IT chief continues to follow the sun

Nearly 20 years have passed since Tony Farrell was the IT chief at Bond Corporation. And although a much has changed since those heady days of the 1980s, there is one part of Farrell's life that has remained constant.

That's his support for the Systems Union product suite SunSystems. Farrell first purchased the product while at Bond Corporation but after the company folded in 1989 he became a Perth-based SunSystems reseller.

The reseller was then purchased by Eclipse Computing and today Farrell is the Australian CEO at the company that actually developed the SunSystems product.

"I suppose you could say I've known the product for a long time," he said.

Although it's some years since Farrell was a technology buyer for Bond Corp and has also held senior IT roles with BHP and the WA government, he says the general tenets remain the same.

"The IT and business alignment issue has always been there and is still around today; IT is there to facilitate business," he said.

Founded in 1982, Systems Union has undergone significant change in the past two years acquiring MIS Ag in 2003 and business intelligence provider Lasata Software in 2004, a company that was co-founded by Farrell.

"We have integrated all of the products including SunSystems' financials, MIS and the Vision Reporting product into a single suite which is available now," he said.

Systems Union has 1200 customers here and across the Tasman, mostly mid-sized companies which positions it against the likes of Axapta, Great Plains, Oracle and Technology One. The suite also integrates with SAP's R/3.

Meanwhile, SAP announced details of mySAP CRM 2005 last week which offers a number of enhancements over the current version 4.0 and will be available later this year.

Fujitsu Australia also launched FlexFrame for the mySAP business suite which consolidates SAP applications and servers into a single solution, which the company says is easy to manage.

The solution takes advantage of the Linux and Solaris operating systems to run a single instance of the operating system and a virtual mySAP environment over multiple servers.

It was developed jointly by SAP and Fujitsu Siemens Computers and Fujitsu CEO Rod Vawdrey claims it can save up to 62 percent over three years of the cost of owning SAP infrastructure.

"About 60 clients globally have already implemented FlexFrame freeing up capital that is locked into supporting existing infrastructure," Vawdrey said, adding that research has found organizations can achieve 168 percent return on investment with a payback period of 1.6 years.

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