Stories by Renai LeMay

iSOFT to lay off 800 staff

Australian e-health giant iSOFT (ASX:ISF) will lay off 800 staff, constituting 17 percent of its total workforce, over the next financial year in a bid to halt its sliding financial fortunes.

Aust NBN in caretaker mode until election result sorted

The Australian NBN Co, the company responsible for rolling out the National Broadband Network, has put the freeze on some of its spending and will not hire any new staff until the Federal Parliament has resolved its current deadlock.
In a statement issued this morning, the company said in general it would continue to operate, as well as planning and using existing resources, but would seek to “minimise any discretionary expenditure” in the current uncertain period. This story was first reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.
Labor and the Coalition are currently awaiting final election results and have begun negotiations with independent MPs and Greens MPs who were elected over the weekend, as they jostle to attempt to form a government.
The future of the NBN policy is currently up in the air, with the Coalition having pledged to walk away from the project if elected — although the independents have broadly emphasised their support for better bush telecommunciations in statements over the past few days.
NBN Co added today that it would not award any significant contracts or issue any new significant request for capability statements or proposals in the “post-election period”.
“Where appropriate NBN Co will postpone or suspend significant existing tender processes during the post-election phase, while in parallel extending current in-progress tender responses and decision deadlines for the same period,” the company’s statement said.
“Affected vendors will be notified. Conscious of NBN Co’s potential suppliers’ and vendors’ costs during any tender processes, suppliers or vendors will have the option to delay participation or tender submission during the post-election phase and not be disadvantaged.”
In addition, the company will suspend employee interviews and will not issue any new offers to potential employees, although it will honour any existing offers that it has formally made to candidates.
In addition, the company will extend the response period for industry comment on a number of product consultation papers — some of which were issued over the past few weeks during the campaign period.

AAPT completes move to Gmail

AAPT has switched the remainder of its 1200 staff off Microsoft's Exchange collaboration platform and onto Google's rival Gmail offering, after running a trial of 250 staff on Gmail for the past two months.
The company has already adopted some aspects of Google's online platform — specifically, the search giant's Google Video and Sites applications — and had flagged the Gmail move as "95 percent certain" in late April.
“The decision for us to go Google was initially more of a challenge at the philosophical level — the idea of relinquishing ‘control’ — rather than the technical level,” said AAPT chief operating officer David Yuile.
“The benefits of moving to Google Apps are significant — for individual users and for the company. We expect to reap considerable savings in IT costs, with minimal user support and much lower ongoing infrastructure costs,” he said.
AAPT's shift has also unlocked the use of Google's Talk instant messaging application. Staff will receive 25GB of mailbox storage each on Google's servers.
“This exciting move will help us address some of the challenges we face: information overload, changing business needs and new technology demands, such as increased mobility and flexible working,” Yuile said.
The potential to shift to a cloud-based platform such as Gmail or Microsoft's hosted Exchange offering has been a hot topic on Australian chief information officers' minds this year. Some have already made the switch. But one aspect holding some back is the lack of dedicated datacentres based in Australia for the services.
One large organisation earlier this year expressed how unlikely it was to ‘Go Google’.
“If he imposes Google Docs on me, I’ll throw my laptop at him,” joked Telstra chief technology officer Hugh Bradlow, earlier this year, referring to then-Telstra CIO, John McInerney.
In New Zealand, several organisations, including NZ Post, the Univeristy of Auckland and, more recently, Tait Electronics have switched from Microsoft to Google for email and other services.
- Additional reporting by David Watson

Former Oracle ANZ MD departs company

High profile Oracle Asia-Pacific chief and former Australian and New Zealand managing director Brian Mitchell has parted ways with the company, replaced by his counterpart at Oracle acquisition BEA.

Unisys ANZ chief heads to rival

Australian information technology services firm Oakton has capped off a strong half year of growth by hiring the ANZ managing director of rival Unisys.

Woolies pushes supply chain tech to NZ

Retail giant Woolworths has started bringing the successful supermarket supply-chain systems it has developed over the past decade in Australia to its other lines of business, including its New Zealand supermarkets.

iSoft plans to deliver Lorenzo downunder

On the eve of its acquisition by Australian rival IBA Health, UK-headquartered e-health software supplier iSoft has revealed plans to launch its controversial Lorenzo application in Australia.