Leading funds manager MLC has enlisted the services of IBM GSA and Advantra - a Telstra/Lend Lease/IBM joint venture - among other channel partners to embark on a massive IT upgrade, which officials claim will firmly entrench the organisation as an e-commerce player.
According to MLC officials, the initial stage of the rollout was completed in around seven months and involved a team of around 60 staff from MLC and 10 different partners.
IBM GSA was selected to do the bulk of the integration and systems work along with software development and infrastructure deployment. Advantra was contracted to provide Web-hosting facilities that will be put into action when MLC launches its new e-commerce-enabled Web site this week.
Michelle Tredenick, MLC's chief information officer, explained that the funds manager needed to establish an e-commerce capability to ward off what the organisation believes will be a threat to its business from non-traditional finance companies.
"Our call centres were constantly flooded with basic customer calls regarding account balances.
"We expect the new Web site (http://www.mlc.com.au) will take care of the lion's share of these calls and reduce the burden on our call centre operations."
When asked if Advantra won the Web-hosting deal because of its links as a Lend Lease company, Tredenick claimed it won that part of the deal fair and square. "We always select our partners on the proviso that they offer the best solutions. We believe Advantra offered a compelling Web-hosting solution.