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Intergen Smarts 32 Australia (Dec 2013)
 

Intergen Smarts 32 Australia (Dec 2013)

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

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

In this issue:

- After being talked about for many years, the concept of the modern enterprise is becoming a reality for many forward-thinking organisations.
- Responsive website design
- Silver Fern Farms adopts a solution fit for the field
- A day in the life of Intergen's Seattle Office
- Tips and tricks for migrating to the cloud
- Microsoft's vision for Microsoft Dynamics and the Modern Enterprise

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 32 Australia (Dec 2013) Intergen Smarts 32 Australia (Dec 2013) Document Transcript

    • THE INTELLIGENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 32 | 2013 IN THIS ISSUE... Intergenite photos 2 Introduction 3 Responsive Web Design 4 Case study 5 A day in the life of the Seattle office 6 microsoft Dynamics Q&A 8 Cloud tips and tricks 9 Case study 11 Becoming a modern enterprise After being talked about for many years, the concept of the modern enterprise is becoming a reality for many forward-thinking organisations. Gartner has long-talked about the “nexus of forces,” the confluence of the cloud, mobility, social and big data and how – separately and in combination – these trends are disrupting how organisations operate and how people work. At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in July, Microsoft talked up the so-called “four pillars,” outlining how these same four trends influence Microsoft’s own offerings – and its evolution towards being a company focused on devices and services. Analysts, media and the blogosphere are often guilty of promoting these trends years before they are ready for mainstream adoption, usually waiting for costs to come down and any risks to be mitigated, believing that any differentiators that may be created are offset by the risks involved in implementing them. In the case of the cloud, mobility, the social enterprise and big data, momentum has been building for some time, and an increasing number of organisations are embracing them. How does this relate to the notion of a modern enterprise? What do these solutions provide organisations that allow them to become “modern”? Becoming a modern enterprise is more than being an organisation that adopts any or all of these solutions; the organisation also must understand the impact these solutions can have on how it works – and how these changes can create improvements. How can the cloud and mobile devices improve productivity or reduce costs? How can the social enterprise work in your organisation to facilitate communication and improve collaboration? Are you ready to take advantage of big data and the opportunities it may afford? And, singly and collectively, how could the implementation of these services create long-term differentiation? Commoditisation is also a characteristic of many of these offerings, with a desire to offer solutions that can be easily purchased and consumed. Their “packaged” nature means that organisations can often get up and running quickly and cost effectively. And despite the perceived attribute that “one size fits all,” organisations still have the ability to tailor solutions to meet their needs and – when used in combination – the opportunities to mix and match solutions and deployment methods, together with packaged and custom solutions, differentiation can be realised. Taking advantage of these technological shifts requires careful consideration and successful adoption requires more than simply adopting the technology. How it gets incorporated into your organisation, and the way it works, is critical. While some solutions, such as cloudbased email, have minimal impact on the behaviour of an organisation; other solutions are more disruptive and can create a step-change in value – when their value is understood by everyone. The Microsoft platform often allows an iterative approach to adopting any of these solutions: a “big bang” approach isn’t usually required, but a more considered approach to adoption is possible, regardless of whether solutions are deployed on premise, in the cloud or through a hybrid solution. How you and your organisation translate the impact of these solutions into how you work doesn’t have to be answered on day one; it can be an evolution that, once started, can benefit your entire organisation.
    • ALUMNI Intergenite Alumni get-togethers London (left) and San Francisco (right). The Intergen BHAG On display in Sydney. Perth opening Celebrating the opening of Intergen's new Perth office in William Street Dynamics Day 2013 Intergen's fifth annual Dynamics Day, held in Sydney for the first time this year. Many hands make light work A Sydney office working bee. TechEd Austrailia 2013 Intergen waterbottles hydrated the masses at this year's TechEd. © Copyright 2013 Intergen Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of Intergen Limited. S M ART S T H E IN T E L L IG E N T BUS I NES S MAG A ZI NE ISSUE 3 2 2
    • INTERGEN Defining – and celebrating – the modern enterprise As technology partners we’re in a privileged position. We get to be a part of – and help define – an organisation’s “modernisation” through their use of IT. We are exposed to the things that really matter to organisations – things like harnessing, understanding and making best use of their data, empowering their staff, better connecting with their customers and streamlining systems and processes to enable greater productivity. It’s our role to design and deliver the systems that help make all these things a reality. In our line of work, the greatest reward comes from seeing how these technology innovations make a real difference. In this issue of Smarts we look at a number of examples of modern technology solutions and explore several of the key themes underpinning them. We look at what it means to take a device agnostic, “responsive” approach to web design, and share tips and tricks we have learned in helping organisations make the move to the cloud. A fantastic example of an organisation using technology in a truly “modern” way is Silver Fern Farms with their “Pasture” system (see page 5) – bringing integrated technology to the field, where Silver Fern Farms’ most important transactions take place. Our Seattle team works closely with Microsoft Corporation helping to build future technology. The nature of the work they do is such that they work to an intense schedule and can’t talk publicly about a lot of this work. In this issue the Seattle team shares with us a typical day in the life of our work with Microsoft Corporation – a real insight into the engine room where the modern enterprise is defined and the sorts of technology solutions we’ll see becoming commonplace in the near future. S M ART S T H E IN T E L L IG E N T BUS I NES S MAG A ZI NE We were delighted to bring Intergen’s Dynamics Day to Sydney this year for the first time, and were extremely pleased with the levels of interest and the strong attendance from existing and prospective Dynamics users. This year’s keynote speaker was Microsoft’s Kees Hertogh, who took some time (see page 9) to answer our questions about Microsoft’s vision for Microsoft Dynamics. We are also undertaking some modernisation of our own. We have instigated a programme we call Intergen.NEXT and we are working on projects that will redefine Intergen’s next phase of growth. We are reviewing and redefining our go to market strategy, updating or replacing all of our internal systems and optimising our processes. We have also undertaken a significant reorganisation to align ourselves with the things we do rather than where we do things. All these changes are designed to make us easier to do business with and to help us deliver better quality solutions that deliver more value for our clients This is the final issue of Smarts for the year. On behalf of all of Intergen, we wish you all the best for the holiday period and the new year ahead. Here’s to a prosperous and successful 2014. Michael Morgan is Managing Director Australia. Contact Michael at: In brief »» Trifecta for Intergen’s new Australian offices It has been a big year for office moves and openings for Intergen Australia in 2013, with our teams moving to bigger, better and brighter dwellings in Martin Place in Sydney and William Street in Perth, and with a new office opened in Melbourne on Southbank Boulevard. »» Intergen joins “companies to watch” list in 2013 TIN100 Report 2013 saw Intergen up nine places – to 32nd – in this year’s list of top 100 New Zealand ICT companies, based on revenue figures, and number six on the “top 10 companies to watch” list. This result was attributed in large part to growth from Intergen’s Australian and United States operations. »» Dynamics Day on demand For those of you who didn’t make it along to Intergen’s Dynamics Day, held for the first time in Sydney this year, you can watch the sessions on demand here: www.intergen.com.au/ dynamicsday. michael.morgan@intergen.com.au ISSUE 3 2 3
    • WEB & DIGITAL STRATEGY Do I need a responsive website? What is responsive design? Responsive web design fluidly adapts and resizes elements on the page to suit the size of the screen they are being viewed on. As a result, it generally means designing for a range of devices in parallel, rather than designing a complete solution for desktop then moving on to mobiles and tablets. The short answer: It depends Questions to ask Alternatives to responsive design The long answer: To ask whether you need a responsive website is to try to decide on tactics before you’ve come up with an overall strategy. Responsive design is a technique – a way of getting a job done – with certain characteristics that make it more suited to some scenarios than others. At that point, a series of other questions come into play, and these can determine whether you should side with responsive design or some other tactic: So what are the alternatives? There are a myriad. The common ones include adaptive design (easier to retrofit but requires wellstructured content), managing a separately maintained m. Site (easy to implement but painful to maintain), or building a downloadable application (great for frequent users - especially for transactional sites like internet banking or travel - but not so good for causal visitors). Before you can decide on whether Responsive Design is the right tactic, you need to build your strategy, and you need to know that there is a right time and a not-so-right time for “going responsive”. Strategy Your strategy is your overall vision – it comes from your objectives or goals – and describes the sort of techniques you want to employ to achieve those goals. In warfare or sports there are defensive and offensive strategies. In business, there are online and digital strategies that describe how you will engage with your customers, increase sales and save money, and ultimately take business up a notch. No two strategies are the same; they’re tailored to individual business needs, especially in this era of a mass of niche markets. Responsive design describes a method for getting web content onto mobile (and other) devices. So hopefully you've arrived at the responsive design question because you've made a strategic decision to embrace mobile/ multiple device platforms as a communication or operational channel. The question around responsive design, then, can only be asked after the question “shall we embrace mobile?” has been answered in the affirmative. S M ART S T H E IN T E L L IG E N T BUS I NES S MAG A ZI NE »» Are we about to build a new website/ application from scratch? »» Have we assessed that all or most of our content is equally valuable to users who are on a mobile as those who are on a desktop or laptop? »» Is our website largely about consuming content rather than making transactions? If the answers to the above are yes, then responsive design could be a goer. The ideal time to factor in responsive design is during the initial design of a website; it can be expensive to ’retrofit’ an existing design to make it responsive. Responsive design means you will largely serve up the same content to users regardless of device, so it has to be equally as important to have all this content to hand whether the user is on a laptop, out and about, or even using their phone in bed. However if your website is predominantly transactional – i.e. it's really an application – then a native application downloadable from an app store may be the better approach for mobility. Consumable content on the other hand – text, images, audio and video, can work well in a responsive design. Responsive design though is great when you are starting fresh with a blank canvas for design. It requires up-front planning and iterative, collaborative design and development, but is beautifully scalable across almost all modern web browsing devices and platforms, from the smallest smartphone to the largest smart TV. I tend to pick on ’responsive’ because it’s a bit of a buzzword at the moment, but like any of the other digital design tactics out there, it has strengths and weaknesses and when utilised well, it's fantastic. So yes, chances are you need a mobile friendly website, and you could probably do really well using responsive design techniques. For more information about resposive web design, contact: mark.delaney@intergen.co.nz ISSUE 3 2 4
    • modern applications Silver Fern Farms a leading-edge solution fit for the field Greener pastures with ‘Pasture’ THE SITUATION For leading global food company and red meat expert Silver Fern Farms, innovation is a critical element in achieving the insights and business advantage in a highly competitive market. With the organisation’s most fundamental transactions – between its Livestock Representatives and its farmer partners – taking place in the field, Silver Fern Farms needed to create a portable technology solution that would allow vital information to be captured, and made available to the organisation in near real-time, around a farmer’s kitchen table or in a paddock. From paper to tablet With a Plate to Pasture strategy that focuses on consumers’ needs first and works back from there to deliver to them, Silver Fern Farms’ relationship with its farmer partners is all-important. Silver Fern Farms’ field-based Livestock Representatives are the key point of connection in this relationship, taking farmers’ stock booking orders and helping them to define their stock strategy. “In the past our approach to capturing information from farmers was very ad hoc, manual and paper-based,” says Andy Perry, Silver Fern Farms’ Regional Livestock Manager. “The main issue we had was that this information was stored in the Livestock Reps’ “top two inches” or in their own paper diaries. We had a complete lack of visibility and, dependent on the farmer sending the contract back in the post, which could take up to a week.” Silver Fern Farms needed to move from paper to tablet, creating an electronic diary and stock booking system for its 85 Livestock Representatives in their interactions with Silver Fern Farms’ 20,000 farmer partners, capturing vital information and providing it back to the business in near real-time. a solution fit for the field The gain Adoption by the sales force – Silver Fern Farms’ Livestock Representatives – was essential to the success of Pasture. With an average age of 56, varying degrees of computer literacy, willingness and “well-worn livestock hands” navigating a touch-based interface, the solution needed to be user friendly, and the approach to designing it needed to be extremely user focused. With Pasture fully rolled out to “overwhelmingly positive” feedback, the business has one source of the truth. A “step change” for the organisation, Pasture gives Silver Fern Farms full visibility and accuracy of information, vastly improved forecasting and reporting capabilities and the ability to understand its business with far greater certainty, making informed decisions and reducing risk. As well as delivering significant time savings in the contract process – reducing the process from up to a week to almost immediate access to information – Pasture allows Silver Fern Farms to understand its farmers better than ever, thus strengthening the relationship with them, enabling more insightful and engaged customer service. “We worked closely with Intergen’s user experience designers to create a system that would work in the field,” says Elliot, Silver Fern Farms’ Project Manager for Pasture. “The outcome was a solution that is really intuitive.” “The results from the field are speaking for themselves. In fact one of the Livestock Reps said to me the other day: ‘I went up the drive of a chap, created him as a supplier, signed him up with a special programme, did his booking and had the truck there to pick up his animals the next day.’ It doesn’t get better than that.” matt tulloch Process Improvement Manager, silver fern farm S M ART S T H E IN T E L L IG E N T BUS I NES S MAG A ZI NE ISSUE 3 2 To watch the Pasture video visit: http://intrgn.co/SilverFernFarmsPasture 5
    • Intergen A day in the life of Intergen’s Seattle Office... Beyond our morning coffee or Red Bull, the excitement of what we do for Microsoft drives us to work harder, do more and accept the over-the-top, last minute and challenging project scopes. It means that our projects are often high profile and a bit more stress than we are comfortable with, but the outcomes are amazing. I got a call today saying that our team at Microsoft would like to expand the scope of our CRM project. They want our CRM implementation to not only cover the existing product, but to be able to cover a number of similar systems at Microsoft. The scope? Huge. The opportunity? Exciting! The deadline? As soon as we can do it. This is typical of our days on the Microsoft “campus”. Our clients trust us with big projects that often have long lasting impacts. At the moment we are working with one of the product teams, putting together a competitive analysis. Our objective is to look at their competitors and help them determine a typical SWOT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The outcome of the project is to help the engineering teams to determine how best to fill market gaps and meet their customers’ needs in the next version of the product. From helping to understand opportunities in the market, we also help them to be able to reach that market. For another client we are creating sales tools to show off the endless potential of their product to their customers. We’re designing demos to help envision the future and Seattle team at Intergen Social Hour (from left to right): Chris Auld, Amber Williams, Kate Smith, Zac Smith, Liz Larsen, Hamish Hill, Jay Templeton demonstrate how this technology can be used across devices to ease the flow of information and improve customer experience. We’ve created scenarios where we show how information can flow through Windows 8 apps, phone apps, point of sale devices, medical devices and informational kiosks. These tools will influence the future of how consumers interact with technology. Another client asked us to create a way for customers to try out the product online, without having to install anything, enter their email address or make any commitments. They didn’t want there to be a single barrier to getting a rich experience with the product. The result was an interactive website that allowed the customer to step through the product while exploring the The future of retail on display at the National Retail Federation’s Annual Retail Show and Expo in New York. S M ART S T H E IN T E L L IG E N T BUS I NES S MAG A ZI NE ISSUE 3 2 features and functionality of the product with an opportunity at the end to install a trial version and explore it further. We realised we had met our mark when the competitor went out and created exactly the same tool for their product! As always, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. One of the ways that we get the highest profile work is demonstrations for conferences. We work for almost every conference putting together cool demonstrations of the technology that can be shown on stage to an audience of thousands. Often we’re creating examples of functionality that doesn’t yet exist and is only a vision of the future. The goal is to inspire the audience with what can be created with Microsoft technology and to go out and create that future with Microsoft. Jay and Hamish at the CRM Load Fest at the Western USA SMS&P Summit. 6
    • The Microsoft Immersion Booth. Being at Microsoft, we have a wide range of projects. Some days we work intimately with SharePoint and are currently planning out a complex SharePoint site for an online community. Many days we work with Modern Applications – a wide definition that includes the cross section between applications for mobile devices and tablets along with interactive web applications. But almost every day we work with innovative new technology that is inspiring. Our five project managers, Operations Manager, CRM developer and Regional Manager are based in Seattle itself. The rest of our team is physically located in Auckland and Wellington, but we also draw on Intergenites from all our offices in New Zealand and Australia to help us with our projects. As our clients are located in any one of Microsoft’s 100+ buildings in the Puget Sound, we have a wide range to cover. We often work from home in the morning, before the rest of Intergen is awake. During the Seattle winter, Intergen's New Zealand offices don't come online until 11am and we have a bit of time to do emails, create proposals for new work and try and get our normal work done. As there are only five hours of overlap during the business day, and only four overlap days in the week, we have to work hard to fit our communications into 20 hours in the week. Working with our team remotely has both advantages and disadvantages. We appreciate the fact that when our day has ended, they are still working until 8 pm at night to get work done. And it’s great to come into work on our Monday morning knowing our team has had a full day of work on their Monday (the day before) to get caught up on the week ahead. But in order to spend more time with our development teams, it often means later evenings to chat once our day is done. As our team spends less time in the office together, we try and spend more time out of the office together. Each quarter we host a social hour with our clients. It’s an opportunity to show off the new stuff we’ve been working on, buy them a drink and get a chance to bring our extended team together. We also plan team events as we simply enjoy hanging out together. Our work in the Seattle office may be challenging, but it’s always inspiring. Getting to go to a conference and see your demo on the big screen. Developing new tools that help envision the future. Helping to influence the future of Microsoft products. It’s all in a days’ work. Jay Templeton My wife and I moved from Wellington to Seattle in 2010 as she was transferred to Microsoft’s corporate offices. I was looking forward to settling into the role as an “expat husband”, learning golf and building out my man cave. It rains too much to play golf consistently and my man cave plans were such that my wife decided that I needed to get a job. I had done some consulting work for Intergen before I left, so we already had a strong working relationship and I knew the work Intergen was doing up here were my type of exciting projects. I contacted Chris Auld with a short note to let him know I was interested in working for Intergen a few hours a week. Chris was surprised I lived in Seattle now and could see the opportunity for me to add value to the work they were doing here with Microsoft. Right from that moment I had a vision of creating another regional office and becoming the Regional Manager. Intergen had been working with Microsoft Corporation since 2003 and the growth of work with Microsoft S M ART S T H E IN T E L L IG E N T BUS I NES S MAG A ZI NE already working on a significant amount of SharePoint and Office projects, and we expanded the business to involve new areas like Dynamics, and Server and Tools (Azure, SQL, Windows Server and System Center). had become challenging to manage remotely. Intergen had established a great reputation and adding a local BDM with contacts from my nine plus years at Microsoft New Zealand could really help the business grow. I knew Microsoft and the US market would love the initiative and value Intergen brings. And I was right. Even though I really only wanted a few hours of work a week, the first month was busy and then subsequent months became overwhelmingly active. We were ISSUE 3 2 It no longer became an effort to gain new business, but rather the challenge was to survive the growth to accommodate all the new business we had. Before I knew it, I was consistently working many hours, straddling two time zones and needed additional local people to support the opportunities we had in front of us. By importing Hamish Hill from Intergen New Zealand, our Seattle team started to formally grow, and 18 months later our team has grown to 10+ people located in Seattle, Auckland, Wellington and Melbourne. So much for being the house husband! My move to Seattle definitely wasn’t what I had expected, but at least it’s not boring! Jay is Intergen USA’s Regional Manager: jay.templeton@intergenusa.com 7
    • Microsoft’s vision for Microsoft Dynamics and the Modern Enterprise Q: How do you think Microsoft’s “Services and Devices” approach will affect the Dynamics ecosystem? At this year’s Dynamics Day, held in Auckland and Sydney in October, we had the privilege of the company of Microsoft’s Kees Hertogh as our international keynote speaker. Kees is a director for product marketing at Microsoft, and a longstanding member of the Microsoft Business Solutions group. We took the chance to ask Kees about Microsoft’s vision and direction, both for Microsoft Dynamics and the modern enterprise. Q: What excites you the most about what’s happening in Microsoft Dynamics during the next 12 months? A: First of all, there is new product innovation that we’ll bring to market. For example, we’ll have major releases coming to market for our customers like Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2012 R2. Secondly we’ve been making great process in delivering a set of native device experiences, utilising all the innovation Microsoft is bringing on the tablets and phones, you’ll see us continue making progress and delivering both new apps as well as significant updates to existing apps. Overall, I am excited about our ability to continue to deliver innovation to our customers and partners year after year after year. A: I think the Services and Devices focus will impact our ecosystem in several ways. First of all, a focus on service delivery will both continue to improve the “out-of-the-box experience” of the business application, simplifying deployment and lowering implementation cost for our customers. In addition, it will also open up innovation opportunities for our customers and partners through new scenarios by meshing up different cloud services like, for example, Social Collaboration (Yammer) and big data feeds to provide deep and more actionable insights. For our Dynamics partners, this will mean a continuing evolution of their skill sets, increasing their focus on helping customers address real world business problems and translating opportunities for business innovation vs. spending time and effort on IT maintenance. Q: What impact are the “four pillars” – cloud, mobility, social enterprise and big data – having on Microsoft Dynamics? A: We see these ‘nexus of focus’ (as Gartner calls them) as “technology vectors” that will continue to influence the innovation agenda we’re driving for our ERP and CRM customers to deliver even greater customer value. We’ve already made good progress on this with, for example, the integration between Yammer and Dynamics CRM, the recent acquisition of Netbreeze, our continued investment in Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, the increased adoption of this platform in our Dynamics products line and the release of mobile Windows 8 tablet applications for Dynamics, to name a view. You’ll continue to see us delivering innovation around these “four pillars”. 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: I’ve always been energised by the company’s wide reach in technology and focus on innovation over the long haul to bring greater customer value. Microsoft has a unique ability to continue to change itself and improve its focus. For me personally, now is actually a very interesting time to work for Microsoft to see the company change into a Services and Devices company across consumer and enterprise segments. Implementing this big change and making bold bets like these is something that get me even more excited and motivated to be part of this change to make even a bigger impact on our customers’ personal lives and businesses. The Intergen team at Dynamics Day, Auckland. S M ART S T H E IN T E L L IG E N T BUS I NES S MAG A ZI NE ISSUE 3 2 8
    • cloud services Tips and tricks for migrating to the cloud What is Office 365? Intergenite Lester Young What do you do? I’m an Infrastructure Consultant in the Infrastructure Consulting team, based in the Wellington Office. I work primarily on Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Windows Intune projects as well as managed desktop solutions. How do you make a difference? Office 365 is a suite of Microsoft technologies delivered on a per-user subscription basis. It provides organisations with unprecedented flexibility and the ability to move some or all of their different workloads to the cloud. At Office 365’s core is productivity – comprising the Microsoft Office suite; then there are the specialty Office products, like Project and Visio. Then there’s collaboration – comprising SharePoint. Dynamics CRM Online is closely associated with Office 365, but not a part of it – although with the ever-increasing convergence of technologies it may well be brought into the fold in the future. I make a difference by working with organisations to understand the technical requirements in their journey to cloud-based services. Ultimately, through my experience in Microsoft infrastructure products I provide technical advice and support for organisations migrating to the cloud. For a number of organisations, Office 365 is the ideal stepping stone for a move to the cloud. It gives them the opportunity to consume a service, just like we subscribe to cable television services or mobile telecommunication services – it’s a no-brainer and it just works. What do you love about your job? The benefits My favourite part of the job is working with the Infrastructure Consulting team as their skills and abilities inspire me every day. Working with the latest technologies delivered by Microsoft and being challenged on a daily basis to deliver the best and most appropriate solutions is a great part of the job. I enjoy working with a variety of organisations from small family businesses to enterprise-scale organisations as it offers a great insight into the IT challenges faced by organisations of all types. Cost efficiency. By moving to an operational expenditure model, you know exactly what you’re getting, what you’re paying for and when you are paying for it. A bit about yourself… Born and bred in Wellington and an alumni of the University of Otago, I spend most of time away from work renovating a railway cottage with my partner, Elissa. If I'm not renovating, you'll find either find me following the black line in a swimming pool, riding my bike, out running or – most importantly – drinking coffee at one of my favourite cafés after the event. S M ART S T H E IN T E L L IG E N T BUS I NES S MAG A ZI NE Simplicity. A move to the cloud reduces the requirement for hardware, simplifies licensing, and lessens the need for specific dedicated IT resources to keep systems ticking over. It’s a service that just works and you simply subscribe to it. It frees up your IT resources to do more valuable things. Rather than focusing on things like keeping the lights on, upskilling team members and maintaining hardware, IT teams can dedicate time and energy to a more strategic IT focus. ISSUE 3 2 Currency. Technology is changing constantly, and cloud services enable your organisation to stay at the forefront of technology without having to think about, plan for or make additional investments in upgrades. With Office 365 you do get the latest and greatest. But there is a proviso here: Upgrades need to be made within a 12-month window, which can sometimes prove problematic for some organisations. Capacity. Consider your traditional onsite mailbox limits, usually around 2-5GB. With Office 365, each mailbox has a 50GB allocation. It just works. Office 365 is a global service backed by Microsoft, with guaranteed service levels (and significant financial penalties for Microsoft if these are not met). It gets better. With the convergence of technology and with Microsoft making constant incremental improvements to its cloud offerings, the services on offer will get better, more comprehensive, and represent even greater value for money. You get an enterprise grade solution at a consumer price. Take, for example, the cost of an organisation setting up its own disaster recovery capability, which is as good as writing a blank cheque. With Office 365, it’s all part of the service. Accessibility. Because your information is in the cloud, you can access it from any device, anywhere. It’s greener. This is one of the typically hidden or less frequently measured benefits. Think of the energy you save by getting rid of servers and coolers, just for starters. 9
    • Over the past few years we’ve worked with numerous organisations in helping them make the move to the cloud. We thought we’d share some of the lessons, tips and tricks we’ve picked up along the way. Tips and tricks If this sounds like it could benefit your organisation, where should you start? Below are some tips and tricks about what to do next and what you should watch out for. Set up a (free) trial. People ask us how it will perform. We can give you an idea based on our own experience, but – like anything – the best thing is always to see for yourself. Beware of any potential ‘knock-on’ effects. An example of this could be in moving from SharePoint (often dubbed the Swiss army knife of technology solutions) to SharePoint Online. If you’re using some of SharePoint’s advanced features, beware that there could be knock-on effects, and similarly for any other advanced functionality you’re looking to move cloud-wards. Review your internet connection. Any cloud service is heavily reliant on your internet connection. Before you commit to the cloud, review your internet connection and know your data caps. Ultimately, to get the best experience, you need the best internet connection you can get. Things take fractionally longer – by milliseconds. The first time you log in, you notice those milliseconds. The third time you log in, it’s the new normal. If there’s an issue, you can’t just go and talk to your boss. The good thing is that, from our own experience, the issues are few and far between. Be prepared to experience a new look and feel. If your organisation is running relatively recent product versions on premise, you’re not in for many surprises, as Microsoft’s UI changes between versions are relatively subtle. If you’ve been used to older product versions, you may need to set aside a small amount of time to orient yourself. Before migrating, get your house in order. This is a a common sticking point for lots of organisations. Know your data (where it is, what it is), and make sure it’s clean. As with anything: rubbish in, rubbish out. Another incentive for doing this is that by removing unnecessary data you’re not paying for what you don’t actually need. It’s not all or nothing. Office 365 may suit some pockets of your organisation, or certain work tasks but not others. You can keep some people working on premise, and head others to the cloud, and likewise for different functions across your organisation. Don’t compare apples with oranges. With cloud-based services, you cannot make comparisons based on price alone. There are other solutions that look to do a similar thing at a lower cost. If cost is your main driver, be realistic about the fact that you are not going to get the same level of functionality and service. Be prepared for your migration to take longer than you think it might. One thing we’ve learned from the migrations we have done for organisations is that while we can give you an estimate, and however much we would like be absolutely definitive with timeframes, there are far too many variables (an unforeseen largescale internet-based event anywhere in the world, for example) that are out of our control for us to be able to do this. The devil is in the detail. So check the fine print. Make sure you know exactly what each aspect of the service entails. If you’d like to know more about what a move to the cloud entails, we’re always more than happy to talk you through the many options and things to consider. Lester is one of Intergen's Infrastructure consultants. Contact Lester at: lester.young@intergen.co.nz S M ART S T H E IN T E L L IG E N T BUS I NES S MAG A ZI NE ISSUE 3 2 10
    • Portals, Content & Collaboration Turners and Growers – fresh taste to the world SharePoint 2013 delivers a fresh outlook to Turners & Growers’ doorstep. THE SITUATION Turners & Growers (T&G) has been New Zealand’s leading distributor, marketer and exporter of premium fresh produce for over a century. No matter where their customers are in the world, T&G’s goal is to ensure their produce is as good as the day it is harvested. Everyone at T&G, from finance, marketing and sales to wholesalers and retailers, plays a definitive part in delivering world class produce to the shop floor. To make this a reality it’s vital that everyone, no matter where they are in the supply chain, can communicate and collaborate with each other, at all levels and layers. T&G has a strategy in place to maintain and grow an integrated business that allows them to manage all elements of the supply chain – and building an intranet solution that could help eliminate silos throughout the supply chain was central to this objective. It was also important for T&G to consider a technology solution that could grow with them into the future – Microsoft SharePoint had the power to deliver the functionality and flexibility they needed, all in one mighty compelling, userfriendly platform. With Intergen’s expertise on board, it was time to get down to business and bring a fresh new intranet to Turners & Growers. The pain T&G’s incumbent intranet was missing key functionality and usability was poor. Creating an intranet that could join all the dots across the business was key. As Kylie Horomia, Corporate Communications Manager, T&G confirms: “Our previous intranet was clunky; everything was stored in different programmes and there was no central information source. With multiple data sources, FOLLOW US it was hard to get one solid answer, document or message. Staff needed to keep up with the latest news, update their team on progress and have easy access to other resources from other departments to help support decision making. Emails were still a primary communication tool. Key business processes weren’t integrated and we were still performing paper-based tasks. And only a small number of people could update content.” The gain Janet Henderson, T&G’s Application Manager says: “Intergen was easy to work with; they listened to our pain points and showed us what we could do to remove them, went through options and shared their expertise. This allowed us to not only implement a new intranet but also to drill down and really look at our business processes and develop a solution that worked for our team.” T&G now has more than what they initially set out for: an intranet that not only delivers one source of the truth but it has functionality to streamline business processes to create one living, breathing asset. T&G is now well equipped with the right tools and resources; they can throw away paper-based processes and go about their daily work without encountering bottlenecks along the way. “Our new intranet has a compelling user interface that allows us to easily update and maintain information, navigate through the different teams and open up silos. SharePoint and Intergen not only ticked the boxes but also provided a solid foundation for future implementations.” Kylie Horomia Corporate Communications Manager, Turners & Growers As Kylie confirms: “Our new intranet has a compelling user interface that allows us to easily update and maintain information, navigate through the different teams and open up silos. SharePoint and Intergen not only ticked the boxes but also provided a solid foundation for future implementations. Choosing SharePoint and the Microsoft platform meant any new solutions – such as our financial systems and staff directory – can be easily integrated with the current system. www.twitter.com/teamintergen www.linkedin.com/companies/intergen 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. www.intergen.com.au/blog