Lessons from exo-Net

E-commerce start-up exo-net is getting out of New Zealand but still wants local education institutes to commit to its product as a teaching tool.

E-commerce start-up exo-net is getting out of New Zealand but still wants local education institutes to commit to its product as a teaching tool.

Exo-net managing director David McKee-Wright has bemoaned New Zealand's ignorance of e-commerce and slackness in getting IT into education and says it's moving to Australia. However he says Kiwi business students can learn about e-commerce by using exo-net, and he is talking to several tertiary institutions including Auckland University and Auckland University of Technology about offering courses based on exo-net software.

So far Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) has taken taken up the product.Frank Weterman, lecturer in accountancy and law at the polytechnic confirms that Sybiz and Great Plains have been replaced and exo-net will be used from February next year in it's Bachelor of Business.

Dick McDonald, head of MIT's accountancy and law division says, McKee-Wright hinted at the company's forthcoming departure before the news broke last week.

"He hastened to assure us that that they would still have a strong presence in New Zealand and that it did not, in any way, jeopardise our arrangements."

Exo-net was started last year by former PC Direct IT manager Mark Loveys, and PC Direct founder Maurice Bryham. It uses Borland Interbase or Microsoft SQL Server as its database.

Weterman says the product offers an integrated package for teaching accounting and e-commerce. Although exo-net, the company, only started-up last year, he believes the product will have strong growth in New Zealand.

He says exo-net is less specific and more simple to use than the US products which were too high-end to suit the New Zealand business environment.

"It allows students to extract value and understand the principals of accounting and business without worrying about the computing underneath," says Weterman.

McDonald says: "Most other accounting packages are trying to tack e-commerce on to very proprietary systems."

In future he sees exo-net also being used to teach seminars and short courses to people who are already in business, but who want to break into or learn about e-commerce. Marketing and management students may also get some exposure to exo-net, as an e-commerce solution.

Exo-net is not the only locally-developed software to be taught in universities and polytechs. The object-oriented database and application development environment Jade, by Christchurch-based Jade, is now taught by more than 16 educational institutions in New Zealand and Australia.

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