News in brief

Short takes on this week's news

Child Support Agency's backlog of cases grows

The Child Support Agency's backlog of cases climbed to 263,000 in June this year from 238,000 in November 2003, according to a parliamentary statement. All 263,000 cases in the backlog are applications for maintenance from an absent parent, which have yet to be processed. The CSA has suffered from poorly implemented IT systems throughout its existence as a government agency.

Worst financial services companies lagging on IT

Many financial services companies are less efficient than the leading companies in their markets because they are lagging behind on IT, according to analyst firm TowerGroup. The worst banks, insurers and fund groups spend 60 cents to make $1 of revenue compared with the 40 cents spent by the best firms. "Operational efficiency is burdened by fragmented IT systems and intricate legacy interfaces," said TowerGroup analyst Guillermo Kopp.

Specsavers implements new financial system

Optician Specsavers has implemented a financial management application from Cedar in a £500,000 deal. The supplier's Openaccounts Financials application will be used in Specsavers' offices and stores. Some 4,000 people will use Openaccounts as a result of the deal. The application handles financial reporting, procurement and expenses management.

Lenovo to build 1,000- teraflop computer

Chinese manufacturer Lenovo is aiming to build a supercomputer 10 times more powerful than the world's current fastest computer, IBM's Bluegene/L. In May, Lenovo acquired IBM's personal computing division, becoming the world's third largest PC manufacturer. Now it is trying to beat IBM's supercomputing  record by building a machine capable of performing 1,000 teraflops - one trillion floating point operations per second. Blue Gene/L can manage 137TFlops.

Retailer picks bespoke stocktaking system

Menswear retailer The Officers Club has implemented a system from BancTec to manage stock at its 180 stores. BancTec's Stockfirst system will be used by the retailer's seven area auditors to monitor stock levels in the stores. Store staff will be equipped with handheld devices to monitor stock.

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