SOURCE: IBM

January 23, 2007 12:39 ET

IBM and Finnish Retailer Alko Announce Three-Year IT Services Agreement

HELSINKI, FINLAND -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 23, 2007 -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Alko Inc., the state-owned independent business chain specializing in retail sales of alcoholic beverages in Finland, today announced a three-year agreement for IBM to continue the management of Alko's IT infrastructure. In addition, IBM will provide new on demand storage hosting and the implementation of an IBM Lotus Notes-based e-mail system. The IT management portion of the contract is the renewal of an existing agreement that was signed in 1998.

The extended service agreement covers most of Alko's key IT infrastructure, including workstation management, helpdesk and onsite support services as well as hosting and maintaining the company's servers and network communications. In addition, under the new contract, IBM will provide Alko with on demand storage services hosted centrally at IBM's data center. The contract was signed in December 2006.

"A high-performance and flexible IT infrastructure is an essential contributor to Alko's business success. IBM's leadership in IT services supports our goal of being one of the world's most efficient retail chains. We have extended our agreement with IBM since we have been satisfied with the services provided and their continuous development," said Mr. Jukka Litmanen, CIO, Alko Inc.

IBM will update Alko's existing e-mail system to an IBM Lotus Domino/Notes based solution for approximately 1,000 users throughout the Alko organization. The new e-mail system will be fully deployed during the first quarter of 2007.

"As today's retailers transform themselves into increasingly customer-centric enterprises, a well-managed information infrastructure becomes a key competitive asset. IBM and Alko have a long and successful history of cooperation that encompasses a wide range of services over nine years. Our relationship has been based on strong openness and trust, and we look forward to deepening our collaboration into an even more strategic partnership," said Mr. Kari Hämäläinen, Country Executive, IBM Global Technology Services, IBM Finland.

About Alko

For more information about Alko Inc., visit www.alko.fi/frontpage

About IBM

For more information about IBM, visit www.ibm.com.

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