News in brief

Short takes from this week's news

Short takes from this week's news

UK firms lack IT quality measurement policies

Less than half of large UK companies have a formal policy to measure the quality of internal IT operations service and delivery, according to a survey by research firm Coleman-Parkes for Dimension Data. The study found that this lack of investment contributes to significant system downtime, equating to 235 hours a year for the average UK company. The survey questioned 214 senior IT executives from the UK's largest 750 firms.

Microsoft to launch CRM 3.0 in December

Microsoft will release its CRM 3.0 package in early December, after releasing the public beta of the product last week. New features include marketing automation facilities and a service scheduling module. The new version is also more tightly integrated with Office and the company's SQL Reporting Services, so users do not have to rely so heavily on third-party tools.

Major Linux Kernel upgrade is released

Linux Kernel 2.6.14 has been released - a major upgrade of the software that forms the core of many enterprise Linux products. New features include native support for Wi-Fi running on Intel's mobile Centrino platform, plus better support for hardware connection technologies such as Infiniband, USB and SCSI.

British Library books to be digitised by Microsoft

The British Library and Microsoft have announced a deal to allow the software company to digitise 25 million pages of the library's books. The scanned books will be made available on the library's own website, as well as the MSN web portal.

Autonomy to buy rival search engine Verity

Search engine provider Autonomy is to acquire rival Verity for £282m. Autonomy said it would offer the Verity business search products as an integrated component of the Autonomy Intelligent Data Operating Layer architecture.

Croydon uses SMS to send air quality alerts

Croydon Council is using an SMS gateway to pilot a service called Airtext. It enables the council to send residents information on air quality to their mobile phones. Airtext aims to benefit people with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and heart disease.

BAA uses Vignette for its web infrastructure

The British Airports Authority is using content management and portal software tools from Vignette to overhaul its web infrastructure. The organisation, which operates seven UK airports, said the project was part of its information lifecycle management strategy and would enable it to become an "agile enterprise".

Bupa deploys Teradata datawarehouse

Healthcare provider Bupa is to use a Teradata enterprise datawarehouse to help reduce IT infrastructure complexity and costs, and improve customer service. Phase one of the project will provide a single operational system to produce management and operational reports. Phase two will concentrate on making information available to Bupa's business-to-business operations, and phase three on delivering information to consumer-facing teams.

IBM and Sun support document standard

IBM and Sun Microsystems are attempting to boost support for Open Document Format (ODF), an open source file and document sharing specification. ODF competes against Adobe's PDF and Microsoft's fledgling XPS format. ODF is supported by the Openoffice productivity suite, Sun's Staroffice 8 collaboration software and IBM Workplace.

Microsoft to buy Swiss VoIP company

Microsoft is to acquire Swiss voice over IP company Media-streams.com to help boost its unified communications platform, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server. The Zurich company develops VoIP-based communications applications that fit with the technologies Microsoft is already developing with its Live Communications product.

Value of internet sales rose by 81% in 2004

The value of internet sales by businesses rose to £71.1bn in 2004, an increase of 81% on the 2003 figure of £39.3bn, according to the  annual e-commerce survey published by the Office for National Statistics. Some 6.7% of businesses sold goods and services over the internet in 2004, compared with 5.4% in 2003. In addition, 35.3% of businesses made purchases over the internet in 2004, up from 29.4% in 2003.

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