Lion Nathan adopts .Net HR

Brewer Lion Nathan is rolling out a Microsoft .Net-based application across New Zealand and Australia.

Brewer Lion Nathan is rolling out a Microsoft .Net-based application across New Zealand and Australia.

In a "six-figure" deal, the company is to use PeoplePlanet HR software developed for it by Auckland-based Real Developments.

Lion Nathan information chief Darryl Warren says the software, whose roll-out began in February, will have 1500 users across Australasia.

PeoplePlanet will be used to manage HR policies, procedures and processes, such as people development, managing one-to-one meetings with staff, personal development plans, accountabilities and bonus objectives.

The system does not yet offer e-recruitment, but that is in the planning stage, says Sydney-based Warren.

Lion Nathan contracted Real Developments to write the system because Warren says an "off-the-shelf" product would be unable to fully support the "leading" HR practices at the company.

The software replaces largely paper-based systems and a staff intranet.

"We expect savings in administration and improvements in the development of our people," says Warren.

He declines to say how much the HR system cost, but says Lion Nathan also plans to use .Net in developing "a finance portal".

The portal, also developed with Real Developments, will be used by accounting staff on finance policies and is undergoing beta testing for a mid-year launch.

"We are [also] looking at other possibilities [for .Net]," says Warren.

"I don't think the user would realise that it was a .Net application, but from a development implementation view, .Net and web services have many ongoing benefits." He lists reusability of components, speed to market and speed of development among them.

Real Developments managing director Craig Rundle says his firm, which employs 36 in New Zealand and four staff in Australia, says at "six figures", the Lion Nathan deal is its biggest .Net development to date.

The company is part of the Microsoft .Net adopter programme, which means it is involved in the beta testing of pre-release versions of .Net software. PeoplePlanet was developed over four months.

Rundle says .Net is important in his company's growth plans, and is responsible for about a quarter of revenue. Over time, he expects it will generate half.

Real Developments has also used .Net for the creation of a New Zealand Golf Handicap web site and in late March will launch a .Net-based emailing tool that can instantly email 20,000 people. Other "confidential" .Net projects are also in development with Lion Nathan.

Rundle says his clients are increasingly interested in what .Net can offer because he says it means companies can produce new software more quickly.

"We have been able to modularise code more, make things more reusable. It's a nice environment to work in," he says.

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