British American Tobacco rolls out performance-monitoring software


British American Tobacco rolls out performance-monitoring software

Ian Grant

UK-based tobacco firm British American Tobacco (BAT) has developed a corporate-wide IT system to monitor the performance of its managers.

The TalenT system allows managers and their bosses to agree and monitor the progress of tasks and goals for the year - crucial to pay awards and promotions.

BAT developed TalenT web portal on SAP's human resources software using SAP's Netweaver application development tools. The software runs on servers in Frankfurt and Singapore.

Brian Lane, BAT's technology manager, said the Java-based application went live on 30 November 2007 in a "big bang" roll-out. "We went live at 4pm and at 4.01pm we sent e-mails to 12,000 managers giving them their new usernames and passwords that they were able to use immediately to access the system," he said.

BAT developed TalenT to replace a similar application based on Peoplesoft software. It replaced a Juniper DX network acceleration device with a device from F5. The F5 device allowed BAT to boost application performance and provided secure access to staff across more than 50 countries.

Clean data

Lane said the biggest challenge was getting clean data, especially usernames and e-mail addresses, into the system. He also had to fix a "niggly" problem with the way the F5 device handled a Java script that meant some users sometimes had to abandon their Internet Explorer sessions and restart the application.

BAT resolved it with the help of London-based network security company ITC, which was responsible for the F5 installation.

Lane is now rolling out a self-service human resources system based on SAP that allows staff and managers to enter and manage their personal data and activities online. The system is live in the UK and Malaysia, and will roll out to the rest of BAT over the next 18 to 24 months.

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