Westpac goes all the way with IBM GSA

And the winners are: IBM Global Services Australia and Telstra. The two have cleaned up Westpac's giant outsourcing contracts, which carry a total value of about $A4.3 billion. IBM GSA's slice of the action is a 10-year contract covering the provision of mainframe and midrange computing and desktop services, but not systems development, strategy and architecture, which will remain inhouse.

Telstra came away with a five year contract covering IT networks and telecommunications services. Some 1200 staff are involved and will be offered jobs with one of the two outsourcers.

CSC and Cable & Wireless Optus wound up with nothing.

The bank expects considerable cost savings and efficiency benefits to flow from the outsourcing, according to managing director David Morgan. It also expects to be able to use the outsourcing agreements to accelerate its push into "e-business enablement across all platforms".

"With the convergence of technology and communications it is no longer possible for a single financial institution to keep up with the latest developments," explained Jeremy Gross, Westpac's chief executive for technology, operations and e-commerce. "The partnership between Westpac and IBM GSA/Telstra is a key step in our move towards an e-business focus by enabling Westpac to leverage the infrastructure, scale and research and development capabilities of global IT and telecommunication providers," he added.

Ironically, while the bank clearly announced it had awarded separate contracts to the two services suppliers, a release from IBM claimed it had won the business worth $US2.3 billion ($A4.3 billion) and that Telstra would act as its primary subcontractor.

Intellect storms through Europe

Just a month after picking up a $A20 million deal for its smart card-capable terminals and hand-held mobile payment systems in Austria, and two months after winning a smart card contract with La Poste in France, listed Australian company Intellect has won a further contract to provide secure electronic ticketing systems for Dutch railways. Under the terms of the deal NS Reizgers will install up to 1000 MiniAutomaat ticketing systems in its railway stations as it undertakes a $A30 million electronic ticketing project.

Intellect has customised its BIM20X0 terminals to allow passengers to buy tickets securely using debit, credit or e-purse transactions. Francis De Vrieze, Intellect's chief marketing officer, said the Dutch deal had resulted from an alliance between Intellect and Swiss giant Ascom, which has integrated Intellect's secure payments technology with its ticketing systems.

The deal signifies a diversification for Intellect, De Vrieze said. "We are making strategic moves into areas like transport, where our reputation, our technology and our relationships allow us to play a leading role in the fast-expanding market for secure transmission of many types of information," he explained. "Electronic ticketing is one of the areas where we are already finding success. We anticipate being able to announce other contracts in the near future."

Telemedia alliance leads to US sale

An alliance between ASX-listed telecommunications software developer Telemedia Networks International and Cisco Systems has paid handsome dividends as the Australian company has picked up a contract worth $US1.1 million from US ISP Igaea. Under the terms of the deal Telemedia will provide Igaea, a Cisco Powered Network provider, with switching and billing software to support advanced services that will be rolled out on a worldwide IP network.

Chris Jones, chief executive of Telemedia, said the alliance with Cisco had been finalised in August. "Our deal with Igaea is a direct result of our alliance with Cisco," he added.

Telemedia's client list now includes 69 telcos with 140 installations in 37 countries.

Cisco upgrades Telstra's cable modems

Cisco Systems has won a lucrative contract to migrate Telstra's high-speed cable modem services to the Data over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS). The $A100 million project will create a standards-based platform that will enable Telstra to offer a range of advanced IP services, including voice-over-IP, virtual private networks, video on demand, interactive TV, streaming video and a range of services for small office/home office applications, a spokesman explained.

Work has begun on the project and Telstra expects to begin placing cable modem users on the network this month. Existing and DOCSIS-based services will be delivered side-by-side on the network as long as required, a spokesman explained.

NOIE carries govt's e-commerce banner

The National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE) has been made the Federal Government's leading e-commerce body and has had its status changed to an executive agency reporting directly to the Minister for Communications, IT and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston. To strengthen its hand it will absorb the Office for Government Online.

Senator Alston said the new super NOIE will be given direct responsibility for development, co-ordination and overview of broad policy in relation to information economy issues.

Several staffing issues remain to be resolved, since Glenys Roper has resigned as CEO of OGO, and NOIE does not currently have a permanent head. Dr Rod Badger has been acting CEO of NOIE since the departure of Dr Paul Twomey in July and will continue in that role until a permanent CEO can be found. Alston said the government is "moving as quickly as possible" to fill the position.

Microsoft told to meet court's deadlinesMicrosoft's delaying tactics in its appeal against an adverse antitrust finding came to nothing this week as the US Court of Appeals issued a schedule for briefs and arguments giving the company 47 days in which to file its initial brief, and placing a 150 page limit on the document.

Microsoft had previously accused the Department of Justice of trying to "short circuit" the appeals process and had asked for five months to prepare its written briefs. It also asked that the court guidelines of 14,000 words for primary briefs be expanded to 56,000 words because of the complexity of the case.

The DoJ had hoped to have the case through the Court of Appeals by the end of this year in time for the next session of the Supreme Court. That hope has been dashed, as the appeals court will not hear spoken arguments until February 26 and 26.

Orders and installations

Listed paper manufacturer Paperlinx plans to work with Cable & Wireless Optus and Deloitte Consulting to develop an e-commerce platform with both buying and selling capabilities. The platform will be based on the BuySite procurement software from CommerceOne and CWO MarketSite, and will enable some 6000 customers to buy paper products from Paperlinx merchants.

US Internet solutions company Rare Medium has developed a Web site that provides an online store for Fuji Xerox Australia's Document Supplies Division. The site caters for consumers and B2B customers, a spokesman explained. Rare Medium built the site on IBM's WebSphere application server.

Internet travel company travel.com.au has installed an Internet call centre from Avaya Communication, which was formerly the Enterprise Networks Group of Lucent Technologies. The system will allow users of travel.com.au's Web site to click through and talk to a travel adviser. "It's all about turning lookers into bookers," explained Chris Ryan, e-business systems manager for the travel company.

Software AG has supplied its Tamino XML database server to Internet player Media Technology, which was bought from Tech Pacific by Kiwi company Software Images in June 2000. A spokesman said Tamino uses native XML, which makes it faster than object-oriented databases and reduces overheads because it doesn't need to change formats.

VeCommerce, formerly the voice technology arm of Scitec, will launch its natural language speech recognition taxi booking system with an installation at Regent Taxis on the Gold Coast. A spokesman said the TeleCab Express system will allow customers to place bookings over the telephone without the need to use push button menus. He claimed other contracts are being finalised with other taxi companies.

Powerlan has won a contract to supply an investment management system and a unit trust registry system to the Office of the Protective Commissioner, a statutory body empowered to "manage the affairs of certain persons" and provide a funds management service to clients. Powerlan will supply its Portfolio Manager application.

News in brief

Sir Gil Simpson was last week granted The NZ Computer Society's award as the Greatest Contributor to New Zealand's IT sector over the past 40 years. He also won an award for the most outstanding contribution to the commercial sector of computing over the past 40 years. Simpson first made a name with his LINC fourth-generation language, which was acquired by Unisys, and more recently with his Aoraki Corporation and Jade.

EDS has won the giant US Navy contract to build the Navy-Marines Corps Intranet. The deal is worth a minimum of $US6.9 million over eight years, but is expected to be extended to a total value of $US9 billion. Other teams of bidders were led by CSC, IBM and General Dynamics.

The Australian Information Industry Association is conducting an online election for its board of directors. The ballot opened on October 10 and the results will be announced at the AIIA's AGM on October 25. The election will be run by election.com.

The Advanced Networking Forum Australia is holding a seminar in conjunction with the Interop Seminar Series at Darling Harbour in Sydney on October 25 from 5:30 to 7:00pm. The Birds of a Feather seminar will be an open discussion preceded by an overview from several industry players, including TransACT, Nava Networks, Pulsat and UEComm. Enquiries to the ANFA secretariat at 02 9252 6601 or e-mail admin@anfa.org.au.

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