KMPG to lead multi-million e-commerce project

KMPG Consulting has been chosen to lead Trade NZ's $13.2 million e-commerce project.

KMPG Consulting has been chosen to lead Trade NZ's $13.2 million e-commerce project.

Trade NZ says it considered 24 proposals and was "scrupulous" in avoiding favouritism. KMPG Consulting (Auckland) was originally involved in forming TradeNZ’s e-commerce strategy but played no part in writing the request for proposals (RFP) issued some time later. KPMG Consulting (Wellington), with a different group of staff and partners Telstra, Microsoft and Cisco, has won the leading right to begin a proof of concept pilot.

It was the proven, international work of the four companies in e-commerce and marketplaces that clinched the deal. Trade New Zealand corporate services general manager Arama Kukutai says it was made clear people involved in that process could not tender in the RFP, a rule made the same for Simpl Group, who were involved in the RFP. “We felt sufficient time has passed and the changes in personnel meant they had no advantage in the RFP.”

Kukutai says it is the international stature and the fact they four have e-commerce sites live around the world, “not just on paper”, that won TradeNZ’s favour. Telstra will utilise both local Telstra Saturn staff and its own.

The consortium, which had pitched together from the beginning, had also proposed Telstra and SAP’s joint internet-based trading portal could be used as part of the project. Telstra is also involved in Australia’s mega-corporate marketplace corProcure, of which Coles Myer is part.

But Kukutai says TradeNZ has decided to take an open policy of “enabling” local businesses to join a number of marketplaces around the world – that is, it has decided to form relationships with many marketplaces, and not build a TradeNZ marketplace from scratch. He says the most important criteria for these marketplaces are that they have “interoperability” with other exchanges.

Work will begin almost immediately on a “opportunity matching” venture, which will create uniform, in-depth profiles of local businesses and buyers overseas and match them on TradeNZ’s website. Technology proposals for the browser-driven profiles include XML and Microsoft’s commerce suite and search engine technology Autonomy. Kukutai says the food and beverages industry between here and Australia has been chosen as the pilot for this system because of demand from overseas buyers.

Other features of the e-commerce project include promoting exporting through e-commerce, education and improving TradeNZ’s delivery.

The parties are still in due diligence and a contract between the parties and TradeNZ will not be signed until February, when the first part of the proof of concept phase is well under way. Kukutai says marketing initiatives will make up a large part of the project. Just under half of the $13.2 million sum will be used this year, he says.

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