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Intergen Smarts 29 (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.

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  • 1. The technology industry is known for its rapid pace of change. Whether innovation happens to hardware or software, the industry is forever evolving, trying – desperately at times – to provide us all with the tools and technologies to improve the way we live, work and play. Broader industry trends such as the increasing adoption of mobile devices, the rise in big data and business analytics, and the empowerment of people through social media and, even, the movement to “bring your own device” means those of us in the IT sector have to regularly assess where the industry is heading, and whether what is happening is an evolution or a revolution. Regardless, both situations require consideration and action. Microsoft is leading this change. Recognising that people are more closely tied to technology than ever before, Microsoft is, over the next 12 months, embarking on an aggressive release schedule designed to attract and retain, grow and shrink, evolve and upheave the myriad ways we interact and work with each other, our organisations and the devices with which we interact. Recent announcements – at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, and at the Microsoft Office 2013 update event – have explicitly laid out where Microsoft and its partners (hardware, software and implementation partners such as Intergen) see the industry moving. Other more subtle signals are sent and received virtually every day by an industry that, for once in a long time, is experiencing – as Gartner would call it – a nexus of opportunity, where the movements of mobile, cloud and social are creating waves of (potentially significant) change. Like any revolution there are believers and disbelievers, but also like any revolution, there has to be a recognition that change is afoot, and that there are new opportunities for all of us to rethink how technology impacts what we do and how we best take advantage of it. THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 29 | 2012 Evolution and Revolution: Microsoft Challenges the Status Quo With an active release schedule over the next 12 months, Microsoft is looking to transform how we work, live and play with a series of exciting offerings. IN THIS ISSUE... intergenites at work and play 2 introduction 3 sharepoint 2013 4 clickdimensions for dynamics crm 6 case study: Rock team 7 the engaged web 8 windows readiness 9 microsoft worldwide partNer conference 11 case study: the co-operative bank 12 How we – as users and as organisations – look to embrace or disregard these changes can have consequences. Being too hasty in our decision-making can create issues, as time, effort and funding potentially get squandered on initiatives that have limited value; similarly, taking too long to decide can have similar results. In the past, it was often the IT part of the organisation which initiated changes in technology, which may or may not have aligned to the objectives of the organisation. As the industry matured, management took a greater role in influencing what technology decisions were made. This is still largely the case, but users are also having an increasing level of influence, as software becomes easier to access, and personal devices straddle roles at home and in the workplace. What is certain is that the industry will remain dynamic and we – as participants and as decision-makers – all play a role. Evolution or revolution? It’s up to us.
  • 2. 2 © Copyright 2012 Intergen Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of Intergen Limited. x3. That’s how many times we’ve been awarded Microsoft Country Partner of the Year for New Zealand. We thought it was a pretty good reason to celebrate, and threw x3 parties on both sides of the Tasman – complete with flashing ice cubes, chocolate cakes and plenty of good cheer. YellowCamp. This year Intergen held its first unconference, a chance for Intergenites far and wide – from across Australia and New Zealand – to spend a weekend in Turangi sharing ideas, getting inspired, networking with people from across the organisation and just generally having a good time in the company of colleagues. Cure Kids. In the name of raising money for research into life- threating childhood illnesses, Intergenites across New Zealand banded together and raised more than $30,000. Fundraising activities culminated in the Great Adventure Race, with teams of Intergenites across the country bracing inclement elements and treacherous terrain for the cause.
  • 3. SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 29 3 The really big news for this issue of Smarts is us winning the 2012 Microsoft Country Partner of the Year award for New Zealand. It is the third time we have won this award, but stepping up in front of 16,000 of your industry peers at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference never gets old. You cannot overestimate how good it feels for everyone at Intergen to be recognised for the great work we do by our most significant partner. We have a very broad relationship with Microsoft, both in terms of the technologies that we help our clients get advantage from, but also in terms of the services we deliver to and through Microsoft. Through our partnership with Microsoft, we not only deliver great outcomes to New Zealanders and Australians, but to people all over the world. You will see, elsewhere in this edition of Smarts, more news from the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. There’s lots of news and upcoming releases from Microsoft this year. Windows 8, and the new hardware that is being released to support it, represents a significant opportunity to bring really positive changes to the way we all interact with our business systems. Intergen has already been working with clients on strategies and solutions to leverage Windows 8. Our team loves working with the new user interface and has developed some really great skills in designing solutions for the new paradigm. Very exciting stuff. We are also very excited about our business in Australia. Over the past year we have grown a significant footprint and are very pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Morgan as our new Country Manager. Michael brings significant experience in growing IT services business in Australia and we are very confident that he can take the business we already have in Australia to the next level. Our objective is not to be a New Zealand business with an Australian presence but a truly Australasian business with a presence in Australia equivalent to the one we have in New Zealand. Country Partner of the Year for Intergen Following on the Australasian theme, we are very proud to be sponsors of the ANZ Netball Championship Umpires and would like to congratulate Waikato Bay of Plenty of Magic on winning the 2012 Grand Final. It is a fantastic sport to be associated with, and helps us cement our brand on both sides of the Tasman. You will also see in this issue some action shots from the Cure Kids Great Adventure Race. We were very pleased to be able to have three teams competing in this year’s race. A large number of Intergenites were involved in the event as competitors, support crews and fund raisers. Cure Kids is a great charity and we were very happy to have been able to help their cause by raising over $30,000. We are more than halfway through the year now and the days are starting to get longer again. We have a lot happening over the next few months, with some pretty significant projects going live, and some really cool new projects starting. We have Microsoft Tech.Ed to look forward to, along with the Australian Partner Conference and some really great product launches. We look forward to continuing to work with our many great clients and to becoming familiar with some new clients as well. I hope you enjoy this issue of Smarts and, as always, please feel free to contact me or any of the other contributors in this issue if you have any questions or comments. Tony Stewart INTERGEN In brief »» Intergen appoints Australia Country Manager Intergen is delighted to welcome Michael Morgan to the helm of Intergen Australia. Michael brings with him a wealth of experience in building and managing leading technology services teams, and we’re extremely excited about the future of our West and East Coast offices under his leadership. »» Awards season for Intergen It has been a bumper year for awards so far for Intergen. Not only did we collect the New Zealand Partner of the Year award at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, but we also collected two surprise regional awards: APAC Subsidiary Partner of the Year and Solution Partner of the Year. »» ANZ Netball winners Congratulations to Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic on a great result. As sponsors of the ANZ Netball Umpires for 2012, we watched the competition with great interest, and look forward to doing it all again in 2013. »» Intergen Alumni Have you ever worked for Intergen and want to stay in touch with our news and events, as well as see what your ex- colleagues are up to? Then join our Alumni Network. Email alumni@intergen.co.nz and we’ll add you to the network. Tony Stewart is Chief Executive Officer of Intergen. Contact Tony at: tony.stewart@intergen.co.nz And a new leader at the helm for Australia.
  • 4. 4 SharePoint 2013 is here Portals,Content&Collaboration The beta has just been released and we can expect the final version towards the end of 2012. SharePoint 2013 contains a significant number of improvements in key areas such as mobility, productivity and social, and if you’re considering a new SharePoint deployment or upgrade then you need to be seriously looking at the new version now. Intergen has already been working with SharePoint 2013 for over six months. We’re the only Microsoft Partner in New Zealand working with a well-known organisation to deploy SharePoint 2013 as part of Microsoft’s early adoption program. This means we’ve already seen SharePoint 2013 in action in an enterprise setting and can advise you on the best way to move forward with this new technology. What does SharePoint 2013 have in store? Here’s an overview of what you can expect in the latest version. Social for the Enterprise SharePoint 2013 goes well beyond 2010 and brings Yammer, Twitter and LinkedIn capabilities to the enterprise space. The main benefits of these capabilities are information sharing and connectivity between staff in order to reduce silos and speed up knowledge transfer. Key capabilities of Social include rich micro-blogging, a full activity feed, following of people and information, rich Community sites and a much improved People search. Mobility SharePoint 2013 is almost exclusively written in HTML 5 with full support planned for Safari on the iPad. Users can browse, contribute and edit documents directly from iPads. The vast majority of organisations have iPads in their ecosystem and are considering mobile experiences for web content. These SharePoint 2013 capabilities are a huge benefit for mobile access and, in a number of cases, eliminate the need for complex development and third party apps. Search With so many versions to choose from, Search has always been challenging to understand – Foundation, Standard, Express, FAST… Now there is only one version of Search, and it’s amazing! The best capabilities of all products have been combined into one. Think search suggestions, document previews, continuous crawl, recommendations, social distance ranking, deep refinement, auto identification of company names, advanced analytics, even more integration, easy customisation and you are getting close to what the new Search provides. What does this mean? A highly engaging search experience for end users that provides the fastest, most accurate results ever seen in SharePoint. Productivity Accessing knowledge and collaboration have been cornerstones of SharePoint since 2001. There are a number of improvements in this space, taking SharePoint to the next level: »» Users have a folder on their desktop which syncs directly to their My Site. No more Dropbox for syncing and sharing files with colleagues! »» A new area in My Sites rolls up tasks for the user across SharePoint, Project Server and Exchange. Huge productivity boost! »» A new Share feature allows users to easily share sites and content with each other rather than dealing with complex permissions. »» There are a number of new and well- designed collaboration templates available for use. »» Access Services has been completely rebuilt and now exists as a stand-alone solution, separate from SharePoint. Access has far more capabilities now than in 2010 for rich forms and reports. And it's more social, mobile, collaborative and searchable than ever. SharePoint 2013 takes knowledge sharing and collaboration to the next level.
  • 5. SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 29 5 If you’d like to find out more about what SharePoint 2013 has in store, we’d love to talk with you. Email me at toby.spendiff@intergen.co.nz. To read about SharePoint 2013 in more detail visit the Intergen blog: www.intergen.co.nz/blog The App Store Apps are here in a big way and Microsoft has fully embraced this concept. SharePoint 2013 provides a full-featured enterprise app store allowing staff to access company-built, purchased or externally available applications. There are lots of options to control how this works, but essentially you can think of the app store as a highly organised and controlled way to manage add-on features which business areas might want to leverage. Websites SharePoint 2010 provided some great functionality for intranet, extranet and public- facing web sites. The capabilities in 2013 have raised the bar and well and truly positioned SharePoint as a leader in the web content management space. »» A new Product Catalogue capability allows site navigation to be controlled using metadata. This powerful capability allows e-commerce and knowledge-based sites to be quickly developed and to adapt over time. »» Digital asset management has greatly improved, with much better handling of images and video. »» Search Engine Optimisation has been implemented, with friendly URLs and auto sitemap generation. »» A new Design Manager puts all the branding aspects of the site in one place with the ability to import and export for designers. And much more! There are many, many more exciting capabilities to talk about in SharePoint 2013. We haven’t even covered full support for running 2010 sites in 2013 to allow easy migration, improvements in eDiscovery, allowing full search across SharePoint and Exchange with export capabilities, or the fact that versioning now stores only the differences instead of the full document each time! We’re excited about bringing SharePoint 2013 to our clients and we’re looking forward to lots of in-depth SharePoint conversations over the coming months. One Search to rule them all - faster and more accurate than ever. The SharePoint 2013 app store.
  • 6. 6 Empowering sales and marketing with ClickDimensions for Dynamics CRM microsoftdynamics Traditional CRM systems often fall short when it comes to Marketing. They enable lists to be generated, campaigns to be run and managed, but they don’t often offer the full integrated email marketing experience of measuring email delivery, click-through and capturing response via landing pages and forms. In most organisations that I deal with, you often find a number of separate tools fulfilling the full marketing experience. To enable a basic email campaign the Marketing team would need to: 1. Generate a list of people to be contacted 2. Export the list of people 3. Import that list into the email marketing engine (or Outlook) 4. Utilise a third party to pull together the HTML required for the email 5. Send the email via the third party tool 6. Measure the deliverability of the email via the third party tool This process tends to be time-consuming, disjointed, and it often doesn’t deliver the expected results. Multiple parties are required to be involved to deliver the entire process of email, landing page, forms and web analytics. If any forms have been developed then the results are often emailed to the marketing department to manage and distribute. Often a major step in the process is missed, which is the importing of activity as a result of the campaign back into the originating CRM systems informing stakeholders about the campaign that has been run. ClickDimensions for Dynamics enables a full suite of marketing tools to be directly accessed via the Dynamics CRM Marketing tab, empowering Marketing to deliver a complete integrated marketing experience for new leads and existing customers. ClickDimensions for Dynamics CRM utilises the power of Windows Azure to deliver extended functionality along with web integration and analytics, removing the need to purchase third party services to deliver marketing capability. With ClickDimensions, a Marketing team member can create their own compelling marketing email using HTML via a wizard block editor or free-form format, and include a link to a micro-site for the email that ClickDimensions create. They can add links to ClickDimensions forms, surveys, subscription pages or landing pages into the email content. They can then test and preview the email via an inbox preview tool, allowing them to view how the email will be presented to users on different mail engines. ClickDimensions offers extensive functionality to help drive sales and marketing activity from within your Microsoft Dynamics CRM system. Steven Foster is Intergen's CRM Product Specialist. To arrange a ClickDimensions demo, contact: steven.foster@intergen.co.nz Then using standard Dynamics CRM Marketing lists they can send the email (this can be a combination of Lead, Contact or Account Lists) either as a singular email or using split testing (A/B with the winning email being sent to the remaining members of the list). Finally, to complete the process, all campaign activity is fed back into CRM automatically so Dynamic CRM’s dashboarding and reporting capabilities can highlight (almost in real-time) how the campaign is running, from emails being delivered, opened, clicked and the pages that have been viewed as a result. TRADITIONAL MARKETERS' TOOL CRM + EMAIL + ANALYTICS + SURVEYS + SOCIAL Without ClickDimensions With ClickDimensions Microsoft Dynamics CRM Email marketing SURVEYS/ SOCIAL DISCOVERY MONITORING DATA WEBSITE ANALYTICS DATA MICROSOFT DYNAMICS CRM EMAIL MARKETING DATA WEBsite ANALYTICS DATA SURVEYS/ SOCIAL DISCOVERY With ClickDimensions and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, all data resides in one place, and all marketing activity is driven from one place: within CRM. Traditionally, marketers have had to use several separate tools to complete their marketing campaigns.
  • 7. SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 29 7 As a provider of underground mining services, including contracting, consultancy and feasibility studies, Perth-based Rock Team needed a technology foundation that would allow better management of and visibility across its projects. Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Intergen entered the picture through a case of serendipity; and what started out as a well-timed out-of-the-blue phone call resulted in what Rock Team CFO, Chris Stevens, calls “the best project I have ever been involved with.” Chris attributes part of the project’s success to a strong cultural alignment and team fit between Rock Team and Intergen. “We were impressed by Intergen’s professionalism. They really knew the product and their own project management was excellent,” Chris says. “The strength of our relationship has given us the confidence to make further plans, including introducing NAV into our cornerstone business, Rapallo, and looking at how we can make use of other Microsoft technologies.” Finance and Administration Manager, Rita Maciel, and CFO, Chris Stevens, both attest to significant gains from their new system. “Even after our first month-end we were really pleased. We’ve noticed in particular that billing is much more streamlined and we can get our bills out a lot quicker. Reporting on the profit and loss side is much deeper and we can see actual, budget and variance very easily, which we’ve never been able to do before,” Chris says. “We now have more effective control of all aspects of a project, from budgeting to management of Setting a solid foundation with Microsoft Dynamics NAV expenses against budget. The NAV Advanced Job Management add-in gives us enhanced asset management of our equipment, which is an important thing for us with our fleet of heavy machinery.” The greatest gain? “It’s on the reporting side of things where we see the greatest advantage,” Chris explains. “We can view things in detail, right down to the job level. It’s the dimensional aspect of NAV that has shown us the greatest benefits.” Dynamics NAV has met with such success within Rock Team that there are now plans afoot to implement it further afield. NAV’s benefits will be introduced to the wider company structure, with Rock Team’s 25 year-old parent company, engineering firm Rapallo, soon to reap the proven benefits of a new financial and project management system. With Microsoft Dynamics NAV and the To- Increase Advanced Job Management add-in now fully bedded in, Rock Team has a full view of its organisational and project information and total transparency across its transaction paths. Rock Team’s satisfaction levels are running high and a daunting precedent has been set. “Best project ever” is a hard one to beat, but Intergen’s Perth team will do its level best to accept the challenge in Rock Team’s subsequent project implementations. microsoftdynamics Intergenite Ian Nuttycombe What do you do? I’m involved in the Dynamics AX practice, working in our Sydney office. I have worked with Microsoft Dynamics on several continents. It has given me the opportunity to work and solve problems in lots of interesting environments. How do you make a difference? I make a difference just by smiling, adding knowledge and experience I’ve gained from everywhere I have been and from the people I have worked with, and then sharing this knowledge and experience with the people I currently work with. What do you love about your job? I love being involved in new industries, seeing the challenges our clients in each industry face and then making their systems work to meet these challenges. I also love the teamwork involved in the projects we do. A bit about yourself… I have worked with Dynamics on several continents and hope to continue to work in interesting environments. When I’m not at work I enjoy outdoor sports and hiking, reading old books and looking to learn as much as I can.
  • 8. 8 Web&DigitalStrategy The future of the web This year’s The Engaged Web in New Zealand benchmark report, first conducted by Intergen in 2011, showed some marked improvements in websites’ engagement levels, and cast light on some rapidly progressing trends in the web space. Websites are doing more, and they’re doing better. They are engaging their audiences in new ways. The perennial challenge for website owners, now more so than ever, is to embrace a world of constant change and to be unafraid to make small – but determined – ongoing improvements. The report sets out to benchmark engagement levels across New Zealand’s 50 most trafficked sites in 10 industries. While in 2011, most industries got a ‘could do better’ on their report cards, this year’s results showed real strides forward in engagement levels, with all but one sector (Health and Medicine) showing marked overall improvement in the past 12 months. The stand outs The top-performing industries for 2012 were News & Media, Shopping & Classifieds and Entertainment – an unsurprising result, considering engagement is an absolute prerequisite in these areas. Banking and Finance showed huge improvements, as did News & Media, and the ‘most improved player’ award went to Government – while it still came ninth out of the 10 industries, it nearly doubled its 2011 engagement score. What major trends did we observe? It’s not just about the Mothership. We’re coming to expect brands to engage with us wherever we are, on multiple devices, in numerous ways. It’s no longer enough to think about your ‘Mothership’ website – internet-via-mobile is New Zealand’s greatest web growth area. As a result, the web landscape has become increasingly fractured – the web isn’t just about websites – and website owners will need to stay mindful of their users’ changing needs (and devices) in order to stay engaged. It’s mobile. New Zealanders are embracing mobile technologies and utilising smartphone and tablet devices in increasingly large numbers. By virtue of their personal, one-on-one nature, these devices invite engagement, and many of the organisations assessed in this year’s report are investing heavily in this area. While some sites and services are simply rendering their websites in a suitable mobile format, others are investing in the development of targeted mobile applications, designed for a particular audience or a specific function or capability (for example paying a bill or checking a bank balance). As mobile devices become more prevalent, investment in these solutions are likely to significantly increase in the near future, and for many years to come. Social is the norm. In many areas of our online activity we’ve come to expect social interaction. 90% of the websites assessed in this year’s report have embraced social media, showing us that social media is now the rule, not the exception. Social networks such as Facebook have captured the hearts and minds of New Zealanders, and New Zealand organisations are following suit. And where, in the recent past, organisations might have looked to build their own stand-alone community solution, now they’re embracing existing social network platforms for their own ends instead. Our digital footprints are growing and digital content is becoming increasingly ubiquitous. We consume all sorts of content, on various devices, wrapped in and around our lives. We expect to see an increasing number of quality applications that do a few things really well. But the fundamental tenets of engagement will still apply: make it professional, relevant, timely, accessible, usable and interesting. It’s not getting easier – but those that rise to the challenge and remain restless will survive, and those that think they are ‘done’ are in trouble. Giles Brown leads Intergen's Web & Digital Strategy team. To find out more about the Engaged Web Report, contact Giles at: giles.brown@intergen.co.nz Gone are the days when your 'Mothership' website was your only concern. Think mobile, think social, embrace change and make small, ongoing improvements, this year's Engaged Web Report tells us. The chart above shows the overall performance of each sector, comparing 2011 to 2012.
  • 9. SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 29 9 Future-proofing in a Windows world managedservices Intergenite Don Smith What do you do? My role is a Solution Architect in the Consulting & Architecture practice working for our Seattle office, but I'm physically located in our Auckland office. For our Seattle business, I build software solutions for various Microsoft product teams, which primarily involves using brand new/ beta products and technologies. For our Auckland customers, I consult on Web and mobile solutions and help them position Microsoft's upcoming technologies. How do you make a difference? I help customers define and realise their mobile and web strategies. I build solutions using predominantly new tools and technologies so when customer requirements warrant them, we already know the appropriate ways to apply them. What do you love about your job? I love that it combines my favorite parts of the software and internet spaces (web and mobile), which are maturing at exciting rates, with providing real customer solutions. It's about combining new technologies with interesting customer challenges. A bit about yourself… I'm originally from the US, and I have been married to a wonderful Dutch woman for over 20 years. We have two beautiful daughters (17 and 19). I love to travel, walk in the bush, and play tennis. Organisations need to be running current versions of Microsoft’s operating systems in order to take full advantage of the “new era” of products and services coming from Microsoft. While Windows 8 is generating excitement, the reality for many organisations is that such a move needs to be considered carefully. Many organisations will be evaluating Windows 8 with a view to determining whether its new features will justify the investment of upgrading; for others, there are other drivers that may compel such an upgrade. Windows XP, released in 2001, is approaching its end of life and support from Microsoft will end on 8 April 2014. What does no support mean? At the very least, it means that there will be no future updates to resolve functional, performance or – importantly – security issues. At another level, it means that the productivity benefits of later releases of Windows won’t be realised. While this milestone is more than a year away, any organisation running XP needs to critically weigh up the risks of not upgrading, versus the cost and opportunities afforded by looking at a newer Windows release. Explore Windows 7 Now Before contemplating Windows 8, organisations that adopt Windows 7 now can make the transition to Windows 8 in the future, as Microsoft asserts the new operating system will run effectively on the same hardware. In fact, there are many advantages to upgrading to Windows 7, particularly for larger organisations: support for Windows XP may end before Windows 8 can be deployed in many organisations; most new applications will run on Windows 7 and 8, but not XP; and more applications are currently available for Windows 7 compared to 8, as software vendors gear up for the arrival of Windows 8. For anyone with only a few PCs, the process, cost and timeframes required to upgrade can be minimal. For larger organisations, this isn’t the case: there are usually more devices, greater levels of complexity and increased IT demands. Once the decision to upgrade is made, though, there are options to ensure a good result. Microsoft has developed a series of planning services – delivered by qualified partners – that can help organisations evaluate, plan and manage any upgrade. These services include the Desktop Deployment Planning Services (DDPS) which offers evaluations, proof-of-concept and planning help for Windows 7, Microsoft Office, and Office 365; and the Private Cloud, Management and Virtualisation Deployment Planning Services (PVDPS) which provides fundamental analysis, business case, process, and technical procedures needed to optimise your data centre and explore new ways of delivering software capabilities. Ed Rouse is Intergen’s Solutions Manager, Managed Services. For more information contact Ed at: ed.rouse@intergen.co.nz
  • 10. 10 microsoft Watching the dawn of a new era at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference Every year, Microsoft runs its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), a multi-day event that entices ever-increasing numbers of Microsoft partners to a location in North America. For 2012, the destination was Toronto, Canada, and 16,000 people made the trek, including around 300 people from partners in Australia and New Zealand. The premise of attending a WPC is simple: It’s one of the few opportunities to hear about Microsoft’s plans directly from Microsoft’s leaders – from Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, through to product leads and regional management. Regardless of the offering, there’s an opportunity to hear both big picture thinking from the leadership team, through to having discussions about specific products and strategies with Microsoft employees on the coal face. The role of WPC is also changing: rather than focus purely on Microsoft’s plans for the year ahead, Microsoft is now using the event to make more substantial announcements; the sharing of the Windows 8 release date was an example of this. Beginning a “new era” The mood at this year’s WPC was positive, reflecting the enthusiasm of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer: “This will be the biggest product and services launch year in our company's history, creating massive opportunities for our partners to grow their businesses," Ballmer said. "With Windows — Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Azure — and Office 365, there's never been a better time to be a Microsoft partner. The opportunities for us to do amazing things for our joint customers have never been greater." The partners in attendance were similarly bullish about the next 12 months. More information about Windows 8 was forthcoming at WPC, including its release date. With Windows 8 being released to manufacturing in early August, and available for consumers in late October, the next release of Windows isn’t far away. With momentum building, we attended a pre-conference event on Windows 8 which provided a lot of information around the core product, hardware partners and the overall strategy. Microsoft is going to be aggressively pushed by Microsoft, who will invest significantly in above the line marketing across the world. For those who remember the release of Windows 95, indications are that Windows 8 will be promoted just as heavily. With Windows 8, Microsoft is trying to spread its risk widely. The market has changed since Windows 7 was released, and new form factors – and tablets, specifically – have emerged that threaten Windows’ role at home and in the office. Microsoft is addressing this threat head-on: by providing a functional and flexible operating system; and by working with hardware device manufacturers to devise compelling hardware. As in any situation where one is trying to please all of the people all of the time, the risk for Windows 8 is that its core experience is diluted by making too many compromises, but indications are that the feature set of Windows 8, and the flexibility of its new user interface framework, is sufficiently compelling and adaptive to support a range of hardware devices. Hardware variety is going to be important to Windows 8’s success. Microsoft’s hardware manufacturer partners were out in force at WPC, featuring a wide range of devices and form factors that should satisfy the needs and wants of home and business users alike. Devices from Samsung, Lenovo, Acer and Asus (amongst many others) were highlighted in the Windows- focused keynote presentation, with tablet-only designs, designs that allowed detached a keyboard, through to high-end, powerful (and more conventional) laptops. The beauty of this approach is that consumers have choice when it comes to selecting hardware that fits their needs. Touch plays a major role in many devices – several devices that didn’t have a touch-sensitive screen offered a touch pad, that, in turn, offered a touch screen-like experience. It is great to see PC manufacturers looking at both the function and form. (Interestingly, and Simon Bright, Intergen’s Chief Operating Officer, accepts New Zealand Country Partner of the Year award from Jon Roskill, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of the Worldwide Partner Group. The Windows Phone 8 experience.
  • 11. SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 29 11 Intergenite Victor Philp What do you do? I am Intergen’s Infrastructure Services Manager. It’s my role to lead the infrastructure side of our business which includes supporting Intergen's internal infrastructure requirements such as our development environments and providing hosting services to external clients. How do you make a difference? By developing and leading my team, implementing good processes that enable quality outcomes and implementing excellent technical solutions. I believe we need all three to be a successful infrastructure service provider. What do you love about your job? It would have to be the people and the technology. Building a team, challenging them and supporting their growth is incredibly rewarding, and after 25 years in IT I still find the technical innovation and ability to make a difference to businesses exciting. A bit about yourself… I’m married to Susan and have a seven year-old son Oliver, a dog, a cat and three horses. I spend most of my weekends breaking in our 13-acre lifestyle (or life sentence) property. If I’m not in a suit I’m usually in gumboots digging holes, fencing or planting things. It’s a nice balance – IT all week and spending the weekend doing physical stuff. frustratingly for many, Microsoft barely whispered any mention of its own Surface device, presumably on the basis this would be politically insensitive to its OEM hardware partners.) In addition to the hardware, Windows to Go was also a highlight. This is a feature mainly targeted at the enterprise that enables you to boot up into Windows 8 from a USB-connected external drive on a Windows 7 compatible PC. This allows you to carry around your Windows 8-based desktop and spin it up on anyone else’s compatible PC, without impacting the environment of the device. We believe this will be of interest to organisations that might need alternative workplaces. Windows Phone 8 Overshadowed to some extent by its older sibling, Windows Phone 8 was also present in force at WPC. Windows Phone 8 is being positioned as a mobile operating system for business, delivering both a compelling user experience, but an experience that can be managed by organisations. This a logical position to take in the market, where competing mobile platforms either have limited management capabilities, or are delivering an uninspiring end user experience. Microsoft is actively working with both its hardware and software partners to develop innovative handsets, and to build on the Windows Phone 7 momentum to grow the availability of applications from the 100,000 apps that exist today. Windows Phone 8 has a number of very interesting features that make it even better suited for use by organisations. These include providing a greater customisation of the home screen that will allow better utilisation of the “live” tiles – think the ability to see email, text messages, or information from other applications on your device’s home screen. Other key features include expanded Skype and Lync integration, the inclusion of the Wallet (although it will be interesting to see how this gets adopted outside the United States), support for near field communication (NFC) which has been talked about for some time, and improved systems management of Windows Phone devices. The Company Hub is also interesting, allowing organisations to distribute and manage their own line of business applications to their Windows 8 users – effectively creating their own custom “app stores.” While there are lots of benefits, these come at a cost: there is a requirement for new hardware to allow for dual (multi) core processors, required for Windows Phone 8. While there will be a new Windows Phone 7 release (7.8) it will be the last for current devices. Solutions selling With most of Microsoft’s solutions getting a refresh in the next 12 months, there were a large number of breakout sessions on the product roadmaps. The one exception – at the time, since rectified by Microsoft – was Microsoft’s steadfast refusal to talk about specific plans for Office 2013; plans which were subsequently disclosed a week after WPC. The one exception was SharePoint where snippets of information were provided at WPC, particularly around the solution embracing the “social enterprise,” and taking advantage of the acquisition of enterprise micro-blogging service Yammer. Other business solutions from Microsoft, including Dynamics AX, Dynamics NAV and Dynamics NAV will all receive updates this year, although the specifics of these updates – and their timeframes – were generally unspecific, and will be disclosed through existing roadmap-related documentation or in events to be held later in 2012. Microsoft didn’t want to give away all its secrets at WPC. Behind the scenes As an organisation, Intergen once again worked behind the scenes at WPC, creating many of the demonstrations that featured in the keynotes. As attendees, we often heard people commenting that they liked a particular demo, only to make them aware that the demo was created by Intergen. The demonstrations we worked on were across the board, including multiple examples of new user interfaces for the Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions, and a set of demos that featured public, private, hybrid and Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) capabilities. The Road Ahead Organisations who are using or considering Microsoft solutions need to keep a closer-than- usual watch over what's coming up over the next 12 months. Virtually every significant Microsoft solution will receive an update in the next 12 months, and these updates will create implications and opportunities for all organisations. Windows 8 is at the core of these changes, however updates to Office – including SharePoint – and the Dynamics offerings will also need to be factored into organisations’ plans. Regardless of your appetite for change, the next 12 months represent an exciting period for those of us invested in Microsoft and its solutions. Tim Howell is Intergen's Strategic Marketing Manager. Contact: tim.howell@intergen.co.nz
  • 12. AUCKLAND CHRISTCHURCH DUNEDIN PERTH REDMOND SYDNEY WELLINGTON microsoftdynamics The Co-operative Bank steps out on the right foot with Microsoft Dynamics AX www.twitter.com/teamintergen www.linkedin.com/companies/intergenFOLLOW US www.intergen.co.nz/blog The Co-operative Bank, formerly known as PSIS, is one of the longest serving financial institutions in New Zealand. The Bank is a co-operative 100% owned by its members, and its purpose is to provide a range of benefits to members to help them get ahead financially. With exciting changes afoot, The Co-operative Bank needed a new financial system that could meet a whole new set of demands as a registered bank. As Peter Nicholson, Operational Risk Manager for The Co-operative Bank, explains: “Our old GL system was written in LINC and was well past its use-by date. We needed a system that could handle day-to- day accounting processes effectively and efficiently, with the capacity to consolidate financial information from all areas of the business to deliver the best financial insight. Safeguarding our financials through a new up-to-date system was essential to ensuring our bank got off on the right foot.” Ellen Cheyne, Financial Controller for The Co-operative Bank, highlights: “Our old system, while still functional, was no longer capable of efficiently meeting the increasing reporting demands we would have as a registered bank. Our goals were to provide the wider business with greater accessibility to our accounting systems and have the flexibility to construct reports in a manageable way that was easy to share on a more regular basis. “To meet our reporting requirements, we needed to produce external reports more frequently. Our old system required all journal entries to be manually entered, we were limited to printing to a text file or paper and new reports required a programmer to write them. We needed a system that could load information from multiple data sources, consolidate quickly and enable us to construct reports straight away, to suit any user’s need. “Our Accounts Payable was also a manual- based process and was reliant on our colleagues returning their coded and approved invoices so they could be loaded into the system for payment. We now have real-time electronic visibility of all invoices and their status through the Creditors cycle. This ensures we have accurate financial information and that invoices are paid on time.” The Co-operative Bank chose Microsoft Dynamics AX as its financial platform not only because it could support their growing needs but because it was Windows-based – something their users were already familiar with. Ensuring staff could easily adopt the new system was especially important. To further extend the capability of the Dynamics AX platform, Atlas, MW Solutions and Forecaster were implemented to give staff the best reporting, budgeting and forecasting functionality. The gain Ellen explains the greatest benefits of the new AX system: “Everything is now done in real time and we have greater financial visibility of our financial performance and position. ATLAS allows us to construct reporting at the touch of a button, meaning if our stakeholders require specific information we can get it to them straight away.” Peter concludes: “Our financial processes are now up with the play, all financial data is consolidated for reporting, budgeting and forecasting. AX safeguards our financial matters, meeting internal and external requirements and streamlining our financial duties. Overall, it helps us reach our goal of giving New Zealanders a co-operative bank that provides them the best financial outcome.” 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 solutions and services, including financial and relationship management, portals, content and collaboration solutions, custom software development, and consulting services.