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Intergen Smarts 30 Australia (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. Microsoft’s release of the Surface is a tangible example of a baseline shift in the company’s strategy: don’t think of Microsoft purely as a software company, but as a company producing a full range of connected devices and services, bonded by software. Many of us will be aware of Microsoft’s forays into the services space – think Hotmail, Xbox Live and CRM 2011 Online, to name the obvious examples – but the calling out of designing and producing computer hardware as a strategic priority does change the game; in other words, Microsoft will be looking to produce other devices beyond the Surface, with a Windows Phone 8 device seeming a logical stablemate to the tablet. This was confirmed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in a letter to shareholders accompanying Microsoft’s FY12 results, where he wrote: “…the full value of our software will be seen and felt in how people use devices and services at work and in their personal lives. This is a significant shift, both in what we do and how we see ourselves — as a devices and services company. It impacts how we run the company, how we develop new experiences, and how we take products to market for both consumers and businesses. The work we have accomplished in the past year and the roadmap in front of us brings this to life. In all our work with partners and on our own devices, we will focus relentlessly on delivering delightful, seamless experiences across hardware, software and services.” On the one hand, this could be seen as a defensive move by Microsoft as it looks to echo Apple and the success it has had in building out an end-to-end product and services ecosystem that joins Apple-created hardware, with Apple-created software, content and services. This success has had an impact on the technology industry, and despite its reliance on its OEM hardware partners, Microsoft appears to have determined that they need to drive hardware innovation themselves in order to retain market share. With Windows still being the dominant operating system, this could be construed as a defensive move. On the other hand, though, such a move shows Microsoft remains as aggressive as ever, further demonstrated by its busy release schedule over the coming months, and its moves signal to the market that Microsoft isn’t going to let competitors take market share away from it or, worse, redefine how we all use computing devices to create and consume data and information. Microsoft is picking up this ball and running with it, running a combination of strategies that mirror Apple, while also giving people the choice – across the market and in all form factors – that they have been accustomed to. For those of us who use these software, services and devices, we’re about to embark on a new era of Microsoft-driven innovation. Regardless of how deeply we embrace these new offerings, there will be myriad opportunities to use, see (and touch) these new and updated products and services. And, from a wider market watching context, the battle will be intriguing. THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 30 | 2012 Waves of change ahead for Microsoft users Embarking on a new era of Microsoft-driven innovation. IN THIS ISSUE... Intergenites at work and play 2 introduction 3 dynamics day 2012 4 business knowledge in an it world 6 microsoft dynamics nav 2013 7 social media for customer insight 8 signal: social media monitoring 9 microsoft surface 10 Microsoft Dynamics AX 11 case study: hawkes bay regional council 12
  • 2. 2 Copyright Intergen Business Solutions Pty Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of Intergen Limited. ShakeOut. Intergenites stopped, dropped and held in the name of earthquake preparedness. Takahe to Akaroa Relay. Spanning 40 kilometres, Intergen’s Southern relay team dug deep and earned third place. TechEd. The biggest event in the tech calendar, Intergenites once again took TechEd by storm – on stage, in the crowd and on Intergen’s very own racetrack. Intergenite ski trip. A highlight of the winter months, Intergenites hit the ski fields for the annual company ski trip. From Business Games (left) to Intergen’s very own Yelympics (right), Intergenites have been out in force, demonstrating teamwork and their sporting prowess.
  • 3. SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 30 3 Welcome to the very first Australian edition of Smarts – another exciting milestone in the Australian chapter of the Intergen story. You’ll still get much of the same content you’ve always had in previous versions but we hope you’ll enjoy the introduction of more local flavour. The theme of this issue is the new wave of technology and how IT empowers business. As we head into the biggest launch year in Microsoft’s history there is much to be excited about. That excitement was evident at the Microsoft Australian Partner Conference in Brisbane in September, where we saw examples of how a variety of products are starting to come together to provide new and exciting ways to leverage technology. Underpinning much of Microsoft’s strategy this year is the release of Windows 8 and delegates got an insight into the possibilities that the new operating system and the host of new devices to support it present. In this edition you will see how the latest technology can make a real difference with the launch of Signal, a social media monitoring tool for emergency management and the public sector. You’ll also read about one of the hottest topics in the industry at the moment: CRM and Social. Social networking has undoubtedly changed the way most of us work and play, and the opportunity for organisations to start and continue a closer and more engaged conversation with their customers through CRM and social media is very exciting and we look forward to being a part of the wave to come. Riding the wave of Microsoft's biggest year ever Now in its fourth year, we are very proud to have hosted our Dynamics Day in Auckland – a unique opportunity for organisations that are using or considering Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions to understand how to get the most out of their investments. We were very lucky this year to have keynotes from Craig Dewar, Director of Product Management for Dynamics CRM in Redmond as well as our very own Chris Auld, Director and Chief Technology Officer for Intergen. As always, the event provided a wealth of information from a range of expert speakers on product updates and directions, case studies and in-depth demonstrations and discussions and as always our team did us proud. You can hear more from Craig Dewar and an overview of the event inside this edition of Smarts. This is our last edition of Smarts for 2012. I’d like to thank all of our customers and Intergenites for your support throughout the year and wish you a very safe and happy Christmas break. We look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year. INTERGEN In brief »» Strong growth in Microsoft Dynamics business One of Intergen’s strongest growth areas, Microsoft Dynamics solutions continue to prove popular with Australasian businesses. Intergen recently held its fourth annual Dynamics Day (see pages 4-5), a free event for existing and prospective users. You can view session details at www.intergen.com.au/ dynamicsday. Michael Morgan is Country Manager, Australia. Contact Michael at: michael.morgan@intergen.com.au
  • 4. 4 Providing many New Zealanders with their first look at Microsoft’s Surface tablet was one of many highlights of Dynamics Day 2012. Each year for the past four years, Intergen has run Dynamics Day, an event designed to update and inspire users of Microsoft Dynamics AX, NAV and CRM by showcasing what can be done to get the most out of these solutions. Featuring a keynote presentation by Craig Dewar, Microsoft Director of Product Marketing for Dynamics CRM (see opposite page), the event kicked off by looking at the current and future state of Microsoft Dynamics, and the way in which these solutions are using user-centric design principles to make enterprise productivity applications that are easy to use. With more than 160 people in attendance, this year’s event saw a wide range of topics presented, with 17 sessions across the three solution streams. The sessions provided the usual spread of product updates, a look at future directions as well as general productivity advice. In addition to the Dynamics-specific sessions, we also helped sow some seeds for future thinking, including solution architect Don Smith’s “Thinking outside the box” session which provided a range of insights into how the user experience of enterprise applications is evolving, and “Unlocking ERP data for key insights,” which focused on how to couple business intelligence with ERP data, and included a cameo appearance from Intergen’s own Chief Financial Officer, Murray Newman. Like many of Microsoft’s products, the Dynamics range is experiencing its own wave of updates, and attendees were given specific and detailed views into the roadmaps of the respective offerings, in addition to “deep dive” information where detailed and practical information was imparted to the audience. With the release of Dynamics NAV 2013 in October, much attention was being paid to Microsoft’s mid-range ERP solution, while interest in AX and CRM was similarly high, as people looked to get more out of both these solutions which had been updated in the past year. The timing of this year’s Dynamics Day also coincided with the release of Windows 8 and the Microsoft Surface tablet, both of which were released on October 26. Several Intergenites had their own Surface devices, while one lucky attendee also took one home after winning the event’s competition. Latest Microsoft offerings on show at Dynamics Day. In addition to the sessions, the Experience Lounge provided a venue to try out a range of interesting solutions, including FaceCake’s Swivel virtual dressing room, the Samsung PixelSense coffee table-like touchscreen device, and a range of hardware from Dell, all of which showed Windows 8 in various form factors. Dynamics Day is Intergen's annual conference for users of Microsoft Dynamics. For more information and access to this year's Dynamics Day content visit www.intergen.com.au/dynamicsday or email dynamicsday@intergen.com.au. More than 160 attendees gathered to learn, network and get the most out of their Dynamics investment. The future of retail: FaceCake'sSwivel virtual dressing room. Business commentator Rod Oram concluded the day's proceedings.
  • 5. SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 30 5 A view from inside the new wave – with Craig Dewar Q&A Q: The next 12 months will be a busy period for Microsoft and its partners. What do you see as being the most exciting releases over the next 12 months? A: There are a tremendous number of products bursting onto the market. Windows 8, Surface, Windows Phone 8, Office 2013, and updates to all the Dynamics products, to name a few. I am personally very excited by the combination of Windows 8 and Surface. Finally a device and software experience that combines cutting edge hardware design, long battery life and a world class consumer software experience with all the richness of enterprise productivity and the breadth of device support the Windows ecosystem delivers. Q: With Windows Phone 8 and devices such as Surface coming out, Microsoft is innovating in a wide range of areas. How do you see these developments changing how people work, from a CRM perspective? A: I have seen a real change in how people think about the usability of business software. You don’t need a manual for Microsoft’s Director of Product Management for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Craig Dewar, was our international keynote speaker at this year’s Dynamics Day. He shared with us what the ‘new wave’ means for Microsoft and – most importantly – for its users. microsoftdynamics We have transitioned our entire development model to a cloud-first approach and are delivering much more rapid innovation for our customers. In the old world we released every three years and customers typically upgraded every five or so. In the new world we are on a path to deliver new innovation every six months and every customer can have it straight away if they like: a huge difference in realised business value. Q: What business benefits will Windows 8 deliver organisations? And how will Dynamics customers benefit from Windows 8? A: Windows 8 brings the ease of use and long battery life of a consumer device but does not give up productivity, management and security. Companies struggling with the consumerisation of IT will be able to have their cake and eat it too. Q: You’ve been at Microsoft for a number of years. How has the company changed in that time, and where do you see Microsoft heading in the future? A: When I joined Microsoft it was definitely a PC company. In the early years I was there it transitioned into a PC and server company. We are now at an inflection point that sees us transforming into a device and services company. We have enterprise services and devices and consumer services and devices. There is commonality where it makes sense. It’s going to be an exciting few years as the change fully lands throughout the product lines and into the market. Facebook so you shouldn’t need one for CRM software either. We have really honed in on user experience in Microsoft Dynamics and have some dramatic new experiences coming to market soon after Windows 8 and Surface. Q: As part of your role with Microsoft, how do you see Microsoft Dynamics CRM evolving over the next few releases? A: We have three areas of focus: Compelling applications. We will focus on more complete CRM processes out of the box. You can expect to see more robust sales, service and marketing capabilities built right in. We will also focus on closing the seams between these areas. Tailored experiences. We will be creating specific experiences across a range of platform and roles. Experiences for mobile, for Outlook, for web and for agent desktops. Each will be optimised for the job at hand and will be truly beautiful. Open and Extensible Platform. The strength of Microsoft Dynamics CRM has historically been its modern meta-driven platform. We will continue to keep this at the cutting edge and ensure maximum speed of development. Q: What impact has the cloud had on the delivery of Microsoft Dynamics CRM? A: The impact of the cloud has been huge. We already see more than 60% of all new customers choose this deployment model. People love the rapid time to value and the "set and forget" backend.
  • 6. 6 business Intergenite Mike Morgan What do you do? As Country Manager, Australia, I am responsible for Intergen’s rapidly growing operations in Australia. I’m based in Sydney but spend at least a week each month with our team in Perth, interspersed with the occasional trip to Melbourne. How do you make a difference? I see my role as primarily being an advocate for our brand and capability in the Australian market, as well as clearing roadblocks and providing whatever support our Australian teams need to ensure they can do their best work in delivering for our customers. If I can do those two things well hopefully I make a difference to our success. What do you love about your job? I love working with really smart people who can bring their creativity together with cool technologies to create unique and valuable solutions for Australian companies. I particularly enjoy being at the very first meeting with a potential customer, hearing their challenges first- hand and then seeing how our people work through proposing, winning and ultimately delivering over the following months. Nothing’s more rewarding than a delighted customer and a team who are proud of what they’ve built. A bit about yourself… I’m married to my wife Shayne and we have two daughters – Hannah (12) and Abby (10). We love all things water- related – scuba diving, fishing, kayaking, boating, snorkelling, spearfishing. Even the most simple business models require some form of IT to survive. For the plumber this might be the mobile phone to keep in contact with their customers; for others it might be as singular as email. This blurred boundary between the two worlds attracts both purist technologists – those who learn computer science at university – and the non-technologists like me who study engineering, or physics, or some other subject, and end up working in the IT industry. For me I don’t remember it being a choice, more of a sequence of happenstance where IT found me as much as I found IT. Like many people in my position I entered through the end-user route. At the time I was a member of a small team of people who worked with an Oracle-based bespoke supply chain management system. To solve an on- boarding problem I created some end-user documentation and training material. This was identified by an executive with a comment of “If he understands the system enough to do this maybe he should work on the systems side”, and with that my journey into the world of IT started. This point of entry creates two points of reference for me as an IT professional. The first is the general question: “What is the real problem we’re trying to solve?” Which leads to a second test: “What will this mean for the end-user?” These two seemingly simple questions often lead to a more complex world of business architecture where I perform a role of translator between the business community and the technologists. I find this split personality a fascinating balance between understanding and articulating the business value and benefits of a technology solution, offset against creating a practical systems solution to a real world business problem. Along the journey you learn a lot about both sides of this delicate equation. An MBA completes the business side by providing theory and language that establishes credibility with the business community and prepares you to ask different questions – or the same questions differently – to your pure technology peers. Working with Intergen provides credibility in the technology sphere, supported by a breadth and depth of technical competence and therefore the ability to deliver on the promise. The personal pleasure I get is by working as a consultant in this bipolar world. Consulting provides an opportunity to apply lessons, both business and technology, from adjunct industries as you move between these functional silos. This not only creates real value for the client through innovative solutions to their problems, but also provides the same intellectual stimulation that drives people to complete postgraduate study and become thought leaders in their chosen area of expertise. It is very easy for IT professionals to lose sight of the business reasons and focus on the technology alone. It is a very rare IT project that does not deliver some business capability that delivers a benefit to the host business. A new infrastructure project leads to more up time, which in turn leads to more productivity or better customer retention. The humble email leads to improved communication channels to customers. Being able to understand the underlying business enables the business technology consultant to appreciate the benefits that offset the costs. A clear picture of how IT projects support and enable business strategy is where business knowledge enhances the IT world. Putting the business back in business information systems David Mould is one of Intergen’s Practice Leads – Dynamics Solutions. Contact: david.mould@intergen.com.au Today there is an inextricable link between technology and business.
  • 7. SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 30 7 Microsoft recently released Dynamics NAV 2013 for Australia, New Zealand and 12 other countries, bringing faster performance, enhanced user productivity, and a selection of exciting new options to its Enterprise Resource Planning solution. What's new? Possibly the most significant addition in this release is the introduction of a web client which allows users throughout a company to access a simplified version of the RoleTailored client from virtually any device that supports a web browser. Unlike the previously available Employee Portal, the new web client takes the existing application pages and displays them in a browser with no additional programming or configuration. As well as the Web Client, there’s a new Portal Framework for SharePoint 2010 which allows NAV pages to be linked to other web parts such as charts, maps, reports, or custom web parts, and to be used on websites that can share information both inside and outside your organisation. Microsoft’s NAV development team, based in Vedbaek, Denmark, has delivered a significantly enhanced version of the RoleTailored client too. An Office 2010-style ribbon replaces the action pane that was introduced in NAV 2009 and provides a feeling of instant familiarity for Office users. The Role Centre page, which is the first screen users see when they launch Setting a solid foundation with Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 the client, now includes a ribbon allowing easy access to frequent actions. It seems as though Microsoft has listened to our feedback from earlier versions of the RoleTailored client and delivered those features that were lacking: Select All, Copy/Paste, Link Sharing, Copy Link, Find, and Quick Entry make this new version a pleasure to work with. The new ribbon provides fast access to frequently used actions Prior to this release, users could select either the RoleTailored client or the Classic client, but from now on the Classic client (or Development Environment as it is now called) is only used for development, and a few administration tasks such as creating new companies, or loading licenses, but the performance enhancements and added functionality to the RoleTailored client mean the Classic client option is unlikely to be missed. Business intelligence and reporting has been given a facelift with better integration with Excel, PowerPivot capabilities and some stunning end-user charting controls helping users to visualise and understand data from across your business. NAV 2013 also has features for IT administrators. The server platform has shifted to 64-bit meaning the SQL Server database and NAV Server can now take advantage of microsoftdynamics the scalability of the 64-bit platform. There’s a new server administration tool that snaps in to the Microsoft Management Console and an Administration Shell featuring over twenty PowerShell Cmdlets for handling licenses, instances, and permissions. For more on Dynamics NAV 2013, visit www.intergen.com.au/blog or access sessions from our recent Dynamics Day at www.intergen. com.au/dynamicsday. David Roys is a Dynamics NAV consultant in Intergen's Dynamics Solutions team. Contact: david.roys@intergen.com.au Celebrating agility, simplicity and productivity with the latest release of Dynamics NAV. “Dynamics NAV 2013 celebrates agility, simplicity and productivity, and provides a right-sized, scalable platform for small to medium- sized enterprises. It is context and role sensitive, relevant and streamlined, and brings increased productivity and streamlined work processes to the user.” James Page Microsoft Dynamics Practice Principal, Intergen
  • 8. 8 socialbusiness Why getting social is the key to understanding our customers There’s a direct correlation between the ability to connect socially and the market share a company enjoys. We’re told that 70% of all businesses already have their toe in the water when it comes to “getting social” – but why go to all the effort? To find out, we talk to sales and marketing strategist Bruce Rasmussen about why embracing social is so important to understanding our customers and joining them on their journey. Q: Why are things so different nowadays when it comes to engaging with our customers? A: We now have what we call Buyer 2.0. They’re typically time poor and risk averse. They find things differently, they have different expectations, and the traditional sales process doesn’t marry up with this new reality. The customer journey is nothing like how we sell to them (find a suspect, show them your wares), and in order to be successful we need to understand how Buyer 2.0 works. Buyer 2.0 is infinitely informed. And one thing’s for sure: when they’re doing their research, the last thing they’re going to do is call up a salesperson. They’re going to work out exactly what they think they need, and it’s only when they’re 70% of the way down the buyer’s journey that they’ll reach out. This is a problem for both buyers and sellers. What if the buyer has misdiagnosed their own problem? They may end up with the wrong solution; and it’s a problem for the seller because it’s likely an opportunity has been missed to find the buyer a solution that really does solve their problem. Time and time again we don’t engage with Buyer 2.0 until it’s too late. Yet if we reach out earlier using our old techniques, the buyer often doesn’t yet feel compelled to buy. So we need to change our marketing model. All our old methods are intrusive, and people are busy and don’t want to be interrupted. Add to this the fact that people don’t trust salespeople and you have a very real problem. We need to find a better way of getting in sync with the buyer’s way of doing things, listening closely to detect when the buyer is starting their journey, and then walking along this journey with them. What better way to do this than through social media? Q: Once you’ve identified that someone is starting out on the buyer journey, how should you use social media to engage with them? A: If you want to engage early, you need to listen hard. Before the internet and social media, this was really difficult to do. Now you know exactly when a person has a problem – they’ll tweet their predicament or post a question on LinkedIn or on a community forum. This is where you need to be. Join their conversation, let them know you have a customer who had a similar problem and offer to put them in touch with them, but – whatever you do – don’t sell to them. Content marketing can help here. A savvy marketer will say “I notice you have this problem” and then give them a ‘10 ways to solve your problem’ document. Buyers will tolerate being given information that could help them; they are happy to be helped to be educated but not sold to. If you can use social media to strike up a meaningful conversation and then help the buyer see the options and avoid the pitfalls, you’re on the right track. If you jump in and say “buy this” then you’ve lost them. Q: What role does CRM have to play in this picture? A: The technologies around social are getting better and better, but there’s a way to go yet before they allow us to behave truly socially in all aspects of our working lives. CRM is a great example of technology that’s embracing social and making it easier to make the social paradigm a native part of our workflows. Social media creates lots of data islands – think of your LinkedIn and Twitter data alone – and CRM can help us bring these together, make sense of them and manage them, finding the very specific information we are after, sensing social signals and automatically updating information based on people’s online movements. With Buyer 2.0 a lot more nurturing needs to happen, which means making sure the gap between sales and marketing is bridged, and CRM can help here, too. We still need to be giving people content and insights, and building their trust, giving them the right advice at the right time, even when salespeople are involved. The thing we need to remember, though, is that social media is about people, not technology. If we don’t truly appreciate why we’re embracing social, there’s no technology in the world that can help us. Q&AEvidence tells us that socially networked organisations are more likely to succeed. But why? Bruce Rasmussen is a sales and marketing strategist and owner of Carpe Diem Consulting Services. Intergen works closely with Bruce on a number of sales and marketing projects. Contact: brucerasmussen@carpe-diem.com.au
  • 9. SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 30 9 Social Media Monitoring with Signal emergencymanagement Many recent events – including the 2011 London riots and the comparably recent super storm Sandy in the eastern United States – highlight how important social media is to the populace, helping people coordinate activities and update those who are wondering how they are. Because of its convenience and accessibility, it’s no secret that social media has become an integral part of many people's lives. In fact, the Pew Research Center estimates two thirds of all American adults use social media, whilst a huge 86% of those aged 18-29 are known to use these services. What do they use these services for? The majority use them to stay in touch with friends and family members. The numbers are big: more than 500,000 tweets are sent from Twitter every minute, and 250 million photos are uploaded every day. Over the next few years these levels of activity are likely to increase, as more people use these services and more devices allow people to interact with services such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. For authorities, social media represents both an opportunity and a challenge: important information is being communicated that could allow for more informed responses to emergency situations, however the sheer volume of these communications, and the range of tools and services available, make it challenging to keep up with what’s happening. Text, pictures and video can provide authorities with increased situational awareness, potentially complementing their other intelligence gathering activities, allowing them to react more quickly to emerging situations. Signal is a social media monitoring solution designed specifically to help the public safety and emergency management communities to better understand and incorporate social media into their broader intelligence gathering processes. Unlike other less sophisticated tools, Signal allows such bodies to monitor a range of social media services in real-time, analysing these feeds for specific keywords, people and places in order to better understand what is going on at that moment in time. This data can be visualised on a map, allowing patterns of activity to be identified, or to complement other on the ground responses. Signal was developed by Intergen and versions of the service been used by a range of organisations to help gather intelligence for a number of high profile events. Signal is offered as software as a service (SaaS) solution and can be implemented quickly, allowing authorities and agencies to mobilise quickly in addition to incorporating it into their regular intelligence gathering. For more info visit: www.getsignal.info New online service helps to monitor social media services for public safety and emergency management. Real-time social media mapping.
  • 10. 10 microsoftdevicesIntergenite Paula Smith WHAT DO YOU DO? My role is Solution Specialist – EDRMS, based in Wellington. My role is a varied one, which I love. I cross almost all aspects of our work; from supporting the sales team, to helping the consultants better understand what records managers are talking about and also helping clients make the best decision for their organisations, because one size doesn’t fit all. HOW DO YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE? I make records management and EDRMS fun projects to be involved in. I work collaboratively with the team to look for solutions that fit the business’ needs and translate the records-speak into relevant and appropriate business outcomes. WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB? I love the variety in my role; today I can be working with a client to help them understand where EDRMS fits in their environment and tomorrow I’ll be talking to the Consulting teams about pragmatic design choices for our implementations. But more than anything I love working with people – helping clients to reduce risk, increase efficiencies and deliver a better service is an awesome feeling and is why I come to work every day. A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF? I’m originally from North Wales and so am a little obsessive about all forms of rugby. I have two beautiful red haired sons who keep me busy. I am almost at the end of a home renovation (or should that be rebuild project), much of which I’ve done with my husband, including building the extension – so I’m pretty handy with a nail gun! With all the focus on Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Xbox Music and a bunch of other releases in October 2012, the fact that New Zealand missed out on the initial Surface release has flown under the radar. Not wanting to miss out and leveraging a previously arranged trip to America that coincided with the Surface launch resulted in a compulsory (honest, the little guy on my shoulder told me it was…) acquisition of a SurfaceRT. Yes, I know the full Surface Pro is only three months away, but three months in the IT hardware world might as well be three years. Surface is here (well, in the States and Australia, at least) and therefore – as far as I’m concerned – it was high time to buy. While many of the official party lines deny that this is an iPad compete, in my mind it is and it does it very, very well. I should probably point out that I have the prerequisite must-have iPad, also purchased in the US before being generally released in New Zealand, but I never found it comfortable as a day-to-day tool. In fact, within a couple of weeks it became a great consumption tool for the family. So a few days in, what do I think of my shiniest new toy? I’m a hardware guy; I started my career almost 30 years ago fixing teller machines at ASB Bank branches throughout Auckland (it was still called Auckland Savings Bank then), so I’d like to say I know a thing or two about hardware – if only in my own mind. While I fully understand in the modern world no one is getting out oscilloscopes (or even knows what they are) or replacing key components any more, I do, however, understand what actually makes these things tick inside the magnesium alloy cases. My initial reaction is that this is a nice unit, well designed with great lines and functional components. The keyboard snap is exactly that: a snap – you know when it is connected. Even the packaging had a lot of designer focus, which personally I just don’t get – sorry but it goes in the rubbish, so don’t focus on it too much. Yes, initial experience is important, but the pragmatist in me says the good part is what is in the box, not the box itself. I fired it up, logged in and played with it for several hours prior to writing this. All I can say is that the Surface gets 6 out of 5 from me. I can see serious usage out of this over the coming weeks/months/years. Is it a full laptop replacement? No. But as a frequent traveller it does give me consumption and creation capability without the weight and low battery life of the laptop. This article was written on the Surface with not a touch keyboard in sight. The keyboard does take a little bit of getting used to (five minutes), but once you do it is also seriously cool. In fact within three days I’m reaching for the Surface as my first choice device. Yes, there are issues and challenges, but these will get resolved. Not having full Outlook is a pain but also having the Surface acting more like a phone (or at least a Windows Phone) and displaying live information and updates is very useful. I no longer need to start up the laptop or other device and go into the mail client to see if I have mail. Being a Windows Phone 7 (and soon 8) user, my Surface has very quickly become a logical extension to my arm, and one that will need to be removed physically (at least until the next even cooler version arrives). Surface appeal more than skin deep Wayne Forgesson is Intergen's Director of Marketing. wayne.forgesson@intergen.com.au Intergen’s Director of Marketing travels 20,000 kilometres to get his hands on his very own Surface.
  • 11. SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 30 11 microsoftdynamics Opening doors and transforming business with Microsoft Dynamics AX Intergenite Doug Daley What do you do? I am a Dynamics AX Solutions Specialist, working in our Sydney office. How do you make a difference? I am passionate about solving problems with technology. Having worked with Microsoft’s Dynamics AX as a user, developer and business consultant I love the opportunity to share my breadth of experience with clients and help them set up their projects for success. When it comes to technology and business I like to make sure we are always pushing the envelope with innovative and exciting solutions. What do you love about your job? I love being able to coach and guide people along a path to success, engaging with interesting and intelligent people and solving interesting problems. I love the fact that I get to spend time with a large number of organisations and see how they operate, and the fact that I get to gain understanding that I can use on a daily basis when talking to different clients and companies. A bit about yourself… Sydney is a great city for experiencing dining, bars and shopping, and this is where I spent a lot of time outside of work. I love the culinary scene and cooking for and entertaining friends and family. Since the release of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 in August last year, the demand for Microsoft ERP solutions has been unprecedented, and Intergen has been in aggressive recruitment mode to continue to expand our capability and keep ahead of this strong growth. why such popularity? Dynamics AX signifies a paradigm shift in the world of ERP, focusing on people and the roles they are required to perform, and applying this role-based approach to an organisation’s processes. It also offers a solution that is right-sized for Australasian organisations – being able to handle significant complexity while also maintaining appropriate levels of flexibility and scalability. Dynamics AX has also proved popular for its ability to address discrete workloads – for example expense and financial management and purchasing, allowing for improvements to be made across an organisation incrementally. Freedom through ERP “Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is a new generation of business applications. It’s the ERP solution that sets customers free and puts them in charge of their business.” So said Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, at the launch of AX 2012 last year. Rousing words indeed; and more than a year on, it’s encouraging to see the rhetoric ringing true. In recent months, Microsoft Dynamics AX was named as a leading ERP solution in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, usurping market share from its competitors and claiming a confident role in the tier one playing field. This is strong validation of the effectiveness of this paradigm shift and AX’s ability to help Australasian organisations transform their businesses. What ASSA ABLOY has to say about choosing AX Intergen is currently working with a number of global organisations to implement AX across their operations worldwide. One such organisation is ASSA ABLOY, the global leader in door opening solutions. ASSA ABLOY is currently implementing Microsoft Dynamics AX across its global operations. When asked why ASSA ABLOY chose Microsoft Dynamics AX, New Zealand General Manager, Ken Dick, said: “After an extensive analysis of the market we decided on Microsoft Dynamics AX as our choice of ERP system because it offered the right amount of flexibility and the ability to integrate with our existing systems. We know that we have made the right choice and look forward to an implemented system in early 2013. "We selected Intergen as our partner as they offered the best local support with a wide range of experienced solutions developers who have recent global and local experience; and they also proved to us that their approach to business and project management was similar to ours and offered the complete package, as well as experience across the entire Microsoft stack.” A right-sized, user-centric solution that’s proving extremely popular with Australasian organisations.
  • 12. AUCKLAND CHRISTCHURCH DUNEDIN PERTH REDMOND SYDNEY WELLINGTON Portals,content&collaboration An engaging and intuitive one-stop shop for ratepayers www.twitter.com/teamintergen www.linkedin.com/companies/intergenFOLLOW US www.intergen.co.nz/blog The situation Hawkes Bay Regional Council’s (HBRC) website was outdated and in need of a revamp. HBRC needed a powerful yet simple, easy-to-use and user-focused site to give ratepayers information, as and when they needed it. The new site needed to provide an online “shop window” and a showcase of HBRC’s role in the community. To do this, HBRC needed a versatile, single- view and future-proof platform to achieve their long-term vision of seamless integration with all key systems: Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and spatial data, while also allowing their website and intranet to be built on the same platform. Leveraging a strong existing relationship with Intergen, HBRC engaged Intergen to build a new Microsoft SharePoint website, including mobile views and apps, and the user experience design for the site. The pain “HBRC’s old site was stale and static,” says Kahl Olsen, HBRC’s ICT Manager. “It had become hard to navigate; it was hard to effectively keep content updated, where content management was manual and time-consuming. We were using our website as a one-way channel – being all about what the Council did – and we needed to rethink our approach, making our website all about the user instead. We needed to foster engagement with our community by providing everything the ratepayer needs, including self-help facilities and social media integration, making information available at 10 o’clock on a Sunday night (for example), from the comfort of any internet-connected home or business in the region. One of our key drivers was to engage the community in the way they want, when they want.” The vision “We wanted a website that appears simple, intuitive, relevant and needing no explanation,” says Kahl. In the envisioning stage of the project, HBRC staff identified the need for a user-centric site, seamless to navigate, useable, authoritative and informative. Transparency of public information was extremely important, and it needed to be searchable, concise and useful. The new site needed to deliver Hawke’s Bay ratepayers a one-stop shop where they could find all the information they need with a long-term goal of being able to perform transactions simply and with ease, including payments, consents and all council submissions. For council website users, the site needed to be flexible and easy to use and manage content. Recognising the ever-increasing use of mobile phones to access website content, mobile accessibility was also a priority for HBRC, with the bus finder mobile app proving to be one of the most popular features of the new site. The gain The website is a resounding success with HBRC staff, councillors and Hawkes Bay ratepayers. Regional Councillor Kevin Rose says, “With the new website, Council functions are brought to the ratepayer at the click of a mouse. It’s a bright site that’s pleasing on the eye. It’s easy to navigate and highlights the Council’s important areas of activity. The layout is superb, making it easy for users to find their areas of interest.” Kahl says, “Everyone I’ve spoken to loves it – the feedback has been unanimously positive. Now we have a robust and future- proof communication engine with distributed information in one place, accurate and timely access to data, including environmental data – which is critical for us.” 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. Simple, relevant, logical, informative: a website that’s all about the user.