Viennese Whirl for kiwi software

Austrian confectionery company Manner is using Auckland-made business intelligence software, as PST Software enjoys its first European deal.

Austrian confectionery company Manner is using Auckland-made business intelligence software, as PST Software enjoys its first European deal.

In addition, PST, headed by Germany-born Herbert Schoenek, is looking to sign resellers in Austria to act as a bridgehead into Europe.

Manner bought the just-launched Q4 Bis budgeting tool. Manner purchasing manager Wolfgang Reimitz says the Austrian company sought a new software product because its sales staff could not cope with budgeting on spreadsheets for Manner’s increasing product range. Manner has 1500 products, 1700 customers and annual sales of 150 million euros ($300 million).

Manner tested the system in December, rolled out some applications last month and in March will extend it to other staff. In time Manner will also use the software for HR and production data.

Reomitz says operators can learn to use Q4 Bis, which is based on SQL Server and Microsoft's OLAP tools, with only three hours of training. Schoenek says the new software, which integrates between the budgeting systems and Manner’s reporting system, means Manner has cut its full budgeting cycle from two months to a few hours.

PST won out against products from companies in German-speaking countries because its product offered value for money, flexibility, a good interface and ease of use, Reomitz says. It also came with a business analysis tool. Schoenek says Manner also liked the idea that PST could do the entire installation and support via the internet.

PST Software first began in Germany 21 years ago when Schoenek, a chartered accountant, saw a need for software to integrate accounts across companies and countries. In the early 1990s, after a New Zealand holiday, Schoenek moved to Auckland, creating PST New Zealand in 1993.

Since then the software has been developed further by the company’s 14 staff and sold across Australasia.

Alan Wilkins, business analyst for Winstone Wallboards, part of the Fletcher Group of Companies, says his company is presently rolling out the system, choosing Q4 Bis for its flexibility and functionality. “The data is just sitting there. It’s a case of slicing and dicing.

The ability to zero in on a certain issue without having to run a succession of reports is great,” he says.

Express Data installed the software two years ago and is now upgrading it.

“It’s sensational. It can drill down data and ask any number of questions. It’s very effective. Once you have it, you can’t go back,” says country manager Ian Jansen.

Merck Sharp and Dohme business analyst Helen Cronin says her firm has used Q4 Bis for 18 months and found it “great.” Initially, just senior management used it, but it is now being deployed to sales and marketing staff.

“It’s good for business managers and product managers understanding. They can access different information that is important to them and their role and target the way they want to see the information,” Cronin says.

Burger King IT manager Zane Devey says Q4 Bis, with its customised modules, has been “great” over the past 18 months the fast food giant has used it.

The Q4 Bis BI software range is also used by Airways Corporation, Mainland, FosRoc, Bridgestone Firestone, Golden Bay Cement and Exide.

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