concurrent workshops (HR Interactions)
D1 Building the Heart of a Communications Matrix:
the Tabnet case study
Malcolm Perry, IT Manager; Pete Evans, eBusiness Manager;
Inez Romanos, Intranet Publisher; Lynley Sinclair, HR
The New Zealand Racing Board
How do you take an organisation with staff performing an
enormous diversity of roles, in geographically scattered
and changing locations, with a long history of difficulty
in maintaining communications links, and the consequent problems
with morale and uniformity of operations… and turn
its communications around in six months?
The New Zealand Racing Board launched
its intranet on 1 September 2003, having begun its development
only in April. The New Zealand Racing Board is the organisation
that runs the TAB
betting agency and is responsible for building the profitability
of the New Zealand racing sector of the New Zealand economy.
This session will trace the intranet’s development
and launch, and the key considerations at technological,
strategic, organisational and operational levels that have
made it such an effective tool and outstanding success.
The site’s objective was to address
poor communications and their impact on business operations,
morale and co-operation.
The intranet has turned this situation around in short order,
becoming the heart of a structured, consistent and effective
matrix of internal communications. It has unified delivery
of messages and key business information to all corners of
the business, by:
- Sharing news interactively
- Making centralised, consistent
information readily available throughout the organisation
- Promoting the sharing of information and business knowledge
- Streamlining business processes and administration,
with impact on our bottom line.
- Underpinning our community
Presentation 70%; Q&A 20%; forum10%
The cornerstone of this initiative’s success
is its involvement of a team of experts from
throughout the business whose perspectives and skills complement
each other. They are from
the marketing, IT and communications parts of the business
as well as HR. These are the people who would present; the
strengths they bring to the project itself are reflected
in what they bring to the session.
Internal communication is typically the Cinderella of business
communications, and a frequent complaint of staff in many
settings is, “we’re the last to know”, “we
read it in the newspaper”, or “nobody ever tells
To combat the “mushroom syndrome”, many organisations
are embracing online technology and building intranets. They
can provide a central location for all the news and information
to be shared among all staff; they can enable staff to communicate
with each other and construct a sense of community people;
and with the inclusion of even simple online tools, they
can dramatically streamline business processes, saving time,
simplifying processes, and impacting on the bottom line.
Such is the interest in this relatively new form of internal
business communication that UK-based
knowledge management consultants Ark Group conference has
run a series of conferences in Australia and New Zealand
on the subject. Four organisations at each event have presented
their intranets, in a forum-style setting aimed for those
at every stage of intranet development, from “what
are these things?” through “do we want one?” to “how
shall we do it?” and “now where from here?”.
The New Zealand Racing Board presented at events in Auckland
and Wellington, to delegates from
around the country and throughout New Zealand industry and
administration. Our workshop was warmly received and sparked
lively, useful discussion. We would like to pass the value
of this event onto HRINZ members.
All four members of the intranet development team are involved
in the presentation, putting the audience directly in touch
with the experience and the lessons learnt along the way.
Lynley Sinclair, HR Manager - Led the development project
Malcolm Perry, IT Manager - Technical network requirements
Pete Evans, eBusiness Project Manager - Technical build of the site
Inez Romanos, Intranet Publisher - Ongoing communications management
The session includes a look at the history, the difficulties
needing to be addressed, tried and rejected models and designs,
the process we followed, and the surprisingly fast six-month
The “tabnet” intranet – Building the Heart
of a Communications Matrix takes in:
- Our operation and its special conditions and
- The history of the project itself
- An unusual approach from the techies – they delivered
it, but intranet is not their baby
- Building 400+ site pages – in minutes
and launching to make the intranet a key staff destination
- Getting the news in front of everyone, when they want
and need it
- a demonstration of the
Builder software that makes “tabnet” so
easy to keep current and relevant
Future developments – building functionality
About the NZRB
The New Zealand Racing Board is the organisation that runs
the TAB betting agency and is responsible for building
the profitability of the New Zealand racing sector of
the New Zealand economy.
The NZRB includes in its organisation diverse services and
disciplines - A National Office including typical functions
of any major business HQ, the Wagering business unit managing
racing and sports betting; Trackside, the TAB’s own
television production facility with mobile crews nation wide;
Retail, the network of TABs throughout every corner of New
Zealand; and Technical Services, which develops and runs
the international-standard software and hardware at the core
of the TAB’s operations, including a wagering website
and touch-tone betting services.
The NZRB is at the heart of the racing industry, and employs
over 900 people.
We launched the “tabnet” intranet on 1 September
Sinclair, Human Resources Manager
Resources Manager, Lynley is responsible for the
frameworks, systems, policies and advice on people issues
of strategic importance to the business as a whole.
the TAB from New Zealand Post where she worked
in senior Human Resources positions and as Learning and
Development Manager. She has worked for several other organisations
two years as a Human Resources Consultant with Ernst & Young.
graduated from Canterbury University with a Master of Science
(Honours) degree majoring in Psychology. She subsequently
completed a Masters of Business Administration from Henley
Management College in the United Kingdom, and is also a
Lynley is currently Wellington
Branch president of HRINZ.
Malcolm Perry, IT Manager
Malcolm has been involved in the IT industry for 17 years.
Malcolm is IT Manager responsible for the 24x7 Computer
Operations environment and support of the Corporate computing
infrastructure. He was involved with the development and
implementation of an ebusiness strategy for the TAB and is
involved with the NZRB's Internet program.
Malcolm has completed a postgraduate Diploma in Business
(Information Systems) and is currently studying towards a
post graduate Certificate in Leisure and Entertainment Management
through Sydney's Charles Sturt University on-line business
Pete Evans, eBusiness Project Manager
Pete has more than
20 years of experience in software development.
He has been with the TAB as a Programmer, Analyst Programmer
and Team Leader on the Jetbet
wagering system, working on a wide range of new products.
He is currently eBusiness Project Manager and manages
the on-going enhancements to the TAB website, interactive
betting (through the SKY Digital service) and text messaging
systems. He undertook construction of “tabnet” and
continues to develop tools for building automating the
Inez Romanos, Intranet Publisher
Inez is a writer with experience across corporate communication,
public relations, and community, daily and radio journalism.
Inez has just returned from 11 years in London. She worked
there in a variety of writing and marketing roles, in industries
ranging from merchant banking to construction management.
She returned to her native Wellington in 2003 last year,
working for the New Zealand Racing Board since July, publishing
the intranet working on other internal communications projects.
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