When Darryl Warren took the CIO reins at Lion Nathan last year he knew that if the Lion technology team was to meet its core purpose of achieving"transformation through technology", it could do with a little transformation itself. As a result, Warren has overseen a major restructure of brewer Lion Nathan's IT organisation. It is a reform he believes will help the organisation to reap the potential of IT to transform the business and enable the company to reach its goal of being the most admired company in Australasia, not to mention the best drinks company of the 21st century.
"Lion sees e-enablement in its broadest sense as being one of its key game-breakers going into the future," Warren says."So what do I want to see? I want to see technology being a key transformational tool used by Lion Nathan going into the future."
Warren has restructured Lion technology into three streams across the Australasian business - products, services and account management (where three account managers are assigned per business unit) - following a review of its service delivery model. The newly-forged matrix structure is designed to be flexible and responsive to changing business needs, Warren says, with customer satisfaction a major driver in the organisation and the new structure enabling the group to measure IT's performance against that matrix internally.
The company is also in the process of installing new systems and technologies. E-enablement initiatives under way include"refreshing" its New Zealand B2C offering Shopnaked.co.nz and launching a Steinlager Web site. Another project on Warren's e-agenda is the installation of the .Net Peopleplanet human resources portal to automate all the people processes Lion Nathan runs internally.
The Australian business is a major shareholder in artesian.com.au, a B2B portal for the hospitality industry. The company also has a majority stake in an Internet development company, ANZ-based Real Developments, which partners with procurement company Cyberlinx and Artesian.
"We're significantly moving to develop portals," Warren says."We've always had intranets in place but the challenge has been finding the information that you're looking for. So we're moving to a portal metaphor where we present the information that people are looking for, based upon their needs, directly to them through a portal interface. Peopleplanet has a portal interface, we have a finance portal currently in pilot called Finnet, which also uses a portal interface, and all use a common infrastructure - Microsoft Digital Dashboard as it happens to be - as the delivery mechanism."
An online supply chain management system from i2 Technologies is helping cut the cost of demand forecasting, with savings already being made in the beer brewing operation. An internal survey in August last year showed beer inventory levels had already been reduced by 25 per cent.
The restructure is also helping the IT organisation to use its trans-Tasman capability to provide greater coverage to the organisation. In practical terms that means a help desk manned from 7.30am Auckland time until 5.30 in the evening in Perth, using simple follow-the-sun principles. The CTI computer telephony integration (CTI) solution, which has been in place since September of last year, is used to centralise Lion Nathan's existing distributed call centre operations, to provide a standardised and improved method of call handling (see"The Online Shout", page 92). The next phase of the project will involve the upgrade of the system for migration to Siebel 2000.
"We're going to leverage the solutions across both countries, clearly, and I guess leverage the e-enablement push that we've got, in order to really free up people's time in the business to add value," Warren says."That's the criteria. If we can get rid of most of the underlying drudge and paper and all that sort of thing, then we can actually free people up in our organisation to add value to the organisation rather than concentrating on the trivia."
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