IP Australia on a mission to eliminate Word macros

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IP Australia on a mission to eliminate Word macros

Better document generation solution sought.

IP Australia has asked software suppliers for alternatives to its legacy Microsoft Word template and macro system for document generation.

At a briefing with software suppliers in Canberra yesterday, representatives from the agency explained that IP Australia has relied on Microsoft Word macros and templates for some years.

"We have 1000 interactive word macros lying around our environment," explained Bill Voeten, enterprise architect at IP Australia.

"For example, one of them makes a call to the mainframe in Melbourne via IBM's MQ series. This generates a text file that is FTP'd back to us and the word macro then picks up the FTP from a share and populates Word."

"What fascinated me, about that is that it worked," Voeten said. "It goes to show what you can do with Word. Funnily enough, it doesn't break either."

But maintaining and upgrading the Word Macros through the latest iterations of Word was proving costly and a drain on IT resources.

"It's killing us," Voeten said.

"In terms of outbound correspondence, 1.1 million pages are going out of the place," said Rob Bollard, director of business process improvement at IP Australia.

Bollard said the agency uses Word macros for correspondence regarding examination reports, letters acknowledging an issue or alerting customers that the agency is following up a matter, as well as receipts and other sorts of documents.

IP Australia is now seeking quotations to provide its estimated 1000 staff with the capabilities to easily create and alter documents for its current suite of correspondence.

The solution is intended to increase accuracy and structure, and reduce IT costs through the elimination of Word Macros.

Yesterday the agency officiated over a briefing with representatives from document generation specialist companies, HP, Global Kap, Fujitsu, Converga, Fuji Xerox Australia and Intelledox.

Vendors have until 7 February 2011 to respond.

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