Intergen Smarts 25 (2011)


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Intergen's newsletter, Smarts, now available for online reading.

Intergen provides information technology solutions across Australia, New Zealand and the world based exclusively on Microsoft’s tools and technologies.

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Intergen Smarts 25 (2011)

  1. 1. INTERGENITES OUT & ABOUT >> 2 THE ART OF STORYTELLING >> 6TOP TEN TRENDS CRM >> 7 8INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT - RETAIL 9THOUGHTS ON THE INDUSTRY >> 10MICROSOFT DYNAMICS CRM >> 11THE CLOUD: ONLINE SERVICES >> 12 >> HOT NEWS: WEB STRATEGY >> 3 ACCESSIBILITY >> 4 >> T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M AG A Z I N E I S S U E 2 5 >> MICROSOFT DYNAMICS NAV >> 5 < Copyright 2011 Intergen Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of Intergen Limited > Engagement in all things Intergen Christchurch on the move With our old Christchurch office still out of bounds, the fit-out for our new premises in Russley Road is underway and our staff are either working from home or in one of the three Portacoms we’ve secured at the site of the new offices in the Airport Business Park. Building keynote demos for crowds of thousands When Steve Ballmer and the Microsoft Dynamics team need to showcase the latest Microsoft technologies to the world, who do they call on? Why, us, of course. Chris Auld shares our latest keynote triumphs and looks at the art of building engaging demos on page 5. SHAREPOINT DESIGN >> Recent events have reminded us that Mother Nature has her own plans. We’ve had numerous customers and staff directly affected by the recent natural disasters in Queensland and Christchurch; the after effects are immense, and will continue to be. We were very lucky in that none of our Christchurch staff or their families were injured in the earthquake but the disruption to people’s lives has been significant. Our staff have been fantastic throughout this period. Outwardly it is business as usual despite the difficult circumstances, both at work and at home. You will see throughout this issue of SMARTS continuing evidence of us moving from being purely a technology vendor to being much more focused on our clients’ business outcomes. Technology is still our passion, but what really excites us is the things that it can do to help our clients reach their potential. Our Engaged Web Report shows how, by engaging with their website visitors, organisations can greatly enhance the benefit they gain from their website. This is less about the content management solution you choose and more about how you use the tools and techniques available to deliver to your users. We’re lucky that, as part of the 360 degree relationship we have with Microsoft, we get to do work for them that is exciting, innovative and, in many cases, high pressured and high profile. Over the past year we’ve developed a number of cool demos for keynote speeches at some of Microsoft’s biggest conferences. Working with the very early releases of products can be a minefield but the experience our developers and consultants gain is invaluable. We also develop a lot of training material and samples that are used to train developers and consultants worldwide on how to use the new systems. This, again, is very rewarding for our staff and a great educational opportunity. 2011 is well and truly underway. I hope we can put the shaky start behind us and look forward to a more stable year. We look forward to understanding your plans for the remainder of the year and helping you to help your organisation reach its potential.
  2. 2. >>2 >> I N T E R G E N I T E O U T & A B O U T < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E T W E N T Y F I V E > >> INTERGENITE: Cheryl Adams What do you do? I’m the General Manager in Dunedin, responsible for the growth and success of our Dunedin office. It’s my job to empower the amazing team we’ve got here in Dunedin to deliver outstanding value to our clients. How do you make a difference? I love solving problems and delivering results, analysing complex problems and extracting the essential issues. I develop strong relationships based on respect and trust and am dedicated to using resources efficiently. I use these attributes every day, be it helping a graduate developer embark on their career or working with clients to determine the best path forward. What do you love about your job? Intergen has upwards of 270 enthusiastic, intelligent and articulate people who all take real ownership of the projects they’re working on. That, alongside the awesome efficacy of a mature Project Management Office and the real focus on strong customer relationships, makes coming to work every day an absolute pleasure. A bit about yourself… Born a farmer’s daughter in Mid Canterbury I now live on a ‘no-lifestyle’ block just out of Port Chalmers with my partner and two pre- school boys. I love the South Island of New Zealand and seize any opportunity to be out in it – tramping, fishing, boating, diving, running, biking or just plain old relaxing. 9 1. Dressed to the nines Clockwise from left: Faranak Torabi, Greg Olsen, Phil Warin and Aben Samuel enjoy a day at the Auckland Cup. 2. This year’s grad intake hits the bowling alley. 3. Catch of the day. Joe Newton shows off his haul after a day on the Auckland Harbour. 4. Lee Herd dons his whites for the Wellington Social Club cricket match. 5. Entries in the Northern Region photo competition. 6. Mel Highet shows how it’s done on the golf course. 7. A good excuse for a barbie. Andrew Watson celebrates a successful project launch. 8. Cramped (but fortunately temporary) quarters. The Christchurch office Portacom. 9. Nik Johnson gets some bowling tips from Glen McGrath. 1 2 3 4 5 8 6 7
  3. 3. >>3>> W E B S T R A T E G Y < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E T W E N T Y F I V E > And the name of the game is engagement Intergen launches the Engaged Web in New Zealand Report March for us was all about the Engaged Web. Of course, we’re always about web engagement, any month of the year, but in March we launched the Engaged Web in New Zealand Report, a survey of 50 of New Zealand’s top (most highly trafficked) websites across 10 sectors (Automotive, Business & Finance, education, Entertainment, Food & Beverage, Government, Health & Medical, Lifestyle, News & Media, Shopping & Classifieds). We partnered with Experian Hitwise and received their data for the study, and used EPiServer’s Engaged Web methodology as the basis for our investigation into the engagement levels of some of our best known and most frequently visited sites. Why did we do it? Gone are the days when a company’s web presence could thrive merely as a static shop window or an online brochure rack stuffed full of information. If you’re failing to really engage with your website visitors, you’re missing out on huge opportunities. But how do you know what you’re missing out on? What websites are engaging well, and in which sectors? With no benchmark study of this kind in New Zealand, we decided to find out the answers to these questions, and to provide practical and constructive tips and tricks using real examples. What did we find? In a nutshell we found that kiwi businesses could be doing more to engage and interact with their customers online. While 75% of the websites benchmarked featured an online community, the majority of these were using Facebook or Twitter. 48% of these major sites did not have a blog and only 45% allowed visitors to share website content. In general, the websites made strong use of multimedia (81% of websites), personalisation (87% of websites) and sticky content (98% of websites), but lacked other forms of engagement. Email, phone and web forms were still the most commonly advertised contact channels, despite the rise in popularity of online channels such as Facebook and Twitter. 60% of the sites promoted their Facebook page on their homepage. >>3 Giles Brown is Intergen’s Web Strategist What does it mean? What learnings can we take from the results? While many of New Zealand’s most popular websites strive to continually improve the level of engagement they provide, many other sites are still too static and are missing opportunities to do business online. The sites we benchmarked were some of New Zealand’s most popular websites. They attract huge audiences, but in some cases they aren’t allowing users to interact through the tools many people would expect, such as blogs, communities or social media. The best websites are those that stay restless and continually improve themselves. There is no such thing as a finished website, and these interactive tools allow businesses to constantly update their content and engage with their audience. In many ways, launching or relaunching your site is easy, it’s what’s you do in the weeks and months that follow that counts. Too many companies take a “launch and leave” approach with their website, which results in stagnation and poor engagement. While there are some excellent websites, many organisations are still stuck in a ‘project delivery’ mindset, where their website is seen as something they ‘do’ rather than something they should ‘nurture and grow’. This is a dangerous position to be in. The online environment is an incredibly fickle and transitory place, so if your website isn’t moving with your audience, they can and will go elsewhere. So… the moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to engage. As a web user yourself, you know what works. Even if you’re not consciously noting it at the time, you know when a website is engaging you. The same principles apply for your own business website. Go forth and connect. Want to read the report for yourself? You can download it for free at: www.intergen. Want a good old fashioned hard copy of the report? Email marketing@intergen. with your name and address, telling us you’d like to get your hands on a copy (or several). Entertainment, Automotive, and News & Media websites were most likely to have engaging features, while Government and Food & Beverage sector websites were found to be less engaging. 100 80 60 40 20 0 Mutlimedia OnlineCommunities Personalisation StickyContent Blogs SocialMedia Dialogue 40 80 62 80 39 32 70 Engaged Web results across all 10 sectors surveyed.
  4. 4. >>4 >> A C C E S S I B I L I T Y < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E T W E N T Y F I V E > To me, with equal opportunities engagement in mind, one of the most interesting things I noted throughout the coverage of the aftermath of Christchurch’s earthquake was that each of the televised daily briefings included a live sign language translation. We’re lucky in what we do here at Intergen. We get to build stuff that helps people in their daily lives, and a big part of this involves making technology accessible to everyone. We’ve long been about embracing accessibility in the things we build. And to that end it’s refreshing to see – and be a part of – new solutions that offer far greater accessibility features without scrimping on functionality. For the longest time, particularly in government circles, with web standards guidelines dictating a suite of restrictions in the name of accessibility, people shied away from rich technologies, choosing to opt instead for pared back technology. By working closely with Microsoft on accessibility features that are destined to become part and parcel of our most-used daily productivity tools, we’ve been able to prove that it’s not a case of either/or. You really can have the best of both worlds. Here’s what we’ve been working on with Microsoft, with accessibility in mind. DAISY add-in Save as Daisy for Office 2010 helps you convert Word Open XML files to the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) format. DAISY powers digital talking books and compatible software and Braille readers for people with print disabilities or limited vision. With Save as DAISY for Office 2010, you can transform Word 2003, 2007 and 2010 Open XML documents into accessible multimedia formats for people who can’t read print. These formats include synchronised text and .MP3 audio that can be played directly within Windows 7 or DAISY XML, which works with compatible software readers and talking book/Braille devices. ButtercupReader The first of our forays into accessible software, ButtercupReader is a Silverlight application that allows visually impaired people to read DAISY talking books and better access the information contained within Word documents. No special hardware required, and no cost to the user. The only thing needed is Microsoft Silverlight, which is free and takes just a few minutes to download. There are a number of readers on the market, but none so accessible or easy to obtain. All you need to do is open your browser. You can try ButtercupReader yourself at: STAMP STAMP (the Subtitling Add-In for Microsoft PowerPoint) lets you add closed captions to the video and audio files in your PowerPoint presentations, so no one misses a word of what you have to say. With STAMP you can also subtitle videos or audio files in another language. People with hearing disabilities can also use STAMP to caption their own videos for those who don’t understand sign language, opening up whole new communication possibilities. Bringing technology to the widest possible audience E Q U A L O P P O R T U N I T I E S E N G A G E M E N T : SaveAsDAISY Microsoft Word toolbar. Chris Auld is Intergen’s Chief Technology Officer. You can download the betas for DAISY and STAMP directly from SourceForge at: addin/ and projects/openxml-daisy/. We’d love to get your feedback on these projects. You can email us at (DAISY/Buttercup) and (STAMP). STAMP PowerPoint captions.
  5. 5. < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E T W E N T Y F I V E > >>5>> T H E A R T O F S T O R Y T E L L I N G Building engaging demos Successful demonstrations are all about engagement, immediacy and believability. They’re ultimately an exercise in storytelling. The story needs to be compelling. It needs to connect with its viewers and to offer real world scenarios that resonate and ring true. We’re often called on by Microsoft Corporation to build their keynote demos for major events. We’ve built them for most of the major Microsoft global conferences over the past few years. Like many of the projects we build for Microsoft themselves (they’re among our biggest customers), these demos involve short timelines and hard deadlines, adrenalised late nights and tireless long hours, with brainstorms and caffeinated drinks aplenty. We live for this stuff! With each keynote demo we form a team and we work together to create a narrative that will really exemplify and bring to life the key technical innovations being demonstrated. What better way to make an impression on your audience than to captivate them with a scenario they can relate to? It’s certainly testament to our expertise on the Microsoft platform that these projects are entrusted to our team. So what significant demos have we worked on so far this year? Microsoft Convergence 2011 Keynote Demo, Atlanta Presented by Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO and Kirill Tatarinov, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions, building this keynote called on the skills of many of our Dynamics experts right across the organisation. Working in utmost secrecy, even within Intergen’s ‘four walls’, together we created demos for the latest and future Microsoft Dynamics technologies – CRM 2011 and AX 2012. The keynote was presented to more than 9,300 people – not the kind of audience you’d typically encounter closer to home down here in Australasia! It went off without a hitch and I’m told – which is the best measure of success of all – that the audience was well and truly fired up by what they saw. Our GM of Sales, Bruce Smith, tells me people were almost “up out of their seats” the enthusiasm was so palpable. Steve and Kirill stressed that the Dynamics vision is about simplicity, value and agility. It’s about maximising the productivity of your people by taking advantage of communications and collaboration technologies. It’s about systems that are vibrant, connected and interactive. This was our brief, our story to tell, and these qualities were borne out in the demo materials we created. Real, engaging examples of simplicity, value and agility at work. You can see a video of the keynote at convergencedemo. The demo starts at 1 hour 45. Microsoft’s Virtual Launch of CRM 2011 In February, CRM 2011 was officially released into the world via a virtual launch, and we were engaged to create the demo to showcase CRM 2011 in action. Our accomplished team of demo-makers got together to create a business scenario that would really capture CRM 2011’s full potential and get the world enthused about it. And thus Contoso Property Management was born. It’s a portal powered by Azure, findable by property seekers via Microsoft Tag or Microsoft adCenter (Bing Ads). It connects to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to provide real-time information about Contoso’s property listings. Property locations can be seen through a Microsoft Silverlight Bing Maps control, with handy information overlaid, like commuting data and nearby attractions. Once a person enters their details on the portal, a new lead is generated in Microsoft CRM. And then there’s powerful dashboarding, embedded Bing search, Twitter widgets and Wikipedia links. And any emails sent through the system make use of an Office 365 account, with inter- company communication taken care of by Lync Online. All the tools the business needs can be sourced online – no need for IT infrastructure, just a laptop, internet access and Microsoft Office. How’s that for integrated, intuitive computing at the cutting edge? This was a truly multinational distributed team with many members conributing from their summer holiday locations such as mid- winter Japan. Kirill Tatarinov, Steve Ballmer and Microsoft Dynamics in action (above and bottom right).
  6. 6. >>6 < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E T W E N T Y F I V E >>> T O P T E N T R E N D S C R M This year's top 10 trends in CRM innovation Steven Foster is Intergen’s CRM Product Manager T Y F I V E > 4. Growth of mobile applications and the empowerment of customer-facing employees With the growth of mobile devices and apps, businesses are realising the value these devices can bring to the employee in the way in which they engage with customers and capture information. Although wide-scale adoption of mobile CRM applications in a pure CRM sense is unlikely, I do see a greater opportunity to select specific business processes that can be implemented on a mobile phone or tablet to improve customer-facing employees’ productivity. 5. Growth of SaaS understanding and impact on business SaaS (Software as a Service) and cloud-based solutions reached a tipping point in 2010. In 2011, with the introduction of Microsoft CRM 2011Online as a subscription-based service provided by Microsoft, SaaS will become increasingly mainstream. 6. Extending CRM to realise greater ROI across the business CRM can be extended to drive greater ROI and integration into other business- critical processes, not just within the Sales and Marketing functions. If we look at why some CRM implementations fail, it’s often because they are only ever deployed to a single department and never progress beyond it. CRM needs to be a long-term commitment with optimisation and improvement activity planned every financial year. 7. Continued alignment of companies and web experience Organisations’ web presences will continue to grow, and so will the need to take advantage of customer data through informative and interactive web channels. This will be aided by CRM applications becoming better integrated with web-based channels. Businesses should therefore focus on how they can take advantage of the ever-growing web, community-driven sales and self-maintenance of customer data, with their CRM system as a central part of this picture. 8. Greater choice demands consistency in approach To win in an environment where data is easily accessible, businesses need to drive competitive advantage through consistent customer interaction at all levels and through all channels – whether it’s the web, a mobile application or face-to-face. Consistent interaction can be orchestrated through a CRM system using business process automation, dialogue-based interactions and accessible, useable information. Service will therefore become an increasingly important differentiator. 9. Customer Data Management best practice continues to be an issue Although it remains key for all businesses, the management of customer data is still a challenge for organisations and CRM systems. Organisations need to focus on the quality of customer master data and task the ‘business owners’ with taking responsibility for its quality. 10. Repeatability of engagements A common reason for the failure of CRM systems is that processes are reinvented for each engagement and lessons learnt are not revisited. A well implemented CRM system and document management solution can drive consistency, reduce cost and improve visibility of engagements across a wider user base. CRM solutions need to encourage repeatability through standardised processes, interactions and document management through the customer lifecycle. In 2010 CRM efforts were largely focused on results-oriented activity, sustainability and customer retention. CRM was primarily used as a platform for nurturing and developing a better understanding of customers and using this increased knowledge to develop relationships. This was critical to businesses as a result of the economic climate and the changing dynamics of customers and internal resources that this climate created. We saw an increasing number of organisations evaluating cloud- based solutions and starting to use social media. 1. Social Customer Engagement With customers increasingly asking why should we do business with you?, driving brand awareness and differentiation will be key to business success, and social media is one way of doing this. With advancements in CRM software and the concept of social connectors, access to social media content will be that much easier. 2. Streamlining Marketing and Sales to drive revenue-based outcomes and a move away from activity-based outcomes Marketing and Sales need to be aligned to ensure that they are working together to drive the same outcomes – not just generating activity, but activity that is converted into revenue. CRM systems offer continued business process automation, greater access to shared data and goals and greater visibility of activity. And, more importantly, they show how and where this activity has turned into revenue. 3. Greater access to data and metrics at a personal user level Users today expect more from their CRM system than ever before. They expect to have access to their data in a personalised format that works for them. Executives should expect their CRM system to deliver user-friendly dashboards that can be personalised by the end user and provide visual cues that will allow employees to focus on high priority activities.
  7. 7. >>7< S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E T W E N T Y F I V E >>> SHAREPOINT DESIGN 5 things your designer needs to know about SharePoint If you are a User Experience Designer working in the SharePoint world, chances are you have been asked whether you can make “SharePoint not look like SharePoint”. There is still scepticism relating to the use of SharePoint for public websites and how much control we have over branding as it applies to the user interface. The truth is, SharePoint is a great platform for delivering public facing websites which have that highly sought after ‘wow factor’. D E S I G N I N G F O R S H A R E P O I N T Find out how Intergen’s User-Centred Design approach can benefit your web or application project. Contact Mark Delaney at The following pointers provides some insight and a few tips and tricks to help you get started. 1. The role of the designer As a designer you play an extremely crucial role. Not only are you tasked with creating stunning branded user interfaces that are usable, accessible and a pleasure to use, you also act as a conduit between the business, end users and developers. Designers must more than ever be evangelists for User Experience Design (UXD). There is more than enough information available regarding UXD, however there are not many resources of this content as it applies to SharePoint. One of the reasons for this is that originally SharePoint was focused on collaboration. The challenges of working with SharePoint in its infancy combined with the design customisation limitations made it very difficult to focus on User Experience Design (UXD). SharePoint 2010 has dramatically changed this and we finally have the platform to incorporate UXD. 2. Know your customers You’ve probably heard it a thousand times before. A successful user interface focuses on customers and their tasks. This is pivotal, and too many developers do not have the skills or insight to create a good user experience. For a SharePoint project, the inclusion of a designer is a must. 3. The design process You can follow one of any number of processes when designing the presentation layer for SharePoint. You will already have one. However, I would suggest that you consider an Agile approach. For most people the user interface is the product. The bottom line is that they don’t care about fantastic lines of code or the size of your server farms. All they want to see is the user interface. 4. The business context In order to get the most out of SharePoint you must first establish the business context and what level of investment you are designing for – i.e. low (out-of-the-box), medium (new theme and CSS) or high (full custom interface). You can then tailor your design effort (and budget) accordingly. You need to define if what the client is asking for is actually what they need – i.e. “I want SharePoint but I don’t want it to look like SharePoint”. 5. Making SharePoint Look Good Typically the greater the investment, the fewer restrictions there are around what you can achieve from a branding perspective. At the high end of the spectrum a fully customised SharePoint front-end (i.e. custom master page, page layouts, theme/CSS and web parts) is no different than designing for any website on any platform. All the standard best practice usability principles apply. At the end of the day what SharePoint produces is HTML and CSS, which as designers and developers, we have direct control over. Designers no longer need to flee at the mere mention of “SharePoint”. With the proper knowledge and tools, designing for SharePoint is no different than designing for any website or application. The bottom line is that you need to establish the business context and design accordingly.
  8. 8. >>8 >> I N D U S T R Y S P O T L I G H T – R E T A I L < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E T W E N T Y F I V E >E N T Y F I V E > Online and mobile shopping has changed retailing dramatically over the past decade. Consumers have taken to the internet, social media and mobile technology to help in their buying decisions, and now have high expectations of what’s available, at what price, and how quickly. The upshot? Retailers have no choice but to keep up with consumers in the new online world. The NZ Retail Show in Auckland at the beginning of April gave real insight into how retailers understand and keep up with these changes. Over two days, they could attend seminars on topics ranging from customer relationship management to inventory management and converting e-commerce websites. Intergen’s two seminars looked at the customer journey and web strategy, and how suppliers are using mobile devices to improve category management and restocking. Customers may want to buy online, or they may want to research, compare and even order online, then make the actual purchase in store. Retailers are coming to understand the idea of a customer journey, through different routes, to buying – and they’re learning what roadblocks may stop them getting there. Customers no longer relate to retailers simply as bricks-and-mortar stores that can provide the goods they want when they want them. They can travel multiple channels, taking various routes before they purchase. To keep them, across all those channels, retailers need to create loyalty, provide what customers want, when and how they want it, and through an experience they want to repeat. To do all this you must know how customers operate online, and how they want to interact with you. For some smaller retailers, creating a website may be their first step into the online world. The idea is to engage with your customers, to build loyalty, to give them a reason to end their journey with you. Your online presence may start with third-party sites such as Trade Me or GrabOne. It may also, and probably should, involve social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Using social media such as a Facebook or Twitter does not cost a lot, or even any, money; it just requires time and a willingness to engage. Social media provides a great channel for building relationships with prospective customers, finding out their preferences, their habits, and gaining their loyalty. The key is to realise these are not old-fashioned marketing and promotional channels – if you engage in advertising or hard selling you will lose customers. Social media success involves getting customers talking to you, getting them to “like” you and “retweet” you and recommend you to their friends. Eventually, you will need a website. A Neilsen survey last year showed 45% of New Zealanders now shop online and more than 1.4 million bought online between April 2009 and April 2010. You can’t afford to not have a presence. The increasing popularity of mobile devices such as smart phones, iPads and tablets means most retailers also need to think about how they are going to use mobile channels to build their brands. Applications such as Foursquare, which allows users to “check in” when they are at your premises and provides you with ways of rewarding their loyalty, are possibilities. But there are more – if a prospective customer is in a competitor’s store and wants to check the price of an item via their smart phone before buying, can they check your prices? Can they buy online via their mobile? Online technology has changed the retail world forever, and retailers today must in many ways adopt a different mindset from retailers of a generation ago. But, in one important aspect, the mindset is the same – it’s all about the customers, what they want, how they behave and how you can meet their needs. If you start from that basis, keeping up online becomes a much easier task. Daniel Munns is Intergen’s Industry Lead - Retail SpecialistSelling smarter using technology Giles Brown and Daniel Munns look at the future of web in retail at the Auckland Retail Show.
  9. 9. >>9< S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E T W E N T Y F I V E >>> T H O U G H T S O N T H E I N D U S T R Y Imagine being able to get more information on a product by simply waving your phone at it. Recent innovations in mobile technologies are about to open up a myriad of ways to interact with systems, websites and people. No longer do you have to manually enter information; you can simply “wave” your phone or photograph an image to perform an action, whether that action is to transfer contact details, be directed to a URL or complete a transaction. There are two main areas that are increasingly entering the mainstream: mobile tags, such as QR (Quick Response: QR_code) codes and Microsoft Tag (; and Near Field Communications, or NFC. Both work differently, but they represent new ways of interacting with people – physically or online. Playing Tag Mobile tags offer a unique opportunity for organisations to interact with existing and potential customers. Similar to traditional bar codes, tags can be easily generated and applied to almost any surface. The idea is simple: you aim your smart phone’s camera at the tag, and an application scans the tag and directs you to a particular online destination – whether that is online content, contact information, maps, promotions or virtually any other online reference. Increasingly used in print media, signage and in some online initiatives, tags are on their way to becoming mainstream. Tags are ideal in a retail context: when a shopper scans a mobile tag, they can also receive a deeper level of information that will help them decide about the purchase of a product. Marketers are also using the technology to provide an insider’s view about a brand. Scan-to-pay and loyalty rewards offerings are also being explored, although these options will require integration with supporting back-end systems and there are many complexities that need to be considered here. Connecting real life and the online world Tags can also be used to enhance customer service. For example, how-to instructions, directions to support information or specific contacts can be made easily accessible with the simple capture of a mobile tag. On the way: Near Field Communications If you’re not familiar with the term Near Field Communications, or NFC, you soon will be – it’s about to emerge as a common way of interacting with people and “things”. Near Field Communication is a set of short-range wireless technologies that typically require a distance of four centimetres or less to work. You physically hold a NFC-compatible device near a target, and it works similarly to mobile tags: NFC targets can be simple form factors such as tags, stickers, key fobs, or cards that don’t require batteries. Before the end of 2011, NFC technology will be built into a number of the leading smartphones. Google’s Android already features the technology; Microsoft Windows Phone 7 is purported to be supporting the technology in its next release, while Blackberry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) and Apple’s iPhone are expected to support NFC in the not-too-distant future. NFC represents a new set of opportunities for organisations of all types. Like any new hardware feature, the ability to get value from it will come down to software and being able to develop new features or applications that take advantage of its capabilities. In fact, it won’t be until the applications are developed that NFC will be more than simply a capability on these devices. Pundits have long expected this technology to enable our smartphones to become mobile wallets, where we hold up our phone to a NFC reader which then processes the payment automatically. Visa and Mastercard are already trialling this technology. The challenge is less to do with the technology than its safe implementation – where there’s money, there’s fraud, and significant amounts of infrastructure may be needed to ensure mobile wallets can work in a safe, reputable way. NFC chips can be produced for small sums – well under one dollar – making the cost of these stickers minimal, although investment would be required to implement the technology and integrate it with your other systems. While the “mobile wallet” may require significant consideration around infrastructure and process, this doesn’t mean that NFC should be ignored in the short term. If any of these scenarios sounds valid to your business, start investigating what’s possible now and take advantage of the opportunities that will emerge over the next few months. Tim Howell is Intergen’s Marketing Manager >> Microsoft Tag. Snap this on your phone and see where it takes you.
  10. 10. >>10 >> M I C R O S O F T D Y N A M I C S C R M The Situation Spectrum Care is an independent charitable trust that provides services for children, young people and adults with disabilities and their families. Spectrum Care’s core focus is to offer person-centred services and options that focus on individual needs, working with its service users to identify their personal goals and aspirations, and help them achieve their immediate and lifelong objectives. As innovators and leaders in the disability sector, Spectrum Care needed a “world- class” customer relationship management (CRM) system that would give them an all-important centralised view of their service users. They wanted a user-friendly system that would underpin and bring together every area of the business, increasing the value, visibility and usability of information, streamlining business processes and enabling enhanced and more timely and meaningful reporting. The Pain The previous system didn’t encompass the goals and needs of the whole organisation. It wasn’t user friendly or reliable and, as a consequence, information was stored in many different places: within Excel, Access, on paper, in the finance team’s database and in people’s heads. It presented an incomplete view of the organisation and its service users, thus discouraging everyday use and suffering poor adoption. The Vision Spectrum Care’s vision for its CRM solution was clear and in line with its overall business objectives: “In essence, it’s all about getting a central view of the service user and using technology to work towards what, in the industry, we call Outcomes,” says Justin Walsh, Spectrum Care’s Communications and Relationships Manager. Spectrum Care achieves greater “person-centredness” with Microsoft Dynamics CRM >> INTERGENITE: Michael Murphy What do you do? I am Intergen’s new Northern Regional Manager, responsible for the function and profitability of the Northern Region and building our overall identity in the Auckland marketplace. How do you make a difference? I have strengths in project governance and add value by providing oversight in this area. Having been in the IT industry in New Zealand for 15 years, I have a very strong network and a wealth of experience from various roles. What do you love about your job? I’m looking forward to getting back to what I know. In my last role I deliberately made the career choice to take a sales leadership role in an area in which I had no domain knowledge (hardware). Now I am looking forward to getting back to a domain that is well known to me and applying the general business and team management skills I’ve developed in my days at HP. A bit about yourself… I’m married to Hilary and have two sons, John (14) and Christopher (11). I live in St Heliers and came to New Zealand from the UK 15 years ago, when we came here on holiday and never left. My main hobby is football and I keep myself busy outside of work coaching two reasonably successful youth football teams. “The better we can be as an organisation, the more we’ll be able to achieve our vision of ‘People with disabilities living great lives’, and the introduction of a high-quality CRM system has allowed us to take a significant step forward in modelling our objective of ‘excellence’,” he adds. Spectrum Care’s IT Manager, Aaron Overington, explains, “By containing our organisational knowledge in one central, searchable repository, we can gain greater insights into our people’s needs and, as a result, we’re able to better serve them by focusing our efforts where they can have the greatest impact.” The Gain In November 2010, the New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation presented Spectrum Care with a prestigious silver award, the first organisation in the health and disability sector and one of only 14 organisations nationally to receive an accolade at this level. This success is, in part, attributable to the attention it has paid to its core IT systems. Justin says, “In order to receive such an award, entrants must meet a wide variety of exacting criteria relating to areas such as customer focus, leadership and process management and measurement, analysis and knowledge management. In this regard, the introduction of a robust, scalable and well-supported CRM system was of pivotal importance”. Aaron adds: “Kudos to Intergen for taking the time to understand our business, seeing the big picture and then designing a solution that really matched what we were aiming to do. It’s great to be able to pull all the data sources together into ‘one version of truth’.” As a leader in the disability sector, Spectrum Care has already received much attention and praise for its CRM system, with the system playing an instrumental part in the organisation’s journey towards becoming “truly word class”. < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E T W E N T Y F I V E >
  11. 11. < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E T W E N T Y F I V E >>> T H E C L O U D : O N L I N E S E R V I C E S >>11 >> INTERGENITE: The concept of using the cloud to allow computing anywhere is nothing new. Businesses are rapidly catching on and starting to make the move. And that includes us. Let’s use a few acronyms to tell the Intergen cloud story (because we know the IT world loves acronyms…) IBC (Intergen Before Cloud) Before its move to the cloud in late 2010, Intergen ran Microsoft Exchange purely on-premises for a staff of 240, with Exchange servers in each main office. These servers were virtual machines running on Hyper-V server hosts. With an extremely busy Information Systems (IS) team and a workforce spread across offices in New Zealand, Australia and the United States, Intergen looked to Microsoft’s Online Services as a way of taking some of the load off its IT staff, freeing them up to focus on providing a first-rate service within the organisation. With Exchange managed on-premise, the IS team had to manage the entire Exchange infrastructure, the VM platform and the threat management gateway. They were also responsible for backing up all data and the provision of secondary data protection. These were resource-intensive exercises which necessitated dedicated staff having Exchange knowledge and training. By moving Intergen’s mailboxes online, time wasn’t the only resource being saved. With Exchange running entirely on-premise, 20GB of RAM and 700GB of storage were being consumed. In addition to reducing administrative maintenance and winning back staff time, Intergen has now regained the hardware it had allocated to running Exchange on-site and backing up 450GB of data. TICV (The Intergen Cloud Vision) “For Intergen the decision to move to the cloud was a ‘no-brainer’,” says Tony Stewart, Intergen’s CEO. “As a Microsoft partner, we’re strongly committed to Microsoft technologies and directions, and the cloud is a core part of this. For the cloud, we’re all in – to borrow an expression from Steve Ballmer. We advocate cloud solutions for our clients, and it made perfect sense for us to lead by example.” “By moving Intergen’s email online, we’re not spread so thinly,” he continues. “We’ve been able to streamline our efforts and reduce the number of technologies our team needs to be skilled in. This means we can now afford to focus our attention on future business improvements and on being more responsive to the daily IT needs of Intergen’s staff.” As a company in international growth mode, it also made sense to adopt a more internationally focused IT strategy, with an emphasis on high availability – business as usual from anywhere in the world and in any time zone. IAC (Intergen After Cloud) Intergen’s move to the cloud has meant less time spent managing systems; less maintenance and fewer support issues; more time to channel and use more productively elsewhere; not to mention getting back 700GB of disk space and 20GB of memory. Support is available around the clock and already has proved useful, easy to use and responsive. The cloud also offers Intergen far greater agility and scalability. As Intergen grows, all we need to do is buy additional licences and Microsoft takes care of the rest. Tony Stewart says, “We want what our customers want: IT systems that are just there, and that just work, without having to think too much about them. And now in hosting our emails online we have this luxury.” The future’s in the cloud, and Intergen takes its email skywards Moya Radley What do you do? I am a SharePoint Consultant working in our Christchurch office. How do you make a difference? I’m trained in Social Anthropology and my focus and interest has always been to understand how users accept technology, and to improve methods for user experience. What do you love about your job? Seeing the difference that SharePoint makes to a business when it is well implemented. Helping users understand and embrace technology. Encouraging users toward an understanding of the business benefits of SharePoint. Finding creative change management techniques and training methods. A bit about yourself… My husband and I are recent migrants to New Zealand from South Africa, landing in Christchurch from South Africa on September 4, the day of the first Christchurch quake. We see life in Christchurch as an enormous opportunity to contribute to the beautiful country that has provided us with a new home. I am goofy about anything with four-feet and was actively involved in the domestic animal rescue space in South Africa. Once settled in Christchurch, I plan to become involved in domestic animal welfare and volunteer initiatives in the city during my spare time. Ben Fox and James Newton-King hard at work behind their yellow fortress
  12. 12. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT INTERGEN: Auckland: +64 9 966 3070 Wellington: +64 4 472 2021 Christchurch: +64 3 964 0017 Dunedin: +64 3 477 5648 Sydney: +61 2 8211 0639 Perth: +61 8 9228 9990 < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E T W E N T Y F I V E >>> M I C R O S O F T D Y N A M I C S N A V The Situation As a full-service landscaping company based in Western Australia, offering everything from design and construction to maintenance, and employing more than 80 staff to carry out these services, Tim Davies Landscaping (TDL) needed better tools to manage their financial landscape. Having reached the end of the road with an overburdened MYOB system, TDL had identified Microsoft Dynamics NAV as the right tool for the job at hand, but an initial project kick-off ran aground, leaving TDL once bitten, twice shy. TDL needed a partner it could trust to revive the project and bring its new financial system to life. At this point Intergen entered the picture. With considerable experience in Dynamics NAV, and a strong team on the ground, Intergen proposed an approach Tim Davies Landscaping cultivates a strong financial landscape with Dynamics NAV that would bring about tangible results quickly, with the greatest possible certainty and the minimal amount of fuss. The Pain TDL’s financial systems had become “nightmarish”, TDL’s Chief Financial Officer, Paul Mullins explains. “We just didn’t have the functionality that we needed for the size of our business. With MYOB we had no visibility into costing information and didn’t have any certainty that the information that we could see was correct. “We had separate general ledger accounts for every department, not to mention lots of Excel spreadsheets, which meant there were lots of errors. And the data file was so big it took half an hour just to run profit and loss reports.” TDL’s ICT Manager, Graham Kimber, adds: “MYOB was proving to be a big bottleneck for the business. It was difficult to make use of the information that did exist, we couldn’t integrate it with anything, and only the accounts department could access the information – and even then we had too many users for the system, which was all extremely limiting.” TDL needed low risk, cost certainty, quick wins and immediate evidence of return on investment. Intergen’s approach delivered on all fronts. The Gain Less guesswork, greater visibility, unprecedented insight. The project was delivered on time and on budget. TDL now has access to financial information that is reliable, complete and accurate. Information is collected from right across the business more directly and a true financial picture can be viewed, drilled into, filtered and reported on. Processes have been greatly streamlined and integrated with other systems across the business, including Dynamics CRM and SharePoint. This has resulted in greater business efficiencies and time saving; for example, payment runs and reporting now take significantly less time, and time spent on the invoice maintenance process has been cut in half, with direct integration into Dynamics CRM. “We’re recording more, and we’re doing it better,” Graham says. “We have information now that we’ve never had before, and because of this we’re making fewer assumptions. And while we take more time to capture this information at the outset, we’re saving a lot of time in the long run, and getting invaluable business insights along the way.”