IT News round-up

A round up of the stories making the news in the IT sector.

SAP helps Ghana improve extractive industries transparency
Business software provider SAP and GTZ GmbH, acting on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, announced a partnership to support Ghana in meeting the global standard for transparency in the oil and mining industries, as set by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

SAP is donating an enterprise performance management solution, which the Ghanaian Ministry of Finance will use to monitor and analyse payments and revenue flows from its hard minerals industry, as well as from future oil and gas production.

SAP and GTZ met with the Ghana EITI National Steering Committee, a multi-stakeholder group comprising representatives of Ghanaian Ministries, revenue agencies, mining companies, the Minerals Commission and representatives of Ghanaian civil society. Project scope, governance and the implementation timeline were agreed upon.

Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Finance, Seth E. Terkper, said: “The EITI process is a useful tool in augmenting the government’s efforts to improve existing structures on accountability and transparency. Successfully introducing an IT system to the EITI process will be a very significant addition to the process in Ghana.”

Planview in the Magic Quadrant
Enterprise-wide portfolio management solutions provider, Planview, was recognised in the Leaders Quadrant of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for IT Project and Portfolio Management.

The Gartner report included 31 software vendors that provide IT project and portfolio management (PPM) solutions in its review and quadrant profiling.

The solutions were evaluated across more than a dozen criteria points.

Greg Gilmore, president and chief operating officer of Planview, commented: “Planview brings a singular focus to the portfolio management marketplace. We are excited to be recognised as a leader in this market, but we never lose sight of the fact that our success is only possible because of the success of our customers.”

SYSPRO delivers in record time with Microsoft
K3 Business Technology Group announced that, with the help of Microsoft, it has developed the new Workflow Solution for Syspro 6.1 in six months rather than three years.

Syspro has used Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and the Microsoft .NET Framework 4 to speed up the development of custom workflows. New graphical design tools were used to create a solution based on Windows Workflow Foundation and Windows Communication Foundation.

The Microsoft tools made the development phase simpler and reduced the need to write code, allowing Syspro to lower its development time by 80% – taking the product to market considerably faster. The new workflow software will integrate with Syspro’s ERP system and other applications and data sources.

Howard Joseph, managing director of K3, said: “The solution includes an integrated workflow designer. SYSPRO customers will use the designer to create custom workflow activities that execute with the ERP software or external applications. Customers will also be able to monitor workflows and generate reports to see how long it takes to complete each activity.”

Planit succeeds at MACH
MACH 2010 was a great success for the design and manufacturing software supplier Planit.

The company showcased its software brands on a 140-square-metre stand in the CAD/CAM zone at the exposition in Birmingham. After watching a demonstration, a visitor to the stand agreed to purchase Radan 3D and Radraft.

Simon Lee, Planit’s regional director, commented: “We invited them to our stand, and were delighted when they made specific plans to visit us. And even more delighted when they agreed to take Radan to convert their customers’ designs.” Lee believes that having a large stand with all the three Planit brands – Radan, Alphacam and Edgecam – helped show the company’s position as a global supplier.

He added: “We found we were being prequalified with people getting information about us from the internet. It meant that when they came on to our stand they already knew that using our software can improve the productivity of their machine tools, shorten design and manufacturing time, optimise material usage and deliver high quality goods and services to their customers.”

Dassault Systèmes Acquires Exalead
3D and Dassault Systèmes has acquired Exalead, a provider of Search Platforms and Search- Based Applications (SBA) for consumer and business users, for approximately €135m.

Exalead’s customers come from different industries, for which easy access to information is essential, such as banking, retail, publishing, business services, life sciences and consumer services.

Its platform is designed to apply advanced semantic processing to Web-scale data volumes and usage.

It provides information search, access and reporting to more than 100 million people, including Sanofi-Aventis, the World Bank, Friendster, Lagardère Active and ViaMichelin.

Exalead co-founder, François Bourdoncle, said: “With our realtime search, natural language capabilities, Exalead provides a unique Web user experience. The combination with 3D represents the next generation of information technology for lifelike experiences.

With Dassault Systèmes there will be a considerable increase in the number of people benefiting from our technology.”

B2B integration vendor market worries IT managers
Sterling Commerce research reveals that IT managers are wary about the IT vendor landscape and are re-thinking their B2B integration strategies to make the most of opportunities.

While 78% of the 600 senior IT decision makers questioned believe the recession is at least half over, 41% are re-thinking their B2B integration strategy due to uncertainty in the B2B integration vendor landscape.

Just over half of the respondents believe this uncertainty puts their business at risk, either through their trading partner integration or by disruptions to their supply chains. Financial stability is still the main criteria for choosing a B2B provider for 38% of companies.

Steelwedge expands in Europe
Cloud-based sales and operations planning solutions provider, Steelwedge, has established a European headquarters in Birmingham to support growing demand from international manufacturers.

Glen Margolis, CEO of Steelwedge, said: “Our presence in Europe positions us to satisfy the need for collaborative S&OP technology beyond North America and provide better service to our multinational client base. Large scale manufacturing companies around the world are increasingly turning to Steelwedge to control spiralling supply chain costs and manage fluctuations in demand.” John Sookias was appointed managing director for the EMEA region.

Euroclad Facades turns to Preactor
Planning and scheduling software company, Preactor International, announced a business win with Euroclad Facades Limited.

Part of the Euroclad group, Euroclad Facades specialises in the manufacture of weather resistant skins for buildings. It has plans to double the size of its current operation.

The company turned to Preactor 200 in a bid to improve forecasting accuracy, the flow of work through the manufacturing process and to reduce the time spent updating an Excelbased system.

Mike Paley, Euroclad Facades’ operations manager, commented: “We initially scheduled production using a spreadsheet we had developed.

As the business and the number of orders grew it became evident that the system wasn’t intelligent enough to do all that was required of it.”