News in brief: Most UK bankers are ignorant of SOA benefits

Short takes on this week's news: E-mail for prisoners, Allied Irish ups online authentication

Short takes on this week's news

Most UK bankers are ignorant of SOA benefits

Some 89% of department heads at banks in the UK have never heard of service oriented architectures (SOA), according to a survey by software firm Ilog. Of those who had heard of SOA, only 37% knew what benefits the technology could bring to their business processes.

E-mail for prisoners to be trialled at Wandsworth

The government's new National Offender Management Service is to trial a secure e-mail system for inmates at Wandsworth Prison in London as part of its attempt to cut re-offending rates. If successful, the system could be rolled out to other prisons in the UK.

Allied Irish Bank beefs up online authentication

Allied Irish Bank is to use new authentication systems from Vasco to secure the online transactions of its business customers. Features include one-time passwords and transaction signatures.

Retailers head towards contactless payment

Contactless payment systems are approaching the tipping point of adoption in retail operations, according to a survey by Aberdeen Group. The analyst firm found that 58% of retailers planned to implement contactless payment within the next 18 to 24 months.

John Lewis signs deal for new distribution centre

The John Lewis Partnership has signed an £18m contract with Austrian logistics company Knapp to run a new £45m distribution centre for the retailer's 26 department stores. Knapp is supplying its own warehouse management system and pick-to-light technology.

Aluminium firm to save with accounts system

Anglesey Aluminium Metal aims to save between £50,000 and £60,000 a year with a new purchase-to-pay system from Proactis. The software, which replaces a paper-based system, will cut the time taken to place purchase orders from 11 days to less than one day, the firm said.

Scottish Power signs mobile GIS contract

Scottish Power has awarded a £750,000 contract to ESRI to provide a mobile geographic information system. The system will support up to 800 engineers working across 70,000 miles of Scottish Power's UK electricity networks. It will allow them to access and record map-based data.

CSC slims down with loss of 1,000 staff in the UK

More than 1,000 staff in the UK have left services supplier CSC, either through early retirement or voluntary redundancy. "This has necessarily included some senior executives leaving the business," the firm said. CSC is the main local service provider to the NHS' £12.4bn National Programme for IT.

Local government to spend £600m less on IT

Local government will spend £600m less on IT in 2006-2007 than it did in 2005-2006, as IT directors realise cost savings from outsourcing and business transformation projects. Local authority IT managers' group Socitm has estimated that councils will spend £2.7bn in the coming financial year.

Flu simulation questions teleworking ability

An exercise to simulate the effects of a flu pandemic by financial firms in the City of London has raised questions about the ability of firms to support large-scale teleworking. The research questioned whether telecoms operators could support financial networks if they also experienced staff shortages.

Read more on Web software