Stories by Hamish Barwick

MYOB to hire more Australian and NZ staff following Bain Capital buy

Financial and business software vendor, MYOB, is set to hire 27 new staff following its acquisition by Hong Kong-based software investor, Bain Capital, from a consortium including Archer Capital and investment company, HarbourVest Partners, for $1.2 billion.
Bain Capital's purchase was announced earlier this week, and the sale to Bain scotched recent rumours that global accounting software specialist Sage was the buyer.
MYOB A/NZ corporate affairs general manager Julian Smith told Computerworld Australia that no job cuts were envisaged and it was “business as usual” following news of the acquisition.
“We’re actually in the process of increasing our team across Australian and New Zealand by a further 27 people who will be partner evangelists supporting our accountant clients and introducing them to our next generation of cloud solutions,” Smith said.
The company currently has 800 staff in A/NZ.
Bain Capital managing director Walid Sarkis said in a statement that the growth potential for MYOB was "very strong", with a trend for entrepreneurs starting up their own business and that with Archer Capital, the company had met the needs of customers through Cloud-based capabilities.
The acquisition was completed on August 21 after UK rival Sage Group dropped out of the bidding war due to tough times on the overseas markets.
MYOB chief executive Tim Reed said the company was entering the era of the connected business and was now focused on cloud-based services.
"Bain Capital is an ideal partner to take us forward given its proven successes in leading similar to higher ground in other parts of the world," he said.
"Its portfolio group of management consultants can provide the expertise to take us through our next phase of growth."
Last year, MYOB announced its move into the Cloud arena with the launch of online accounting offering LiveAccounts. At the time, Reed said the move into the cloud was about providing the company’s customers with choice and would initially complement, rather than replace, its on-premise software business.
“We’re not standing in the marketplace having to peddle a story about cloud as the only way to go ... we are saying there are different products for different parts of the market," Reed told Computerworld Australia.
Bain Capital has been involved with the Australian market for 15 years and has invested in companies such as drinks company, Frucor, and electronics manufacturer, Startronics.
According to The Australian, the Archer Captial-HarbourVest Partners consortium paid A$450 million for MYOB in 2008, meaning it has nearly tripled its origuinal investment on the A$1.2 billion sale to Bain Capital.
- Additional reporting by David Watson

CIOs need to embrace BYO technology, social media: Gen-i Australia chief

CIOs should welcome rather than fear employees' desire to bring their own device to work, Gen-i Australia's chief executive, Paul Wilson, has argued.
Speaking at the CIO Summit 2011 in Sydney this week, Wilson said organisations had to do their best to come to terms with, then harness, rapid technological change.
"The reality is for all of us is that it is hard to keep up and we need to make intelligent buying decisions that harnesses the supply chain, keep staff happy and delivers value to our customers," Wilson said.
By way of illustration, Wilson cited Apple's claim that it took less than one day to reach sales of four million units of the vendor's iPad 2 tablet PC.
"This transformation has been driven by Gen Y who have never known a world without the internet and expect to use the latest devices both at home and work," he said.
Wilson acknowledged that CIOs were cautious about allowing personal devices in the workplace and said some 38 per cent of A/NZ CIOs were not engaging with BYO computing, mainly because of security concerns.
"I challenge the issues around security as sometimes being lazy because those who are yelling loudest for bring your own device are Gen-Y, the people who have the IT skills," he said.
"If they have been working in a certain way for the last 15 years why would they change their habits when they come and work for you?"
The imperative for chief information officers, Wilson said, was to manage employee expectations or face the prospect of Gen-Y workers moving to organisations which did.
"For your business, BYO technology needs to be about winning consumer hearts and market share," he said.
Turning to the use of social media in the workplace, Wilson claimed that email was no longer the dominant form of electronic communication with sites such as Twitter were now the accepted way for businesses to interact with customers.
"The fastest growing delivery method of communication is web, I think email is dying and the old ways of communicating as a business have changed," he said.
According to Wilson, every 60 seconds there were 600 new Youtube videos created with many of these being created by enterprise businesses, not consumers.
"Now is not the time for CIOs to 'wobble' or go slow with IT transformation," warned Wilson.

High speed adult content may boost Australian NBN uptake: developer

While the Australian Federal Government has extolled the virtues of the National Broadband Network (NBN) in delivering e-health and government agency services, adult content will be the major driver of consumer adoption, according to content and applications developer, The Project Factory.
According to The Project Factory director, Jennifer Wilson, education and health dominated public discussion of the NBN; however, personal entertainment, including adult content, lead private discussions.
"The single most important factor is the porn factor because pornography has always been at the cutting edge of technology," Wilson said. "If we cannot get porn on the NBN than we will have trouble getting consumer acceptance and uptake."
Speaking at an Australian Computer Society (ACS) forum in Sydney, Wilson acknowledged that children needed to be protected from adult content but backed the idea of pornography on the NBN because it had always stimulated digital growth in many forms.
For example, the industry was an early adopter of e-commerce and helped to decide the Blu-Ray versus HD format wars.
"The main reason Blu-Ray took off was because the adult entertainment industry chose the format over HD," Wilson said. "No one is going to install the NBN on the basis that one day they might need e-health services but they will use that as a justification for getting the service in order to download movies and watch TV."
Independent telecommunications analyst, Paul Budde, agreed with Wilson's assessments, stating that the adult industry had always been a driver of new technology.
With regard to the NBN, Budde said consumers would be more likely to use the service if it meant faster access to adult content. However, as the NBN is government owned, there may be the risk of censorship by what Budde termed, "conservative elements", in the federal government.
"Politicians from both Labor and the Liberals would say 'no you can't do that'," he said. "We are not that enlightened yet and there will be a tough battle to make that change."
Wilson also said that for her Sydney-based business, which specialises in the development of games and phone applications, bigger pipes would allow the company to deliver more multi-media content.
"I know from experience that consumers want faster download rates and more data but the more you give them the more they will use. We keep making games, applications that are bigger and shiner."
According to Wilson's research, Allen Consulting estimated a saving of $2.4 billion per annum through timesaving activities once the NBN was completed.
The report also highlighted benefits that Wilson claimed most people would take advantage of such as access to social networking, media, entertainment and professional services as well as inclusion and engagement in the online community.
"What we are doing with the NBN is audacious and exciting but if we can't give the consumers what they want than it is not going to work."

Telstra to build new Melbourne datacentre as part of cloud services push

Telstra is set to build a new 2000-square metre datacentre in Melbourne as part of its $800 million, five-year Cloud services agenda announced this week.
The expenditure will also include modernising the facilities at existing Telstra data centres in Sydney and Melbourne, expanding the telco’s enterprise applications, launching an online partner portal, and enhancing T-Suite software-as-a-service (SaaS) capabilities.
Telstra's chief operations officer, Brendon Riley, said the company’s objective is to have the biggest network integration of Cloud in Australia.
"We are now completing expansion of our Sydney datacentre facilities to accommodate our next generation data centre,” he said.
“We also want to build a new state of the art data centre in Melbourne to support our expansion.
“It will be of modular construction for maximum Green capabilities and I anticipate it will be commissioned in early 2013."
According to Riley, the new Melbourne facility will increase its data centre capability by more than 40 per cent and provide Cloud requirements for "many years to come".
"Cloud is not all about data centres, but they are important,” he said.
“On top of that we are going to provision a highly scalable network.
“We all want efficient and scalable infrastructure to adapt to the demands we have."
To achieve the Cloud services, the telco has partnered with Cisco, VMware and Microsoft, while integration partner Accenture will build the next phase of its integrated Cloud platform.
Telstra chief executive David Thodey said that while Cloud services were nothing new for the vendor – as the telco began offering T-Suite software-as-a-service (SaaS) in 2008 – the investments were made due to increasing customer demand.
"We are also experiencing strong sales in our Cloud voice and video services, which are exceeding 80 per cent year and we now manage more than 100,000 IP telephony services delivered from the Cloud,” Thodey said.
"With this Cloud computing platform we can provide Cloud services that are integrated into our networks, which means they are secure, monitored and can be accessed in more locations across the country."
He also said that the company wanted to offer customer Cloud so they could focus on other areas of their business.
"This is part of a bigger transition within Telstra from being not just an access provider, but a company capable of offering different services to SMEs, enterprise and corporations,” Thodey said.
Telstra’s announcement has been brewing for a while, when in May 2011 its chief technology officer, Hugh Barlow, urged businesses to outsource their IT functions to Cloud operators in order to get with the 21st Century and reduce overall costs.
Customers who have recently implemented Telstra's Cloud include Australian Vintage, Komatsu, the Salvation Army Employment Plus and Tabcorp.

Australian stock exchange outage traced to software problem

An ICT systems error which halted trading on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) on Monday afternoon has been traced back to a software problem.
After investigation by technical staff, it was found the exchange’s computer system was not sending trading confirmation messages to some companies listed on the ASX.
“The issue created a duplication of internal series identification numbers which impacted a component of the trade system,” an ASX spokesperson said in a statement.
“All impacted trade executions remain valid and all post trade processes were completed as per normal.”
The messaging problem affected one fifth of the market. For operational purposes, the ASX market is split into five segments.
ASX staff planned to look at a permanent resolution to the software issue. Trading was expected to resume today at 10am (AEDT).
ASX Trade uses Nasdaq OMX Group's Genium INET platform which was implemented in November 2010 to improve latency and boost the number of orders processed. It replaced an older Integrated Trading System (ITS) that had been used by the ASX since October 2006.
The spokesman said this was the first time the trading system had gone down.
"What happened yesterday with the halt to the market was a very rare event. We don't know yet if the software will be replaced, that's to be determined," he said.

Australian Privacy Commissioner to investigate Vodafone breach

Vodafone will open its doors to the Australian Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, in the wake of allegations the telecommunications giant made the personal information of four million customers available on its website.
In a privacy breach the telco has so far attributed to an employee or dealer, personal details including credit card numbers, home addresses and drivers licence numbers could be accessed by anyone with a Vodafone login.
A Vodafone spokesperson denied customer details were available on the internet.
“Customer information is stored on Vodafone's internal systems and accessed through a secure web portal, accessible to authorised employees and dealers via a secure login and password,” he said.
Pilgrim said in a statement that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner took allegations of privacy breaches very seriously.
“All organisations should ensure the security of their customers’ personal information or risk breaching the Privacy Act and causing serious customer dissatisfaction and possible loss of business as a result,” he said.
Pilgrim said his first step would be to determine whether Vodafone’s activities constituted a breach of the Privacy Act.
“I am concerned about the amount of personal information that may have been disclosed which could include sensitive information," Pilgrim said.
"For this reason I have opened an own motion investigation into the matter. I have spoken with the CEO of Vodafone (Nigel Dews) and he has assured me of Vodafone’s full cooperation."
He advised that if an individual believes their privacy has been interfered with they should first contact Vodafone.
“If they are not satisfied with their response they can make a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner,” he said.
The alleged security breach follows network outages last year as a result of Vodafone's 3G network upgrade.

Datacraft on track to meet recruitment target

IT services provider Datacraft plans to appoint more consultants, engineers and developers in the next two months to support a growth in work, particularly in the government space.

Mahindra Satyam appoints country manager

Indian-headquartered Mahindra Satyam has recruited Daryn Mckay as New Zealand country manager and is weighing partnerships with system integrators locally in a bid to fast-track market penetration.

VMware creates NZ regional manager role

VMware has shoulder tapped its Wellington based senior corporate account manager Tim Dacombe-Bird to become New Zealand regional manager.
The newly created role means VMware has a local management presence. Dacombe-Bird officially starts in the role on January 1 next year. He will remain in Wellington and report directly to ANZ managing director Paul Harapin.

Gen-i realises business benefits of cloud

Telecom business unit Gen-i is encouraging other companies to go down the hosted customer relationship management (CRM) path to boost staff productivity and save costs.