News in brief

Short takes on this week's news

Short takes on this week's news

John Lewis cuts invoice approval times

John Lewis has installed a new business process management system, designed to reduce delays in the approval of non-merchandise invoices at 26 UK stores. SoftCo’s accounts payable software has been integrated with Peoplesoft, John Lewis’ enterprise resource planning system, and replaces paper-based processes. The implementation has cut invoice approval times from seven days to two days.

Application development high on list for SMEs

Application development, web design, and security assessment and implementation are the IT consulting services most in demand from small and medium-size enterprises this year, according to a survey of 780 IT decision makers by Forrester Research.

Vodafone goes live with 3G broadband network

Vodafone has gone live with the UK’s first high-speed 3G network and is now selling “3G broadband” datacards. Vodafone is offering mobile users in major cities up to 1.8mbps of bandwidth downstream, and 384kbps upstream – about four times the speed of current 3G networks. The service is based on High Speed Downlink Packet Access – a software upgrade to the radio network.

Council CIOs face budget delays from Whitehall

Council IT directors face uncertainty over their budgets because Whitehall is delaying the publication of a new set of public sector spending targets. A discussion document on proposed council budgets from 2008 to 2011 had been due by 25 July. Councils are expected to cut their back office costs by an average of 20% using shared services.

Most Oracle database outages fault of hardware

Most outages in Oracle databases are caused by hardware problems, not security problems, according to a survey of the US-based Independent Oracle User Group. Members said hardware problems caused about half of the downtime incidents in Oracle databases over the past year. The survey also revealed that more than 70% of companies had suffered from a database crash lasting more than an hour over the past 12 months.

Unilever advances global plan with mobile VPN

Unilever is deploying Netmotion Mobility XE mobile virtual private network technology as part of its global plan to provide line-of-business applications to staff via Windows Mobile handhelds. The software will be used by the field sales team to gain secure access to information and allow them to submit sales orders for immediate processing while on the road.

Hovsepian replaces Messman as Novell CEO

The Novell board has replaced chief executive Jack Messman with Ron Hovsepian. Hovsepian has been seen as a potential successor to Messman since his arrival at the software firm from IBM in 2003.

DSG turns to electronic invoicing for cost savings

Dixons and Currys retail group DSG International is to abandon paper invoicing in favour of an electronic system using the OB10 electronic invoice exchange. OB10 hosts a global e-invoicing network that allows invoices to be transmitted directly between suppliers’ billing systems and buyers’ enterprise resource planning or accounting systems. DSG expects the move to bring significant cost savings and improve back-office efficiency.

Housing Association rolls out new VoIP system

Nottingham Community Housing Association is to roll out a voice over IP system to help it cut costs.With 10,000 tenants, the association is the largest locally based housing provider in the East Midlands. The IP environment, which will be delivered by ntl:Telewest Business, will combine data, voice calls and internet access over a single network, delivering “significant savings”, said the association.

Number plate recognition cameras nab illegal cars

The government is to deploy a fleet of wheel-clamping vans that use number plate scanning technology to take untaxed and illegal cars off the road. The vans’ automatic number plate recognition cameras will scan number plates and check them against the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s database. The vans will be operated by car-parking group NCP, which has won a three-year deal with the DVLA.

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