Franklin Covey revamps IT

Local subsidiary of organisational development company, Franklin Covey is revamping its IT infrastructure, with e-commerce trading opportunities at the heart of the overhaul.

Delivered by Dialog Information Technology, Franklin Covey's new IT model consists of Winframe thin client technology, MS Office, Lotus Notes Groupware and Navision enterprise business solution.

Central to the company's new infrastructure will be the ability to trade over the Internet using Navision's WebShop module to provide the gateway to Franklin Covey's Web site.

"Franklin Covey sees e-commerce as the future. We want to provide people with a Web-based service that enables them to browse through our catalogue and training programs making purchases and reservations at their convenience," Paul Mackenzie-Smith, Franklin Covey's IT manager, said.

"We envision that in the future, visitors to our Web site will be able to book places on courses or order products across the Internet. Their orders and reservations will immediately interface to the Navision back-end automatically updating the logistics programs, financial data and a range of Lotus Notes-based workflow applications such as job tracking."

The need for more sophisticated logistics support software and workflow management as well as Franklin Covey's rapid growth in Australia also fuelled the company's decision to implement new IT systems, Mackenzie-Smith said.

"Currently, there is no integration between our financials and logistics functions or the customer services database. Something had to be done to integrate the entire organisation and reduce the duplication of data and effort - especially since we have recently opened offices in Sydney and Melbourne and our first retail outlet in Brisbane.

"Our initial thought was to upgrade our accounting system and use a secondary tool to get the logistics side of the job done. However Dialog was able to demonstrate the benefit of taking an integrated approach to our business issues. It simply made more sense to go with a services company that could deliver hardware, software and integration services under the one roof," Mackenzie-Smith said.

Using Navision ERP software, Dialog is creating a single corporate knowledge-base from Franklin Covey's 28 separate databases that run on both PCs and Apple Macintosh, he said. Navision will replace the PC-based, single-user financial software Quickbooks, and will be networked across the company's 50 existing workstations using Winframe technology.

"Winframe is the ultimate 'dial-in' client," Mackenzie-Smith said. "For us, it's the icing on Dialog's solution because it has enabled us to protect our hardware investment and minimise the need for retraining in an unfamiliar operating system.

"By introducing Winframe, Dialog has also given us freedom of choice to run any program in the future - we can use Windows programs via Winframe or Mac programs on the Apple Macs."

Mackenzie-Smith said the project will be undertaken in four separate phases - implementation of Navision across four sites; integration of Navision with Microsoft Office suite; Lotus Notes and Groupware integration and integration of the e-commerce environment with the US head office and New Zealand and Australian customer bases.

Work is believed to have started on the project with phase four expected to be completed by the end of next year.

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