Computer News - In Brief

Computing

- IBM SA has launched SA's second Linux Competency Centre at the University of Cape Town (UCT). The centres, launched in partnership with Novell, Obsidian and SAP, provide open source software and open standards. University students can use the hardware in the centres for non-commercial purposes and to work on research projects. Mark Harris, IBM country GM for South and Central Africa, says the decision to launch the centres was based on IBM SA's commitment to Linux and open source. Joe Ruthven, IBM SA's business development manager for Linux and open source, says many customers are serious about Linux, but don't always have the resources to get going with Linux-related projects. Professor Ken MacGregor, head of the UCT's computer science department, says the centre will give students access to advanced Linux servers so that they can become competent before entering the industry.

- Business software provider SAP has won a R350 million deal to convert all of Absa Bank's business systems to the mySAP Business Suite. The deal comes amid talks on a Barclays bid for a majority stake in Absa. The software deal is a significant one, as this is the first instance of a bank outside of Europe choosing SAP's banking regulation solution. The deal includes the replacement of the Absa Vehicle and Asset Finance system with the SAP Asset Finance and Leasing module. SAP says Absa will be only the second national bank in the world to implement its Bank Analyser module, which helps banks manage credit risk and regulatory obligations. Johan Woest, Absa's strategic programme manager for the SAP implementation project, says the bank sees the deal as a strategic enabler, helping it to meet the Basel II regulatory requirements by the 2006 deadline. The second Basel Capital Accord, or Basel II, is a global regulatory framework to make banks more accountable for ensuring provision of capital to cover default and risk. Woest says the deal will also improve corporate governance and reporting capabilities, enable the integration of processes and improve efficiency across the organisation.