Solnet Solutions delivers for Australian auction group

New Zealand company revamps website of Australia's largest national auction group using mixture of open source and Oracle software

Australia’s largest national auction group, Pickles Auctions, has re-engineered its online site using skills from New Zealand company Solnet Solutions.

Pickles has 22 branches and in the past financial year sold more than 200,000 vehicles, trucks and machinery, as well as a range of general goods. More than 27 percent of sales were made from the company’s website.

The company’s gross turnover was more than $A1.5 billion in 2011.

Group CIO Harry McKenzie says the website is a critical channel to market and a pillar of Pickles’ strategic plan to broaden its business.

Solnet was engaged to work alongside the internal IT team. A largely Agile methodology was employed, with Solnet providing onsite technical leadership and mentoring. At the same time a remote Solnet development team, in partnership with an on-site blended team of Pickles and Solnet technicians delivered the project in what McKenzie describes as “a short series of sprints”.

“I believe we achieved true partnership during the project, which is something that is bandied about a lot but seldom comes close to being truly achieved,” he says.

Oracle UCM was implemented as the content management system but the majority of the component stack was open source, including the Liferay portal and Solr search engine.

“It’s a very sophisticated system,” says Solnet managing director Mark Botherway. “We recommended open source to Pickles.

“There is increasing demand for open source, including from some New Zealand government agencies.”

The Pickles project took seven months to complete.

“In my experience, I’ve seldom seen a system as sophisticated as this,” says McKenzie. “There were zero software defects in production. We recently experienced a peak load of 300 percent of normal, dropping back to a sustained 200 percent, which was handled without issue.”

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