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EDS outsourcing unit renames itself

The services giant tweaks the moniker of its business processing outsourcing unit to improve its chances of catching the eye of corporate decision makers.

Electronic Data Systems announced several new and expanded contracts and unveiled a new name for its business-processing outsourcing unit in a move to better reflect its breadth of services.

The Plano, Texas-based services giant said on Wednesday that the unit, which provides outsourcing services for technology and information technology support, is now called EDS Business Process Services. The previous name was Business Process Outsourcing.

An EDS representative said the company hopes that by removing the word "outsourcing" from the unit's name, it will better convey the depth and range of the consulting and IT services that it provides. The representative said "outsourcing" conveys a narrower scope to most corporate decision makers today.

Several major consulting firms have tweaked their names in the past few years. But those changes were instituted mostly as a way to distance the consulting units from parent companies that are in the business of auditing clients' books.

In the Wednesday announcement, EDS also gave details of several new contracts totaling about $117 million. Among them was a six-year contract to provide customer relationship management (CRM) contact center services to Wanadoo, France Telecom's Internet division.

Another deal provides payment and settlement services in a four-year contract with Dobson Cellular System's American Cellular Wireless venture with AT&T Wireless.

EDS competes in this field with companies such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Computer Sciences and Accenture.

EDS's recent deals include one to assume responsibility for computer operations and maintenance at the U.S. Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va., and one to revamp and manage Bank of America's voice and data networks.

But the company's troubles over the past year have outweighed its successes. EDS has been dogged by problems that include an earnings warning in September, a formal Securities and Exchange Commission probe into the earnings warning, stock-hedging activity, and the revelation that the company has invested $430 million in a troubled contract. The turmoil led to the ouster of its chief executive, Dick Brown, in March.