global services player,” the analyst group suggested.

But Francis Delacourt, CEO of global managed operations for Atos Origin, rejected IDC's suggestion that Atos was not performing.

He said NYSE Euronext's move to "re-insource" was "a political decision" that reflected NYSE's agenda following its takeover of Euronext. He said Atos Origin had worked successfully with Euronext since 1996 and cost reduction targets had always been exceeded.

"There is no question of the ability of Atos Origin to fully satisfy and deliver for NYSE Euronext," said Delacourt. "After all, we are now the firm's preferred supplier."

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