Business Memory Lane – IT Profiles A Decade Ago (C)

Business 7: WESTFIELD GROUP

Senior IT executive: Peter Bourke, director of IT Australia and New Zealand
Reports to: Robert Jordan, MD Australia and New Zealand
Operating systems: Windows XP/2003, 05/400
Database systems: MS SQL Server, Oracle
Applications: Hyperion, JD Edwards
IT staff: 35
IT budget: Flat

WESTFIELD’S PETER Bourke laid down the claim back then that his IT operations, especially transactional systems, just don’t add up to numbers that make outsourcing attractive. Most of the work in the IT shop goes towards implementing off-the-shelf software, including enterprise resource planning and management of leasing, construction and human resources. But the challenge is that most of the customised systems are hard to upgrade. especially with the work Westfield does tweaking commercialised business intelligence software tools. Video conferencing has been a big part of the Westfield IT investment. The company has issued the hardware to executives worldwide and wants online collaboration on projects throughout Australia, Britain and the United States. A retail site under construction in Sydney will feature several technological services for shoppers. The site will feature everything from wireless internet through to radio frequency identification tags in stores.

Business 8: ALCOA

Senior IT executive: Peter Stamp, information and process systems manager
Reports to: Tom Adams, finance and business services director
Operating systems: Windows XP/2003, HP Unix, z/OS
Database systems: IBM DB2 UDB, IBM IMS (including ISAM), MS SQL Server, Oracle Applications: Hyperion, Oracle lli
IT staff: 80
IT budget: Flat

ALCOA’S IT spend will remain relatively flat this year due to reduced large project activity and ongoing cost and process efficiency initiatives. Back then, Alcoa completed the Oracle lli E-Business Suite implementation and the renewal of the contracts with Computer Sciences Corporation for desktop, help desk and mainframe support. It also continued the roll out of Oracle’s Order Management for its operations based in China. Major initiatives planned for this year include renewing the ERP hardware and operating system environment, implementing a globally common Essential Software Suite task and compliance management system, and starting the replacement of its PABX-based voice communications network with a VoIP-based solution. Alcoa will also continue to focus on realising further business value and efficiencies from improved leverage of the Oracle E-Business Suite functionality.

Business 9: DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH (WA)
Senior IT executive: Colin Xanthis, CIO
Reports to: Peter Flett, acting director-general
Operating systems: IBM, Linux, Solaris, Unix, VMS, Windows XP/2000/98/95/NT
Database systems: Oracle, Progress, MS SQL Server
Applications: TOPAS, Cognos, SAS/EIS, IBM, Oracle, Triple G, iSOFT iCM
IT staff: 550
IT budget: Flat

LIKE MOST IT departments, the Department of Health (WA) is juggling a flat budget but needs to attract more skilled information technology workers from private and public sectors. Xanthis says bringing people to Western Australia from the eastern seaboard is costly, especially when the local mining industry sucks up the talent as soon as they arrive. Current talent war aside, the department will upgrade application development and infrastructure statewide as a better means to serve the population. Back then, the department tendered for the development of a pharmacy application and is in talks with the winner about the statewide software roll out. An infrastructure tender has also been released to the market to boost its associated data centre capacity and another tender will soon be released to upgrade desktop computers.