The transformation of Trade NZ and Industry NZ into Trade and Enterprise New Zealand tomorrow has meant “lots” of IT change for the two organisations.
Trade NZ CIO Hans Frauenlob says the two bodies have been working on the merger of its IT platforms for three months, “doing all the normal things that happen when two businesses merge”.
Consolidating software platforms, creating single log-ons and access points for staff and building a single web presence have been among the projects, Frauenlob says.
Regarding software, a number of applications have been consolidated across the new body, in some cases the application at Trade NZ winning the job, in other cases the existing Industry NZ package.
Frauenlob wouldn’t be specific about the fate of individual applications or vendors, but did say that financials and payroll had been decided. “We want to be able to pay our staff from day one.” Trade NZ previously used JD Edwards’ One World financial management system.
Trade NZ has publicly placed more emphasis on IT than its merger partner, in 2001 launching a $13 million e-business project. This involved wrapping its updated website around the high-end Vignette content management suite (it was an early user of Vignette’s word-processor module WebEdit PRO, and the Relationship Management Server web traffic analysis tool). By hooking it up to a frame relay-based virtual private network through which its at-the-time 350 staff in 44 offices (39 overseas) were able to directly contribute material.
The new site was divided into exporter, importer, investor and student sections, which offered advice, case studies and subscription services. The site intended eventually to allow personalisation services for exporters, down to the subsector and product level, a plan that has since given rise to Trade NZ’s export portal. Industry NZ’s website, in comparison, offers basic information and contact details.
This year’s budget allocated an annual $1.9 million for the maintenance and improvement for MarketNewZealand.Com, which was also built using Vignette. The site runs on Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Com+, IIS 5, SQL Server 2000 and Microsoft’s active server pages technologies. It is secured using 128-bit SSL authentication and is hosted in Auckland.
Earlier this year Trade NZ had talks with Akamai, which caches content close to a client’s customers, with a view to speeding a centralised web platform for exporters. Late last year it was considering a staff portal.
Trade NZ’s AT&T VPN $13 million project also improved staff links to its other IT systems, including a The Silent One document management system, a SalesLogix CRM system and the organisation’s intranet.
Document management and CRM will be rationalised, says Frauenlob, but server and desktop software won’t require much alteration, “as both organisations are reasonably Microsoft-centric and both sets of infrastructure are reasonably up to date”.
There will be some hardware rationalisation, but not much, as the combined entity will deliver the same capacity as before. “There will be a substantial base of business in Auckland and Wellington and [for former Trade NZ functions] globally.”
Regarding IT staff, things were still up in the air when Computerworld spoke to Frauenlob last week, but he didn’t envisage too many changes.
Uncertainty remains over who will be CIO of the new organisation.