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Intergen Smarts 23 (2010)


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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 23 (2010)

  1. 1. INTERGENITE NEWS >> 2 EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT >> 6WORLDWIDE PARTNER CONFERENCE >> 7WORLDWIDE PARTNER CONFERENCE >> 8MICROSOFT DYNAMICS 9GST AND SYSTEM READINESS >> 10THOUGHTS ON THE INDUSTRY >> 11CASE STUDIES >> 12 >> HOT NEWS: WEB STRATEGY >> 3 SHAREPOINT 2010 >> 4 >> T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M AG A Z I N E I S S U E 2 3 >> CASE STUDIES >> 5 < Copyright 2010 Intergen Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of Intergen Limited > What a fantastic award to win. It is the second time that Intergen has received a Partner of the Year award from Microsoft and it is something that we’re extremely proud of. The win is, in no small part, the result of a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm shown by everyone at Intergen for implementing great solutions for our clients based on Microsoft technologies. It’s really no exaggeration to say that we live and breathe Microsoft – from our participation in early adopter programmes, through to the work we do for Microsoft, and right through to the long-term support and maintenance of solutions we deliver to our clients. We invest heavily in training and qualifications for our staff and support a wide range of Microsoft initiatives, delivering hundreds of projects each year. It is great to receive recognition from our most significant business partner. We were also particularly pleased to be one of only three partners in the Asia Pacific region to make the Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle. We have worked very hard over the past few years to grow a fantastic Dynamics Microsoft 2010 Country Partner of the Year – New Zealand. business. It is very satisfying to know that not only do we have a team that stands out in New Zealand but that we stand out as a success in our region. This comes at a time when we are increasing the amount of work we are doing across the region, with projects currently in progress in Perth, Sydney and Brisbane, and with one recently completed in Singapore. The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference is always a highlight of the year. It is a great opportunity to reflect on the direction of the information technology market and the role the products and services from Microsoft play. We have the opportunity to meet with Microsoft executives and gain additional insight in to Microsoft’s direction and to validate our strategies against theirs. The cloud features very heavily in everyone’s future. Although many end- users appear to be somewhat tentative, it is hard to dispute that, at the very least, some of the current offerings make real economic sense. The amount of investment and attention these offerings are receiving internationally indicate that we are moving very quickly towards a completely new paradigm. We are currently moving Intergen to the cloud. We believe that what is good for our clients must also be good for us. This move will save us real money and will be a great case study for large BPOS implementations in New Zealand. We have a lot of great stories in this edition of SMARTS. I hope you enjoy reading some of them and, as always, please feel free to contact any of the authors if you would like to discuss anything with them. Intergen wins Citizenship Solution of the Year and Portals and Collaboration Solution of the Year at Microsoft New Zealand's Partner Awards, held in Auckland on 18 August.
  2. 2. >>2 >> I N T E R G E N I T E 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 T W E N T Y T H R E E > 6. 1. 2. 3. 5. 7. 8. 9. We’ve been up mountains, celebrating on rooftops, launching an office in Perth, receiving accolades in Washington, Copenhagen and Auckland, setting up yellow headquarters in St Louis, dining out and working out (and working hard, which goes without saying), all in the name of intelligent business. No rest for the wicked, so it seems, and here’s a mere flavour of some of our most recent adventures in Intergen land. 1. Microsoft’s Brent Colbert and Paul Muckleston ( far left and far right) present Tony Stewart and Wayne Forgesson Intergen’s awards. 2. Intergenities celebrating at the Microsoft New Zealand Partner Awards. 3. One of the shiny new trophies for the trophy cabinet. 4. Feeding the troops. The Christchurch team digging in at Winnie Bagoes. 5. The Intergen ski weekend. Chris Auld and James Newton-King conquer the mountain. 6. A multicultural midwinter Christmas. The Auckland team gets festive. 7. The Intergen Perth office launch. Not just a pretty face, Craig Keenan gets to work as host with the most in the new Perth office. 8. On top of the world (with bubbles). Three cheers to us winning Microsoft Country Partner of the Year for New Zealand! The Wellington team celebrates on the roof. 9. Intergen St Louis. In need of some yellow in his working day, Ben McKernan spruces up the E• SPONDER headquarters in St Louis. INTERGENITES HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE 4.
  3. 3. >>3>> W E B S T R A T E G Y < 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 W E N T Y T H R E E > “A Web Strategy is a vision (often documented) that clearly articulates how you will use the web to help achieve or exceed your organisation’s business objectives. It's a measurable plan of attack specific to you; not a one-size-fits-all blueprint.” Unlike many other endeavours within the IT universe, Web Strategy can feel a bit more nebulous – that’s because no two strategies will ever be the same. This is for the simple reason that your organisation is unique – so your strategy should be as well. What’s included in a Web Strategy? A strategy can be as big or as small as you like. But there are some key areas of focus that should be part of your strategy. It should include things like: project background, vision, objectives, goals, positioning, landscape, opportunities, success measures (ROI), analytics, audience, technology, promotion (SEO/SEM), accessibility, social media, governance, brand, content and so on. This list is not exhaustive and not all these components are mandatory. For example, if you’re a social media start-up then your strategy will be different to an e-commerce retailer or a public agency. What’s really important is that the strategy receives buy-in from everyone in your organisation and that it articulates some clear, realistic and measurable targets. Why do I need one? You don’t. You can probably survive without one. You can also build a house without plans and you can probably find your way around a new city without a map; it’ll probably just take a bit longer, cost more and you might not end up where you wanted to. What do I do with it? The final part of your strategy should be the roadmap. Based on everything in your strategy, the roadmap will provide the actual plan for what you’re going to execute (time, effort, resources, milestones, deliverables, cost and so on). The roadmap might stipulate, for example, that you can start coding tomorrow, your online presence should be limited (and you should instead be focsued on mobile delivery) or that you need six months’ research before you do anything. It just depends on you. Your strategy should be reviewed regularly against the vision you’ve created and the goals you’ve set yourself. The roadmap will include these dates – so it should become an ongoing process of reviewing, refining and improving. If you’re wondering what the web can do for your business or you’d just like to chat about what’s happening online in your sector, please contact Web Strategy. What is it? Why do you need it? And what you do with it? >> INTERGENITE: g in de to tones, mple, your nd obile t ularly the ap will come an g n do for at about or, please Giles Brown What do you do? I am a Web Strategist within the Innovation, Strategy and Solutions Office (based in Wellington, but working with clients everywhere). How do you make a difference? I help clients to create, focus and execute their Web Strategy. I also work on specific projects that require anything from the User Experience tool set – user analysis, interaction design, information architecture and so on. What do you love about your job? People. I’m from a technology-agnostic background so I love working face-to-face with clients and users to help create things that look great, are easy to use and work like they’re supposed to. I also love the fact that the web changes daily – so I’m constantly learning new things. A bit about yourself… I’ve worked in and around interactive and online media since 1998, with long periods at some of New Zealand’s premier interactive, web and creative communications agencies. Outside of work, I enjoy spending as much time as possible with my wife and two kids – we live in Lyall Bay, Wellington, so there are at least three days a year when we can actually use the beach.
  4. 4. >>4 >> S H A R E P O I N T 2 010 < 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 W E N T Y T H R E E > We’ve been busy with SharePoint 2010 since well before its official launch date in May this year, and our SharePoint team has been abuzz with the shiny new features of the release ever since they got their hands on it. But rather than run through the expected facts and figures, we thought we’d go straight to the horse’s mouth, so to speak, and ask our SharePoint gurus what they like the best. Loren Scheuerman “SharePoint 2010 has come a long way in the area of custom development. Visual Studio 2010 and SharePoint Designer 2010 are both great tools that are making the development process simpler, quicker and more flexible. Visual web parts, visual designer for features, deployment and packaging functionality and the SharePoint 2010 project templates (to name a few things) that come with Visual Studio 2010 are helping to increase developer productivity and bring new SharePoint developers up to speed faster than before.” Jordan Mayer “I would have to say that one of the major steps forward in SharePoint 2010 has been with custom workflow configuration in SharePoint Designer 2010. In particular, the update to the UI for creating custom workflows in SharePoint Designer 2010. The new UI makes creation quicker, visually clearer and easier to follow. All steps in the workflow are laid out on one page, reducing the need to click through multiple windows. With everything on the same page, grouping lines and boxes have also been added to help identify each step and their actions. This is particularly handy with nested steps.” Highlights of SharePoint 2010 – as decided by our SharePoint experts Philip Plimmer “My favourite thing about 2010 is the InfoPath integration, especially with Business Connectivity Services. Now you can use the richness of InfoPath forms in SharePoint with almost no additional effort.” Toby Spendiff “Excel Services has to be one of the most versatile aspects of SharePoint 2010. Businesses can quickly create dashboards and publish existing spreadsheets over the web. There’s also support for displaying any part of a spreadsheet like a chart or range of cells individually within a web browser. We’ve used this with customers to create dynamic dashboards which pull charts and data from a number of different spreadsheets onto one page. Very cool!” Margaret Zou “SharePoint 2010 Access Services make it easy to publish your Access databases to the web, providing a centralised location for users to interact with your data.” Angela Knight “I heart SharePoint 2010 Search! I can set up an external content type, perform a search over the external data, use the standard search with the refiner web part to drill into my results using managed metadata fields and then when I select a result, I can open it in a custom results page of my choice passing in any metadata parameter I like – wicked!” Chakkaradeep Chandran "Microsoft SharePoint 2010 is packed with excellent new and improved capabilities and benefits that will help your company quickly respond to changing business needs. Productivity starts right from the free edition – SharePoint Foundation 2010. With the new Office Web Applications integrated into SharePoint 2010, users can now directly edit Word/Excel/PowerPoint/OneNote right from the browser! One of my favourite features of SharePoint 2010 is the Business Connectivity Services (BCS) which allows you to work with data from other line of business systems as if it lived in SharePoint. And also using SharePoint Workspace 2010, you can now work offline and synchronise your changes back to your SharePoint 2010 site whenever you reconnect." Rob Stewart “SharePoint 2010 has a greatly improved user interface, making enterprise and web content management easy.” Loren Jordan Philip Toby Margaret Angela Chaks Rob
  5. 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 W E N T Y T H R E E > >>5>> E M E R G E N C Y M A N A G E M E N T It’s in the ‘all hands to the pumps’ situations when you really find out what you and your organisation are made of. How deep is your capability and how flexible and comprehensive are your processes and systems? For every organisation what constitutes an emergency or event is different. It could be a major conference or a nationwide sporting event, a tsunami, terrorist incident, pandemic, fire or flood. When they happen, though, they tend to galvanise your team and draw the focus of management, shareholders, Ministers and the media. Our experiences working with organisations around emergency response have taught us that three of the most critical aspects of any such response are finding the right information, visualising it in the right context and then having the ability to communicate and collaborate with others. In other words, it’s not just planning and preparation; it’s also about having the capability and flexibility to respond swiftly and accurately with a wide range of stakeholders. Most systems on the market aren’t that flexible, and, as we all know, no plan survives its first contact with an event. A system needs to be able to adjust on the fly. We have seen too many situations where the IT solution goes from being a valuable tool to a hindrance because it was unable to adapt to the changing requirements during an incident. What’s your worst-case scenario? Being able to visualise the battle space (for emergency responders) is a powerful capability that has really only come into its own in the last couple of years. This is due, in part, to the general consumerisation of GIS mapping (Google and Bing Maps), cheap readily-available GPS systems in vehicles and cell phones, internet communication apps like Skype and Messenger, social networking tools that allow the public to share information more readily, and a plethora of network technologies (broadband, wi-fi, 3G, satellite…) with far wider coverage, and easier to use with a range of different devices like smart phones and netbook PCs. Leveraging the extensive Microsoft platform, we are able to offer solutions that are both comprehensive and flexible enough to give you the tools to plan and respond to almost any situation – even the things you may have never thought of! One of our core offerings is E•SPONDER, a command and control system based on Microsoft SharePoint. E•SPONDER is used by around 2,500 first response agencies (including the US Department of Homeland Security, Police, fire and local government organisations) in the United States, and in other countries like Australia, Canada and Iceland. E•SPONDER is also used in a number of private international organisations such as Microsoft, Kraft Foods, Save the Children, and World Vision. Here in New Zealand E•SPONDER is being used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to respond to situations that potentially affect Kiwis abroad, and to assist with humanitarian response with our Pacific neighbours. We are also currently working with the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) to provide a national, regional and local civil defence emergency planning and response capability. The potential benefits for your organisation’s critical response efforts are huge and so we have formed a dedicated team, focused on Emergency Management and Public Safety, and have been pulling together best of breed solutions and partnerships so that we can provide strong advice and market- leading capability into your business. Bryan Gallagher (previously Microsoft’s Defence and Public Safety Technology Specialist) and Ryan Day (previously a Senior Project Manager at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) are both experienced in the development and implementation of Emergency Management Information Systems (EMIS) and provide a dedicated focus on this critical area within Intergen. If you’d like to talk more about emergency or event management, please email Intergen’s Emergency Management Specialists, Ryan Day and Bryan Gallagher.
  6. 6. >>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 T W E N T Y T H R E E > This was my fifth Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) and it was always going to be interesting for a variety of reasons, not least of which was that this was the first time we would have multiple attendees – Bruce Smith, Simon Bright and me – and that we were an award winner. Also, following a huge release cycle at WPC2009, it was always going to be challenging to have as much excitement this time around. This turned out to be the case and there was less new release content. Having said that, WPC10 was the busiest and most valuable WPC that I have attended. There were a number of reasons for this, including the networking, meetings and activities related to our award win. We were kept extremely busy from the day we landed in DC until the day we left. Key messages from WPC2010 The Cloud We are “all in.” No surprises there, and if anyone thought that cloud wasn’t going to be huge at WPC then they have obviously been in the backblocks for the last year or two. Almost every presentation, demonstration or discussion covered the cloud in some way shape or form. Microsoft is certainly fully committed. Equally importantly, they recognise that the transition to the cloud will take time and that it requires both an on and off-premise capability. Windows Azure Appliance This was released at WPC. Basically organisations will be able to order their own containerised Windows Azure appliance farm. We checked out one of the containers and, as a former hardware engineer, I was very impressed with how Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2010 Washington DC 11-15 July >> WO R L DW I D E PA R T N E R CO N F E R E N C E Wayne Forgesson is Intergen’s Director of Marketing. they have put it together. The only downside is the quantity of servers required (initially) as a minimum: around 1000. Microsoft Partner Network changes While this was announced late last year, this year there was more detail available. Microsoft is introducing a more structured partner framework that will allow customers to get greater appreciation of a partner’s capability and experience. InTune This is a cloud-based PC management tool that was demoed at one of the keynotes. Currently in beta, InTune looks great and I think it will certainly be something of interest to a lot of organisations, including Intergen. CRM2011 While Intergen has been working with CRM5 pre-release for some time, this was the first time I had heard its official release name: CRM2011. Interestingly, in keeping with Microsoft’s cloud focus, CRM2011 will be released online first. Consumer Traditionally ignored at this partner-focused event, Microsoft discussed and showed several consumer-focused offerings this year, including Windows Phone 7, Xbox Kinect and Windows Microsoft’s Jon Roskill and Allison Watson present the Country Partner of the Year award to Wayne Forgesson.
  7. 7. >> INTERGENITE: >>7< 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 W E N T Y T H R E E >>> WO R L DW I D E PA R T N E R CO N F E R E N C E Bruce Pollock What do you do? I joined Intergen in mid-July as one of the new account managers in the Christchurch office to provide extra bandwidth in the sales process. My role is to maintain the relationship between clients and us, acquire new business and look after our existing customers. How do you make a difference? My background in FMCG supply chain, manufacturing, distribution and retail has given me a clear understanding of the pain points in those sectors. Linking those contacts with our expertise will enable us to roll up our sleeves and get under the hood to ease that pain. What do you love about your job? Getting involved in taking people and businesses on a collaborative journey. Building trust and credibility with our brand and then leveraging this to provide guidance on business tools and processes. Evangelising a vision, then helping it become a reality. A bit about yourself… I’m a technology geek – as a consumer, not a coder. I use an iPhone today but I’m looking forward to the new Windows Phone 7 device, and I have clearance from above to buy an Xbox Kinect – for educational purposes only, of course. I’m married with two boys. My wife is from Manila/Saudi Arabia and we met in Shanghai. 7 Home wireless experience. All I can say is I want all three and I’m sure my kids (not me, of course) would have a lot of fun with Kinect. Seriously cool. Vertical solution alignment As part of Microsoft’s extensive R&D, considerable effort is being put into solutions tailored at or for specific vertical markets. Microsoft’s focus is on core product development and add-ons and accelerators to ensure unique business requirements are more easily met. The other area of WPC this year of significance was the number of meetings that we had, both with Microsoft executives and our partners who were also attending WPC. Microsoft New Zealand did another great job of lining up Microsoft Executive meetings for the Kiwi contingent and looking after us during our stay. Many thanks to Brent, Misty, Bernadette, Stewart and the wider MSNZ team. No review of a conference of this nature can ignore the many social aspects held over the five days, and there were certainly plenty of them! The Kiwi contingent was well represented at the various events, the most apt being the Football World Cup final where the Intergen team was decked out in undefeated All Whites shirts! The last and most significant aspect of WPC10 was receiving our award for 2010 Country Partner of the Year – New Zealand. Winning this award is fantastic recognition of our efforts with Microsoft and our customers over the last 10 years. It required being onstage in front of about 10,000 people at Tuesday’s keynote – as you can see there was plenty of yellow! Steve Ballmer reflects. Victory is ours – Intergen’s Bruce Smith & Wayne Forgesson (in yellow) celebrate the occassion with Microsoft’s Jon Roskill, Kevin Ackhurst and Allison Watson.
  8. 8. >>8 >> M I C R O S O F T D Y N A M I C 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 T W E N T Y T H R E E > Daniel Munns – Intergen’s Retail Specialist What do you do? I’m Intergen’s Industry Lead - Retail Specialist. Working alongside business development managers and technical solution consultants, I look to establish the right priorities, tools and industry best practices to grow our retail clients’ businesses. My previous roles have been based in the UK where I've worked for various international brands and retailers. For the last several years I've worked in a leadership and strategic role for Debenhams Retail, London. How do you make a difference? I can speak the retail language. I work with retail clients, identifying and aligning their business priorities with technical solutions. To give you an idea, the following trends are typically at the top of the list in the retail world: 1. Customer Centricity – everything a retailer considers is built around the end consumer and the 'customer journey.’ 2. Building visibility and flexibility in the supply chain – it might sound easy, but tracking the correct milestones can shave days off your re-supply time and secure sales. 3. Multi-channel and convergence channel shopping is becoming commonplace – what does it mean to your brand? What do you love about your job? It's a challenging sector and every day is different. We are all consumers and we are always hungry for new products and services. Retailers are looking to differentiate themselves to stay ahead of the competition, or at least in line with the competition. In today's market retailers face strong competition and recovery in the post-recession years remain uncertain, making the right investments a bigger challenge. Retailers and their associated supply chain partners can have lengthy supply chains which are often complex and fast-moving. A bit about yourself? I came to Christchurch last September from London, where I have worked for the last 13 years. My career has touched many parts of the Retail Supply Chain, from design and lifecycle management to in-store solutions. In my spare time I enjoy running in Hagley Park and mountain biking over the Port Hills. Things have been going from strength to strength in Intergen’s Microsoft Dynamics Practice. Recently we were admitted to the Microsoft Dynamics President’s Club for 2011 and were one of three APAC partners to make the Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle for 2011. There is really no higher recognition than this in the Dynamics world and so we’re understandably chuffed with these honours. Doug Kennedy, Vice President, Dynamics Partners, says of our achievements: “By providing the highest level of sales and innovation, customers can have absolute assurance they are dealing with the ‘best of the best’ when working with Intergen.” It doesn’t get much better than that as far as we’re concerned! Dynamics Day ’10 Back in May we ran our second Dynamics Day two-day event in Wellington, and we couldn’t have been happier with the way it unfolded. Great turn- out, great sessions, great feedback. With around 100 attendees, 24 sessions and three concurrent streams of activity, we had more than 30 Intergenites involved in bringing the event to life. In the words of our esteemed leader, Tony Stewart, “It’s great to see so many of our really smart people in action.” A huge focus of this year’s Dynamics Day was on extending the conversation past Dynamics, looking at it as less of a discrete offering than as a part of a diverse integrated package for users, touching all areas of the business. We also stressed the growing importance of the cloud to businesses and how Dynamics fits within this picture. A glimpse into the future If you’re familiar with what we do, you’ll know we’re often waving our arms >> INTERGENITE: The latest in the world of Microsoft Dynamics Simon Bright is Intergen’s Chief Operating Officer and Dynamics Practice Principal. about new technologies beyond the horizon, and that we’re lucky enough to often get very early exposure to them. We’re officially a part of three Technology Adoption programmes in the Dynamics space – for CRM5 (now called CRM 2011), NAV 7 and AX 6 – previewing and providing input into the upcoming releases. While the nature of these programmes means that we can’t shout from the rooftops about the latest features, we are able to talk one-on-one with customers who are interested in what lies ahead and how it can bring your organisation into the future. If you’d like a sneak preview or a chat about what any of these releases hold in store, I’d love to hear from you. Th of I C S Just some of the Intergenites involved in this year’s Dynamics Day.
  9. 9. >>9< 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 W E N T Y T H R E E >>> G S T A N D S Y S T E M R E A D I N E S S GST and systems readiness – the questions on everyone’s mind On the face of it, the GST rate increase is easy to understand: a percentage increase from 12.5% to 15% on 1 October. Yet as many organisations are starting to realise, when it comes to their office software systems, things are actually more complex and a set of common questions is emerging. One of the most commonly asked questions is seemingly very obvious – which systems in our organisation handle GST calculations? You would immediately think of the accounting system or forward-facing sales systems, of course. But in reality many organisations may have other systems dealing with GST calculations that are less obvious. The fact is that, with the deadline in place, organisations – no matter what size or sector – can no longer ignore the need to understand how the change impacts their business, particularly the complexities of managing that change from a systems perspective. Here are some key concerns and how to address them: Which systems handle GST calculations? This needs careful consideration. As well as your general office accounting system, there are likely to be other systems in the office which deal with GST such as Point of Sale (POS) systems used for scanning bar codes, product information management systems, websites, customer quotation systems and ad hoc spreadsheets. Organisations must carry out checks to ensure these are set up to cater for the new rate. Can you change the GST rate on your systems or is it hard-coded? This has obvious implications with regard to how easy it may be to bring every system up to date when the new rate comes into effect. If your system vendor has specified in the software that the rate is set at 12.5%, how does this figure get changed? Is the change made in only one place, or must multiple changes be made? Some systems refer to a single setup source. However, older legacy applications can have hard-coded GST rate calculations which require changing and rigorous testing before release on 1 October. Can you change the GST rate retrospectively? This has two implications. Firstly, can businesses enter the new rate with an effective date and then on 1 October, your systems just assume that rate or will an organisation need to perform a cut-over on the 1 October? Naturally this makes the cutover process more critical. Secondly, in the transitional period after 1 October, organisations will have to deal with situations which may involve both rates, as the old 12.5% rate will still be required for some transactions. When entering these transactions in your new system you will need to manually override the code displayed in the "GST" column with the appropriate new code. Will open purchase and sales order lines be updated by the GST rate? Changes to the GST rate should impact GST calculations for un-invoiced sales and purchase orders. In some systems, GST rates are brought onto the purchase and sales order lines, thereby creating inaccurate calculations at point of invoicing. Do you therefore need to force an update in your system or do you need to perform an update to the data? Again, this has implications with regard to how easy or complex it may be to update and maintain your systems. Does your systems manage credits for purchase and sales? Will your system(s) be able to credit back at the 12.5% GST rate for credits to orders raised prior to the GST rate change? This is a more complex scenario but one that many organisations will face. An item purchased before 1 October will have included 12.5% GST in its price. If this item needs to be returned after 1 October, and the amount is credited, then it's important to manage this credit at the 12.5% rate and not the new 15% rate. Businesses will need to ensure that dual rates are maintained during a specific period to manage the credit process and make changes to front-end sales systems so that those applications can recognise this specific refund logic. Will your systems require updates to existing, recurring customer orders, laybys and deposits? Managing transactions such as subscriptions, deposits, laybys, rebates and volume discounts will require careful attention. Existing subscriptions will require updating with new GST rates if there is a contract of supply where invoices are raised monthly. However, different treatment will be applied to subscriptions that are invoiced as a lump sum at the beginning of the period and treated as a monthly debt. Similar consideration needs to be paid to other amounts that are recorded as prepayments, debtors, and accruals in systems. What treatment needs to be applied to these sums and what updates are required to your existing data? In some cases, systems can manage these changes automatically; however other systems and manually- managed spreadsheets will require scripts and/or manual manipulation. Ultimately, it is essential that organisations ask themselves these questions and put a plan in place. With the October 1 date looming, this is an issue that requires urgent consideration. James Page is Microsoft Dynamics AX Service Line Lead for Intergen.
  10. 10. >>10 >> T H O U G H T S O N T H E I N D U S T R Y < 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 W E N T Y T H R E E > Technologists everywhere are espousing the value of the cloud. Access your data from anywhere. Achieve unlimited scalability. Don’t worry about running your own servers – let others do that for you. While these assertions are admirable, there is another area which needs to be looked at: do the numbers make sense from a business perspective? Rather than spend time defining what the cloud means, the purpose of this article is to look at the use of cloud services in a general sense and the economic benefits that can be realised. Calculating value The economic value of cloud-based solutions can be looked at from several different perspectives, including budgeting, resource utilisation, availability and performance and security. Each of these factors will affect different organisations differently. While the cloud will benefit some organisations more than others, they should at least start looking at how cloud-delivered applications can benefit their organisations. Cloud Economics: Making the business case Most cloud-based services charge their customers on a monthly basis, adopting a subscription model for longer-term relationships, with software being used on a “pay as you need” basis. Rather than pay for new hardware and software licenses upfront, organisations can free up typically scarce capital expenditure for other investments that grow the business. Software subscriptions now become an operational expense, and often cost less than the original capex amount. For many organisations, the opex model is advantageous, not least of which because of its predictability. While virtually everyone now relies on IT, most organisations don’t wish to become IT experts. Due to an increasing reliance on IT, many organisations have had to invest in IT resources – particularly staff. With the availability of cloud-based services that provide email and other core functions, the focus of IT resources can be re-evaluated. Rather than focus on commodity products, the organisation can look to this team to see how IT can differentiate the business and improve overall efficiency and performance. What’s more, upgrades to the software – patches and major releases – can occur seamlessly, without requiring staff and without the traditional disruption and cost to the business that implementing such changes in-house can cause. The direct and indirect savings here can be considerable. With Internet access virtually ubiquitous, and with devices that are effectively always-on, organisations need to be looking at how they can provide access to key systems, such as email, on an around-the-clock basis. Organisations want to encourage their workers to work whenever and wherever they are, while workers appreciate the flexibility of being able to work when they want. The cloud, with its high availability and access, enables this to happen, while the performance of these systems is designed to support thousands of simultaneous users, more than meeting the needs of the average Australiasian organisation. When it comes to security, a common question that any organisation evaluating cloud solutions must ask is: “How secure is our current IT infrastructure?” For many organisations, their own systems are considerably less secure than the environments where cloud-based applications are hosted. It’s safe to assume that the investments made in securing cloud-based data centres far exceed the capabilities any single organisation could provide, almost regardless of its size. Get ahead in the cloud By investing in the cloud, organisations are effectively outsourcing (at least) some of their IT infrastructure to experts in their field, with capabilities and budgets that exceed the resources available to any single organisation. Some applications, such as email, are becoming commoditised – and organisations will typically get no commercial advantage using email that is on-premise than if it were running in the cloud; and users probably won’t notice the difference. For services such as email, unified communications and collaboration, accessing a cloud service will likely make sense. For other applications that are mission critical or that differentiate an organisation from its competitors, the cloud could be used as a deployment model, but – right now at least – it probably makes more sense for organisations to run these systems themselves. Our advice to organisations is simple: Take a look at the applications you use and evaluate the business case of having some of these applications hosted in the cloud. Some cloud offerings can add new capabilities to an organisation at a minimal cost, while cost savings for more commoditised applications, such as email, could quickly be calculated – coming into effect immediately, or at the next appropriate upgrade cycle. As a delivery model, the cloud isn’t going away, and organisations should look to see how quickly they can take advantage of it. Tim Howell is Intergen’s Marketing Manager E >
  11. 11. < 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 W E N T Y T H R E E >>> C A S E S T U D Y >>11 >> INTERGENITE: From the paddock to the farm kitchen table, and everywhere in between – Agriculture ITO cultivates a new training system using Microsoft Dynamics CRM Agriculture Industry Training Organisation is one of New Zealand’s largest industry training organisations, helping more than 8,000 people every year to gain the knowledge and skills they need for a productive and rewarding career in the agriculture sector. They needed a training information management system to support their field-based staff and students who may need to work offline at the farm kitchen table or in similarly remote locations, with the information then synchronising back to the master version. AgITO wanted to provide a future-proof foundation for an online channel that would support and unify all areas of the business – from management of relationships and customer interactions, management of all programmes and courses through to all course assessment and moderation activities. With the new system in place Argiculture ITO is able to offer a higher level of service to its customers. The right information is at hand at the right time, and CRM allows for quick and easy enhancements to adapt to changing business needs. Agriculture ITO is dedicated to providing the best training possible, and their new CRM system helps make this a reality. Brent Dickens What do you do? I’m an Interactive Designer in the User Experience Design team. We work to create portals, websites and applications that look superb and are a joy to use. How do you make a difference? By pushing design to the forefront of any and all the work we do. It’s not just eye candy – everything we design deserves care and attention. What do you love about your job? I have a real passion for design and the fine art of front-end development, pushing the latest web technologies into production so that we are creating the best cutting edge work for our clients. I love working on varied, interesting projects with great people who really know their stuff. A bit about yourself… I was born and bred in Lower Hutt, now living in Petone. I have spent most of my life in Wellington with a few snowboarding seasons living in Wanaka and Dunedin plus a bit of time in Ohakune. I’ve also spent some time in Australia and Japan. I’ve gone from running a small boutique web design company, to full-time student and am now back into the workforce. I have 14 month- old daughter named Lola who is a joy (most days). I love riding my Vespa, mountain bike riding, DJing and collecting sneakers. “We now have an integrated system enabling users to capture all details for our customers. Access to information is now available to everyone. We now have a complete information source that can be used by all areas of the business. It’s easy to access and simple to use, as it is using the familiar Microsoft interfaces that Outlook provides.” Lyndon Allott, Information Systems Manager
  12. 12. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT INTERGEN: Auckland: +64 9 966 3070 Wellington: +64 4 472 2021 Christchurch: +64 3 964 0017 Dunedin: +64 3 477 5648 Sydney: +61 2 9969 0088 Perth: +61 8 9228 9990 < 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 W E N T Y T H R E E > >> C A S E S T U D I E S Lincoln University had an urgent requirement to replace their aged and unsupported content management system (CMS). It was vital to meet a pressing three-month deadline for the project to be delivered, with students needing information on which to base their university and course selections. As New Zealand’s specialist land-based university, Lincoln has a student population of 4000 and the website is a window to all aspects of the university’s operation, including academic faculties, enrolments, course information, scholarships and orientation. Students are a web-savvy and well-connected audience, and the existing CMS platform fell well short on its ability to deliver and facilitate the creation of content. Lincoln went to market and selected Intergen and content management solution, EPiServer CMS. As a well-structured and flexible CMS platform, EPiServer has delivered immediate benefits and has allowed Lincoln to engage with the entire lifecycle of a student, from prospecting to enrolment, to post-graduate and alumni activities. EPiServer CMS helps land Lincoln University where they want to be One million members belong to the Automobile Association, making customer service the cornerstone of the AA’svision to provide value and great service for motorists. As an organisation of 1000 people, with offices and service centres spread the length of New Zealand, the AA needed a central internal hub to support their culture, communications and service delivery. Looking for the tool to help them create this, the AA decided to leverage their recent investment in a SharePoint platform and enlisted Intergen to carry out its express ‘Rapid Results’ implementation. A key driver with the intranet project was finding a more efficient way to manage the AA’s customer feedback process. Largely manual to date, it existed on several different databases and there was no consolidation or organisational view of customer enquiries and their resolution. Now the AA has the ability to route all customer feedback and enquiries to the right area and person and action. The result is greater visibility and faster tracking and resolution. And customer feedback is just one example of smarter workflows that have resulted from The Hub. The AA’s Human Resources Advisor, James Tunnell, says: “Collaboration is important – for many of our super users we have built workflows to help manage information. Creating team sites has been a major benefit and they’re finding they’ve got real power to get things done with the SharePoint tools. Multiple users can access the same information; we have excellent search and reporting features and we’re finding really innovative ways of doing things.” Uptake of The Hub has been positive and organisational silos are now a thing of the past. The Hub – the perfect intranet vehicle for the AA Lincoln Online Services Manager Dorje McKinnon comments on how far the site has come: “The difference is about making the website about the individuals who are using it. Students are now viewing information that is current, relevant and easily accessible.” For many, a university’s website is the first hook for students making their decisions for the future, and Lincoln is now confident they’re putting their best foot forward in the web space.