General Motors is bringing computer technology functions back into the company from outside firms and plans to open four new IT centers in the US, each staffed by at least 500 people.
The company could add as many as 10,000 people to do the work globally in the next three to five years, said Randy Mott, GM's new chief information officer. Mott, a former HP, Wallmart and Dell IT executive, joined the company in February.
The first of the centers, in Austin, Texas, is already open with a handful of people, and hiring will ramp up gradually as GM finds the right workers to fill the jobs, the company said Friday.
It's all part of a move to bring 90 per cent of GM's information technology from outsourcing companies in-house, which it believes will make the company more nimble and efficient.
"We are changing the mix very substantially to have a lot more people doing development and innovation," Mott said on a morning conference call.
The positions would have to be self-supporting, an investment with a return that helps GM cut IT costs and bring changes that would boost market share and revenue, Mott said. The innovation centers would develop software and change processes to help GM bring new vehicles to market faster, he said.
"Every area of our company is in the midst of transforming," Mott said.
Currently most of GM's IT is contracted out to other companies, spokeswoman Julie Huston-Rough said. The work now done in-house focuses on keeping the company running rather than on developing new technology, she said.
GM is talking with other cities about the remaining three US sites, and it would not reveal which areas were candidates. Government tax incentives were not part of the decision to locate in Austin, but it's something GM continues to look at as it opens the centers, Mott said.
The automaker said Friday that it was hiring software developers, project managers, database experts and business analysts in Austin, chosen because it has a ready workforce with the skills the company seeks. The Austin metropolitan area is home to a growing technology community that includes the University of Texas at Austin and computer maker Dell.
GM says its information technology innovation centers will help introduce breakthrough ideas into the company's cars and trucks. It's also intended to improve GM's business processes and drive down costs.
Huston-Rough says the new technology centers were separate from a GM plan now under way to consolidate its 23 global data centers into two in an effort to cut costs and increase speed and efficiency.