Peace tries for no layoffs as it rejigs R&D

Peace is re-organising its New Zealand operations under the guidance of recently appointed research and development executive Tony Engberg.

Peace is re-organising its New Zealand operations under the guidance of recently appointed research and development executive Tony Engberg.

Engberg has relocated from the US to direct the company’s R&D operations, which are based in New Zealand. He says the changes are being made because Peace, formerly Peace Software, needs to shift from an entrepreneurial start-up model to one more suited to a mature business.

He says there will be no redundancies along the lines of those made by the company in January, when 35 staff were laid off, but some staff may choose to leave because their roles change.

“There will be no downsizing; I’m set on doing everything I can to avoid layoffs.”

He adds that there are no promises in that department, however, emphasising that the re-organisation is about positioning the company as product-driven one, rather than a customisation or services-driven one.

The new structure will comprise half a dozen teams, including a product engineering team, client engineering team and technical services and support organisation.

Sales and support will remain in New Zealand, with executives travelling frequently to the US, Peace pre-sales director Lance Melville says.

Peace recently released Peace version 8 the latest version of its energy and other utility customer billing software at the CIS (Customer Information System) 2004 conference in Miami.

Version 8 is based on a thin-client model and according to the company, “customer shipments will occur later in 2004”.

Despite being based in this country, Peace has just one New Zealand customer, the Palmerston North City Council. Melville says the focus is likely to remain on North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, because the prospects in bigger markets with more energy, water and gas utilities are greater.

However, he says one New Zealand company sent a representative to the CIS conference. “And we’re pursuing opportunities in New Zealand”.

Peace recently moved from a direct sales model to one based on selling through partners such as IBM and Accenture. It has adopted a new phrase, Cots (commercial, off-the-shelf), to describe its more generic approach to its products.

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