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Intergen Smarts 28 (2012)

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

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.

Published in Technology , Business
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  • 1. This is not only true in everyday life, it’s true in other situations as well – such as on the netball court. And that’s why, from 2012, Intergen is sponsoring the Intergen ANZ Championship Umpires. Since 2008, the ANZ Championship has developed as one of the region's hottest sporting competitions. Featuring some of the world's best netballers in a feast of trans-Tasman rivalry, the ANZ Championship is a true showcase of speed, skill, athleticism and teamwork. From March to July, five Australian and five New Zealand teams battle it out over 14 home and away rounds, followed by the fiercely contested Finals Series. Not only is netball a leading sport on both sides of the Tasman, but the fast-moving nature of the game – and the decisions that need to be made within it – have genuine parallels with business life and delivering business technology solutions. As an organisation, Intergen understands what is required to perform at the highest of levels and therefore understands the effort needed – by everyone involved – to perform in the ANZ Championships. Our services and solutions provide organisations with the tools they need to make decisions and guide their daily activities – much like the work of the Intergen ANZ Championship Umpires who have to make split-second decisions to keep a netball game on track. Wayne Forgesson, Director, Marketing at Intergen, says the company is proud to have made this commitment. “We recognise the effort required by both players and umpires to achieve the level required to perform in the ANZ Championships. “Traditionally, the role of the umpire is much like an information technology solution within a business: essential to have, but often not recognised. We’re hoping to recognise the effort that goes into making the right decision, at the right time.” "Additionally, netball – and the ANZ Championship specifically – reflect key aspects of Intergen’s corporate values. These include believing in what we say and do, feeling and living our passion, being a united team, and consistently performing at the top level. Not only is this a way of associating ourselves with a quality sporting competition, this also gives us an opportunity for our staff to enjoy netball and its competition aspects,” says Wayne. “We will be looking to embrace the championship internally for some good natured inter-office and inter-regional competition.” THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 28 | 2012 Success is about making the right decisions IN THIS ISSUE... INTERGEN STAFF PHOTOS 2 INTRODUCTION 3 CASE STUDY 4 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE 5 MICROSOFT’S ROADMAP 6 USER EXPERIENCE 8 RETAIL UPDATE 9 SOFTWARE TESTING 10 SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT 11 CASE STUDY 12 Decisions count. And often they count for a lot. We need to make choices to keep things moving – and every choice we make can have consequences.
  • 2. 4. Tom Plunket, Graduate Developer brainstormsthe keys to success at Grad Bootcamp 2012.5. Intergen wins 2011 Windows AzurePlatform Solution of the Year at theMicrosoft New Zealand Partner Awards.6. Transitioning our 2012 Graduates intoIntergenites at Bootcamp, MakahikaOutdoor Pursuits in Levin. 1. The Auckland team and clients discover Japanese Cuisine at Sachies Kitchen.2. Intergen Raptors winning their firstrace at the Wellington DragonboatFestival. 3. Our Dunedin team moves intothe North Dunedin old distillerypremises. 7. Krishant Lodhia, Graduate Consultanttreads carefully at Grad Bootcamp 2012.8. The Intergen team and Australian Schoolof Business celebrate going live on ASB’sSharePoint intranet ‘Connect.
  • 3. 3SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 28 Welcome to the new-look issue of Smarts. Our previous design served us well for 27 issues and now, with issue 28, we’ve embarked on a redesign to help Smarts look more vibrant and contemporary. We hope you like it. As you would have seen on the cover, from 2012 Intergen is sponsoring the Intergen ANZ Championship Umpires. This is a new opportunity for us, and we’re excited by the prospect of sponsoring a leading trans- Tasman sports tournament. Netball is a fast-moving sport that features elite sportspeople at the top of their game. At the same time, the technology industry also moves quickly, and we strive to be the best at what we do. There are some strong parallels between the decision-making that happens on the court and the decisions we – our staff and our customers alike – need to make on a daily basis. Decisions count, and that’s a theme we will be focused on this year and beyond. Late last year we increased our focus on business intelligence, with Tim Mole moving from managing the Southern Region to a new position leading our business intelligence service line. Some things change, some stay the same We’ve been creating BI solutions for several years, but have decided to invest in growing our capability now in order to meet increasing market demand, and to take better advantage of a new wave of solutions which are being released. We see a lot of potential in BI, and many of our customers are looking to extract more value out of their significant technology investments. This year promises to be as busy as ever, with a number of activities underway. Microsoft’s release schedule looks packed, and the evolving market – and the further embracement of the web and mobile technologies, in particular – create new opportunities for all of us to consume and create information. We’re several months into the year already, and I hope it’s started successfully for you and your organisation. Tony Stewart INTERGEN In brief »» Chris Auld was front and centre at the Microsoft Tech Ready conference presenting building cross-platform mobile applications using Microsoft .NET. »» New Zealand Police smart mobile application developed by Intergen makes TV3 News as part of a six- month trial of a written warning process put in place by NZ Police. »» We welcome Graeme MacKenzie as our new Independent Board member for Intergen Business Solutions Pty Ltd. »» Windows 8 Customer Preview starts to roll out within Intergen with a growing number of keen users. »» The Australian School of Business intranet, Connect, goes live with great feedback from users. »» Intergen builds keynote demonstrations for two upcoming Microsoft Corporation conferences (more detail in the next issue of Smarts). »» Microsoft Windows Azure-based Pixel to Cure Kids fundraiser website launched by Intergen to help raise funds for Cure Kids. Tony Stewart is Chief Executive Officer of Intergen. Contact Tony at: tony.stewart@intergen.co.nz © Copyright 2012 Intergen Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of Intergen Limited. Intergen is a trans-Tasman information technology services company that solves challenging business problems using the latest Microsoft solutions. We provide our customers with a range of solution and services, including financial and relationship management, portals, content and collaboration solutions, custom software development, and consulting services.
  • 4. 4 THE PROBLEM Antarctica New Zealand wanted a better handle on its financial information. Budget reports were one month in arrears and managers at Scott Base only had access to information in Christchurch using a slow satellite datalink. Antarctica New Zealand Information Services Team Leader, Greg Jack, says the main driver was getting financial information on the ice in a compact format that could be accessed locally. “We wanted to look at our actual expenditure versus budget at any time – to see how much we’d spent for the year and how much we had left. We need to plan our budgets a year ahead to ensure most supplies are on the annual ship.” Antarctica New Zealand Accountant Brad Phillips says managers would request an update on their budget versus expenditure. “I had to collate a spreadsheet which involved the laborious task of cutting and pasting data from different places. I used to spend two days collating data to generate reports for our budget. By the time I’d finished, it might be half way through the following month and the information would be out of date.” Antarctica New Zealand improves its productivity BUSINESSINTELLIGENCE "We now have access to accurate financial information that is delivered in an efficient, user- friendly manner." THE SOLUTION With Intergen on board, the Ice Cube project commenced. With only months until the next annual shipment to Antarctica, it was time to get stuck in and develop a solution based on Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services to ensure budget managers could get their financial planning underway. The Ice Cube was implemented in time for the budget managers’ annual trip on the ice. Greg says they now have access to accurate financial information that is delivered in an efficient, user-friendly manner. As he says: “I like the idea of up-to-date transactions. Before, our reports were one month in arrears. The pivot table displays the information easily and, with Microsoft functions we’re already familiar with, adoption has been successful. We can log into the local server down at Scott Base and can see our financial information, which replicates overnight. That’s the beauty of having the Ice Cube down there.” Brad says budget managers now have direct access to the system where they can view right down to single transactions. “As a government-owned entity, we are being directed to create productivity improvements and this is clearly one of them.” He says Antarctica New Zealand is now considering using Ice Cube to track orders from request to delivery. “This is especially important for our team on the ice – so they can see what’s coming down, when it’s coming and who it’s for.” Antarctica New Zealand manages Scott Base, New Zealand’s Antarctic research station. The organisation is responsible for supporting scientific research, conserving the intrinsic values of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, as well as helping raise public awareness of the international significance of the continent.
  • 5. SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 28 5 ENTERPRISEAPPLICATIONS Business intelligence solutions allow organisations to make better decisions based on hard data as opposed to gut feeling or intuition. With the increasing number of systems being used by organisations, and the desire to make better use of the data they collect and generate, analysts believe business intelligence will be one of the fastest growing areas of 2012. Microsoft has long had a business intelligence (BI) story, and Intergen has been helping organisations use Microsoft products and technologies to deliver BI solutions for our customers. In late 2011, Intergen announced the formation of a business intelligence service line, headed by long-time Intergenite Tim Mole, who was previously Regional Manager, Southern Region. “Organisational systems – from CRM to finance and ERP – intranet and internet sites and document management systems are rich with information and insight that can be surfaced to create value for our clients,” says Tim. “Many organisations don’t realise what information they have, how easy it is to get access to it, or how to harness it into something they can actually use. Intergen’s strength is that it not only has a BI focus, but that it is also a broad organisation in which many of our other service lines complement and directly add value to our BI offering.” Intergen has had a dedicated BI team for several years but the establishment of the dedicated service line brings a greater level of focus, with a view to helping our customers extract the most value from their information and solutions investment. The release of SQL Server 2012, and the Using business intelligence to maximise value BI features it possesses, will create new ways of analysing and visualising data, giving organisations a greater ability to understand their data. “Our focus is simple,” says Tim. “We want to deliver optimal value to our clients through a solid BI foundation that comprises a strategy and roadmap, data quality and empowerment through self-service. These, coupled with our breadth of capabilities across the wider Intergen, will help our customers realise significant benefits.” In addition to developing its own technical and consulting capability, Intergen is also developing partnerships with complementary consulting and technology providers, including Effectus and WhereScape. Microsoft SQL Server 2012 arrives Most end users won’t realise that Microsoft SQL Server – Microsoft’s database platform – underpins all of its solutions, including Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions, and Microsoft SharePoint. Microsoft SQL Server 2012 is the latest release of SQL Server, and is considered a major release – there are a number of new and evolved features that help to position this platform as world-class. Given many business-critical applications rely on SQL Server, its focus on increased availability and performance are fundamental improvements that will benefit organisations of all sizes. Other capabilities of interest include the new SQL Server Data Tools, which provide a unified development experience for database and BI projects, and SQL Server Management Studio which allows administrators to perform snapshot backups to Windows Azure. In addition to these ‘under the hood’ improvements, Microsoft has also added powerful end user data exploration and visualisation capabilities in the form of Power View – a browser-based tool that allows users to easily access and manipulate data. It is these capabilities that will likely expose the power of SQL Server to a wider audience and will also likely be exploited by subsequent releases of Microsoft’s Enterprise and Office applications. Tim Mole is Intergen’s Service Line Lead – Business Intelligence and can be contacted at tim.mole@intergen.co.nz
  • 6. 6 This year will be a busy year for Microsoft as it updates many of its major products. Over the next 12 months, Microsoft will be updating many of its frontline products, while continuing to evolve many of its up-and-comers. While last year featured the release of Dynamics AX 2012, Dynamics CRM 2011 and Office 365, this year promises to be even busier, with releases of Windows, Windows Server, Windows Phone, System Center and SQL Server on the schedule. Just as interesting to watch will be how the wider industry evolves, with Google, Apple, Amazon, VMWare, Saleforce. com and a myriad of other competitors not standing still. Regardless of who you follow, 2012 promises to be an interesting year. Microsoft’s release schedule for 2012 MICROSOFT WINDOWS 8 Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was unequivocal about the importance of Windows 8 to Microsoft at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January: “There's nothing more important at Microsoft than Windows”. With a release anticipated in late 2012, an increasing amount of information about Windows 8 will be fed to the community over the next few months. Windows 8 is an important release for Microsoft: tablet computers and the growth of Apple and Google as competitors threaten to weaken the hold Windows has, not only at home, but in the corporate world too. The introduction of the Metro user interface, borrowed from Windows Phone, will see Windows 8 delivered in tablet computers, while Microsoft also has to support its existing user base and the applications they run – the industry awaits seeing how this balancing act will be achieved. OFFICE 15 Microsoft usually times its releases of Office with the release of its new operating systems. While comparatively little is known about Office 15 – which will possibly be called Office 2013 by the time it’s released – it’s expected to comprise updates to the end user applications we’re all familiar with (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access et al), and its server-based applications: Exchange, Lync and SharePoint. Any release of Office brings a range of new features, but with the adoption of the Metro user interface in Windows 8, it’s also expected there will be some user interface changes, although how these will be delivered is yet to be seen. Given the importance of Office to Microsoft – it’s one of its main sources of revenue – Microsoft will be laser-focused on ensuring there will be enough to excite people into evaluating Windows 7, while satisfying the needs of existing users. Apollo SQL Server 2012System Center 2012 Tango WINDOWS PHONE WINDOWS 8WINDOWS 8 SERVER Dynamics NAV OFFICE 15 WINDOWS AZURE Kinect Exchange SharePoint Lync Desktop Apps
  • 7. 7SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 28 MICROSOFT SYSTEM CENTER 2012 Microsoft System Center continues to grow in scope and importance. The systems management suite now comprises several products aimed at helping organisations manage the various hardware and software running in their data centres and on their desktops. Widely expected to be released at Microsoft’s Management Summit in April, this particular suite looks to have a broad mandate in the operations space, and marketing appears to be focused on packaging these different offerings together as a private cloud solution. WINDOWS PHONE Microsoft will continue to beat the Windows Phone drum in 2012 – the smartphone operating system that is widely lauded but has yet to grab any significant market share. Two releases are purportedly planned for this calendar year: the 'Tango' release which appears to be scheduled for Q2 2012 and is targeted at lower-cost devices; and the 'Apollo' release which is scheduled for Q4 and is, overall, a more substantial release. The latter will, inevitably, be designed to help Microsoft catch up – and, ideally, leapfrog – its major competitors. With Skype and new versions of Office in the mix, it will be interesting to see how Microsoft synchronises its releases, although that would be a big ask for any organisation. MICROSOFT DYNAMICS Following successful releases of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and Dynamics AX 2012, in 2012 Microsoft will turn its attention to Dynamics NAV. Likely to be released towards the end of 2012, the next version of NAV will be available as a cloud-based service in addition to its traditional on-premise deployment. WHAT DO YOU DO? I’m a Senior Consultant in Dynamics Solutions based in the Perth office. It’s my job to understand how our customers can get the most out of their investments in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. HOW DO YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE? I’m helping drive the newly formed Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Practice in Perth, acting as a wing man to our Business Development Manager, Nik Johnson. Along with the rest of the Perth team, I’m focused on client acquisition and developing long- term revenue growth. We are seeing a lot of positive CRM opportunities and hope 2012 will be a great year to expand the team in Western Australia. WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB? I love that I get to work with Dynamics CRM; it’s an incredible flexible and fast moving technology which really keeps you on your toes. Also, the satisfaction of seeing the practice in Perth expand will be very rewarding. Given Intergen’s history in creating innovating CRM solutions, I’m looking forward to tapping into the expertise and experience of the wider organisation, and understanding more about the many customers we have that use Dynamics CRM. A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF… I’m from the UK, married to a wonderful woman and have two very mischievous boys, aged four and one. They demand I play with them every waking moment, so my skills also include being the Green Samurai Power Ranger and binomial nomenclature of all the Aliens from Ben 10. Nathan Small Intergenite 'NAV 7,' as it’s codenamed, will run on Windows Azure and will be the first of Microsoft’s ERP solutions to be available as a cloud service (from Microsoft, at least); the other Dynamics ERP solutions will follow NAV to the cloud in due course. MICROSOFT SQL SERVER 2012 Underpinning many of these solutions is SQL Server, the latest version of which will be released in 2012. Comprising a broad range of back-end, management and end-user features, SQL Server 2012 could most likely be remembered for its data management and visualisation capabilities, enabling end users – and, over time, compliant applications, to take advantage of its business intelligence capabilities and the insights such capabilities could provide. SKYPE After spending US$8 billion on purchasing the ubiquitous communications firm, Microsoft will be looking to leverage the Skype brand and incorporate its technology into a broader range of products in 2012. Skype on Windows Phone isn’t far away, while integration between Microsoft Lync and Skype will likely be explored in 2012. Timeframes for all of these are unknown, but could well be timed to coincide with the next release of Office. These products and services are many of the high profile releases of 2012, but it’s expected there will be updates to Office 365, Dynamics CRM, Internet Explorer and Windows Azure, amongst many others. In addition, Microsoft will also look to encourage innovation through the wider availability of its Kinect technologies, which could open up the door to a new range of business and consumer applications. 2012 promises to be a busy and exciting year for users of Microsoft solutions.
  • 8. 8 One of the major buzzwords in 2011 was the concept of responsive web design (RWD). RWD involves to designing a website in a manner where the layout changes according to the user’s behaviour and context – based on screen size, orientation and platform. RWD eliminates the needs for separate phases of work to design across the plethora of devices available now and in the future. The RWD trend will continue to gain steam in 2012, especially as content authors gain confidence using multiple mobile devices and what it means to access content across them. Closely paired to this will be a growing understanding that mobile devices are a core web experience, not a design afterthought to cater for people “on the go” – an approach which has been commonplace until recently. With the evolution of technology, people can multitask more than ever before. We can now sit on the couch at home to catch up on our favourite pre-recorded shows from the week, order our dinner online via a tablet device and check emails on our smartphones – simultaneously. It’s becoming clear that browsing the web using a mobile device is here to stay, and it’s rapidly changing the way we consume information and media. MOBILE FIRST The concept of ‘mobile first responsive design’ is also gaining momentum. This flips the standard practice of designing for the desktop experience first and focuses on the mobile site in the first instance, progressively enhancing the experience for larger screen displays. At its core, the PORTALS,CONTENT&COLLABORATION mobile first concept boils down to tried and true best practice usability standards – in other words, it forces us to focus on core content, functionality and cater to our user goals. This multi-device web design can appear somewhat daunting at first. Where do you start? Do you need a native application or will utilising RWD techniques suffice? Do you need to design for mobile first? Initially, you need to spend the time to create a mobile web strategy involving careful planning, time and evaluation. It's worth bearing in mind that, at the end of the day, the web remains the entry point, no matter what device you are using – it’s simply the best way to get in front of the largest audience possible. We often hear customers saying, "We need an app for that...", but over the long term, mobile solutions need to be more varied than a single application, depending on your business context and user goals. Don’t be afraid to start small. You don’t need to know everything about mobile – take what you know about designing for the desktop and start thinking about how this might be translated into the mobile realm. FUTURE-FOCUSED Responsive web design requires redesigning a site’s core structure and changes the way we approach designing for the web. You cannot simply shrink the desktop site down and expect it to be a success. Designing for mobile devices is much more than dealing with a reduction of pixels that are at your disposal. First and foremost, you need a progressive mobile strategy taking into consideration your audience, the content and context. You will then be able to begin the task of realistically prioritising your mobile solutions for your business, and then work through them one-by-one. Responsive web design does not provide a silver bullet for the constantly evolving mobile environment. We are in a period of transition and the industry as a whole is still exploring techniques to improve the user experience across these multiple devices. In the next issue of Smarts, we will share some tricks and tips we have learnt for creating an optimised mobile experience. Mark Delaney is a User Experience Designer at Intergen. Contact Mark at mark.delaney@intergen.co.nz Designing for multiple devices
  • 9. 9SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 28 Dynamics AX for Retail 2012 provides new back-end features, while embracing evolving consumer needs. Launched in February, Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail 2012 provides end-to-end transaction support – from promotion, to point of sale, to financial reporting – and adds new capabilities to improve the end user and consumer experience. This is the third release of AX for Retail since 2010 and, in this latest release, the application builds on Dynamics AX 2012’s strengths in usability and integration, while adding new capabilities for multichannel management, managing special orders and merchandising. Following the standard platform principles embraced by Microsoft, Dynamics AX for Retail extends its predecessor using the same model-driven unified architecture. It ensures that transaction data flows automatically across the solution: from point of sale (POS), to order management, to financials, to reporting, to the supply chain. This approach not only helps to reduce the amount of up-front planning time that’s required to implement a solution, it can also reduce integration costs and deployment time, while support costs can also be lowered due to the reduced overall complexity. IMPROVING THE USER EXPERIENCE Historically, the retail sector has featured high levels of staff turnover, and the need to train staff is a perennial challenge for retailers of all sizes. Any solution that helps bring employees up to speed faster, while also empowering them to solve customer problems, should be of interest to retailers. Role-based views can be set for every employee or group of employees logging into the application, giving tailored access to the parts of the application that are most appropriate to that person. By providing retail staff with an intuitive interface that matches their role, training costs are reduced and it’s easier to get staff up and running more quickly, presumably helping retention at the same time. DON’T FORGET THE CONSUMER Most of us are consumers, not retailers. Multichannel capabilities have been added to Dynamics AX 2012 for Retail, with support for mobile devices and social commerce. Retailers can use the system to offer promotions or coupons through their websites or social networks, extending the reach of their retail presence. We customers can then use our devices – such as smartphones and tablets – to find the offer and present it at the retailer for processing at the retailer’s POS. Dynamics AX 2012 for Retail provides a solid, end-to-end foundation for retailers to create efficiencies across their organisation, while embracing newer mobile and social media technologies. Combining this platform with other Microsoft technologies, including the location features of smartphones, gesture-driven Kinect and touch-based Surface displays, all bode well for the future retail experience. And at the back end, just-in-time updating of inventory and sales forecasts helps retailers to anticipate and plan for trends and make them more likely to be able to sell what consumers demand. Extending the retail experience WHAT DO YOU DO? My role is Regional Manager – Southern, based in Christchurch. I am ultimately responsible for representing Intergen among our South Island customers and for representing our customers within the Intergen leadership team. HOW DO YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE? I have held a variety of roles enabling me to work with, or for, various organisations across a range of industries. I am focused on using that experience to continue to build and align the long-term capability of Intergen to ensure this lines up with the ever-changing and growing expectations of our current and prospective customers. WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB? Intergen is made up of some very clever, yet fun people all focused on delivering world-class business outcomes for our customers. We continue to work with a number of the South Island’s most influential organisations, helping them to be more successful. It is really powerful and rewarding to just be a part of that. I guess it simply comes down to two things – the great people at Intergen and our great customers. A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF… I’m a Mainlander having lived and worked in Invercargill, Dunedin and Christchurch. I enjoy socialising and doing stuff. In particular, I enjoy the outdoors – not the mosquitos – and playing sports but sadly that makes me a jack of many trades rather than a master of one. I’m proud of my two – now grown – boys, and watch with interest as their lives start to really unfold as they take over the reins. My wife I and can slip comfortably into that third phase of life, now that the nest is empty. Martin Gale Intergenite RETAILINDUSTRY
  • 10. 10 Steve Willsher, Business Development Manager of testing services provider Qual IT, reflects on some testing principles and what you can expect to see with a tester on your project. Qual IT has been working with Intergen for more than a year. Late last year both companies announced they had entered into a partnership to make it easier for clients to embed testing best practices into their projects, and to incorporate more effective and timelier feedback as part of a development or implementation project. While many companies that develop software also offer in-house testing, there can be advantages to using an independent tester. Developers and testers often have a different mindset and set of skills – developers build things and testers like trying to find out where they are broken. That’s why having a specialist testing team can be so valuable to a customer. In our experience, we find it’s better to include testers at the start of any project – right from the initial project briefing. In this article, we look at some of the key principles we believe are important to ensuring the delivery of a successful project. KEY PRINCIPLES A fundamental testing principle is to test early – it's far less costly to fix errors early on in the development life cycle. Testing should start with assessing and validating any source material – the business case, project scope, requirements – as early as possible to ensure what is being described is testable. Even if you haven’t written any of those documents yet, invite your tester to any workshops or discussions that may help them better understand the project. Testers have a knack for asking difficult questions and exposing risks before they come back to bite you as issues. When testing, you should always test the most important things first. The effort should be prioritised, based on the level of business criticality and solution risk. Based on our experience, we know there’s no one-size-fits-all testing process. We believe in tailoring the test process and techniques to suit the context of the project and what our customer wants to achieve. Often forgotten or disregarded, it’s also important to put time into developing the documentation and producing any reusable test artefacts. It’s likely that any systems may be enhanced in the future and will require further testing – that’s when this documentation can come into its own. Reuse helps justify your initial test dollar too. Communication is critical to any business situation, and testing is no different. Clear and timely communication of test status is important throughout a project. Information on coverage and test progress – how much of what we said we’d test have we actually done and how much is there to go – needs to be provided. WEBINNOVATION Steve Willsher, Business Development Manager, Qual IT Key principles for software testing In our engagements, we also advise on the level of quality: how many defects have we found, how serious are they and how quickly are they being fixed. Lastly, there is also value in maintaining traceability – from defects to test scripts, requirements and benefits. It also helps with the communication. Beyond the process, there are also test tools and technologies that facilitate productivity, collaboration, knowledge retention, traceability and communication. We find it pays to be open-minded and not be beholden to any tool vendors – it’s best to select the right tool for the job. Applying these principles should result in better projects, and increases the likelihood of success – both in the short term and in the longer term.
  • 11. 11SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 28 MANAGEDSERVICES Ed Rouse WHAT DO YOU DO? My role is the Solutions Manager in the Managed Services division and I’m based in our Wellington office. I’m responsible for developing, refining and refreshing the portfolio of managed services we offer our customers. HOW DO YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE? I understand the expertise that my fellow Intergenites possess and appreciate the pressures that organisations are under today, and will be in the future. I combine the two to create solutions that enable our clients to gain the most from their IT investment. WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB? My role is very mixed and enables me to utilise all of the knowledge and experience I have gained in the IT industry – both here and in the UK. I enjoy learning lots of new things on a daily basis. I also love being surrounded by smart people who are always looking to utilise technology in smart and creative ways. A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF… I’m a typical English guy who enjoys nothing better than a good chat with mates over a beer. I’ve been in New Zealand for a few years and consider it to be home now (especially after the English Rugby Team decided to concentrate on playing off field in last year’s Rugby World Cup). Intergenite Microsoft System Center provides IT professionals with an array of powerful products enabling them to manage their physical and virtual environments throughout their data centres, client computers and devices. The upcoming release of Systems Center 2012 further integrates these products into one unified solution, while also providing private cloud provisioning and management. The solution provides monitoring, provisioning and configuration, ITIL-compliant Service Management and workflows, extendable automation and self- service portals. System Center 2012 becomes a complete toolbox to your hybrid, multi-vendor infrastructure. It pools resources to deliver a dynamic and elastic infrastructure and provides deep insight monitoring tools that enable you to understand the state of your applications and services. Intergen’s Infrastructure Consulting team are eagerly awaiting the release of System Center 2012, and are actively involved in helping their clients adopt it as early as possible. “The team has been putting the suite to the test and participating in a number of System Center 2012 beta and TAP (Technology Adoption Program) programs with our customers and internal systems,” says Mark Fenwick, Infrastructure Consulting Manager at Intergen. “Our objective has been to gain a thorough understanding of System Center 2012 so we can help organisations reap the benefits that the solution offers and enable them to move towards building and operating their own private clouds.” System Center 2012 provides centralised management of the virtual infrastructure in the private cloud environment. With support for Microsoft, Citrix and VMware virtualisation platforms, System Center provides a single presentation layer to give administrators more effective control of the underlying hardware. Support for multi- vendor virtual infrastructure means you can leverage your existing investment and manage your virtual environments from a single console, creating a single view of the cloud infrastructure. Mark says this gives flexibility and better use of resources, further reducing overall server costs. “It reduces risk and changes the way IT is managed,” he says. With such deep integration, you can build very powerful automated processes. These include self-service forms, which users can subscribe to. System Center Automation can then perform tasks such as create and update change requests, incident and problem cases, deploy applications and services, and create user accounts and mailboxes. The possibilities are endless. Using workflows and automated process such as this not only allows IT processes to be followed, but also gives constant and reliable results. The upshot: IT can focus on delivering real value rather than being caught up in day-to-day manual tasks. Unified systems management Mark Fenwick is an Infrastructure Consultant in Intergen's Managed Services team. Contact Mark at mark.fenwick@intergen.co.nz
  • 12. AUCKLAND CHRISTCHURCH DUNEDIN PERTH SYDNEY WELLINGTON PORTALS,CONTENT&COLLABORATION THE PROBLEM Tracy Carter, project manager at the school, says they had a range of different communication channels, which just didn’t work in it’s favour. “We needed one platform for everyone. Everything was spread across a number of platforms ranging from email, a shared document directory, to variations on standard operating environment. Some academics used letters and face- to-face contact. “Research is also a big return on investment for us. We have over 40 research staff. There’s a lot of paperwork when applying for a research grant and finding out how to do this can be a real hassle. Some researchers would spend a good two to three hours trying to find out how to acquire and submit a grant. Having a ‘how to’ section for tasks like this would increase productivity and just make life so much easier.” The school’s strategic direction was to have a strong brand identity and presence across all activities. But staff struggled to understand and apply its brand due to lack of easily accessible resources. As Tracy Carter says: “Introducing an intranet would give us the chance to clearly showcase brand guidelines, help grow the brand and ensure all staff have resources to present a united front to our students and stakeholders. “I knew from past experience we needed a vendor that could successfully deliver an interactive, user-friendly intranet, or it would just be a waste of money.” THE SOLUTION The school sat down with Intergen; it didn’t just want an intranet, it wanted a communication portal that was fully customised and made for the Australian School of Business. “Intergen got it and understood our focus,” says Tracy. “We needed the right mix of people and Intergen nailed it.” The intranet, called Connect, uses Microsoft SharePoint 2010. This allows users to create team sites where staff can upload common resources, policies and procedures. Work is no longer being duplicated. Tracy believes the staff are the backbone of the organisation. “Without them, there’s no school. “The leadership team needs to ensure staff are involved in business decisions. Having a place to share what’s happening, and opening the stage to staff to collaborate and exchange thoughts, is important.” Tracy says Intergen delivered more than what was anticipated. “They under- promised and over-delivered. It’s blown everyone’s minds. We have showcased it to five other faculties and shown them what you can do when you get the right vendor. “We didn’t even need to continue the training we had scheduled for the users – the design was made for our staff and they navigate around Connect beautifully. “Productivity has increased, with over 90 processes and procedures under our ‘How to’ page. Staff can directly access information. Our Dean can now post regular blogs and get feedback from staff across the board.” “It’s really nice to be able to get the feedback from the staff – it’s opened up the vision of what the school is all about.” Now the Australian School of Business is looking to extend Connect to other counterparts within the school such as alumni and students. “There’s a lot of opportunity there,” says Tracy. Australian School of Business intranet improves communication The Australian School of Business, employing over 1,000 staff, needed to break down communication barriers as part of its strategic direction. www.twitter.com/teamintergen www.linkedin.com/companies/intergenFOLLOW US http://www.intergen.co.nz/blog