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Intergen Smarts 10 (2005)


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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 10 (2005)

  1. 1. From statistics to suits, from insurance to apples, the team at Intergen has been busy working with an exciting and diverse range of clients. Statistics New Zealand, Rembrandt Suits, AMP, Environment Waikato and Turners and Growers, have all been presenting us with unique challenges. An increased focus on business efficiency and system integration within and between organisations has been the catalyst for embarking on a joint venture with Fusion5. The joint venture company called Interfusion has acquired Ernst & Young’s Microsoft Navision practice. Navision is part of the Microsoft Business Solutions stable and provides a flexible, customisable system for financial management systems. Interfusion currently supports 30 implementations and has 12 staff. As a result of the joint venture we will be able to expand our offering to clients to include integrated business solutions. These solutions include core financials, end user reporting and analysis, employee intranet, business workflow, business to business commerce and line of business applications. You will see more of Interfusion over the coming months. This year’s TechEd conference was a huge event for us with over 20 staff involved. I S S U E T E N >> 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 Running hot < Copyright 2005 Intergen Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission of Intergen Limited > INTERGEN SYDNEY >> SLEEPYHEAD >> 2 2 3 4/5 6 7 8 INTERGEN CONSULTING >> TECHNOLOGY >> TECHNICAL PREVIEW >> CASE STUDY - AMP >> UI DESIGN & CRM >> Breaking news: Intergen acquires Ecentric. Ecentric brings an area of expertise and client base to complement Intergen’s current work. Ecentric is known for its work in the entrepreneurial sector, involvement with start up companies and new initiatives. It was responsible for the development of a number of well known ventures such as Trade Me, Carter Holt’s e-cargo, and the Anchorville site. The acquisition complements Intergen’s focus on established business solutions. ASP.NET 2.0 in action. Known as early adopters of new technology, Intergen recently appeared on Microsoft’s Customer Evidence site showcasing a recent ASP.NET 2.0 project we developed for the Bexhill Funding Group (search for Bexhill on the Microsoft site). Intergen sponsored and ran the Hands-on-Labs, which gave conference goers the opportunity to use some new or advanced Microsoft technologies by working through real examples. We used the labs that had been prepared for TechEd USA, which involved testing them, fixing any problems, learning the content, setting up the 100 computers in the lab and providing staff to assist with questions. This was a great experience for us. Our staff really enjoyed working together to set up the labs (including some very late nights) and helping people work through labs and use technologies they might not otherwise have the opportunity to see. In addition to running the Hands On Labs we also provided four speakers for TechEd sessions. Jeremy Boyd was one of the hardest working speakers at the event, delivering seven sessions in New Zealand and Australia including an extra session on SQL Server 2005 after his first session was ‘sold out’. Andrew Tokeley received the third highest speaker rating, beaten only by two of Microsoft’s international stars. We are very proud of our contribution to TechEd and we congratulate Microsoft on running a great event. The New Zealand event had over 2000 attendees, making it by far the largest TechEd per capita in the world. To bring an international perspective to some of the coming trends and technologies we brought Mike Iem to New Zealand to speak at our think! conference and to visit with clients. The presentations covered new Microsoft products that improve our ability to deliver the kinds of systems that our customers are starting to demand. We are excited about these technologies and will be using them with our clients. Intergen’s team at TechEd
  2. 2. Australasian Intelligent Business >> 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 T E N >>> I N T E R G E N S Y D N E Y / I S S P>>2 Martin Johnston What do you do? As the CEO of Intergen in Australia my role is to establish the business, by building a client base and an Intergenite pool. I specialise in IT strategy and architecture, and large scale program management. How do you make a difference? I challenge the way customers look at their business problems and opportunities, and the way they create solutions to those problems. What do you love about your job? The challenge of starting something new, and working with clever, enthusiastic people to do that. Innovation is my passion. I really enjoy working with clients and the talent within our organisation to bring innovative ideas to life. A bit about me I have worked in the professional services industry for over 25 years. I was a partner at Ernst & Young and then a vice president at Capgemini. Marilyn and I are pretty much kept busy “24/7” by our four boys. They’re a lot of fun, whether it’s weekends at the beach or watching them play sport or performing music. In early 2005 Intergen joined the ranks of companies with operations on either side of the Tasman. This expansion is the first small step in an important phase of our business growth. It is also important for our ability to remain at the forefront of providing innovative “intelligent business” solutions for our customers and helping to ensure we continue to provide interesting and challenging work for our people. Expansion into the Australian market offers us a larger base across which to invest and maintain our leadership position whilst continuing our high standards of customer service and quality delivery. We are excited about this stage of our development but we’re also careful to ensure that we maintain the core values of our business as we move forward. Intergen is an exciting and innovative place to work and work with. We will be working hard to see it stays that way. New Zealand is without question the foundation of our business and likely to remain so for sometime to come. The addition of an Australian operation is seen as building upon that foundation, using the proven Intergen recipe for success for our customers and ourselves. It is early days yet, but as we progress we’ll keep you posted. Welcome aboard the Intergen family to Martin Johnston, a friend and associate of many of us for many years. Martin Johnston’s children: future Intergen Australia staff. Martin Ellis, Group GM at Sleepyhead, talks to SMARTS about Intergen’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) expertise. We understand that you were facing a significant business challenge with a project to upgrade your ERP system. We had a strategic vision on where we wanted to take the business and needed to assess whether our current ERP system would provide us with the appropriate platform or whether there was something better in the market. Why did you choose Intergen to help you to review the situation and recommend a way forward? They came highly recommended by a colleague. Sleep easy After recommending a way forward, how did Intergen assist you in implementing those recommendations and getting the project back on track? The issue we had was two-fold. First to resolve the huge number of outstanding bugs we had with the version we were running at that stage. Second, to work with our provider on what enhancements we needed to provide us with a viable solution. What do you perceive to be the strengths of Intergen’s capabilities? They have the ability to keep a cool head in testing conditions as they keep emotions out of the decision making process. They also can draw on a huge amount of knowledge they have gained from work with other organisations and packages. Would you use Intergen again for similar consulting work and why? Yes, because they get results.
  3. 3. Your helping hand Intergen is not only the best developer of Microsoft .NET applications in New Zealand – we also have exceptional business and technical consulting capability. We carry out a variety of consulting assignments, all of which straddle the divide between business and information technology. You can either look at it as ‘IT consulting with a business edge’ or ‘business consulting with an IT edge’. Our consulting capability is drawn from across all our teams, providing consultancy in many areas: business, information systems (IS), technical, development, QA and creative. But the focus of this article is on our business and information systems consulting capabilities. Our consultants are experienced, business- savvy, technically-aware, and comfortable working in both the public and private sectors. Our focus is on providing value – delivering tangible benefits in all the work we perform. To discuss how we can help you please contact: Paddy Payne in New Zealand, 04-472-2021 or 021-505-215 or Martin Johnston in Australia 02-9904-0443 or 04-1448-9000 < 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 T E N > >>3>> I N T E R G E N C O N S U L T I N G >> P R O C E S S I M P R O V E M E N T Processes, information, people and systems – they are intertwined and need to be considered when reviewing processes. We will help you understand how you can streamline or reinvent your business processes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your organisation. >> S T R A T E G I C I S P L A N N I N G Your business strategies need to guide your IS planning, but conversely your IS strategies and vision need to influence your business strategies. We will help you to leverage your information systems to take advantage of trends in information technology and deliver real business benefit. (In our last issue of SMARTS Peter Carr from the Office of the Clerk discussed how Intergen helped them develop their IS Strategic Plan) >> O R G A N I S A T I O N A L R E V I E W S It is a balancing act for your IS team to remain responsive to business demands while maintaining the stability and integrity of your current information systems. We will help you review how effectively your IS people and processes contribute to the success of your organisation, and help them become expert tight-rope walkers. >> P R O J E C T R E V I E W S We see many projects that are delivering less than they promised – that’s because there are many factors that impact on their success. We will help you understand the issues you have with your projects and work with you to get them back on track. (See the panel on the opposite page to read Martin Ellis’s thoughts on how we helped Sleepyhead with one of their projects) >> E N T E R P R I S E A N D S O L U T I O N S A R C H I T E C T U R E This service is designed to generate a robust representation of the way in which all elements of a business solution interact. Architecture is fundamental to the evolution of applications, particularly in our service oriented world, but beyond the application, the business needs to understand those services and how to provision and evolve them.
  4. 4. The only complaint we had from our think! conferences was there was too little time to cover everything thoroughly. To address this, we’ve put together a two page summary of the topics presented. installs them automatically from the web or from a pre-downloaded Microsoft cabinet file (.cab). Default configuration targeted for new BizTalk Server developers New feature-based user interface (UI) that presents a consolidated view of each feature Granular configurability which provides the ability to selectively configure or unconfigure each feature. Better management and operations Microsoft Management Console (MMC) provides a single management tool for configuring, deploying, managing, and monitoring your BizTalk Server applications Application deployment – BizTalk Server 2006 enables you to package artefacts into a simplified BizTalk application simplifying deployment, management and troubleshooting. Empowerment for business users Extends capabilities introduced in BizTalk Server 2004 such as Business Activity Services (BAS) and Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) Better integration with Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services Provides real-time support for business activity subscriptions and notifications. Empowerment for developers Orchestration designer improvements New POP3 and Windows Sharepoint Services adapters. Micro views of what’s new and hot GEEK-O-METERTM RATING < 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 T E N >>>4 >> T H I N K * C O N F E R E N C E R E V I E W DA BIZ BizTalk Server 2006 helps organisations to efficiently and effectively integrate systems, employees, and trading partners. It does this through manageable business processes which automate and orchestrate interactions. What it offers customers Simplified setup and configuration Seamless upgrade path from BizTalk Server 2004 Simplified and flexible installation experience for one or more server installations Advanced component update technology that checks for missing prerequisite components and Some cool things we are already doing with it We’re one of two Microsoft partners in New Zealand to participate in Microsoft’s Technology Adoption Program for BizTalk 2006. As part of this I visited Redmond recently for deep dive training and to meet the product team. As a result we have the ability to implement BizTalk 2006 effectively and efficiently to maximise its potential. VISUAL STUDIO 2005 TEAM SYSTEM The release of Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2005 Team System early next year will be the most significant release ever of Visual Studio as it moves from being a dedicated development tool to a complete project delivery suite. While the core Visual Studio developer’s tool is significantly improved, the greatest advancement is the integration of tools and features for the entire project team including project managers, architects, testers, operations and developers. The goal of Visual Studio 2005 Team System is to streamline the process of building great software by improving process, communication and quality through a project’s life cycle. This is achieved through tools such as: Process templates to support your own project methodology Microsoft project integration for task management A complete reporting solution to monitor all
  5. 5. Enhancements to Analysis Services are aided by the new data mining algorithms: association, time series, neural networks and sequence clustering algorithms. SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services (SSRS) provides improvements in areas such as report design, processing and end-user interactivity. It provides better integration capabilities with other components in the SQL Server suite such as Analysis Services, Integration Services and Management Studio. For developers, it offers unparalleled reporting integration with the Visual Studio .NET development environment, and the inclusion of freely redistributable Windows and ASP.NET controls provide an easy means to embed reporting in both server-based and client-based applications. SSRS 2005 also includes Report Builder, a new ad hoc reporting tool that enables business users to create their own reports and explore corporate data. The introduction of Integration Services, the successor to Data Transformation Services (DTS), is the transform and load offering provided as part of SQL Server 2005. It offers significant advantages over its predecessor with increased functionality, improved error handling and transaction support, and extensibility through integration with the .NET framework. The majority of new features pertain to enhancements within the core database product itself. .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) is now integrated into the database engine, giving developers the option to create stored procedures in any .NET language (eg. C# or VB.NET). >> T H I N K * C O N F E R E N C E R E V I E W >>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 T E N > aspects of the project lifecycle Design surfaces to reduce translation from design diagrams to code An extensive integrated testing suite A new integrated enterprise source control. Intergen has been using a collection of different products over the last few years to improve our development process, such as unit testing tools and auto-build and deploy tools, but the evolution of Visual Studio to bring all these tools together and move into a single integrated environment is a great leap forward. By addressing all the roles and phases within a development project Visual Studio 2005 Team System will help any development team improve processes, communication and quality. SQL SERVER 2005 The benchmark for databases has been set. We take a brief look. The most significant new feature in SQL Server’s OLAP offering, Analysis Services, is the Unified Dimensional Model (UDM). The UDM overcomes some of the significant challenges faced by businesses wishing to retrieve information from a data source, such as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) database. The UDM provides a central repository combining data from one or more physical data sources and defines business entities, business logic, calculations and metrics. Other enhancements include native XML support, message-based services, native HTTP support, notification services, T-SQL, SQLMO and ADO.NET enhancements. ALL YOU’VE EVER WANTED … AND MORE Windows Communication Foundation (code-named Indigo) is Microsoft’s next generation communication technology, designed to help organisations overcome the challenges of building connected systems both within and beyond the enterprise. As an extension to the .NET Framework 2.0, Indigo provides support for the industry standard specifications and has been designed and built around the four basic service oriented tenets: Autonomous and encapsulated Loosely coupled Share schema and contract, not implementation Compatibility defined by policy. Indigo presents a unified API to developers to simplify the process of building secure, reliable and interoperable services while adhering to web service specifications. At Intergen, this means that we will have the tools to easily and efficiently build these connected systems. Previously the technology available to offer capabilities such as security and encryption over web services was limited and difficult to work with. To see how useful this technology is let’s take a service built using Indigo and secure it with WS-Security, the specification around web services for providing security for the messages we transport. In Indigo, operational aspects of how the service is offered are outlined in a .NET configuration file. This describes how the service is hosted, what type of channel it is exposed over (eg, HTTP, TCP) and what the service expects as a pre-requisite to delivering its functionality. So to add WS-Security to our service, we would extend our configuration like this: <basicProfileBinding> <binding configurationName="Default" securityMode="WSSecurityOverHttp"> <wsSecurity authenticationMode="Username"/> </binding> </basicProfileBinding> This tells Indigo that we want to enable WS-Security on our web service and that we want to use Username/Password authentication. As simple as that!
  6. 6. Two of Intergen’s senior technical staff, Jeremy Boyd and Derek Watson, recently returned from Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles where they received in-depth insight into future tools and technologies. >> INTERGENITE: Stephen Andrew What do you do? I’m the Business Development Manager for Intergen in Auckland. I work to ensure that clients are delighted with our services and solutions, and that our technology solutions are being applied to meet their business needs. How do you make a difference? I ensure that every interaction we have with our clients is as professional as possible. I help team members to prepare properly and ensure that they think about the client’s business first and foremost. I bring experience from a range of IT roles, which helps temper the team’s rampant enthusiasm. What do you love about your job? I enjoy being able to channel the significant resources available at Intergen to meet and exceed clients’ expectations. As a Business Development Manager the thrill of a new deal is what drives me, but I’m also passionate about fostering long term relationships, as these are critical to the ongoing success of Intergen. A bit about yourself I’m the proud father of three primary school-aged children. I’m committed to coaching my kids so they can fund a life of leisure for their mother and I by playing for Real Madrid, at Wimbledon or the Black Caps. >>6 >> T E C H N I C A L P R E V I E W - P D C Five minute future preview < 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 PDC is held every two years and is recognised as the premier event to network with the architects of Microsoft’s technology vision and to see what’s on the horizon. There is a huge wave of new technology coming from Microsoft over the next two years that will enhance the software industry’s value to business. The transformation of the industry has been underway for a number of years now, with service orientation changing the way people think about software architecture. However, the tools and technology haven’t really caught up with thought processes and the demands of business and end users until now. Much of the new technology is aimed at making software systems more dynamically configurable to allow business to adapt as change occurs. The next two years will see new tools being released to allow us to build this type of system faster, better and cheaper. It will also allow us to put more power back into the hands of the users of software, with tools like SQL Reporting Services and the Windows Workflow Foundation. These tools allow the relevance and usefulness of software to be maintained by the business throughout its life. And adhering to the principles of service orientation allows us, as developers, to incrementally add new capabilities without having to scrap and rebuild. The other major step forward with new technology is from a user-interface perspective. Many business applications are not intuitive to use, and end users need substantial training to understand them. With a new presentation platform and the new set of Expression™ tools from Microsoft, we can build visually powerful interactive experiences for users that more accurately reflect their understanding of what they are doing when working with information. Much of the change to Microsoft’s own range of products, such as the upcoming release of Office 12 and Share Point version 3, are driven by the same motivation to substantially enhance usability. What this means for us as a software solutions provider is rapid positive change. The challenge with any new technology wave though, is to apply it to create new opportunities for business. We would love the chance to talk with you more about how we can help.
  7. 7. framework based on SOA principles and best practices, and we could capitalise on the implementation of by bringing all our external facing applications up to one consistent high standard.” Shirley McIntyre, AMP. Leveraging the new technologies Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005 allowed AMP to utilise SQL Server Integration Services. This greatly improved the importing and transformation of retirement information sourced from AMP’s retirement processing mainframe. Overall complexity of the import and transformation processes was reduced, thus resulting in increased maintainability. In addition, overall performance of these processes increased by approximately 300 - 400%. Six week transition Meeting the timeframe showed integrity according to AMP’s Project Manager Michael Coffee. “They resourced accordingly, and their technical ability and pre-knowledge of Microsoft’s new offering meant they developed exactly what they said they would do. If there were challenges, Intergen absorbed them, rather than passing on costs.” 22,000 members and 750 employers use NZRT on-line As a work-based retirement scheme, being on-line provides instant capability for employees and employers to check balances and manage contributions. The use of banner ads, brand colours and easy usability means a more consistent experience for AMP customers. More leverage is planned, with excellent opportunities for AMP to grow their technology footprint says Shirley McIntyre. “In summary, we have an energised offering on our web site; and the technology we have delivered these applications on has been future proofed for further expansion and growth”. THE BUSINESS CHALLENGE Tackling the future head-on is familiar ground for AMP, whether it be helping people gain a long lasting income in retirement, or providing quality advice on insurance, investment or financial planning decisions. AMP wanted to bring their retirement scheme, New Zealand Retirement Trust (NZRT), on-line. Hosting penalties on the existing platform created urgency and a need to deliver on time. First in the market AMP took up Intergen’s recommendation to future proof with an ahead-of-the-market solution utilising Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2005 and SQL Server 2005. As a company well versed in risk analysis, AMP viewed the opportunity as innovation not ‘experimentation’ and went into the project with solid expectations. “Intergen have an extremely close partnership with Microsoft and through that expertise were able to convincingly demonstrate areas of high business value using Microsoft’s new .NET toolset and SQL Server database. To be the first company to deliver an application based on this innovative framework was exactly where we wanted to be as a forward looking company.” Shirley McIntyre, Enterprise Solutions Manger AMP. Gaining more business value through a reusable framework Leveraging their investment was a major business driver for AMP in this project. “There was a lot of business value to be gained by redeveloping the web site solution to bring NZRT on-line. .NET gave us the opportunity to use a common >> INTERGENITE: Jonathon Mitchal What do you do? I am a proud member of the Development and Integration team at the Christchurch Intergen office, and have recently been involved in projects using C#, ASP.NET, CMS, CRM and SQL Server 2005. How do you make a difference? I have gained a strong knowledge base from university, which allows me to apply myself to new technologies and situations. What do you love about your job? I thrive on providing professional software solutions for clients to put into practical use. I also enjoy the great working environment and talented peer-base that Intergen provides. A bit about yourself I graduated from Canterbury University last year with a Bachelor of Science. With my spare time at university I DJ’d throughout New Zealand and enjoyed moderate success with vinyl releases of original material overseas. >> C A S E S T U D Y - A M P < 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 T E N > >>7 Going leading edge proves good insurance for the future CustomFile Task Preprocess Each File and Send an Email Send notification email if pick up fails Move all the input csv’s into a working directory Preprocess each of the csv files Load the staging tables Update the main database once the staging process has been completed For each user, put the user into active directory and add them to the appropriate groups Send the emails with the details of the upload process If processing flow fails email out an error Send File Error Email Load Staging Tables Load Working Tables Update Production Database New User Setup SMTPServiceEmailhelper AMP Integration Services Package Send General Error Email
  8. 8. U I D E S I G N C R M 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 T E N Closer customer relationships Using databases to facilitate and improve customer relationships will be easier with the release of Microsoft CRM 3.0 early next year. The new version of Microsoft Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) will allow additional customer specific entities to be added to the base system. Intergen will be able to extend and configure the product without significant development, ultimately lowering the total cost of ownership to customers. New Microsoft CRM 3.0 features include: Marketing automation including campaign management, response tracking and marketing list generation Enhancements to existing sales management tools including support for identifying complex customer roles and relationships Enhancements to existing service case management tools including service- based scheduling and integrated knowledge base Powerful new reporting capabilities based on SQL Server Reporting Services, including drill down ability and report scheduling Enhanced user experience capabilities with role-based customisation and personalisation of the Microsoft CRM work environment New service-oriented architecture (SOA) for systems integration including web service description language (WSDL) interfaces for the core CRM business platform providing enhanced integration opportunities to other web applications, portals and business systems Optimised email integration for both delivery and tracking Enhanced mobile experience for remote sales and customer service professionals. Microsoft CRM 3.0 is designed for small and midsized businesses, large organisations and divisions or departments of global enterprises that want to build strong customer relationships by managing all customer interactions from one central application. Creative guns for hire! This year Intergen has been ramping up its service delivery capability in a number of areas and the Creative Studio team is no exception. Our “Tight Three” – Jill, Mark D and Eamon – have been joined by three new faces. Between them they flesh out our interactive design competencies and bring some fresh new perspectives to our design process. It is fantastic having enthusiastic new talent with the bit between their teeth. This lifts the game for the whole team and ultimately means Intergen’s customers benefit with even better design outcomes. Although it’s early days, they’ve been launched into a raft of interesting projects and are already producing great results. Sally Coe, Interactive Designer: Sally hails from London and has a degree in Graphic Information Design - which studies the ways people perceive, interpret and interact with visual information. She has been working in interactive media since 1996 for an impressive array of clients from Adidas and Mary Quant to the British Army. Resident in Aotearoa since 2001, she has already gained national recognition in the TUANZ (e)-Vision awards. John Lewis, Interactive Developer: John exported himself from the Mainland earlier this year after tearing himself away from his successful Internet Marketing company which he devoted himself to exclusively after graduating in Marketing Management and Information Science in 2003. John joins the Studio as an Interactive Developer specialising in accessibility and web standards compliance. Mark Chambers, Interactive Developer: Mark has specialised in developing websites and creating multimedia content for 6 years since graduating from National College of Multimedia and Technology. Our new CSS Guru, Mark has a significant amount of experience in the government and education sectors. If you’d like to learn how Intergen’s Human-Centred Design approach can benefit your interactive design project, contact our Creative Director Eamon O’Rourke at From left: Mark Chambers, Sally Coe and John Lewis Find out more about Intergen: Auckland: 09 966 3070 Wellington: 04 472 2021 Christchurch: 03 964 0017 Sydney: 02 9904 0443