Kordia opts for SAP over Oracle

Kordia opted for SAP after a three-month trial, where 30 staff across the business assessed the two systems

Network and communications state-owned enterprise Kordia is implementing a company-wide SAP system, which aims to unite the company’s disparate systems in New Zealand and Australia.

SAP won the deal ahead of arch-rival Oracle. These were the only two vendors Kordia considered, says Kordia’s programme manager for the SAP project, Glenn Bittle. The system is scheduled to go live in early 2008.

Oracle managing director Peter Idoine was overseas and not available for comment by Computerworld’s deadline.

Kordia opted for SAP after a three-month trial, where 30 staff across the business assessed the two systems, says Kordia chief executive Geoff Hunt.

The trial group came up with core-process scenarios in different areas of the business and asked SAP and Oracle to address them. There followed a week of demonstrations from both vendors, alongside discussions around technology platforms, implementation and pricing, says Bittle.

He says there was not a “night and day” difference between the vendors but there was a clear preference for the SAP system.

The reasons for choosing SAP was the solid functionality of the system, the integration capabilities and the ability to implement functionality across the business as required, says Bittle.

The project aims to provide a common set of processes and standards across Kordia’s sites.

Some of the challenges Kordia needs to deal with are a lack of consistency in reporting and in processes across the business, says Bittle. “We are expecting to decentralise accountability out to all our managers and give them the information quickly so that they can understand what is happening and take action,” he says.

Kordia hopes the system will give “the people closest to the action” the tools to do their jobs better. Another expected benefit is freeing up time to focus on improvement as opposed to spending time trying to collate data from different places, says Bittle.

The new system will also enable Kordia to quickly roll out processes as the business expands, either organically or through acquisition, says Bittle.

Kordia has traditionally under-invested in enterprise applications and this has held back the company’s growth strategies, says Hunt.

In this first phase of the project, Kordia is implementing SAP’s core financial modules operating in conjunction with the SAP Data Warehouse and Enterprise Portal, he says.

There will probably be additional phases as the business needs them, says Bittle.

Deloitte is in charge of the implementation and IBM provides the infrastructure.

Bittle admits that moving to a common process across the group, based on a packaged solution, is going to be a challenge. Another challenge, interestingly enough, is the enthusiasm and demand from the business. “They want to do things better than they are now. We are implementing new financial modules, new project accounting, new timesheets and reporting tools, but this is only a piece of what they want,” he says. However, buy-in from the business is also a very positive thing, he adds.

Last week, Kordia announced it had improved group revenue in the 2007 financial year by 31% over 2006. Revenue grew from $201 million in 2006 to $264 million. The net surplus for the year was $11.9 million, up from $9.8 million.

Kordia acquired retail internet service provider Orcon after its financial year balance date.

Also last week, Kordia announced it has selected an IP routing solution from Alcatel-Lucent to support the free-to-air digital platform Freeview.

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