NZ dairy conglomerate taps directory technology

New Zealand dairy conglomerate Fonterra Co-operative Group is well under way with its implementation of Australasia's first major Meta Directory installation.

The company's subsidiary NZMP signed up Siemens, for an undisclosed amount, for the multiphase project, which is expected to completed early this year.

Fonterra was formed in October 2001 through the merger of two manufacturing companies, New Zealand Dairy Group and Kiwi Co-operative Dairies and incorporation of the assets of the New Zealand Dairy Board. It is one of the world's top 10 dairy companies.

A Meta Directory solution connects disparate databases, directories and applications within an enterprise, creating a single point for the creation and maintenance of key employee and customer data, according to company officials. New entries or changes to existing entries are then synchronised with all other connected databases, directories and applications. It can be a way of ensuring employee and customer information is complete, accurate and up to date, officials said.

Danny O'Brien, general manager e-business for Siemens, said phase one, the linking of data between NZMP's three separate e-mail systems (Lotus Notes, Groupwise and MS Exchange) and the organisation's intranet functions, was completed in October last year.

The second phase, concerning desktop applications and linking of the merged companies' three disparate LANs (a Microsoft network in the US, an NT network and Novell network), is in the final stages of completion.

O'Brien said security was the main driver behind the project and future projects were currently being considered.

Marcel van den Assum, CIO for NZMP, said the solution would provide consistent security and access protocols and procedures, as well as consistent processes for entry and maintenance of user data in the various IT systems and applications throughout NZMP.

The rollout will be extended to include more databases and will bring the IT systems of 120 overseas offices under the Meta Directory umbrella.

In Australia, NZMP owns 25 per cent of dairy products manufacturer, Bonlac Foods, 18 per cent of National Foods and 81 per cent of Peters and Brownes in Western Australia.

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