App centre grows on, despite merger

The merger with Hewlett-Packard has done little to slow the progress of Compaq's Christchurch-based application development centre, which is in the process of hiring staff to service a contract with the Australian government.

The merger with Hewlett-Packard has done little to slow the progress of Compaq’s Christchurch-based application development centre, which is in the process of hiring staff to service a contract with the Australian government.

HP services head Simon Tong says the ADC is looking for 15 employees, mostly developers, as a result of securing a large contract across the Tasman. Tong wouldn’t say which government agency the work is for as the deal is still being finalised, but it’s the second project the ADC has done for an overseas client — the other being the Australian Stock Exchange.

“We don’t have final details on what it will be worth, but to put it into context we have several projects on the go which are multimillion-dollar and multi-year,” Tong says.

The company will look at internal staff before hiring externally.

Tong says the competitive New Zealand environment allows for the ADC to produce quality applications more cheaply than the Australians. “We’ve established a model across the two countries. They’ve created a front end for the customers over there and we’re the engine room. Hopefully if it works well we may even take it further afield.”

He says the ADC’s revenue has increased by 30% in 2001 and is looking the same for this year. It has 120 staff working with products such as BEA’s Tuxedo middleware, Oracle, Microsoft and Java technology. He says the ADC, originally a Digital operation before that company’s merger with Compaq, is unique in the region and HP’s worldwide and Asia-Pacific heads of consulting and integration have pledged continued investment and support.

Tong says HP is creating teams in Australia, Auckland and Wellington that can work with the centre. “That’s one of the good things about merger. It gives us more people who can sit at customer sites — developers, business analysts or solutions architects — and work through user requirements and acceptance testing.

“One of the things that’s been a challenge for us in the past has been that having the centre in Christchurch meant we had to fly people back and forwards, and clients don’t like that,” he says.

The ADC was established in 1986 to do bespoke development and support legacy systems. It did much Y2K compliance work and is now moving customers to modern platforms such as Unix and Windows, and working with middleware such as Tuxedo. “One of the areas we’ll be focusing on is getting legacy systems up and mobile. Tuxedo allows you to mobilise applications.”

Customers include Transpower subsidiary d-Cypha, TransAlta, the Departments of Courts and Justice, Work and Income New Zealand, Telstra, National Bank, ANZ and Telecom.

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Tags application development centre

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