“NZ Post has been investing in new ventures — it has to think about what happens when [the use of] mail drops off,” says Hill.
Post first invested in Infolink in 2000, after it became a customer, and last month increased its shareholding from 60% to 96%.
Post spokesman Ian Long says the state-owned enterprise had been planning to increase its holding for some time. Hill owned most of the outstanding shares.
“It was always going to happen,” Long says.
Infolink’s flagship product is Viibe, a workflow and process management tool that is employed at NZ Post, ACC, Epson and the Parliamentary Services unit in Wellington, among other customers.
Viibe is used in NZ Post’s Courier Post division, where it is deployed to track and trace parcels.
Viibe was built in the Microsoft development environment and makes use of .Net, although it predates the launch of .Net, Hill says.
“When we originally wrote it, .Net hadn’t been released. It uses web services to integrate between our systems and those of our customers, for example, the stock system at another company.”
It’s all web-based and accessed through a browser. That set-up potentially meant users getting a deluge of information, but Hill says Viibe has been designed to avoid what he calls “information pollution”.
“We slice and dice the information so that you only see what you’re meant to see.” Infolink runs the application on behalf of most clients, Hill says.
“We don’t deploy the software to anyone — it’s all dial-in.” This means it usually resides on Infolink’s server, but sometimes sits on the client’s.
“But with something web-based that’s not so important, as long as it’s secure.”
Hill believes web-based applications and web services are the way of the future, despite the failure of the dot-com business model.
NZ Post plans to take advantage of synergies between Infolink and ECN, a messaging interface provider wholly owned by NZ Post, Hill says.