Wilson and Horton unhappy with "poor quality" work by DVP

Wilson and Horton's IT department is unhappy with what it describes as "poor quality work" on its Internet presence by Telecom subsidiary Digital Video Productions (DVP). IT manager Tim Barrable says W&H is 'still reeling from the repercussions' of some work - including inoperable CGI scripts - carried out by DVP before it was replaced as the publisher's Website developer by Clearview Communications.

Wilson and Horton’s IT department is unhappy with what it describes as “poor quality work” on its Internet presence by Telecom subsidiary Digital Video Productions (DVP).

Tim Barrable, who began work as W&H’s IT manager about four months ago, has expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of some of the work done by DVP. “We’re still reeling from the repercussions of that one,” he told Computerworld last week.

As part of the “strategic alliance” between Telecom and W&H, DVP was hired last year to develop a W&H Website, which was to be hosted by Xtra.

But both development and hosting of the site recently passed to Clearview (formerly Clearfield) Communications after DVP was unable to get the site to work correctly. Management of the company’s domains, including wilsonandhorton.co.nz and herald.co.nz has been transferred to Shayne Bates and Associates, an Auckland firm specialising in network security.

Barrable says the main problem was with the CGI scripting on the site, which created problems such as “the text being all right but the pictures not relating to the page they were supposed to. Clearview is in the process of fixing that.”

Xtra itself was at no point involved in the Website development, which was regarded at Telecom as an independent job for the Brisbane-based DVP. It was approached by DVP for technical help shortly before DVP gave up the job and appears to have approved the handover to Clearview in the interests of its onoing relationship with W&H.

Clearview director Ken Westlake confirms that his company finished off and got operational the development that was being done by DVP.

“I think you’ll find that Wilson and Horton are very pleased with what we’ve done. The site is stable, it’s operational and it allows them to complete phase one of their programme.”

Westlake says Clearview’s involvement came “very quickly” after a coversation he had with Barrable two months ago, and involved a complete audit of the site, particularly the CGI scripts.

“The site has quite a number of scripts in it, and there’s a lot of email integration work, which in turn is linked very heavily into the Wilson and Horton security arangements that they handle themselves internally, and with ISPs, notably Xtra.

“Checking the scripts out and getting them to work was quite an extensive exercise. And one of our guys spent a lot of time getting it to work as it should be working. It was delivered on time, to Wilson and Horton’s timetable, which is something we’re very proud of. That’s key for us.”

The development problems have tested the alliance between W&H and Telecom, and Xtra and Telecom have both made presentations to W&H in the past 10 days.

Barrable says the publishing giant is “looking at a couple of options” for its next Internet move. “One is a strategic alliance with Xtra, and we’re also looking at Microsoft [Internet Explorer] channels. There’s not that much more to say at the moment.”

Barrable says a strategic alliance with Xtra for a new Herald-specific Web site is "still the most likely option, but we’re also progressing with Microsoft on the channels project.”

Telecom had no commment other than to say it was continuing to work with Wilson and Horton on Internet projects.

Meanwhile, another DVP Web project which has struck problems, the Tourism Auckland Web site, is also being worked on by a third party. Dave Blyth of Webdesign has confirmed to Computerworld that his company is currently redesigning the site, which ties in with Telecom directories.

Clearview’s Ken Westlake talks about his company’s name change, its track record and doing the big jobs in this week’s @IDG Friday Fry-Up, at www.idg.co.nz

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