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Novell's Service Oriented Architecture Solution

11 July 2005

Novell's Service Oriented Architecture Solution Selected To Revamp TEC's Web Based Applications

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has awarded Novell a contract to help transform their intranet from a static HTML site to an advanced, interactive portal that will improve business efficiency.

Novell is using their service-oriented architecture, ExteNd Enterprise Suite, which was chosen ahead of other market leading products, to develop an intranet portal that will provide employees with web access to email, calendaring and documents, an advanced staff directory and personalised, relevant information. The portal will also enable the TEC to automate leave and business travel approval processes, provide single sign-on across a variety of internal applications and distribute the creation and approval of intranet content.

The TEC is the government body responsible for the allocation of funding for all post-compulsory education and training courses offered by institutions such as universities, polytechnics, private training establishments and community education providers throughout New Zealand. It has over 300 full time staff spread across 16 office locations.

Michael Middlemiss, Manager of Information Systems at the TEC said, "Our existing intranet was an interim measure that grew into a permanent solution. It was very simple and contained mainly static HTML content that was uploaded via Dreamweaver.
"We will have a solution that will make life much easier for our staff and improve efficiencies. Our users will be able to customise the site to improve their experience and access the information that is relevant to them, such as their email or region specific content and it will allow us to automate processes such as approving leave and travel.

"When we decided to revamp our intranet we looked at almost every portal solution on the market. We decided upon Novell's ExteNd because it provided the best fit with our existing technologies and has some powerful functionality straight out of the box, such as the graphical interface that is very easy for us to use and manage."

A key feature of the portal is the inclusion of an advanced staff directory, which runs on eGuide, a web application that enables search and retrieval of names and details stored in the TEC's existing Sun One Identity Management Server.

The portal also includes functionality for online form submission and workflow processes which will speed up the approval of business travel and leave requests. The new portal will give users the ability to fill in and submit forms online as well as receive notification of status. It will automatically notify and remind managers to approve a form and forward this to the Finance department.

Mr Middlemiss said, "One of the problems we face at the TEC is that our staff members sometimes don't know who to contact about specific requests. Therefore we created a staff directory which enables staff to quickly locate the person they need, searching by name or area of expertise, and identify managerial relationships within the organisation. As it is integrated with our existing identity management system we won't be duplicating information."

The current intranet contains mainly static content but is not content managed. "At the moment our staff rely on web analysts at the TEC to create and upload the intranet content. ExteNd allows users to create their own content and has built in authorisations and approval processes, which will take the burden off the IT team and give our users a greater sense of ownership. The content management system will enable the material to be managed centrally with security and version control," said Mr Middlemiss.

"In addition staff can choose to receive notifications about the update of information which they need to know about, rather than a global email being sent across the organisation. This will relieve email overload for our staff," he added.

Matthew Christie, General Manager Novell New Zealand said, "The exteNd portal solution is simple to use, maintain and support, which allows for speedy development and hassle free ongoing maintenance. It is also easy to deploy on the TEC's existing architecture -JBOSS web server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. This has resulted in a lower total cost of ownership and greater return on investment for the TEC as well as a fast turnaround time. Overall the whole project will only take a few months to complete."

The first phase of the portal project is currently being implemented and is expected to be completed within a month.


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