The selection of management consulting firm Andersen Consulting by the Telecom Ministry to manage the installation of the SAP R/3 economic information system has the IT world hopeful that more large-scale projects will be undertaken soon.
According to an Andersen Consulting press release, the firm submitted its offer for the tender before the October 11 deadline and was notified by the ministry on November 6 that it had been selected as the winner. Jeffrey V. St. Peters, Andersen's country managing partner, said that his firm would work with IBM Slovakia, SAP, Softip and SPT Telecom in installing SAP R/3 - a software package which focuses on the financial management of companies in areas like invoices, budgets and payrolls - and in converting existing systems.
For IT firms in Slovakia, large-scale projects with state firms are big revenue-generators, and are crucial to their survival. "Projects providing business solutions are the core business of our company," said Viktor Cingel, the director of the information technology division at Bratislava IT firm PosAm. "Today, most projects concern just the delivery of goods rather than business solution projects."
Now, with the pending privatisations of the banking sector and ST, these IT firms hope to enjoy a windfall of profits as more complex computer system projects will be required to upgrade the state-run firms.
"Foreign strategic investors entering these state firms understand the importance of quality information systems," said Tomáš Osuský, IBM Slovakia's Marketing and Distribution Manager. "Therefore, I believe that business solution projects will increase after more privatisations."
AC's St. Peters would not reveal the total cost of the SAP R/3 project, but said that ST would be provided with a system that will allow the telecom firm to maximise efficiency. He also said that the quality of the system would help fetch a higher price for ST when it is eventually sold to a foreign investor.
"We believe that having a modern system will increase the price [of ST]," he said. "This is one of the reasons they are installing it. This is a business solution that will deliver benefits."
Igor Chochol, ST's Financial Director, told the daily paper Pravda that without the new system, the value of the any ST stake sold would decrease by 2 billion Slovak crowns.
Andersen Consulting's selection to manage the project did not come without controversy, however. Some Slovak media reports alleged that AC had helped prepare the tender conditions, an accusation Peters denied.
"We were extremely disapointed [with the media reports]," he said. "They gave incorrect information which tarnished the image of our firm. Journalists were incorrectly reporting our actions without ever consulting us or verifying information."
22. Nov 1999 at 0:00 | Chris Togneri