Board launches global intranet

The Dairy Board has gone live with a global intranet to 850 users, built from scratch in four months, as the first in a series of e-commerce and internet-based initiatives.

The Dairy Board has gone live with a global intranet to 850 users built, from scratch in four months, as the first in a series of e-commerce and internet-based initiatives.

The intranet for NZMP, the board’s ingredients business, has been configured to work across three access paths: the board’s old WAN network, the internet and the still-being implemented Equant global network. The intranet initially uses all three methods of networking so all staff could access it, but the system will be migrated across to the Equant system as it is deployed and completed in the first quarter of this year. Code-named Mercury, the intranet joins staff in third-world type countries that never had live access to information before and to travellers.

The intranet features weekly trading reports, a regularly updated news section, product bulletins and rollout schedules, manuals and a directory with different levels of access.

Dairy Board global systems manager Antony Royal, in charge of a 15-strong team now working on web initiatives, says the intranet is the first stage of an e-business strategy for NZMP with other projects planned as well for the other business units. He is also working on applications with the board's legal and human resources departments.

Royal says Vignette's content management system Story Server was chosen last year after the board decided it needed a better tool to update its first generation of websites. With Story Server, also used by Stuff and Xtra, staff didn’t have to manually go through the HTML process and could work collaboratively and publish globally, he says.

“We realised as the amount of content and the number of pages increased an ability to manage it better was necessary,“ Royal says. The browser-based Story Server system was integrated with the board’s Oracle database, and Royal says the system will migrate to Vignette’s newer V/5 platform over time.

Royal says two more intranets have since been rolled out, also on Vignette - one for the other business unit NZ Milk and one for the corporate offices.

NZMP marketing manager Belinda Moss worked with the Wellington branch of marketing company Brave New World and web firm Advantage Group to plan the look and structure of the intranet. Moss says their aim was to provide enough information to speed up review cycles, improve accessibility and streamline distribution by web-enabling marketing and customer service information.

Royal says the merger into Global Dairy Co may effect some of the IT projects, but says they are still needed to support the growing business.

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