IBM has signed a deal to provide white goods manufacturer Whirlpool with an array of IT and process standardisation services that are aimed at improving operations at Whirlpool and better aligning IT with the business.

The multi-year IT services agreement that will include mainframe, server, storage, network, desk-side support and help desk services with the home appliance manufacturer.

Whirlpool will also tap Big Blue's services arm for process standardisation, according to IBM, which Whirlpool expects will help the company more quickly deliver product and services. Under the terms of the deal, IBM will provide Whirlpool infrastructure services in more than 40 countries. Services are scheduled to commence in June 2009.

"The relationship with IBM supports our strategic road map by providing standardised infrastructure processes backed by IBM's industry expertise," said Kevin Summers, corporate vice president and global CIO at Whirlpool, in a statement.

Whirlpool has been an IBM hardware and software customer and received "limited services" to the company in Asia and Latin America, but this new contract is expected to address the global needs of Whirlpool.

IBM Global Services, currently the largest provider of IT services worldwide (ahead of HP with its EDS buy), reported in the fourth quarter 2008 that strategic outsourcing signings were up 20 per cent worldwide and 44 per cent in North America specifically. IBM also reported that US$17.2 billion in services signings that quarter included 24 deals greater than $100 million in value.

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