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Westfield: We don't outsource

Westfield prefers a diet of "vanilla software" and in-house customisation to outsourcing its IT, the retail chain's director of IT, Peter Bourke, said at Gartner's Symposium yesterday.

Westfield prefers a diet of "vanilla software" and in-house customisation to outsourcing its IT, the retail chain's director of IT, Peter Bourke, said at Gartner's Symposium yesterday.

"We don't have the volume of transactions that lead to offshoring," he said.

Westfield's transactional systems -- ERP systems, leasing management systems, construction management systems and human resource management systems -- are standard off the shelf software, leaving only applications such as business intelligence to be customised in-house for the company's sector specific business processes.

"We want to be controlling our destiny," he said.

Westfield has not always used standard software for its transactional systems. "Historically we bought systems and then developed them or customised them," said Bourke, but added that the customised systems were difficult to upgrade.

"We now buy true vanilla, don't customise and go to the data warehouse for reporting," said Bourke.

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He identified security as one area in which Westfield employs a lot of its IT professionals, saying that most companies are "concerned about intrusion into their systems".

He also said, however, that it is very difficult to find good people in the current environment.

In an effort to keep employees, Bourke said the company is "trying to come to grips with generation X and Y" by offering them the ability to move from country to country within Westfield. Bourke said that the standard transactional systems are pivotal to this: "We want people to be productive from day one," he said.