Building society group (and big hold-out against the trend towards de-mutualising) Nationwide continued its moves to outsource technology, networks and processing in 2009 with a contract with Unisys to 2015 which saw the IT services veteran take over all cheque processing. Unisys already has a seven-year deal with Nationwide to operate a wide range of business processes.

Nationwide is midway though a £300 million business transformation programme, which involves it standardising its IT on to a SAP service oriented architecture. Dubbed Voyager, the transformation programme involves Capgemini, IBM and KPMG.

Graham Beale, the chief executive of the financial institution said of technology at Nationwide, "We are continuing to transform the business, investing in systems which will improve customer service and help us deliver a more streamlined, cost-effective organisation."

Nationwide has already outsourced the management of its networks, with BT securing a £160m seven year deal to take over all voice and data network infrastructure in 2008.

In 2010, Nationwide is working on a project to virtualise 500 servers in its datacentre, with the aim of cutting £8 million from operational and energy costs.

The building society has again contracted Unisys for the project and says that it has already reduced the number of its servers by a ratio of 12 to 1, thereby "significantly" lowering power and air-conditioning needs. Another part of the cost saving is expected to come from the removal of old hardware, improvements in service continuity, the simplification of disaster recovery, and increased hardware utilisation.

Peter Stafford, IT director at Nationwide, said "some very complex issues" relating to planning the virtualisation had been solved, and the scheme was set to deliver business benefits.