News in brief

Short takes from this week's news

Short takes from this week's news

US offers breathing space on Sarbanes-Oxley

The US has given overseas companies that want to list on the New York Stock Exchange an extra year to comply with the most difficult aspects of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Companies that are new to the NYSE may wait until they file their first annual report before complying with section 404 – the regulation that requires external auditors to sign-off business processes and internal controls.

Tesco IT director given international challenge

Tesco group IT director Colin Cobain has been put in charge of rolling out the retailer’s systems to its international businesses. Cobain, who oversees the company’s IT systems in the UK, has been tasked with making Tesco’s key systems, including its Oracle merchandising system, repeatable in every country where it does business.

Gartner offers five steps to data security

Analyst firm Gartner has advised businesses to follow five key steps to prevent the disclosure of confidential data. Organisations should deploy content monitoring and filtering to check the contents of outgoing traffic, encrypt
back-up tapes, secure workstations, encrypt laptops and use database activity monitoring, it said.

Suppliers back feasibility of ID cards scheme

Potential suppliers for the government’s ID cards scheme believe it is feasible and they are interested in bidding to build the systems to support it, according to a summary of survey responses released by the Home Office. The document said “all respondents” believed the scheme was feasible and, while recognising the challenges involved, “backed this up by indicating an interest in bidding for the procurement”.

Aon outsources business processes in £230m deal

Insurance broker Aon has signed a 10-year, £230m business process outsourcing deal with Xchanging. The contract involves the outsourcing of Aon’s Client Operations division, which handles insurance claims administration,
as well as accounting and settlement for clients within Aon’s re-insurance division.

BOC deploys open source data management system

Gas supplier BOC is rolling out the open source Mediawiki knowledge management system across its businesses. BOC has signed a deal with UK-based Sirius Corporation to help implement the system, which is designed to allow staff to share information easily and gain immediate feedback. As Mediawiki is open source, there are no annual or per user licence fees to pay.

Lloyds TSB outsources HR support to India

Lloyds TSB has signed a five-year, multi-process human resources outsourcing deal with Xansa. The multimillion-pound deal covers human resources functions, including administration, recruitment and helpdesks for training, advice, and general queries. The service will be delivered by about 150 staff in Xansa’s Indian delivery centres.

IBM unveils RFID system for pharmaceuticals

IBM has unveiled an RFID system for tracking pharmaceutical products. RFID tags are embedded on products at the unit, case and pallet level, authenticating the product from manufacturer to wholesalers to hospitals and pharmacies. The system could help the industry combat the problem of counterfeit medicines, said IBM.

Woolworths insources supply chain operations

Woolworths has insourced its supply chain operations as part of a year-long effort to make its replenishment systems more flexible. Most of the supply chain operations previously supplied by Zendor have been brought back in-house. DTS Logistics, Woolworths’ clothing partner, will take on responsibility for online clothes sales.

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