Oil giant signs local IT firm to raise standards

BP picks Wellington firm i-Lign to support new worldwide professional development programme

Oil giant BP has chosen New Zealand software from i-Lign to support its new worldwide professional development and training programme.

The programme has been largely driven by the need to improve standards following the major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“I-Lign will manage the whole programme of work,” says Tony Crewdson, chief executive of the Wellington-based software house.

The contract was signed late last year. “I did an online demonstration for them after we were recommended by some New Zealanders working at BP in London,” Crewdson says.

“They said they hadn’t seen anything like it and decided to buy after only 20 minutes presenting to them.”

BP is now introducing the technology to senior management. Training sessions were being held through January before the roll-out. ICONZ is providing the hosting.

Crewdson set up i-Lign 11 years ago but even now he has difficulty in describing in a short sentence what the software does. “I-Lign manages strategic frameworks, programmes, projects, ideas, activities, people, finance, issues and risk decision-making,” he says.

“Where it differs from other software is that it connects systems in one web tool rather than the user having to buy several modules. It’s much cheaper and faster to implement.”

Version 5, released in December, includes what he describes as a social networking tool. “It connects people.

“We’re calling it ‘Communications for a Purpose.’

For example, a chief executive could decide on a new strategic driver and put it out to appropriate partners for comment.

“It’s about new ways of working, embedding it in the business. The tool is like virtual whiteboarding ... I think embedding ‘conversations’ will make our software much stickier.”

Crewdson says i-Lign is now attracting interest from companies which are looking at enterprise solutions. “Typically, with other software they’re looking at multi-million-dollar solutions.

“That’s definitely not the case with us.”

I-Lign is used by 15 government agencies in New Zealand.

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