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Intergen Smarts 8 (2004)

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

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

Intergen provides information technology solutions across Australia, New Zealand and the world based exclusively on Microsoft’s tools and technologies.

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  • 1. Our Technical Services team deserve a special mention. The team has not only had to deal with the Auckland office move and the establishment of the Christchurch office on top of their normal work load, but also a planned power outage in our Wellington office. We have a contingency plan to cope with power outages. A generator was rented and parked on the car park above our server room. The switch in the server room was flicked from mains to generator and we went through a six hour power outage without a moment’s interruption to service. Neal Blomfield has just returned from a week in Seattle where he was one of about 100 people from around the world participating in a Software Design Review for Microsoft’s Indigo technology. Indigo represents the next step for Service Orientated Architectures and is due for release late in 2005. Neal was the only New Zealander there and the knowledge he gained is critical to Intergen maintaining its leadership in the areas of web services and application integration. Also worthy of mention is the Intergen Creative Studio, finalists in the e-Government section of the annual TUANZ (e)-vision Awards for our work on the www.ltsatransact.govt.nz site. the last SMARTS for 2004 and, although it seems very early, the team at Intergen and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. It has been a busy few months at Intergen. Our Auckland team completed their move to new offices in Takapuna. It is great for the team to have new offices with a fitout tailored specifically for our needs. It is also great to have a proper server room in Auckland with a high speed internet connection over AT&T fibre. This gives us the opportunity to build redundancy in to our hosting offering. We have also opened an office in Christchurch. We are now able to provide a greatly improved level of support to our South Island clients. The team is based in Armagh Street and has been busily pursuing new opportunities as well as working with existing clients. I S S U E E I G H T >> HOT NEWS: >> T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E NEW PRODUCT >> 2 3 4/5 6 7 8 Offices, outages, and ovation < Copyright 2004 Intergen Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission of Intergen Limited > BUSINESS SOLUTIONS >> BUSINESS SOLUTIONS >> INTERGEN NEWS >>tony.stewart@intergen.co.nz INTERFACE DESIGN >> INTERGEN PEOPLE >> CSA for CRM in NZ. Intergen is now a Certified Software Advisor (CSA) for Microsoft CRM (Customer Relationship Management) in New Zealand. Emma Cuttance and Dwayne Bace passed three exams which covered understanding the application functionality as well as the ability to install, configure and customise Microsoft CRM. The Certification is granted by Microsoft Business Solutions to companies which demonstrate a defined level of expertise with Microsoft CRM, and are therefore better able to help customers achieve successful solutions. For Intergen’s clients, the CSA status reinforces our demonstrated expertise with Microsoft CRM and our ability to deliver successful CRM solutions. New Auckland office phone and fax numbers. As a result of the recent Auckland office move to Level 1, 2 Fred Thomas Drive, Takapuna there are new phone and fax numbers: >> Phone: 09-966 3070 >> Fax: 09-966 3071
  • 2. Web Analytics – Intelligent Website Evolution >> INTERGENITE: < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E E I G H T >>> B U S I N E S S S O L U T I O N S Mark Trotter What do you do? I work in the Professional Services team as a Solution Manager, but also dabble in a bit of development when time permits. How do you make a difference? I look after customers’ needs and concentrate on project delivery to ensure the best solution possible is delivered. What do you love about your job? Working in the many different industries that Intergen is involved with, finding out about the nuts and bolts that make them work and applying technology to make them work better! A bit about yourself? I am a car nut and I’m always looking for the next ‘go faster’ bit to make my go faster! I love playing with new technology and am always looking for the next gadget to play with... >>2 There’s more to building and developing websites than most people think. In this article Intergen’s Professional Services Jeff Sutherland explains how we can provide customers with regular analysis of user interaction of their website. Web Analytics works in conjunction with the Interaction Prototyping system our Creative Studio utilises to ensure web users have a positive experience when navigating your site. “Thank goodness our website is finally up (or rebuilt/enhanced/modified), now we can relax.” Well yes, and no. Go ahead, take a deep breath and congratulate yourself! OK, break’s over, it’s time to get on with it. Websites need to evolve over time to reflect changes in your business and your customer’s interaction with it. If your store or the service you offer was confusing or didn’t do the best job possible of serving your customers, you would want to know so you could change it, right? Your website is a reflection of you and your organization. It truly is the storefront or virtual lobby of your business for those who wish to work with you, or more importantly transact with you online. It carries your brand and for some is possibly the only channel in which they will ever interact with you. But given the nature of the Internet and online interaction, how do you know what your customers are doing or where they are going on your website? How do you know what changes to make to assure that they have the optimum experience possible? If asked, would you be able to tell: >> How long they stayed in your “store”? >> Which “door” they came in? (Yes, there is often more than one.) >> Which “door” they exited through? >> What “departments” they visited? >> Where your customers came from? >> If most of your visitors go to one particular department of your site? >> What information they look at? >> What information they don’t look at? >> If they came directly to your site or were they “referred” there? >> Did they find you via a search engine? If so, which one? Answers to these questions are available for your site but how do you make meaningful changes based on this information? What indicators do you look for and how do you modify your site to optimize its value to your visitors and your organization? This is the art and science of Web Analytics. In a nutshell, Web Analytics is the method of looking for patterns in the data generated by the use of your website and then applying that information in the best possible way for you and your visitors. One of the greatest aspects of making this informed change is that the resulting variation (or lack thereof) in behavior by your visitors is itself measurable and can be made meaningful. The application of web analytics results in a continuing “feedback loop” that allows you to intelligently evolve your website to support your business objectives. This is what we bring to the table… the knowledge, experience, technical savvy and business acumen to intelligently effect meaningful, informed change to your web presence. jeff.sutherland@intergen.co.nz BUILD ANALYSE with web analytics FEEDBACK (site data) CLIENT DEPLOY
  • 3. < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E E I G H T > >>3>> I N T E R F A C E D E S I G N SERVICES OFFERED BY INTERGEN CREATIVE STUDIO Brainstorming and workshop facilitation Identity development Web site usability audits Concept prototyping Web site interface design Application interface design New Zealand Government Web Guidelines compliant design Web site build, production and maintenance Digital illustration and photographic manipulation Motion graphics (animation) Visual standards documentation You’ll find more information about Intergen Creative Studio at our web site in the Services section http://www.intergen.co.nz/Services/ CreativeStudio/ and some descriptions of our accomplishments in the Experience section http://www.intergen.co.nz/Experience /DesignLead/ You can also contact our Creative Director Eamon O’Rourke at eamon@intergen.co.nz Get creative! It’s time to shed a bit of light on the visual communication design skills offered by our specialist Creative Studio team. Our interface designers are well known for their successes designing application interfaces, intranets and e- government compliant web sites. However, there’s much more to their skills and experience than that! No project too big, no task too small There’s no question that with massive, successful web sites like www.meridianenergy.co.nz, www.immigration.govt.nz and www.wellingtonnz.com under our belt, no project is too big for Intergen’s creative team. “I know you guys are busy. I didn’t want to bother you with this small project”. Not true! Our interface designers pride themselves on their attention to detail and looking after the absolute minutiae of our customers web sites on an ongoing basis. We enjoy long relationships with our loyal customers and know that the greatest mutual benefits come from brand and business knowledge accrued over time. Having made a significant investment in the look and feel of your web site, sustaining the consistent and professional presentation of your brand communication online requires ongoing resource and commitment. While content managed solutions enable you to freely publish new content, they also present ongoing challenges sustaining the visual presentation standards established when your web site was first rolled to live. “Because the internet is an inherently fluid medium, the greatest challenge facing web site owners is sustained control of visual presentation standards achieved at go live” – Alan Doak, Senior Interface Designer Don’t make me think Is your web user interface keeping up with the needs and demands of your audience? Is it meeting the communication and interaction requirements of the business? Is it providing the returns you anticipated? Keeping your interface design aligned with desired user activity is a constant challenge. Even a relatively new interface solution can benefit from a usability audit and customer activity review, as subtle changes can achieve dramatic results. We recently conducted a mid-life review of the highly successful WellingtonNZ.com homepage and have significantly changed traffic patterns through the site as the result of minor design and information hierarchy presentation. “Accessibility and usability criteria must be factored into decision-making processes for the entire project duration. Anything less is a Bandaid strategy” – Rebecca Cox, Production Designer TUANZ (e)-vision Awards Finalist We were thrilled to be recognised by our peers in the annual TUANZ (e)-vision Awards with the Land Transport Safety Authority Transaction Centre (www.ltsatransact.govt.nz) reaching the finals in the e-Government category. This project represented a rare opportunity to create a transactional web application that eliminates the need for our country’s 2.2 million vehicle owners to conduct over-the-counter transactions every time they need to relicence their motor vehicle (among other things). For the second year running Eamon was also a guest judge at the TUANZ (e)-vision Awards, this time in the Information/Reference category. Once again he was highly impressed with the standard of the finalists and the eloquence of the solutions in this challenging category. “I’m greatly encouraged and enthused by the quality of solution New Zealand’s leading web designers are providing. The bar has been raised again!” – Eamon O’Rourke, Creative Director At the TUANZ (e)-vision Awards: Eamon, Kahu, Mark, Alan, Jill and Rebecca
  • 4. Intergen and Content Management The Internet continues to redefine the possibilities for organisations well beyond what many have ever imagined. Websites and online applications are now a core component of business interaction. Some organisations now focus much of their attention to what they do online. This requires levels of quality, service and timeliness not possible or practical using traditional tools and techniques. A centralised and easy-to-use content management solution is a critical component. Successfully designed and implemented it will streamline content publication and allow content to be personalised to meet customers’ requirements. Intergen has a long history of the design, development, implementation and hosting of content managed Internet solutions. This includes the set-up of New Zealand’s first Microsoft Content Management Server-based website and hosting environment. Our methodology has been finetuned to cater to the aspects particular to ensuring successful content management. K a n d u h ö r a t r u m m o r n a , F e r n a n d o ? Can you hear the drums, Fernando? Intergen is proudly beating the drum for the latest import from Sweden. To compliment our extensive experience with Microsoft’s Content Management Server product and based on customer feedback, we determined that an alternative product offering from Intergen was required. Following a worldwide search involving product suppliers from New Zealand, USA, UK and Sweden, Intergen has chosen to bring EPiServer to the New Zealand market. EPiServer, from ElectroPost in Sweden, stood out as the best fit for New Zealand website requirements. In addition to offering extensive out of the box functionality, EPiServer allows Microsoft solution specialists like Intergen to extensively customise and extend functionality without requiring significant redevelopment or negatively impacting on-going support. Used in over 1150 Internet-based solutions, EPiServer’s pedigree dates back 10 years to well before content management solutions were common. Over this time ElectroPost has focused on user needs and continually enhancing the solution without compromising these needs. Intergen is the first EPiServer partner in the southern hemisphere. A number of our staff have completed product training and we are about to launch a new version of our own website using EPiServer as the content management engine. In addition we are working on several opportunities in the New Zealand market. If you would like any additional information on EPiServer or would like to organise a demonstration to see just why we are so excited by it, then please contact Wayne Forgesson. Wayne.forgesson@intergen.co.nz >> INTERGENITE: Imelda What do you do? I am setting up the customer support network and structure for the ever- growing number of Intergen customers. I am working within the Technical Services team assisting with Domain registration queries and managing the Technical Services helpdesk. How do you make a difference? Ensuring customer’s queries and concerns are listened to, investigated, answered and actioned is really important in maintaining customer satisfaction. Keeping up good ommunication with customers can potentially produce more work for Intergen with future enhancement jobs or new technology upgrades. A bit about yourself? After obtaining my Information Technology degree I started full time work at the Electoral Enrolment Centre where I was responsible for managing enrolment contractors (people on the street obtaining enrolments). Because of my study I also ended up being the internal application support person for the organisation. Wanting to get more into the IT industry, I applied for this job at Intergen and started work in August 2004. Outside of work I enjoy socialising with friends, going to the gym, participating in sports like indoor netball /soccer and any other outdoor activities. < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E E I G H T >>>4 >> N E W P R O D U C T
  • 5. >> N E W P R O D U C T >>5< S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E E I G H T > A d d i t i o n a l p r o d u c t s o f i n t e r e s t In addition to our current content management solution offerings; Microsoft Content Management Server and EPiServer, Intergen also supplies and implements Mondosoft’s enterprise search and behaviour analytics solution. Ideal for organisations who want to know what their website visitors are looking for, Mondosoft works with both Microsoft Content Management Server and EPiServer based solutions. More information can be found at www.mondosoft.com E P i S e r v e r EPiServer is a database-driven platform comprising all the core functionality necessary for managing content and publishing websites. Since its inception, EPiServer functionality has been driven by the day-today needs of web publishers and authors. As importantly, it caters to the needs of technical staff in regard to security, performance and expandability. EPiServer is a web publishing tool for simple and swift handling of information on Intranets, Extranets and public websites all from the same environment. Simple – working with EPiServer can be compared to a simple form of word processing. This simple approach means employees can focus on the content and structure of the website not how they will make updates. EPiServer also includes bi-directional seamless integration with Microsoft Sharepoint, enabling content and documents to be shared. Use Office as your editor – In EPiServer, authors can create and modify content directly from MS Word, Excel or PowerPoint. Texts and pictures can be edited in Office and published on the web via EPiServer. The graphical profile of the web site can be obtained, because EPiServer takes away unnecessary formatting from the Office documents. After publishing the information, the author can update and modify it from Office or in EPiServer. Dependable – EPiServer is the most widely adopted web publishing tool in Scandinavia, with over 1150 sites using EPiServer. Personal – EPiServer is designed to allow different roles for different people and includes support for different types of workflow. Secure – EPiServer uses the same authorisation model as Microsoft Windows. This means that different access rights can be set-up depending on who the user is and that a public website can also function as a company’s Intranet or Extranet solution. Technology – EPiServer is 100% based on Microsoft’s proven .NET framework. Key technological features include caching, Open Development Architecture (ODA), load balancing, synchronisation and scalability. EPiServer is a web content management platform that can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of customers during installation or that delivers standard content management functions “out of the box”. A number of templates and functions are included with EPiServer including: >> Normal information page >> Multi lingual page (that can be customised for Maori) >> News listing >> Forms >> Voting >> Calendar >> Newsgroups >> Flash Viewer >> Forums >> Sitemap >> Alphabetical contents >> Recently changes >> Document and file listing >> Subscription >> Searching >> Mobile handsets >> Slide show >> Profile search >> Portal function >> Exchange integration >> RSS Source >> The authority of the Swedish railway >> The Swedish Integration Board >> The Swedish Consumer Agency >> The Prison and Probation Administration >> National Food Administration >> National Board of Forestry >> Swedish Maritime Administration >> Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co >> The District Court of Stockholm >> Swedish Institute >> Swedish Road Administration >> University of Örebro >> The County Administrative Board of Stockholm >> Swedish Export Credit Corporation >> Swedish Institute - www.sweden.se >> Ministry for Foreign Affairs >> County Goverment of Dalarna >> County Goverment of Stockholm >> County Goverment of Uppsala >> Swedish Museum of Natural History >> Statistics Sweden Functions not included can be built or may already be available from EPiServer’s international partner community. EPiServer is utilised by a number of leading Europeans companies including: EPiServer is also extensively used within the public sector at organisations such as: [ L O G O S T O G O H E R E ]
  • 6. >> INTERGENITE: Tony Yee What do you do? I’m a Quality Assurance Analyst in the Professional Services team. My role is to establish the degree of quality of applications and websites to ensure our clients’ business and software requirements have been met. How do you make a difference? Part of my role involves testing the applications to minimise any risk in a product, we have developed. This enables me to improve any areas of weakness associated to a product providing our customers with confidence in their relationship with Intergen. Some people may argue that developers should be responsible for the quality of their applications. This can be summed up with the quote: “The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinkingthatcreatedthem”–AlbertEinstein. What do you love about your job? There is an excellent work culture at Intergen that I’ve never experienced in previous work environments. The enthusiastic staff, career development and very entertaining Friday afternoon meetings are only a few reasons why Intergen was a finalist in the 20 best places to work. A bit about yourself? I graduated from broadcasting school with aspirations to become a radio announcer (I didn’t have the face for TV). I left radio and fell into a job as a test analyst in one of New Zealand’s leading banks. When I’m not testing applications I like to practice the guitar, do a little boxing, paint and cook culinary delights – my biggest challenge is trying convincing my friends I can cook something other than fried rice. < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E E I G H T >>>6 >> I N T E R G E N P E O P L E Frag… Camper... Owned... Just some common word used in normal conversations? Yes, but these are also well recognised by the large number of Intergen staff who are keen computer gamers. A large number of our team enjoy computer gaming on either PCs or specialist consoles like the X-Box. That’s no surprise given the number of technically-focused staff at Intergen. What is interesting however is the number of years that some have been playing games – over 20 years for our more diehard gamers. Also of interest is the large number of staff who say computer games were the inspiration for their chosen careers. Spend some time on the gamers e-mail subscription list at Intergen and you’ll get a sense of the interest and passion that this geekiest of geek topics invokes. It isn’t just the debate about the latest games but also numerous comments about the hardware required to run the games. Obsession or commitment? Both and neither. Like most hobbies and recreational activities everyone does it for different reasons. In some cases it is the stress relief of mindlessly shooting anything that moves, while for others it is the challenge of beating others in fast paced online activities with a blur of the fingers over the keyboard. Yes, there are some signs of obsession like the following from JD: “I brought a second copy of Roller Coaster Tycoon because I lent my copy to a girl in high school and couldn’t handle not playing it for a couple of weeks.” One thing they all agree is that it’s entertainment. We are starting a whole new generation of Intergenite gamers with the Intergen XBox becoming a popular attraction for children during the weekend visits to work. Glossary – for the non-gamers Frag : term to describe you killing another player – e.g. I fragged his ass! Camper : term to describe someone who hides in dark/hard to get to places to try and gets cheap surprise kills (or sniper kills) Owned : When you got fragged and there wasn’t going to be any other result. (similar to “you got schooled”) Hax : General wahhhh used when you can’t believe someone can be better than you – basically trying to implicate that the person is cheating or using some kind of game hack (because you just got owned)!! What is it about gaming? By far the most common response from the group is the stress relief, relaxation and interactivity that gaming offers through escapism. Comments included: “There is nothing like “blowing away” your workmates and friends in the latest FPS” (first person shooter). Other reasons included the challenge of playing against other human players and the social aspects of competing against other gamers. Recommendations By far the most contentious question is what games the gamers recommend. While all acknowledge that gaming is fun, and when pressed they will play almost any game, they all have their favorites. First however, you need to cross the threshold of debate around PC games versus console based games. Beyond this comes the first person shooter vs real time strategy. A topic and question that requires extensive time to debate and to which there really won’t be a definitive answer. However the following are games that were suggested as “must trys”: R e a l t i m e s t r a t e g y : Command and Conquer Generals Zero Hour Age of Mythology: The Titans Civilisation series the latest being Civ 3 F i r s t P e r s o n s h o o t e r : Unreal Tournament 2004 Aliens vs Predators 2 Doom 3 Halo (Xbox) Role playing Thief 3
  • 7. >> B U S I N E S S S O L U T I O N S < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E S E V E N > >>7 You’re going to Sydney! That’s how a love affair began. A trip to Microsoft Australia to attend a briefing on a new technology called Information Bridge Framework (IBF). Microsoft technical briefings are like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get. In this case, I went to Australia with little idea about what I was going to see. There was some mention of MSOffice 2003 XML support which is one of my favourite technologies so I was already interested to see where the Microsoft Office team were taking this feature. Boy was I impressed. The first Information Bridge Framework demonstration had barely started and I was sitting on the edge of my seat. I stayed like this for the rest of the briefing. Charles Maxson, the project lead for IBF, welcomed my questions. There were lots of them. When I left Sydney there was one thought buzzing around my head: Everyone is going to want this! W h a t i s M i c r o s o f t I n f o r m a t i o n B r i d g e F r a m e w o r k ? IBF is a collection of tools and guidelines for leveraging Web services and bringing corporate data directly to desktop-based emails, spreadsheets, and documents. Solutions based on IBF allow information workers to access business critical data in familiar desktop applications. This gives them immediate visibility into corporate information, across disparate data sources, and provides for faster response time and decision making. Requests to IT and other specialised groups for specific data are eliminated; because all the necessary data is accessible via the task pane in Word, Excel, or Outlook. This also eliminates the need to manually collect and publish this content. H o w d o e s i t w o r k ? When an IBF-enabled office document is opened on the users’ desktop, context sensitive business information and available actions pertaining to that information are displayed in the Office task pane. Business Objects can be recognised with the deployment of Smart Tags so that incoming emails, documents and spreadsheets can transparently provide additional information about the person, organisation, account, etc from any or all of the line-of-business systems that store this information. B e n e f i t s o f I B F i n c l u d e : >> Improved decision making process as information workers now have access to all data necessary to analyse and address business issues >> Line-of-business applications are easier to use as the Office application becomes a single source for data and business logic >> Reduced cost associated with information worker research and data integration – users don’t need to request and aggregate information from multiple sources, the application does it >> New and temporary staff need only be trained in the use of Office. The application provides a standard interface to multiple systems. The information that is displayed has been retrieved from the line-of-business applications with the deployment of XML web services that expose this information. These web services can also expose methods to act on the information. Actions are made available within the familiar Microsoft Office environment without the need to open multiple applications to facilitate changes in disparate line of business systems. In a nutshell, the IBF can provides the information worker with the information they need, when they need it, and the ability to act on that information from within the familiar Microsoft Office desktop environment. IBF is an exciting addition to the Microsoft Office 2003 suite and I am looking forward to demonstrating this awesome technology for you. A word document containing a reference to a client organisation is received. The smart tag is clicked and the organisation details are displayed in the task pane.
  • 8. >> I N T E R G E N N E W S < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E E I G H T > F i n d o u t m o r e a b o u t I n t e r g e n : Auckland: 09 966 3070 Wellington: 04 472 2021 Christchurch: 03 964 0017 info@intergen.co.nz www.intergen.co.nz Clockwise: Ready Steady Go! Robert Ingledew at one with his horse! Wine Tour – AJ and David Brown discussing the finer qualities of wine tasting! Derek Watson stuck in the river! The Flying Elvis’s! (JJ & Partner, AJ & Partner in foreground) Horse riders – Paddy Payne and Family, Nick Urry, Robert Ingledew, Daryl Gill and Partner; Intergen Weekend Away On the 18 – 19 September the annual Intergen Weekend away was held. Previous destinations have included Taupo, Napier and Turangi, but this year, the Wairarapa was destination of choice. With everyone settled into Masterton base camp, Saturday marked the beginning of the weekend proper. Two groups were formed – those taking part in a horse trek and the remainder boarding the ‘magic’ bus bound for the Martinborough vineyards. The horse trek was enjoyed by all who attended with most notable blunder going to Robert Ingledew, who found dismounting his horse at speed a rather painful experience! Likewise, the tour of the vineyards presented an excellent opportunity for some of the Intergen wine connoisseurs to practice their skills – or lack there-of in some cases! A final stop at the Martinborough Brewery was a highlight, especially with the unexpected arrival of a bus load of Elvis look alikes in full regalia! Quad biking was the order of the day for Sunday. Some rain over the previous few days had made for a challenging course with many numerous Intergenites succumbing to the various mud and river hazards, offer but all making it through unscathed! Roll-on weekend away 2005! Mark Trotter markt@intergen.co.nz Wild On>> W A I R A R A PA

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