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And, with three in every four passengers a high-spending American, the economic benefits for NSW are considerable.The NSW Tourism Minister, Sandra Nori, estimates that during its three-month season cruising between Sydney and New Zealand, Sapphire Princess passengers would boast the NSW economy by at least $4 million - probably more, since many are first-time visitors to Australia who will spend extra days in NSW at either end of their cruise.
The bank is carrying out a huge re-consolidation project.
When Arthur Phillip sailed into Port Jackson for the first time in 1788, the size of his flagship, Sirius, amazed the local inhabitants. With a gross registered tonnage of 116,000 tonnes, Sapphire Princess is the largest - and newest - passenger ship to go through the Heads.
A new visitor docked in Sydney Cove on Wednesday and proved no less awesome - Sapphire Princess, roughly 300 times larger than Sirius. At 18 storeys high, it may be only 7000 tonnes bigger, two metres higher and one metre wider than its sister liner Star Princess, which set the record last year. Only one larger ship - the 118,000-tonne ore carrier Iron Pacific - has ever ventured into Port Jackson.
The approach is believed to provide cost advantages from the aggregation of common IT functions and flexibility from the decentralisation of application management.
Despite recent surveys that indicate the majority of organizations continue to view a centralised IT system as the most "business-friendly" approach, advocates of the balanced model say it results in tangible benefits.
"Hybrid models avoid the extremes of a purely centralised or decentralised model, and bring about the best of both worlds," says Susan Hwee, executive vice president of IT at Singapore-based United Overseas Bank (UOB).
Getting the right mix In a central IT organisation, all functions-including planning, application development and maintenance-as well as resources such as personnel, equipment and budget come under the command of a CIO or CFO.
If the IT investment is in the business unit, then do they have a say in what technology we use?
" asks Burton, speaking at a recent MIS Asia roundtable on server consolidation in Kuala Lumpur.
And Sydney has become a port of choice, poised to cash in on the record 11 million people who booked a cruise in 2004.
Monster ships such as the Sapphire Princess - still a dwarf compared to the 151,000-tonne Queen Mary 2 - encourage first-time cruisers because their cabin prices tend to be lower.
Data centres, networks, back-office functions and corporate IT systems throughout the region are being pooled in Singapore for economies of scale.