Intergen Smarts 1 (2001)


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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 1 (2001)

  1. 1. < Copyright 2001 Intergen Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission of Intergen Limited > >> 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 INTERGEN NEWS >> PROJECT CASE STUDY >> GOLD PARTNER >> RECENT EVENTS >> THE “EX” FILES >> BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY >> PARTNER NEWS >> INSIDE STORY >> 2 3 4 5 6 7 7 8 Welcome. As I sit here writing the introduction to this newsletter, I find myself feeling a bit nostalgic. I looked up the first ever newsletter we did as Glazier Systems back in 1996. At that time we proudly announced that we had grown to 18 staff, talked about our staff gaining Microsoft qualifications and an emerging technology call “Intranets”. A lot has changed in the past five years but then a lot of things have remained the same. We are still in the same offices we were five years ago, although the fit out is much improved, we have grown to 40 staff, we have recently had our Microsoft capabilities recognised by being admitted to the elite Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Program and we are buzzing about SharePoint Portal Server as a great new Intranet and Document Management solution. What is new is our brand. We are very positive about our future after re-gaining our independence from the Advantage Group. We had a great launch party early in September, and I would like to thank all those who were able to attend. Your enthusiasm for our new company was a great boost and we were all on a high for weeks after. As a new company we have spent some time thinking about where we are, where we want to be and how we are going to get there. As part of our planning we looked back at some work we did back when we had first started Glazier. We were quite surprised to find how appropriate those early plans were, even today. They needed updating because they made some references to specific technologies, but the concepts are still valid. We identified four key values, things that are so important that they have survived all the changes that have happened and that will happen in the future. Professionalism - We always act in a professional way. We always treat our clients, partners and other team members with honesty and integrity. We strive to understand the business needs of our clients and offer the best solutions for their needs. Innovation - We embrace innovation. We constantly review new technologies and experiment with new techniques that enhance the solutions we can offer to our clients. People - We have fun and genuinely enjoy work. We work as a team without egos and recognise the value of the diversity of the team members. We strive to learn, to always do better and to help others in the team to realise their potential. Value-driven - We always strive to add real value to our clients. We work hard to improve our own processes to ensure they are appropriate, effective and add value. We hope that you will enjoy this issue of our newsletter under its new banner “SMARTS”. Our aim is to provide a cross section of articles that are informative and entertaining and demonstrate the essence of Intergen, Intelligent Business. I S S U E O N E >> HOT NEWS: Intergen awarded Microsoft Gold Partner Status >> Page 4 >> NEW TELEPHONE NUMBERS: Landline: 04 472 2021 Facsimile: 04 472 2027
  2. 2. >>2 < 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 O N E > >> I N T E R G E N N E W S Karen Young What do you do? Senior Developer How do you make a difference? Quality is really important to me, and delivering something that will meet the customer's needs. Along with the people in my project teams here, I've helped to deliver high quality systems that do that. What are you known for (famous or infamously)? Having an “annoying Australian accent”. What do you love about your job? It's great helping to build a solution, seeing it go from a concept, and then working with a team to create something that will be of use to people and help them in their jobs. Brief about yourself? I'm from Wellington originally, although I spent some time working in Melbourne before I came here. Although Wellington is a wonderful place and has everything on a smaller scale, I still miss the great food, shopping, and all the events on over there - I'll definitely have to go back for a holiday sometime. Who is Intergen? >> INTERGENITE: DEVELOPMENT & INTEGRATION PROFESSIONAL SERVICES QUALITY ASSURANCE CREATIVE STUDIO TECHNICAL SERVICES The Technical Services team is experienced in configuring and deploying the full suite of Microsoft server applications. They run our internal infrastructure, as well as our hosting and ASP environments and use the skills and experience gained there to provide clients with up to date advice and assistance via consulting engagements. They provide SQL Server DBA and OLAP services to many organisations. The Quality Assurance team ensure that all of the projects we deliver achieve the required quality, and they contribute at all stages of the project life-cycle. All this capability is harnessed and delivered via our Professional Services team who provide Project Management, Business Analysis and Consulting in front of, along side and around all of our projects. Intergen is your one stop shop for anything you want to do in the Microsoft environment. We are a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for E-Commerce Solutions but our services cover a wide range of Microsoft technology sets and beyond! We excel at delivering successful business solutions - both bespoke and package. Over the years (as Glazier Systems, Advantage Group and now Intergen) we have delivered over 400 solutions to more than 170 clients. Amongst other things, we have a long history in delivering Intranets and Document Management Systems, and are now supporting the current interest in Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server. Intranets we have delivered support more than 15,000 users for 19 clients. As you can see in the pentagram, there are five 'parts' to the Intergen service offer. Our Creative Studio has expertise in online branding, site design and Web Site usability. We are currently working to deliver the latest generation of highly functional and easily maintainable Web Sites with products like Microsoft Content Management Server. The Development and Integration team build and deploy the solutions and are gurus in all the core Microsoft technologies - ASP, Visual Basic, COM, Access, MTS, SQL, etc. Their days are spent immersed in the Internet world - building Internet, intranet or extranet applications. They are currently working with the new .NET framework and will have live applications very soon. >> The public face of Intergen. From left: Shane Hassan, Wayne Forgesson, Andrew Jamieson, Richard Petrie and Gina Harper.
  3. 3. The Challenge: In a year, the Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGS) administered by the Community Development Group, Department of Internal Affairs, distributes $10 million to community groups. The time spent in processing and prioritising paper applications in the order of 3-4,000 a year, was a duplicated effort across 17 regional offices, compounded by many different databases. But the far greater cost in the bigger picture was that it was hamstringing CDG's vision to place greater emphasis on delivering real community outcomes and initiatives. It was an opportunity for COGS to be first out of the blocks with a web-based grants service. To Enlarge: We didn't want the solution to dominate our business – we needed a solution that would grow with us. The strategy was clear to define. This was about people. From the outset, Donald Shand Chief Advisor Strategy and Development, stressed the need to think of the project not so much as a technology project, but as a business improvement system. "We needed to get into the mind of the customer in a way that would be useful and valuable, so far more than tools, we wanted a partner that could personalise what technology could do. Clearly, however, Intergen's ability to demonstrate sites and experiences that were relevant to our business stood out in their selection". Donald Shand, Transitional Manager COGS Online went live 1 June 2001 To encourage uptake by the community, the site needed to be developed with Community Funding goes On-Line >>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 O N E > >> P R O J E C T C A S E S T U D Y strong community consultation. In readiness, CDG and Intergen facilitated 2 pilot studies to tease out ideas that would make the site work harder and smarter than paper. The pilots showed 38% of applicants had an email address. A Model for the Future: COGS OnLine is also seen as a valuable model for potential uptake by other groups such as Lottery Grants who award over $70 million to a wide range of community purposes. The Business Difference: Significant efficiencies and reductions are expected in administration costs as more community groups register online. However, results won't just be counted in the speed of processing applications or in greater accuracies in information. The real success of the COGS OnLine strategy lies with CDG advisory staff being freer to focus on being more mobile within communities, in contrast to carrying the huge workload created by paper applications. "COGS OnLine has bought us nearer to communities – virtually as well as physically. Technology has created space for our Advisors to transfer more time into value-added community development activities and to work towards community change", Donald Shand. >> TECH TIP: Transact-SQL Debugging Finding bugs in a stored procedure used to be a major difficulty to developers using SQL especially if the stored procedure is complex and you’re not the person who wrote the stored procedure in the first place. Stored procedures were designed to perform a task, or set of tasks, with the developer only needing to know what needs to be passed into the stored procedure and what is returned. Most simple stored procedures can be visually debugged but complex stored procedures with comparisons, loops, or nesting can be time consuming to understand and trace where the problem occurs. With the introduction of MS SQL 2000, Microsoft has provided a Transact-SQL debugger in the SQL Query Analyser. This will let a developer set breakpoints, step through each line in the stored procedure, and add watches to analyse the results after each line is executed, but best of all it can automatically rollback changes performed by the stored procedure to preserve the integrity of the data. This allows complex stored procedures to be debugged in much the same way as an ASP page or a VB component in Visual Studio, which will save both the developer’s time and most importantly, your money.
  4. 4. < 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 > >>4 >> M I C R O S O F T G O L D P A R T N E R Partnership Programme Structure The Microsoft Certified Partner Program has two levels - Member and Gold, each with its own requirements and benefits. Microsoft Certified Partners at the Member Level: Microsoft Certified Partners at the Member Level (or Microsoft Certified Partners) are the foundation of the Microsoft Certified Partner Program and are entitled to receive technical, marketing, and sales information as well as Microsoft Product Licenses to support their development, testing, internal business and marketing needs. Microsoft Certified Partners at the Gold Level: A Microsoft Certified Partner at the Member Level can qualify to become a Microsoft Certified Partner at the Gold Level (or Microsoft Gold Certified Partner) through demonstrated expertise with Microsoft products and demonstrated success in deploying Microsoft technology based solutions. Microsoft Certified Gold Partners are qualified by areas of specialisation: e-commerce solutions, enterprise systems, support centers, and ASP hosting. Microsoft Gold Certified Partners receive the right to use a unique Microsoft Certified Gold Partner logo with respect to the areas of specialisation in which they have qualified, plus incremental benefits over and above those provided at the Member Level. Intergen is one of only two Microsoft Gold Certified Partners for E-Commerce Solutions in New Zealand. Intergen offers the earliest available access to technical readiness materials and Microsoft technologies, including technology deployment blueprints developed by Microsoft Enterprise Services. Microsoft Gold Certification The new Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Program for E-Commerce Solutions is an exciting natural evolution for those Certified Partners who are focused on e-Commerce. The Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Program for E-Commerce Solutions identifies companies that have proven their commitment and expertise in building or delivering e-Commerce solutions based on Microsoft technologies. E-Commerce Solutions We’re back, and we’re Y >> INTERGEN LAUNCH 1: Catherine Rusby, State Insurance. Tarah Nikora, Open Polytechnic. Richard Petrie, Intergen. Mark Johnston, Open Polytechnic. Marty Kerr, State Insurance. 2: Geoff Laurie, Microsoft 3: John Jameson, Intergen. Stephen Bell, IDG. Fulton Hargreaves, Intergen. 4: Tim John, Domainz. Ian Morrish, Microsoft. Jeremey Moon, Icebreaker. Brent Anderson, DPMC. Robin Semmens, ERS. Paul Reiher, Bexhill. Mike Peters, Steve Graham and Scott Wylie, Microsoft. Tony Stewart, Intergen. 5: Wayne Forgesson, Intergen. Peter Clemerson and Neil Upton, NZ Fire Service. 6: Lady Penelope, aka Gina Harper, Intergen. 7: Neil Andrews, Recruitment Knowledge. Beith Atkinson, NZ Immigration Service. Donna Cooksley, Recruitment Knowledge. 8: Robyn Renouf, Robyn’s Agencies. Scott Wylie, Microsoft.1 2 4 65 CraigSimcox
  5. 5. >>5>> R E C E N T E V E N T S : I N T E R G E N L A U N C H P A R T Y A N D B E E R T A S T I N G >>AMBER DELIGHTS: We were privileged to recently host a tutored beer tasting with Geoff Griggs, reknowned beer writer and commentator. A great opportunity to socialise whilst learning about a non-IT topic for a change! Client attendees names will not be revealed, but thanks for joining us in a hugely successful evening. Mac's Nelson Reserve Fine full-flavoured marzen-style bronze lager. Stella Artois 660ml - IMPORT Crisp hop notes balance the biscuity sweet malt flavours. Excellent dry finish. Malt Shovel Pilsener Czech style pilsener with spicy, hop aroma. Malt body and hop bitterness, especially in the finish. Malt Shovel Amber Ale Soft-bodied Ale with creamy malt flavours. Lightly spicy hop character; and melony fruitiness. Malt Shovel Porter A dark beer with delicate complexity from wheat and roasted barley, the hopping and extra maturation. Belle Vue Kriek (Lambic) Lambic style made with fresh cherries, a burgundy hue and a refreshingly fruity taste. Hoegaarden White Classic Belgian white beer. Tart and refreshing with distinctive coriander and orange flavours. Leffe Blonde Rich spicy and malty with long drying finish. The biggest-selling Belgian abbey beer. Leffe Brune Dark brown Belgian abbey beer - a full-bodied beer with a typical nose of dark malts and fruity flavours. Hoegaarden Grand Cru Belgian Wheat Beer. Strong and spicy complex pale ale from famous Belgian brewer. All product supplied by Regional Wines & Spirits, Basin Reserve, Wgtn. e YELLOW! All launch photographs Craig Simcox 2 3 87
  6. 6. I'm also excited about the new Pocket PC (2002). When combined with a GPRS or CDMA phone it allows lots of freedom. I was recently up in Gisborne, checking and responding to emails on my Compaq IPAQ over GPRS. Surfing the net while on a surfing holiday, fantastic!! Big for developers is Microsoft.Net, the most significant programming environment upgrade for about 4 years. You've probably heard of Microsoft's .Net push but have no idea what it is. You're not alone. It has not been well communicated yet. My understanding of what .Net is, follows 1. a new set of libraries and tools for developers to access the many rich services of Windows and the Internet. 2. technology that makes it easy for applications and for business to communicate with each other 3. a set of compelling web services from Microsoft So why is .Net important for business? Well, while technologies like Active Server Pages have been great for quickly developing web based applications they have turned into a maintenance headache. With .Net web programming matures to a much more structured and manageable activity. This will reduce maintenance and increase affordability of web based apps. With our US company it makes absolute sense to leverage the skills and cost advantages of NZ developers. It's about 1/3 the price of having work done in the US. Another big difference is that local developers seem to have a broader skill range. I'm excited about working with some of the new Intergen stars like Alan, Derek and Jeremy on our project. Tony has invited me to get involved with a few things and I'm more than happy to spend time with any Intergen customers. Just contact Tony or send me an email at >>6 < 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 O N E > >> T H E “ E X ” F I L E S We asked Rod to write a few paragraph's for this month's newsletter: Hi everyone, it's good to be back working with the Intergen team. Congratulations to Tony, Paddy, Wayne and the rest for buying back the business. I'm really impressed at how the team has matured and the facilities. The new fit out is fantastic and the hosting environment looks great. I've always thought that having quality hosting facilities near a strong development team would be a powerful combination. For building rich web based applications its really difficult and expensive to do it with the bigger providers, and you need the hosting staff to understand (and care) what the applications do. Bandwidth is starting to get there as well so with the economy being tight there is great opportunity for small to mid size organizations to move their mail and application servers to 'boutique' providers, reducing their costs and getting all the big company features that make life easy like web mail and not having to worry about monitoring viruses and backups etc. The things that are exciting me at the moment is how computers are becoming more of a communications tool. MSN Messenger is one of the most exciting tools I've used for a while. Watch over the next year as Messenger becomes a platform for all sorts of new services like alerts and notifications (try it out at Since leaving Glazier, Rod has started Context Connect, a US based company working on a Directory Assistance product for Mobile Phones. Rod has been based in Wellington for most of the last year, however and is using Intergen to develop the application software which will be deployed in New Zealand, Australia, UK and the United States. >> What's he doing now? Many people have asked what Rod Drury (one of the original Glazier founders) has been doing for the past couple of years. Well Rod has been spending quite a bit of time in the Intergen offices over the past few months. >>INTERGENITE:
  7. 7. Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server >>7>> B U S I N E S S T E C H N O L O G Y T R E N D S Intergen and Viatx recently worked together to build the official Web Site for the TelstraSaturn Hyundai New Zealand Golf Open. The site ( was designed by the Intergen Creative team and is built on the Viatx Xpand Portal platform. The Viatx platform provides a basis for delivering content rich Web Sites with management of the content available via a browser over the internet. During the lead up to the Open and during the Open itself the web site will receive regular updates to ensure it always reflects the latest available information. Intergen has a long relationship with Viatx with some of the original R&D for the Viatx product set coming out of work done by Glazier Systems. The partnership with Viatx gives Intergen access to a set of highly functional and highly scalable applications that are designed to be offered via an Application Service Provider (ASP) and access to a highly scalable development framework. For more information on Viatx visit . SharePoint Portal Server is an application with a huge feature set. We struggle to demonstrate it in less than 2 hours. Formally known as Tahoe, SharePoint Portal Server is built around the Microsoft Office personal productivity tools that are used by many organisations and is a very cost effective way to implement a platform for Document Management, Intranet, Knowledge Management and Team Collaboration. The feature highlights are: >> Browser based delivery. All of the Sharepoint functions are delivered through the browser, including those provided for systems maintenance. Features are also delivered through tight integration with both Windows Explorer and the Microsoft Office suite (Office 2000 and above). >> Digital Dashboard. SharePoint provides users with the Microsoft Digital Dashboard. Users are able to aggregate information from many different sources into one convenient place. >> Web Part Integration. Plug and play Web Part technology is available to further extend the feature set and scope of SharePoint. Organisations can develop their own web parts for use within SharePoint. >> Document Management and Publishing. Within SharePoint is a fully-fledged Document Management and Publishing system that includes of document check- in and checkout, version tracking, application of searchable meta-data, approval workflow routes, web discussions for on-line document comment and control of document access. >> Index and Search Services. SharePoint offers a comprehensive index and search functionality that allows organisations to index not only documents but also databases, web sites and meta data stores. Search capabilities offered include Full text, categories, 'best bets', combined content sorces and subscriptions. >> Collaboration and Document Sharing. Through Team Services, SharePoint provides organisations with the ability to have team based services of Announcements, Event Management, Contact Management, Task Lists, shared document libraries, surveys and project status information. If you are thinking about implementing Document Management or upgrading your Intranet make sure you take a look at SharePoint Portal Server. Steve would be one of the longest serving staff members were it not for the year he took out to manage the Development team at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young in Wellington. Steve started with Glazier Systems in 1995 fresh from the UK with very little IT experience and is now considered somewhat of a Guru. AKA: Brookesy and inaugural winner of the “Brookes Award” What do you do? Manager, Development & Integration Services. How do you make a difference? I’m very passionate about what I do. I love using technology to help clients be more successful. I also love solving problems if someone has something that does not work or can’t figure out how to do something, I won’t rest until I have a solution. Share one thing you love about your job? The challenge. There is always something new to do and learn and always someone keep you on your toes. A bit about yourself? I emigrated to New Zealand from the UK with my wife 6 years ago. I have a son, William, who turns one in December. I enjoy Motorsports, playing Golf and read Physics books for relaxation. I have a degree in Applied Physics. Steve Brookes >> PARTNER NEWS >>INTERGENITE:
  8. 8. < 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 O N E > >> I N S I D E S T O R Y >> TWILIGHT SEMINARS: Our Twilight Seminars are informal evening sessions held at our place running from 4.30 to 5.30. They are designed to inform you about current trends and happenings in the space where business and information technology overlap. These are some of the topics we have covered in the past few months: >> industry trends – mobile computing; emerging business models; Intranets; document management >> technology briefings – Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server; Microsoft Content Management Server >> customer presentations - case management systems; application capturing & processing The seminars consist of an interactive presentation followed by open question and answer discussions. Drinks and nibbles are served and you are welcome to stay round for a drink and discussion with the topic experts. Our next topic is User Interface Design and Content. Contact or 472-2021 if you would like to receive invitations to our Twilight Seminars. We look forward to seeing you there. The Creative team has been very busy over the past few months. Not only have they completed a number of client engagements but they were given the job of developing the new brand and all the associated brand assets for Intergen. One of the major tasks was to develop a design for a new Internet site. The objective was to have the Web Site work as a showcase, not only for the Creative team but also a technology show case. The decision was taken to develop the Web Site in Microsoft’s new Content Management Server. At a business level the advantages of using Content Management Server are well understood. We are able to delegate the task of managing the content to the appropriate people and put in place an approval process to ensure that everything is verified and checked before it goes live. The decision to use Content Management Server did, however, put added pressure on the team charged with developing the Web Site. It has always been our policy to try new technologies out on ourselves before our clients. Usually we start simple but this time we went for probably the most complex implementation we could. The Creative Director designed a user interface that appears simple, but “pushed the boundaries” of CM Server. In typical internal project fashion, our launch date loomed and we still had not been able to begin the development. The creative concept for the Web Site was Microsoft Content Management Server completed only 3 days before our launch. The Development team then had to work day and night to bring the designs to life in Content Management Server. In the hours leading up to our launch it was all hands to the pump. We had a large number of people creating, entering and checking content. These people were using Word Processor like features to enter content into pre-defined templates. There was no requirement for HTML skills. There was no way we could have got so much content up on our Web Site in such a short time without using something like Content Management Server. Our Web Site is not finished, nor will it ever be, that is part of the point of doing it in CM Server. We will be constantly updating and improving it. We learned a lot about CM Server in a compressed time frame. We plan to use that knowledge to benefit out clients. We also plan to offer CM Server in an ASP environment so we can share the cost of the platform across many clients to further improve the value proposition for using CM Server.