Technology outsourcer and consulting firm Capgemini LLC will move 275 employees in January from subleased space at a Cerner Corp. building to the Summit Technology Campus in Lee's Summit.
The five-year lease for 50,000 square feet comes as Capgemini is trying to build up its name locally.
The French company and former Ernst & Young LLP affiliate is resurfacing after losing a big account, the former Sprint Corp., and after the bankruptcy of anchor client Farmland Industries Inc. Despite the setbacks, Capgemini has broadened its reach to 15 local clients.
A top company official in Kansas City said Capgemini plans to build up its local profile between now and the end of the year.
"We've never really had sales functions locally," said Dean Berry, Capgemini's service delivery director in Kansas City. "Now, was we look at things, there are some big companies in Kansas City."
Capgemini ranked No. 1 on the Kansas City Business Journal's list of the Top Area Information Systems Outsourcing Firms earlier this year with 260 consultants. Chief rivals Accenture Ltd., IBM Corp. and EDC Corp., however, were not on the list.
IBM spokesman Scott Cook said the company has aout 1,000 employees in Kansas City. EDS spokeswoman Kimberly Walton said EDS has 300 employees in Kansas City. Employee counts for Accenture were unavailable.
Sprint signed up IBM and EDS as its primary vendors of application development outsourcing in 2003, displacing Capgemini.
As part of the nationwide Sprint deal, Capgemini employed 520 workers spread among offices in Chicago and California and Sprint locations in Overland Park and Dallas.
The company laid off 51 workers at it Leawood office in 2004, according to a required filing with the state.
Berry said it was a different division of Capgemini that had the contract with Sprint. The remaining elements of the company in Kansas City trace their history to Farmland.
In 1997, then as part of accounting giant Ernst & Young, Capgemini formed a 400-employee joint venture with Farmland to help Farmland and its farmer cooperatives become Y2K compliant and address other IT issues.
In 2001, Capgemini bought out Farmland's 50 percent stake for an undisclosed amount. About 65 percent of the joint venture's employees came from Farmland, and all of them went to Capgemini.
Berry said Farmland Foods, now a unit of Smithfield Foods Inc., remains a client in Kansas City.
Today, Capgemini occupies the former Farmland headquarters near Kansas City International Airport. Cerner bought the building in 2005 with the intention of filling it with company employees, which spurred Capgemini's move.
Cerner has about 550 employees at the site. Spokeswoman Kelli Christman declined to say what effect Capgemini's move would have on Cerner's use. Cerner is negotiating to buy a half-million square feet at the former Marion Laboratories campus in south Kansas City.
Capgemini's thrust in Kansas City today is outsourcing IT work, Berry said. Kansas City, Dallas and Toronto comprise Capgemini's three IT outsourcing centers in North America.
Clients in Kansas City are also using Capgemini's IT labor in India, Poland and Spain as part of the outsourcing deals.
But Berry said local clients prefer the onshore alternative, which should keep the company's local employment steady.
"Kansas City is a little conservative when it comes to (offshore) outsourcing," he said.
Kansas City Business Journal, Charlie Anderson - July 21, 2006.