Clothing retailer Kathmandu has chosen an Australian software product, Intranet Dashboard, to modernise its communications between stores after finding Microsoft SharePoint too expensive.
Intranet Dashboard is a web-based intranet, extranet and portal platform, which the developer, ADWEB Agency, positions as the most affordable SharePoint alternative in the market.
Kathmandu has 31 stores in New Zealand, 45 in Australia and six in the UK. Originally owned by New Zealand entrepreneur Jan Cameron, it was sold three years ago to a consortium of equity fund managers, comprising Goldman Sachs, J B Were and Quadrant.
In the past, the majority of communication between head office and the stores had been managed by phone and fax.
Bryan Moore, general manager IS systems, says the company had engaged a vendor, but the SharePoint solution was not cost-effective.
“It was a bespoke product, but it blew out from $100,000 to $200,000,” he says.
“When Kathmandu was sold, one of the key challenges that was identified was communications. We had a view of what we were after.”
Moore chose to look only at Australian vendors. Other than cost, one of the major drivers in choosing Intranet Dashboard was that it is used by Shell Oil.
“From our point of view, it was a 95% fit. It was a bit clunky but we wanted simple. It’s less complex than Sharepoint.”
Kathmandu is addressing any gaps in functionality in-house.
“We like to work with our vendors and add value,” says Moore, who has an IT team of 10.
The first phase of the project will be rolled out over the next three weeks; the second phase will be rolled out over the next three to five months.
The New Zealand and Australian head offices are the first to receive the new product, followed by the Australasian stores, then those in the UK.
Moore says he has sought feedback from staff on the establishment of an intranet. “Sixty percent of them say it is fantastic. It is very much store-focused.”
In conjunction with the roll-out, the company is implementing communications standards.
Moore says there are a number of tools in the application that allow the company to take a more holistic view of the business.
“It’s a sort of a business intelligence tool. The key is we can now deal with exceptions, plus make sure that everyone knows about events such as promotions. It provides one version of the truth.
“It was almost a no-brainer for us. It is a huge opportunity to better engage our sales force.”
Kathmandu has around 120 head office staff and 480 staff spread across its retail outlets. The only other company using Intranet Dashboard locally is Fairfax.