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Peace launches $100,000 scholarship programme

Peace launches $100,000 scholarship programme online

Leading-edge technology company meets technology-savvy students online

Auckland, 8 July 1999 - Auckland-based Peace Software has launched a scholarship programme for undergraduates, making up to $100,000 available for students studying computer science and related subjects. This, the first New Zealand scholarship programme to run over the web, makes up to 20 scholarships worth $5000 available to third year undergraduates nationwide.

"We have a history of innovative use of web technology - our Energy(tm) product is based on it," said Brian Peace, Peace Software CEO. "So we thought our scholarship programme should be web-based too, because we want to meet technology-savvy people on their own ground. Interested students can read about the details at www.peace.com. Application forms are on the website for students to complete and email to us.

"The Peace Scholarship Programme is the only scholarship of its kind in New Zealand, designed to help students through their studies and then give them a leg up into their careers."

Each year, Peace will make up to 20 scholarships available, worth $5000 each. Peace provides the students with work experience opportunities and at the end of their degree, scholars get a job for a year. Then if they're interested in leading-edge technology and travel opportunities with a rapidly growing company, they can stay on.

"We are looking for talented people who can help us grow," said Mr Peace. "We know we're competing for the very best in New Zealand. We're confident that once they've worked with us, they'll want to stay. This is about getting to them in the first place.

"We don't have enough talented programmers available to fulfil the needs of New Zealand's hi tech industry. I do expect that this will make us a good option for undergraduates."

Mr Peace said that to maintain the growth rate it needed, Peace Software had to attract the best graduates as well as highly qualified and talented people from overseas. It now has 150 staff, and approximately 65% of these are software developers. This is in line with the company goal of reaching 300 developers by 2001, in order to support customer demand worldwide.

Last year, Peace tested the scheme by running a pilot scholarship with third year electrical engineering student Tony Kong. Tony is now a key member of Peace's 10-strong research lab, concentrating on enhancing Energy's BUI Internet technology.

"Having an extra five thousand dollars and knowing I had a good job to go to meant I could concentrate on getting on with performing at uni," said Tony. "Any way you look at it, it's a great start to my career."

"The Peace Scholarship Programme means that highly motivated people with high grades can get support while they're studying," said Peace. "When they come out of university they can join a New Zealand company and get the chance to work on the latest technology, including our supercomputer. They can get international travel, a great career path, and can become a shareholder in this organisation."

Attracting and securing excellent talent and encouraging the expectation that key people will be rewarded is a critical part of the Peace culture. With this in mind, the company launched a US-style staff option scheme last March, called PeaceStock. Stock options are still new in New Zealand, especially in private companies. However, Peace believes that employee stock options are an excellent way of aligning an employee's personal interests with the growth of the company.

Peace also knows that when people join the company, there is a good chance they'll stay with it: in comparison with the New Zealand industry average staff turnover of 31.26%, Peace enjoys an extremely low rate of 7.5% (source: IDC Survey 1998).

"The Government is committed to actively promoting the success of internationally competitive products and building a culture which is supportive of innovation and enterprise," said Honourable Max Bradford, Minister of Enterprise and Commerce, Minister of Tertiary Education. "This initiative sends a message to New Zealand students that there's an excellent future in New Zealand's hi-tech industry. If young people get suitably qualified, they can get involved in developing intellectual capital that competes in world markets."

"The software industry needs talented young people to complete qualifications and pursue careers here in New Zealand," said John Ball, New Zealand Software Association president. "The quality of kiwi programmers is excellent, but graduates often take their qualifications and head off overseas. This is a way of keeping more programmers in the country than might otherwise be the case. It's also heartening to know that Peace Software will maintain and grow its research and development arm here in New Zealand."

Leveraging the experience gained in the New Zealand and Australian deregulated utility markets, Peace is expanding rapidly in the North American market. Customers in North America include Enron, BC Gas and InSite/Pepco.

"American energy companies are impressed by what we're able to offer in both software and experience in a deregulated environment. We've again demonstrated that we're able to produce world class software in New Zealand," said Mr Peace.

Background

Peace Software develops and implements the Energy Customer Information System for gas, electric, and water utilities. Peace's systems are web browser-based solutions that operate on open hardware and relational databases. Peace's experience around the world in deregulated markets uniquely enables the company to provide competitive advantage to customers. Peace Software's Energy product is a comprehensive information system designed to meet and anticipate the needs of energy retailers in deregulated markets. Energy includes the functions energy service providers need to operate successfully in deregulated markets, including customer enrolment, call centre customer care, Internet customer service, accounts receivable, integrated residential and industrial customer billing, consolidated billing or commodity-only billing, billing of other products and services, demand forecasting and demand settlements.

Energy is unique in providing energy consumers with online, 24-hour Internet access to their account details. It also enables them to ask questions, request products and services, analyse their energy usage for any historical period, and to explore detailed 3-D demand and price profiles utilising Peace's Java and VRML browser data visualisation technology.

Technological leadership is critical to the product's success. For instance, Energy's innovative Browser User Interface (BUI) adds tremendous value to the call centre. It leverages the usability and familiarity of the web browser to accelerate training effectiveness, integrate database information presentation with business processes and allows other information sources to support the delivery of consistent, quality customer service.

Energy uses a flexible and sophisticated, multi-tier, Enterprise Java Beans and CORBA object architecture to deliver functionality without compromising the transaction-processing scalability essential to support the largest customer databases.

For more information, please visit Peace Software's website at www.peace.com. ENDS For more information, please contact: Brian Peace, Peace Software, 09 373 0400 Sally Raudon, Botica Conroy & Associates, 09 303 3862, sallyr@bca.co.nz

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