Intergen Smarts 31 New Zealand (2013)
 

Intergen Smarts 31 New Zealand (2013)

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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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Intergen Smarts 31 New Zealand (2013) Intergen Smarts 31 New Zealand (2013) Document Transcript

  • Visions are given that name for many reasons; they’re a goal, a direction for organisations to head towards; a means of bringing together people to support a common cause or purpose. In the technology world, visionaries are everywhere – they’re the people and organisations constantly driving change, challenging the status quo and trying – often desperately – to evolve or disrupt what’s happened in the past in order to arrive at a better future. Microsoft has long espoused a vision of unity – where a single provider, Microsoft, provides a single platform and set of solutions that utilises that platform. And one could say Microsoft has largely achieved that vision by creating a common platform and user experience that helps to drive consistency across its operating systems and, by extension, its applications. Proven by the success of its Windows and Office franchises, this is a philosophy that has driven Microsoft for decades, and its more recent developments are the latest iteration of this united approach. With the modern user interface of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, Microsoft is creating a consistency of experience for end users, utilising a common method of accessing and using applications – one which is a dramatic change from the more familiar Windows user interface, but one which can now scale to both small, large and very large displays. This isn’t anything new: Microsoft has delivered on its “Microsoft stack” for many years, providing a consistent back-end (Windows Server and SQL Server) and programming framework (Microsoft .NET) to provide consistent development and management experiences. This unity of experience is continuing with the evolution of the social enterprise. On its own, Yammer facilitates more open and transparent communication across (and, potentially, between) organisations; more broadly, Yammer delivers an integrated communications layer that will, in the not-too-distant future, create linkages across many of Microsoft’s solutions, particularly in the enterprise where collaboration needs to be immediate and contextual. Over time, the Yammer client – which is available on multiple platforms – will become increasingly important, and a way of unifying messages and updates that flow from a range of systems. Such consistency and immediacy create a sense of unity across an organisation – a unity created by the social interactions between people, and the interactions they have with their connected applications. Consistent with the so-called “appification of everything,” the drive for consistent user experiences will manifest itself in the applications we use to perform our roles. Common workloads in an organisation will be accessible through specialised apps: put simply, workloads such as filing expense claims or completing timesheets will be performed using targeted applications, improving productivity and user satisfaction. Over the next few years look for this simplification to increase, with the underlying technical complexity of processing certain functions being completely hidden from mainstream users, who will be empowered by streamlined solutions that are exposed through tailored applications that mirror how the organisation – and the individuals within it – works. As has been demonstrated in the consumer space, such consistent user experiences – all for one and one for all – will change how, where and when we work, for the better. Don’t confuse homogeneity with “being boring;” rather, think of it as a way of breaking down barriers and creating long-desired consistency that makes communications and information sharing quicker, simpler and more effective. All for one and one for all Consistent experiences help to unify people, systems and organisations. IN THIS ISSUE... INTERGENITES AT WORK AND PLAY 2 INTRODUCTION 3 KEY THEMES FROM CONVERGENCE 4 INTRODUCING X4 CONSULTING 6 THE MICROSOFT BI ACADEMY 7 ERP IN THE CLOUD 8 CASE STUDY: AUSTRALIAN RUGBY UNION 9 SOCIAL ENTERPRISE ROADMAP 10 CASE STUDY: SENSES FOUNDATION 12
  • 2 © Copyright 2013 Intergen Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of Intergen Limited. Intergen Sydney moves to bigger – and yellower – premises. Clients, staff and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise representatives celebrate Intergen Sydney’s new CBD office. Global MVP of the Year. Wellington Intergenite James Newton-King is honoured by Microsoft for his services to technology with his open source creation, Json.NET. Pictured with Microsoft’s Scott Hunter (left) and Scott Hanselman (right). Team building for young and old(er). From this year’s Grad Bootcamp for our 2013 graduate intake to Intergen’s sales conference, we’ve had our most enthusiastic and intrepid Intergenites tackling confidence courses. The Intergen Raptors lead the field in the Wellington Dragon Boat Festival. After a season of dedication and hard slog, bringing a splash of yellow to the Wellington Harbour, the Intergen Raptors made it to the grand finals, crossing the line in fifth place. The Intergen brand makes it to the end of the earth. Being a truly multinational company, we’re used to spreading yellow around the globe. But having our merchandise photographed at the South Pole was a first!
  • SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 31 3 Welcome to the first edition of Smarts for 2013. A lot has happened on Intergen turf on both sides of the Tasman since the last issue of Smarts late last year. Our Australian operation has more than doubled in size in the last nine months and we’re on track to double in size again over the coming year. This growth is a direct result of the work we have been doing with some truly market-leading Australian companies. We feel immensely privileged to have formed such strong partnerships and we’re really excited about the solutions we are delivering to help these household names continue to stand out in their field. Speaking of standing out in the field, in this issue we talk to Todd Day, Chief Financial Officer of the Australian Rugby Union, about the ARU’s recent Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 implementation and Darren Munday of Senses Foundation about how Microsoft Dynamics NAV provides greater insight and enables better decision making as a result. Both are great examples of technology that brings people and processes together for more connected business. We’re proud to be sponsoring the ANZ Championship umpires for the second year in a three-year deal, and if you’re a netball fan no doubt you will notice the Intergen brand, on and off court. We see a lot of synergies between the game of netball and the technology industry – with both being fast-paced, adrenalin charged and fun to watch. We also see some close matches between the netballers and our own company values – qualities like professionalism, integrity and the drive to be the very best at what we do. As a company with strong growth on both sides of the Tasman, sponsoring the ANZ Championship umpires makes perfect sense to us given the sport’s great exposure in both countries. Championing technologies that bring people – and processes – together INTERGEN In brief »» Intergen sponsors ANZ Championship umpires Intergen is proud to continue its sponsorship of the ANZ Championship umpires in this year’s highly contested event, for the second year in a three- year partnership. »» Introducing X4 Consulting Announcing the launch of a new management consultancy, X4 Consulting, Intergen’s management consulting arm. See page 4 for interview with X4 Consulting CEO, Mick Bell and X4 Principal Consultant, Boris Guskee. »» Australian expansion Major growth across Intergen’s Australian operation has necessitated a move to new real estate in both Intergen’s Perth and Sydney offices, and the opening of an office in Melbourne. Having doubled in size over the past nine months, Intergen Australia is set to double in size again over the coming year, with the new premises now equipped to accommodate this growth. Tony Stewart is Chief Executive Officer of Intergen. Contact Tony at: tony.stewart@intergen.co.nz We were also very excited to be a part of the recent launch of management consultancy firm, X4 Consulting, which – although an independent entity – will act as Intergen’s consulting arm. Having a business consulting capability that complements the services Intergen provides has been on our roadmap for some time. Our desire was to have the capability to deliver large-scale strategic projects for our clients which typically including capability such as change management, and business and IT strategy. Having these capabilities allows us to deliver projects that are focused on outcomes, and gives us the skills to successfully deliver these projects, bringing greater value to our clients. See page 6 for an interview with X4’s CEO, Mick Bell, and Principal Consultant, Boris Guskee. We hope you enjoy reading the articles that follow, and, as always, we welcome any feedback and opportunities to talk about anything covered here in greater detail. We’ll be back later in the year with our next instalment of technology and business insights. Until then, we hope your technology aspirations for 2013 are coming to fruition, and that your technology is helping you to connect your people and processes.
  • 4 The world ahead for Microsoft Dynamics AX: key themes from Microsoft’s Convergence Microsoft’s key message at Convergence was clear: Microsoft software, especially Dynamics, has to be the unifying fabric between business users, consumers and IT. It painted a picture of a connected world atop the Microsoft stack that connects consumers, users and businesses. But how is Dynamics AX evolving to enable this reality? Immersive, connected, native device experiences Dynamics AX has expense management. I talk about this all the time, and there is always the inevitable discussion that ensues when I’m in the presence of a member of the new mobile elite. I can see the question emerging from that Lumia, iPhone or Galaxy on the table: “So I use Expensify at the moment. I assume you have an app like it for this solution?” These are the guys and gals for whom a smartphone has almost become an extension of their conscience. There’s an app for everything, and they have it. For the last couple of years, as mobile has become ever-present, enterprise software folk have rarely had great answers for the mobile elite. So it was not surprising to see the excitement with which Kees Hertogh, Director of Product Marketing, showed off a range of new AX apps coming this year to your favourite device. What do we know so far? There will be at least four applications delivered in the next year: Expense, Timesheets, Approvals and Point of Sale. iOS and Android users might not be running Microsoft’s platform of choice, but you won’t miss out. The team at Microsoft will be publishing a range of native apps for tablet and mobile devices running on Windows 8, Windows Mobile, iOS and Android. The Azure platform, along with a new cloud- enabled Retail Server, will be leveraged to provide scalable, easily deployable, connected experiences for applications interacting with the AX platform. We saw a keen and evident focus on user experience throughout the demonstrations at Convergence that will directly correlate to improved engagement and productivity. The approvals example shows off a few of these UX highlights like a single location for context- sensitive, decision-enabling data relevant to the approval scenario to avoid drilling through multiple forms or running reports and rich visual insight into the impact my decisions will have on both cost and time budgets. Delivering immersive device experiences for those “in between time” tasks like timesheets and approvals is a big leap towards engaging the 37% of our global workforce predicted to be mobile by 2015. Innovating with best of breed features Any discussion about AX and innovation easily shifts into the realm of retail. Microsoft has made a large and sustained investment in breathing new energy into the retail solution space, and from what I saw in New Orleans, AX is rapidly establishing its presence as the innovator in omni-channel retailing. Over the next year AX is set to evolve its omni- channel capability with a new, cloud-enabled Retail Server component designed to facilitate innovative cross-channel experiences. We will see a tablet POS experience out of the box running on Retail Server. But the excitement sits with the ability to leverage Retail Server’s standards based oData communication to integrate custom mobile apps and third party services directly into the omni-channel AX experience. Imagine turning a Facebook "like" into a wish list in store and what this might mean for cross and up-selling. Amidst the exciting retail and app discussions, the announcement of new warehouse management and transportation management solutions seemed almost underplayed. There were very few details provided, apart from an expected release date of the end 2013, so I’ve turned to what AX does today to decipher this announcement. AX has warehouse management capability. With a little customisation and the addition of an RF solution such as Dynamics Anywhere, there is a lot of warehousing capability in the product today. R2 even introduced labour and storage capacity modelling features. To warrant announcing a new warehouse management system I expect that within a year AX will deliver the kind of best of breed warehousing capability that we find in products like Manhattan SCALE today. The hub in your composite application landscape It is truly fantastic to see Microsoft focus on increasing the calibre of its flagship ERP suite to address key business scenarios with best of Kirill Tatarinov, president of the Microsoft Business Solutions, addresses the largest Convergence crowd ever in New Orleans this year. microsoftdynamics
  • SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 31 5 breed solutions. And the addition of device experiences pushing the envelope of user centric design will excite every AX user. But legacy systems take time to replace, and some solutions will never be provided by ERP suites so AX will often exist alongside other applications within your enterprise. Any multi-system environment can face challenges with identifying a source of truth, or a central point of process coordination. As the heart of business process, ERP is often a logical home for process coordination and master data, but ERP suites rarely provide enough flexibility to act in this role without a significant middleware investment. The problem then becomes the complexity of deploying and maintaining the middleware solution itself. With a mature integration framework, and natural integration across the Microsoft stack, this is a deployment model in which AX shines. AX often enables a business to connect and integrate their non-AX workloads without the complexity and overhead of an additional, large middleware solution. By keeping the solution simple, IT departments can stay nimble and agile. The next frontier Consumerisation of IT drove a divide between the strategy played out by an IT department and the needs and desires of the broader business. By delivering immersive device experiences, innovating with best of breed features and simplifying the application lifecycle, AX is ever-improving as a product that allows timely delivery of the functionality users and consumers crave. In simple terms, it provides an opportunity for IT to keep up with the pace of change consumer devices now set. The improvements announced at Convergence will be delivered as part of AX 2012 in the next year and it is not by accident that a lot of new features are making increased use of devices and services such as Azure. I would not have done the world ahead for AX justice if I failed to mention that this is really just the start of the AX story in Microsoft’s devices and services strategy. AX ‘7’ will be fully cloud enabled with a next generation user interface built using technologies such as HTML 5. Cloud enabling AX is another step towards rapidly and independently deployable ERP workloads. But that really would be the next frontier… Douglas Daley is a Solutions Specialist for Microsoft Dynamics AX. Contact Douglas at: douglas.daley@intergen.co.nz Evolving Microsoft Dynamics CRM Microsoft’s evolution of its Dynamics CRM offering continued at Convergence, with much talk about its upcoming release, codenamed “Orion,” and discussion around two acquisitions – one of which was announced at the event. Of all Microsoft’s enterprise applications, Dynamics CRM is rapidly maturing: not only is it becoming more scalable and more extensive, more core features are being added and the user interface continues to evolve. Increasingly, many of these new features are coming from acquisitions. The Orion release, scheduled for late 2013, will evolve the solution further, with the main change being a substantial update of the Dynamics CRM user interface, which appears will change to the so-called “flow UI,” a first iteration of which was seen in the “Polaris” release of CRM, released in February 2013. Indications are that every CRM entity will have a new form and, unlike the current release, there will be no way of switching back to the classic forms. We will look to publish more about this release later in the year. In addition to evolving the core offering, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Netbreeze, a social monitoring and analytics solution. According to Microsoft’s press release, Netbreeze will deliver “… social monitoring and analytics features as an integral part of the user experience and provide these capabilities to all roles and functions in an organisation.” Essentially, Netbreeze will allow organisations – and particularly those in sales, marketing and customer service roles – to better listen and make sense of social media, and then use CRM to help make this data actionable – to use it to improve the understanding of one’s customers, and to act on these interactions. Marketing Pilot, acquired by Microsoft in November 2012, provides integrated marketing management features, allowing organisations to perform better marketing resource management, digital asset management, campaign management, marketing financials, spend management, and perform media buying and planning. These are all functions needed by enterprise-level marketing departments, and should allow Dynamics CRM to improve its traction in this space.
  • 6 managementCONSULTING Introducing X4 Consulting Q&A With the recent launch of management consultancy firm X4 Consulting, we take the opportunity to talk to X4’s CEO, Mick Bell, and Principal Consultant, Boris Guskee, about what X4 is, what it does, and its plans for the future. Q: What is X4 Consulting? A: M.B. X4 is a new management consultancy that’s very much focused on working with our clients to accelerate their business success, particularly in the areas of change and transformation. We want to work with our clients to ensure that they can achieve the benefits and the results they are after. Q: What services are you bringing to market? A: B.G. We bring a lot of things you’d expect to see in a traditional consulting organisation. The main two are business analysis and enterprise architecture in which we have significant skills. We’re also putting a lot of focus on organisational change management and business process improvement. We think there are weaknesses in the Australasian market in these areas and we want to plug the gaps and really drive some extra value here. Q: Why create a new consulting business? A: M.B. X4 Consulting is an independent, technology-agnostic consulting organisation created to deliver these services; however it also complements Intergen’s suite of services. Intergen is a well-established, top quality technology company and, where appropriate, we will provide high-end consulting services that complement what Intergen does, giving customers the option of using this added capability. Q: What’s your main point of difference? A: B.G. Real gains in organisational performance are achieved by taking a holistic approach that addresses business needs and drivers, business processes and underlying capabilities. Our main point of difference is the combination of services that we offer to our clients. We understand generic organisational pain points, and our consulting services address these through the end-to-end development lifecycle, from vision through to architecture, design and change management, to post-implementation monitoring and quality assurance review. In a sense we see ourselves as a one-stop shop of services needed to improve organisational performance and deliver business success. Q: Tell us about the X4 team. A: B.G. We’re a strong team of experienced management consultants who are passionate about helping our clients to succeed. We’ve brought to bear some top quality leadership and consulting capability from New Zealand and overseas, and we have leaders in each of our key service lines: architecture, business analysis, organisational change management and business process improvement. A: M.B. Our collective experience spans a wide range of organisations in New Zealand – our team have been doing this work for a long time; so X4 is a new embodiment of capabilities that have existed in different guises in the past. Between us we’ve worked for most of the large organisations in the country, delivering a range of substantial projects. What brought us together is a shared desire for delivering tangible results, a good team spirit, and last but not least the Fun Factor. Q: Tell us about your journey so far with X4. A: B.G. We have been operating in stealth mode for half a year and we are going to market as X4 Consulting with full capability on board. We have already completed two major assignments and are now ready to offer our full range of services to clients. Q: What sorts of projects have you been working on to date? X4 Consulting CEO, Mick Bell, and Principal Consultant, Boris Guskee.
  • SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 31 7 A: B.G. To date we’ve been working with two high profile New Zealand Government clients, assisting the first one taking a technology architecture lead role on a large mobility related programme of work that is instrumental in helping the government achieve its goal of producing better public services. A: M.B. The other agency [we’re working with] is going through a large transformational change – they are doubling in size and being assigned new responsibilities over the next couple of years. We’ve been helping with the IT strategy to ensure that their IT services and capabilities are aligned to the future business growth and business imperatives. Q: What does X4 mean? A: B.G. One of our original thoughts was that x to the power of 3 is a box and x to the power of 4 adds another dimension – thus we add a new dimension to your thinking or “we think outside the box.” Q: What are your plans for the future? A: M.B. In terms of growth we’re building a significant practice here in Wellington initially. In the future we’ll extend this capability to the Auckland and Sydney markets, covering other regions from these main centres. A: B.G. Our goal is to be regarded as one of the leading consultancies in New Zealand offering business transformation services and technology alignment services to help our clients accelerate their business success. Getting the most out of your BI toolkit The Microsoft BI Academy facilitates education around the use of Microsoft’s business intelligence solutions. For the second year in a row, CIOs are telling Gartner that business intelligence and analytics are their highest IT priorities during 2013, with big data and other industry trends creating momentum around how data is accessed, aggregated, reported and analysed. Potentially valuable insights are being generated constantly by many of the key systems we run, and there is significant opportunity to make use of these to improve decision-making and attain competitive advantage. But there is often a fundamental roadblock to realising these insights: to create them, we need the skills to use the tools we have at our disposal. Once an organisation has made the – often considerable – investment in a BI solution, often realising the full benefit can be impeded by a lack of confidence and capability within the organisation to make the most of this investment. But how does one get these skills? In looking at the market, we’ve discovered there are currently few pathways when it comes to getting the required knowledge. With that in mind, Intergen is facilitating a series of training courses with an industry expert, designed to empower those in both technical and business- related roles to better understand how these tools can be used to greater advantage. Called the “Microsoft BI Academy,” this series of courses will be delivered by Peter Myers, an independent trainer who is well respected globally for his ability to train in these topics. This initiative is being endorsed by Microsoft, who also understands the importance of organisation realising the benefits of their BI solutions. According to Corina Radovanovich, product marketing manager for Microsoft Business Intelligence in New Zealand, “the team at Microsoft NZ is thrilled to work with Intergen and Peter Myers to offer the Microsoft BI Academy. The new, more in-depth, course format will benefit both new and returning students. By attending this course you will improve your ability to impact your organisation with deeper insights into BI technology, strategy and implementation.” This training is available to anyone who has, or is considering, implementing a Microsoft- based BI solution and will be run as a series of two-day events in both Auckland and Wellington from early June. For more information on these courses, visit www.intergen.co.nz/training. Mick Bell is the CEO of X4 Consulting. Contact Mick at mick.bell@x4consulting.co.nz
  • 8 microsoftdynamics Intergenite Thomas Hald What do you do? My work day usually includes elements of Dynamics AX project delivery, QA and governance on projects, marketing of AX internally and externally, presales work, business development and market research, talking to clients about strategy, solutions and Intergen innovations. We wrap up that in a title of Solution Specialist, indicating that I focus my efforts around the Dynamics AX product. How do you make a difference? Hopefully the clients I am in contact with see the value of having me involved. It’s about providing services and IP that exceed expectations. What do you love about your job? That it is very diverse and gives me lots of opportunity to work with clients on strategy, business challenges and innovative solutions. I love that the Intergen team I work with is the best in the industry, and that we consistently are able to churn out quality solutions. A bit about yourself… I’m first and foremost a family man, and I will most often laugh out loud in the company of my two boys – they crack me up! I enjoy cooking – I used to be a chef in a past life – and I will whip up MasterChef dinners for the family on a daily basis. I used to cook for the Danish royal family, which taught me a bit about quality, integrity and focus on knowing your ingredients and doing the simple things well to enjoy perfection in complex dishes… or projects. Microsoft’s commitment to the cloud now encompasses its ERP products, and in 2012 it announced updated roadmaps for its Dynamics AX and Dynamics NAV ERP offerings that incorporated cloud deployment options for the first time. According to recent research by Cisco, if given the choice of only being able to move one application to the cloud, most respondents would choose storage as their first choice, but this was closely followed by Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications, with organisations looking to effectively outsource the management of these mission critical systems. Interestingly, email and collaboration solutions followed. Building on the experiences developing market-leading solutions such as Outlook.com, Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, Microsoft is well placed to take advantage of this expertise and apply it to the ERP space. Why move your ERP system to the cloud? Having your ERP system hosted in the cloud can provide a range of benefits when compared to traditional in-house, or on-premise, deployments. At the end of the day, the decision comes down to understanding the opportunities and challenges of how your ERP solution can be deployed, and weighing those up against the needs of your organisation. There are many advantages to cloud deployment, but the biggest consideration is typically cost. Rather than being purchased outright, cloud-based ERP implementations are paid for through subscriptions – usually a per user, per month fee – which typically includes not just the software but also the hosting and support costs. Thus, the initial capital expenditure required for implementation is significantly lower than for traditional systems, and operating costs can often be lower as well. The provider is responsible for maintaining the hardware and software, and their on-going maintenance needs, including patches and updates. Furthermore, they also perform operational functions such as backups and monitoring. In other words, this frees up expensive IT resources to focus on tasks that can add value to your organisation. Implementation times can also be reduced. Server hardware and supporting devices don’t need to be procured and shipped, while the ERP software can often be implemented more quickly as it’s easier to set up and use the environment and the core functionality. On the other hand, there are challenges that ERP in the cloud may pose for organisations. Some may struggle with the perceived lack of control, not having the hardware and application in-house where it can be seen and “touched.” Similarly, there is the potential loss of performance and reliability, or concerns that the systems may not be secure – all of these risks can be mitigated, but nonetheless they must be factored into to any decision-making. Microsoft NAV 2013 is cloud ready Intergen has recently started offering a cloud- based version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013, giving customers the option of having either a cloud-based version or an implementation that is installed on-premise. Unlike many less established, pure web-based experiences in the market, Dynamics NAV 2013 is a mature offering with a depth of capability unlike many other cloud-based solutions in the midrange ERP space. With adoption rates of cloud ERP solutions increasing, having a choice of deployment gives our customers the option to select a solution that meets their current and future business needs, while providing a mature and well- rounded solution that offers more than many other competing offerings in the market. ERP in the Cloud xxxxxxx Microsoft provides organisations with choice in how their ERP system is deployed – which one is right for you? IMPLEMENTATIONSIZE SYSTEM COMPLEXITY Whether you choose a hosted or on-premise ERP system can depend on how large your organisation is, and how complex your system needs to be. One size doesn't necessarily fit all. SOURCE: BOOZ & CO.
  • SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 31 9 The situation As the governing body of rugby union in Australia, responsible for the Wallabies and working with eight member unions across each of Australia’s states and territories, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) operates in a complex and multi-faceted operational environment. As a public body within an increasingly professional industry, and in an economic climate in which tight financial control and visibility is paramount, the ARU needed a new technology platform to bring about best practice, enable effective shared services across its unions and create much greater visibility of and reporting on its financial activities. The pain Since the dawn of professionalism in rugby in the mid-1990s “the business of rugby has grown tremendously,” says Todd Day, Chief Financial Officer for the ARU. “Before our decision to upgrade our ERP system, we were operating on a system that that had been in the business for over 15 years. Its basicness created very inefficient, cumbersome and time-consuming processes and it had clearly passed its use-by date in the business”, Todd explains. “We were extremely limited in our ability to provide relevant and timely service to the business. We needed a finance system that could handle real-time purchase ordering and commitment processes, and a system that provided real-time reporting functionality to departments. Under the existing system it was near impossible to accurately report what the business had purchased or who had purchased it until it turned up on our doorstep. It became a bit of a lucky dip at month-end and year-end in accurately reporting and forecasting the results of the business, and you cannot manage a business like that,” Todd says. Further adding to the complexity of the operational environment was the adoption of a shared service environment by the ARU and member unions. “Whilst there were certain commonalities between us all, there are also some unique differences which need to be individually addressed, so we needed a solution that could cater for multiple situations,” Todd continues. “We needed a solution that met these shared services initiatives.” Upping the game with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 By creating an enterprise portal that could be accessed right across the business, self-service options would empower users within the finance team and beyond, as well as creating commonalities and automating processes, ultimately providing much-needed visibility of expenses, purchases and cashflow. The solution “As a medium-sized business we recognised the need to make the investment in a contemporary ERP system, and as an organisation we have had significant exposure to Microsoft technologies,” Todd says. “Intergen came recommended to us by our IT department, having worked with us before in other areas of the business.” With the scope narrowed down to Microsoft ERP products, ARU and Intergen embarked on a series of diagnostic workshops to determine which ERP solution would provide the best fit. At the end of the analysis it was decided that Microsoft Dynamics AX best fitted ARU’s needs, and the implementation process began. “The diagnostic process was a very beneficial one to go through. The exercise forces you to re-examine and evaluate the processes that your business has built up over many years,” Todd says. The gain “With our new ERP system in place, we now have much tighter control over our procurement processes – something we were particularly weak in. It’s a big change for the business,” he continues. “And not just for the finance team – right across the organisation.” With Dynamics AX in place, the whole enterprise is on the same page, with staff now able to do their commitments and purchasing through the online portal, and management also able to access reports through the portal and take ownership of approvals online. The AX platform enables far greater staff engagement and direct access, as well as vastly improved visibility of financial information, a stable system, greater efficiency in reporting and real-time views. ARU now has a solid platform for future phases of work, such as integrating with other Microsoft technologies within the organisation and is well poised to realise ongoing benefits from the solution. “The business of rugby is like any other business, and as the economic environment confronting us becomes tighter, our ability to forecast and be more accountable in our cashflow and expense management, and timely and efficient financial reporting, is vital. I am confident that our new Dynamics AX system greatly enhances our ability to do this,” Todd says. microsoftdynamics From manual “lucky dip” to full visibility and best practice with self-service portal.
  • 10 SoCIALenterprise The roadmap for the social enterprise: Intergenite Roanne Steele What do you do? I’m responsible for Intergen’s Applications Services team, and we look after our clients’ applications. We’re involved throughout the total lifecycle of a system, from the start of the project through to when the solution goes live and beyond. How do you make a difference? My team is involved in the total lifecycle of an application. We’re there at the beginning and the end of a project and understand the whole environment. This means we have the business knowledge and a really good understanding of the client and their needs. What do you love about your job? I love working in IT. I love being able to work with people, helping people and seeing how IT can make their world better and change their lives. I love being able to get to the bottom of why things are happening and understand what needs to change – I think that’s what makes my role special. A bit about yourself… I’m a keen woodworker, and I’m also (slowly) doing up my house. In the rest of my free time I have what seems to be the typical IT-worker hobbies – mountain biking, hiking and reading. At the root of social technologies lies a drive for two things: open conversations and personal connections. And while social platforms have been ubiquitous in our personal lives for some time now, the penny is fast dropping within the enterprise. Business is social, and organisations need to embrace these “connected experiences” – connections between people, and connections between various technologies – in order to get the most from their people and to gain competitive advantage in an ever-changing world. With this realisation, the rapid rise in social networks has seen millions of people around the world embrace new forms of keeping in touch and up to date. The metrics supporting this are both impressive and remarkable: In the late nineteenth century, radio took 38 years to reach 50 million users. In the early twenty-first century, Facebook hit 100 million users in less than nine months and now has more than one billion people using its service. As has happened many times in the past, if people are becoming used to using these services for their personal use, it’s natural to consider using similar services in the enterprise. In mid-2012, around the same time as Microsoft SharePoint 2013 was released to market, Microsoft stole a march in the social space with its acquisition of best-of-breed enterprise social networking tool, Yammer. This acquisition, coupled with the social-related capabilities of SharePoint 2013, place Microsoft as a leader in this rapidly-evolving category. Social growth is off the charts, and it’s changing the way we work. Gartner predicts that 40% of the world’s large enterprises will have an enterprise social network by 2015, with 85% of Fortune 500 companies already using Yammer. It’s still early days though – Microsoft tells us that of the world’s 600 million information workers, only a few million are using social networking technologies at work. But Microsoft plans to change all that. In a world where we’re increasingly busy and increasingly mobile, the value of Yammer, and how it helps employees get more done by making organisations more open and connected, is seen in recent metrics released by the company. Deeper connections, connected experiences Source: Microsoft – The Social and Collaborative organisation Trends impacting the way we work: We’re all heading for the cloud. 50% of enterprise customers are on the road to the cloud. 50% We’re social. 82% of the world’s online population engages in social networking. 82% We’re mobile. Microsoft tells us there will be one billion smartphones in use by 2016, with 350 million of those being used at work. 1 BILLION
  • SMARTS THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE ISSUE 31 11 According to Yammer’s 2013 Business Value Survey, not only do more than two-thirds of employees believe that Yammer simplifies the process of communicating with colleagues in different locations or departments, but a similar number believe the solution improves communication across locations as well. Importantly, in a world where staff engagement is becoming increasingly difficult, 80 per cent of respondents believed they were more informed about what was happening in their organisation – something organisations of all types have traditionally struggled with. With 76 per cent of employees believing they have more visibility into what’s happening elsewhere in their organisation one can see how overall staff satisfaction could be improved as a result. When two paradigms combine: people- centric meets document-centric For many, Microsoft’s move to acquire Yammer was confusing. SharePoint 2013 already embraces social – so why bring Yammer into the picture as well? The “why Yammer” question is one that Jared Spataro, senior director of Microsoft’s Office Division, relishes. Spataro asserts: “Yammer not only gives us a best-in-class social networking service, it brings an incredibly talented team with a shared vision of the future, a proven track record of rapid innovation in the cloud, and a commitment to building connected experiences that end users love. It doesn't get any better than that. Yes, the two products both have newsfeeds, but that doesn't bother us very much. We see the people-centric paradigm of Yammer and the more document- centric model of SharePoint as incredibly complementary - and a powerful combination. “We want to go from a world where a couple million people use social to a world where hundreds of millions of people rely on it every day to get things done.” Microsoft’s roadmap – social everywhere The future in a nutshell? Microsoft wants to make Yammer the social layer across all its products. At this year’s Convergence conference, Microsoft gave its enterprise social roadmap update, touching on the three phases of Yammer integration: basic integration, deeper Robert Stewart is a Solutions Specialist for Microsoft SharePoint. Contact Robert at: robert.stewart@intergen.co.nz connections, and connected experiences. The integration of Yammer and Dynamics CRM was demoed at the event, although this is only one part of the picture. Integration with Microsoft’s ERP products is also planned, and moving into 2014, Office 365 will be updated with new social enhancements roughly every 90 days, starting at first by deepening the connections between Yammer and Office 365 services and over time expanding these enhancements to combine social, collaboration, email, instant messaging, voice, video and line of business applications in innovative new ways. And, over the next few years, social capabilities will be incorporated across most of Microsoft’s enterprise applications, facilitating internal and external communications across employees, partners and vendors. It’s all about the people Business is all about people, and solutions such as Yammer and SharePoint help to improve communication and collaboration – between people and between organisations. For those organisations who have invested in SharePoint, there are opportunities to use Yammer to add an integrated social “layer” that ties the two applications together; and for those (admittedly fewer) organisations who have invested in Yammer, SharePoint can provide a collaboration foundation that can complement Yammer’s social networking capabilities. Individually, each solution is compelling in its own right, but when used together a step- change in employee productivity can be realised. “We see the people-centric paradigm of Yammer and the more document-centric model of SharePoint as incredibly complementary – and a powerful combination.” Jared Spataro senior director Microsoft Office DivisionYAMMER ENTERPRISE SOCIAL NETWORKING SERVICES BEST-IN-CLASS ENTERPRISE SOCIAL NETWORKING Stand-alone social service – In-app social experiences YAMMER SHAREPOINT MICROSOFT DYNAMICSOFFICE 365
  • www.twitter.com/teamintergen www.linkedin.com/companies/intergenFOLLOW US www.intergen.co.nz/blog 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. THE SITUATION Senses Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation providing disability support services throughout Western Australia with unique services for people who are deafblind. One of Senses Foundation’s strategic goals is to grow and develop resources to best meet the disability service needs of their clients. To help reach this goal, Senses Foundation needed to update their finance system so they could clearly see where their resources were being used. Darren Munday, General Manager Finance and Risk at Senses Foundation explains: “Shedding more light on our financial activities is key, especially so our management team and stakeholders can make the best business decisions for our clients. We needed a system that could automatically drill down on data and connect the dots freely without any technological hitches. The system had to manage all financial activities (general ledger, chart of accounts, importing journals, running reports, analysing data) in an effective and efficient manner.” Microsoft NAV helps Senses Foundation THE PAIN Senses Foundation’s old financial system was outdated. It did not have the financial capability they needed to make the best resourcing and financial decisions. As Darren elaborates: “Our system needed to capture a greater level of detail across a range of attributes so that we could slice and dice that information for better decision making. Things that made our job frustrating were: there was no flexibility when it came to reporting and we needed to drill down on certain areas of the business; our financial system would corrupt when uploading journals and would require a re-boot; and analysing figures was laborious and required many workarounds.” THE SOLUTION Senses Foundation had an external IT review to see what ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution would be the best fit. Microsoft NAV was recommended - it could show them where their resources were going and deal with their financial activity in an effective and efficient manner. And with Senses Foundation in growth mode, they needed a system that could handle business expansion. Microsoft Dynamics NAV has a familiar, user- friendly interface – also a priority for Senses Foundation in their search for an ERP solution. Intergen was selected to implement an out of the box, Rapid Results solution, which took less than eight weeks to implement, and now all systems are go. THE GAIN With a precise picture of their financial activity, Senses Foundation can now make the best resourcing decisions for their organisation. As Darren Munday, concludes: “We can now focus on the task at hand – providing our clients with the right resources and making sure we’re using our resources wisely. We can easily track and report on how microsoftdynamics dollars have been spent and it’s all accountable. This is vital information for the management team and stakeholders supporting our organisation. We’ve also saved about three to four days in our end-of-month financial processes. Implementation happened pretty quickly and the Microsoft system is familiar and easy to use.” THE FUTURE Next up, Intergen and Senses Foundation are implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM, not only to effectively manage their client database, but also so they can take their resourcing knowledge a step further. As Darren explains: “Having clearer insight into our clients’ progress and activity is important to ensure we are providing them with the best service and allocating the right resources, with the lowest possible overhead.” Using Dynamics NAV to make resourcing decisions. "We can easily track and report on how dollars have been spent - it’s all accountable. This is vital information for the management team and stakeholders that support our organisation. We‘ve also saved three to four days in our end- of-month financial processes." Darren MundAy General manager Finance & Risk Senses Foundation