Intergen Smarts 24 (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 24 (2010)

  1. 1. INTERGENITES OUT & ABOUT >> 2 THE FUTURE OF DYNAMICS ERP >> 6WINDOWS PHONE 7 >> 7 INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT SERVICES 8WEB STRATEGY: USER TESTING 9SPOTLIGHT ON RETAIL >> 10SHAREPOINT 2010 IN ACTION >> 11PROJECT MANAGEMENT >> 12 >> HOT NEWS: EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT >> 3 MICROSOFT DYNAMICS CRM 2011 >> 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 24 >> RECORDS MANAGEMENT >> 5 < Copyright 2010 Intergen Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of Intergen Limited > After a slower than usual start to the year, I can’t believe the amount of activity we’re seeing now. All areas of our business are growing and we’re setting new records every month. The economy is still clearly depressed but I think what we are seeing is that people are a bit “over it” and keen to get on with things. We are seeing good quality opportunities turning into great projects. It’s not a return to the “good old days”; it’s different. Business and government alike are much more discerning and projects, now more so than ever, have to show a positive return on investment. And that’s the way we like it. Projects with real business needs are more successful and more gratifying to work on. We hope this continues. You may have noticed some renewed emphasis from us on the web. Delivering websites and web applications has always been a key part of our business but perhaps has been a bit overshadowed of late by our activities with the Microsoft Dynamics product set. We put emphasis on a good user experience with everything we do and have a very long track record of delivering some significant websites. Everyone is on the web now but that doesn’t mean that everyone is getting the best from it. We recognise the importance of a good web strategy, and with Giles Brown on board, we can now offer that all- important link between strategy and execution (see page 8 for some thoughts from Giles). We can now work with you right from the very beginning, when you’re first considering your strategy, right through design and development to support and hosting. October saw the long-awaited launch of Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7. It was certainly worth waiting for. I have been a Microsoft Phone user since 2002 and the technology has certainly come a long way. WP7 is a great device with a good mix of business and personal features – certainly a worthy challenger to the iPhone. We already have experience in developing applications for the Windows Phone 7 and you’ll see more on that over the coming months. In 2010 Microsoft launched their latest version of Office and SharePoint. SharePoint 2010 is a big step forward with many new features we’d been waiting for. Next year the big thing for us will be CRM 2011. We have been working with pre- release versions for almost a year now and can’t wait to begin to deliver new solutions and upgrades to our clients. CRM 2011 represents another quantum leap forward for Microsoft’s CRM offering. Unbelievably we are nearing the end of another year. Intergen will be celebrating its 10th year in business in 2011 and we look forward to sharing our celebrations with you. Until then, from everyone at Intergen, we wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas, safe holidays and a Happy New Year. Sliding into 2011 >> Intergen is “all in” the Cloud Earlier this year Steve Ballmer said of Microsoft’s commitment to the Cloud: “For the cloud, we’re all in.” And Intergen is following suit. We’ve just moved all our 240 mailboxes to the Cloud. Look out for the full story in the next issue of SMARTS.
  2. 2. >>2 >> I N T E R G E N I T E S O U T & A B O U T < 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 F O U R > What's been happening? From Pit Crews to parties, from nerd appreciation days to lots of hard work (and not necessarily in that order), it's been a busy second half of the year. Here's a story in pictures... 1. Need a nerd? The Auckland Intergenites put their inner geeks on display. 2. Everyone’s a winner. Intergenites take part in a celebratory lucky dip, with each and every Intergenite winning a prize. 3. GM of Sales, Bruce Smith sparkles before putting an abundance of hot air to good use. 4. Christchurch Intergenites chill out in yellow. 5 & 6. The Intergen Pit Crew at this year's TechEd. 7. Dressed up like Teletubbies, the Christchurch team goes go-karting. 1 3 5 6 4 2 7
  3. 3. >>3>> E M E R G E N C Y M A N A G E M E N T < 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 F O U R > Technology in times of turmoil – how our Christchurch office got through the earthquake cell phones and texting utilising our Emergency Management eSponder tool. We got hold of all our staff by phone to make sure everyone was okay, and information was communicated back to the organisation nationally on a daily basis. We considered using Facebook and Twitter as a way of our people staying connected with each other throughout a really unsettling time, but found with remote access available and a communications plan in play, we didn’t need to. Intermittent power outages did threaten our connectivity, and because of this, on Wednesday following the quake, we made the decision to ship all of our services to our Wellington environment to ensure business continuity was maximised. We were fortunate to have a strong and robust infrastructure, and an Information Systems team who were committed to putting in the hard yards and minimising disruption to our remote IT services. By Wednesday night the IS team had completed the transition. We were lucky in that the extent of damage we suffered was some cracked and broken windows, and we were all back in the office the following Monday. It was great to see in action the role technology can play in times of our greatest need, and it was humbling to be a part of such a strong and connected network. Tim Mole (far right, below) is Intergen’s General Manager – Southern. >> INTERGENITE: Tim Rowe What do you do? I’m one of two account managers based in the Christchurch office. My role is primarily to maintain the relationship between our clients and us so that we continually understand what’s happening around our clients’ organisations. How do you make a difference? I like to get to know the people, because it’s the people that truly make the difference. I like talking with clients to understand what their pain points are, what keeps them up at night and then ultimately providing solutions that remove that pain, so they can focus on the areas that really matter to them. What do you love about your job? Again, getting out and talking with our clients, understanding them, their business, understanding what really makes their organisation successful. Having a chat over a coffee and working through a shared vision to bring value – that’s what I enjoy the most. A bit about yourself? I’m a very family focused person, married with two children. I love the outdoors and can’t wait until my kids are old enough to look after the boat while I’m down having a dive. We have just recently returned to Christchurch from Wellington where we were for seven years. Great times up there, but it’s good to be home! Tim Mole (far right, below) is Intergen’s General Manager – Southern. When your IT systems are running well, you want to be able to forget about them. You want to be able to trust that they’re in good hands and doing what they need to be doing in the background so you can get on with your core business. And, when an emergency hits, you realise just how much you rely on technology to get you through, and it becomes more critical than ever. As an IT company, we look at companies’ systems for a living, and it’s not often we stop and talk publicly about our own. But it was technology to the rescue for Intergen’s Christchurch office in the week following the quake. Although the office itself was officially off-limits, along with most of the Christchurch CBD, all our staff were connected and able to work remotely from the Monday morning. Amazingly, when we looked back on the week and surveyed the impact on business, we found we’d only lost 20% utilisation out of the Christchurch office. How did we manage it? Well, technology played a huge part. But technology is of course nothing without the people who use and drive it, and we had a fantastic support network nationally, from our leaders, our Information Systems team and our Emergency Management practice. On the Sunday after Saturday’s earthquake, I was able to get into the office and get our servers back up and running after they’d shut down with the power outage. We then set up communication channels through our Intranet, The Christchurch team post-quake: shaken but not stirred.
  4. 4. >>4 >> M I C R O S O F T D Y N A M I C S C R M 2 011 < 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 F O U R > CRM 2011 – the latest and greatest The long-awaited release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is just around the corner. While the beta has been released, Intergen has had exposure to CRM 2011 for quite some time and we’re very excited about the new features. These are some of the best things on offer – in our opinion, anyway! New look and feel The first thing you’ll notice when you open up CRM 2011 from either Outlook or the Web interface is that it looks a little different. There is now a ribbon across the top that matches the latest Office look and feel. From within Outlook there is now a preview pane for CRM! You can also personalise your preview pane by pinning tabbed views and moving sections around, allowing you to arrange information to suit your work style. All grid views within the system can be filtered using Excel-like filtering mechanisms. New features CRM 2011 is jam-packed with new features which are set to provide vast improvements for the day-to-day operation of the system as well as how the user interacts with it. Here are some of the highlights... An interactive point-and-click interface will enable users to create and format their own custom dashboards throughout the system. This allows for intuitive performance management and visualisation of information ensuring that tracking performance is a breeze. CRM’s security framework is now even more granular, effortlessly allowing you to determine which users are allowed to view information down to attribute level. In addition to this, system customisers can now create multiple forms per entity. These can be configured to meet role specific requirements, enabling users to view information personalised to their role. Out of the box field auditing has also been introduced, allowing you to track changes to important fields in your system. Not only can users look forward to some fantastic changes, system customisers and developers can also make use of an exciting array of new features including global picklists, inline grid views and drag and drop form editing. This is in addition to Silverlight support, native SharePoint and Dynamics NAV integration and Azure linkages to extend the scope of Microsoft CRM and make it easier to integrate and manage. Improved functionality If you think the evolution of CRM from version 3 to 4 was impressive, you will be blown away by the next wave of improvements in CRM 2011. One we are particularly excited about is the fact that records can now be owned by a team and not just a user, a common requirement amongst our customers. The integration with Microsoft Outlook has also been improved with new navigation features as well as utilising core CRM functionality such as email templates and sales literature from within an Outlook email. If you work with Marketing Lists in CRM you will be pleased to know that in addition to the standard static marketing lists, you can now have dynamic marketing lists based on a result of a query. You no longer have to re-evaluate your marketing list members manually. You can also run advanced find queries based on just the members of the marketing list. Through workflows you can create wizard-based dialogs that can be branched based on user response. This creates a natural user experience when users are required to capture information as it flows through your business processes. Increased flexibility When it comes to super users and administrators, CRM 2011 doesn’t hold back, either. New features simplify these users’ task by providing more flexibility. You can now create new activity entities. This is great as you no longer have to rename an existing activity entity and can create as many custom activity types as needed, all grouped within the ‘Activities’ area. Form configuration is a lot simpler as you can use drag and drop to move fields around and also create global picklists that are available to multiple entities. avigation es and in c . ve vity e If you are in a multi-organisation environment, you can have your CRM Outlook client pointing to multiple environments! You won’t have to reconfigure your CRM Outlook client every time you want to connect to another CRM organisation. What’s not to like? If you’d like to know more about what’s in store, email, sophiec@intergen. or – we always like talking CRM with people! Some of our resident CRM gurus: Sophie Khun, Rex Wessels and Maryse Botros.
  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 F O U R > >>5>> T H E F U T U R E O F D Y N A M I C S E R P What lies ahead in the world of Dynamics ERP? In terms of product updates, it’s been quiet on the Dynamics ERP front since the release of Dynamics GP 2011 earlier this year, but things are about to get a lot busier! Intergen is lucky enough to be involved in the Microsoft Technology Adoption Programmes (TAP) for NAV 7 and AX 6 – due out in 2011 – which lets us see the improved functionality behind the scenes and provide qualified feedback. While we’re only allowed to chat one-on-one with customers about developments here (so by all means get in touch for a chat!), there are a number of key advancements we’re allowed to shout from the rooftops about: Dynamics NAV 2009 R2 The release date for this is imminent. What will be in it? In short: the features that were on the agenda for NAV ‘7’ but are already completely finished. What’s new? Integration to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. On-premise and online, this supports CRM 4.0 and 2011, and includes a long-awaited standard connector from Microsoft (free), giving out-of-the-box integration between Dynamics NAV and CRM. Online Payment Service for Microsoft Dynamics NAV. This enables payment from the NAV interface across multiple channels, including e-commerce, point of sale and call centre, working with leading payment processing services and all major credit cards. (This feature is not available in the first release of R2 in New Zealand.) Role-tailored interface access for remote or roaming users. This reduces complexity and overhead, allowing remote users to take advantage of the role- tailored interface and the many integration features connected to local resources. Microsoft Application Virtualization support. The role-tailored interface can be deployed using Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) technology, which cuts costs through centrally managed installations and provides a better experience for the end user. Windows 7 user experience improvements. Numerous features for increased business productivity and efficiency, like jump lists for recently accessed customers and vendors and streamlined icon overlay functionality. Treemap visualisation. Richer business data visualisation, comparison and end-user scenario modelling. And there’s plenty more where that came from in the development layer, all paving the way for slicker modification and easier implementation. What’s new with Microsoft Dynamics AX? AX caters for very specific business needs by acquiring a number of industry vertical solutions for customers in manufacturing, professional services and retail. A Process Manufacturing solution provides tight integration of business processes across discrete manufacturing and process manufacturing. A Professional Services solution delivers a single system to manage projects and resources, execute financial transactions and customer billing and match resources with client assignments. The most recent addition is the Retail solution providing an end-to-end solution which includes store management with point of sale, merchandising and other ERP capabilities. The other significant product release for AX this year is a new two-tier ERP connector which allows information process integration between headquarters and subsidiary locations, and integration to their administrative SAP Business Suite for: Financial consolidation for better visibility of financial performance across the organisation Inter-company supply chain integration helps automate supply chain and order processing locally and regionally Plant automation for more accurate and responsive manufacturing planning across the organisation Standardisation for better efficiency and an end to disparate ERP solutions across your subsidiaries Not a lot of detail has been released for AX 6, there is specific functionality relating to Public Sector needs, including: >> Integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM >> Office integration with Tailored Role Center Portals with performance dashboards >> Fund accounting, budgetary control, encumbrance and pre-encumbrance accounting with workflow >> Travel expense management >> Environmental sustainability dashboard If you’d like to talk more about what’s available now, and what’s in store for 2011, drop me a line! Nick Johnson is Intergen’s Microsoft Dynamics Practice Lead. N T Y F O U R > N M
  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 F O U R >>> W I N D OWS P H O N E 7 During October Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7, its latest foray into the smartphone operating system market. Microsoft has been developing mobile operating systems for many years, although its recent efforts have been widely described as lacking. Windows Phone 7 is Microsoft’s highly anticipated effort into making up this lost ground, and initial reactions have been universally positive. Make no mistake: Microsoft has got its work cut out for it. Windows Phone 7 is entering a competitive marketplace, dominated by Apple’s iPhone and, increasingly, the Android platform from Google. Industry commentators have doubted Microsoft’s ability to develop a compelling smartphone experience for several years; it has lost valuable ground – and mindshare – when compared to its competitors. Even Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer has admitted that the company missed “an entire development cycle” with its mobile platform. With the evolution of the smartphone came an evolution in expectations: consumers and business users alike now expect their smartphones to feature multi-touch displays, a wide range of software applications, and a seamless experience when it comes to finding and purchasing software. With Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has retained its traditional “software platform” approach to attacking this market. Unlike Apple, for example, which controls both the hardware and software experiences, Microsoft is working with multiple hardware providers. Companies such as Dell, Samsung, HTC and LG are all releasing Windows Phone 7 devices. This is a familiar approach for Microsoft, who has shied away – aside from the failed Kin – from creating the smartphone hardware itself. The company tries to specify robust guidelines for the devices and their behaviour in order to create consistency across its partners’ hardware designs. For users, this should provide the best of both worlds: a consistent and familiar experience across devices, while Windows Phone 7: Microsoft’s new mobile operating system. giving hardware providers the opportunity to innovate. This mix has worked successfully for Microsoft in the past, and is essentially the same approach Google is taking with Android; the assumption being that more devices will result in more customers and greater market share. Where Microsoft has innovated is in its core software. The fluid user interface, the “tiled” approach to accessing applications and receiving notifications and updates, and the linkages to other parts of the Microsoft ecosystem – including Office, Zune and Xbox – are genuinely innovative and represent alternative ways of accessing applications and media. Indications are that there will be several thousand applications available in the coming months, and by leveraging the large development community, recognised development tools and familiar programming languages, Microsoft is almost guaranteed to get support from developers and software companies alike. A marathon, not a sprint In several years’ time we could look upon the release of Windows Phone 7 as a watershed moment in the history of Microsoft – and the wider industry. With Gartner estimating mobile phones will overtake PCs as the dominant web access device worldwide by 2013, there is a significant opportunity for Microsoft, Apple, Google, RIM (makers of the Blackberry) and others to grow the market and carve out their own spaces; unlike the operating system space, this is unlikely to be a “winner takes all” model. There is also an acknowledgement that people are used to computing on the go – these powerful devices provide capabilities unheard of a few years ago, and allow people to work and play whenever and wherever they are. Rather than use a PC or laptop, people are going to use their mobile device to access email, social networks and software applications. For Microsoft, this creates both challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, the success of mobile devices could impact its traditional operating system business. On the other, with the arrival of Windows Phone 7, it appears well-placed to secure a respectable part of the mobility space. At the end of the day, success will come down to software – the experience of using the operating system, and the applications that will be available for it, both in terms of their quality and quantity. With a strong development story, and an enthusiastic partner network, Microsoft is well positioned to drive results. And with a variety of hardware partners in place already, the signs are good that there will be a range of interesting and innovative devices on offer – now and in the future. Tim Howell is Intergen’s Marketing Manager U R >
  7. 7. >>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 F O U R >>> INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT SERVICES How well is your IT infrastructure managed? Do you know the current status of your physical and virtual environments, client computers and devices? Could your organisation benefit from self-managing, integrated and dynamic systems where your IT professionals can optimise IT structures to reduce costs, improve application availability, and enhance service delivery? These questions are often at the forefront of every CIO’s mind. However, all too often addressing these questions requires a matrix of complex multi-product architectures that would daunt even the most experienced IT professionals. How can Intergen help your organisation? Intergen and Microsoft have partnered with a common goal to invigorate the take-up of the Microsoft System Center products within New Zealand. With Intergen’s recent recruitment of Andrew Kosmadakis and Mark Fenwick, along with existing Intergenite Harry Barton, Intergen is committed to developing a new Infrastructure Management service offering, solely dedicated to helping your organisation manage its IT infrastructure with increased control and staggering cost savings. The Microsoft System Center product suite is an array of powerful and integrated products that helps IT professionals manage their physical and virtual environments throughout their data centres, client computers, and devices. Microsoft System Center provides a platform for managing your entire IT environment end-to-end. Using these integrated and automated management solutions, IT organisations can be more productive service providers to their businesses. Intergen has found that there are many organisations and Government departments already partly or fully licensed to use the System Center products, yet either they don’t realise, don’t know about the power of System Center, or simply don’t have the expertise to implement the System Center product suite. In some cases we have found that organisations not only have the right to use System Center, but have also purchased additional, more complicated products that do not provide the same level of integration, consistency and extensibility. What are the key benefits of Intergen’s Infrastructure Management Service? >> Solutions that integrate from desktop to data centre >> Products that manage your physical and virtual IT environments >> Solutions that provide knowledge-driven management >> Solid partnerships with Microsoft >> Rapid results by capturing value out of the box With System Center Configuration Manager Intergen can help you benefit from a centralised management tool that is optimised for Windows and extensible beyond, it is the best choice for gaining enhanced insight into, and control over, your IT systems. It empowers IT professionals with functionality such as: >> Operating System deployment (server and desktop) >> Application and Security update Deployment >> Hardware and Software Inventory >> Asset Management >> Desired Configuration Management >> Power Management With increased complexity in our data centres as we transition from physical to virtual environments, we find IT infrastructures housing multi-vendor virtualisation platforms, each with their own management tools and workflows. Intergen can offer you comprehensive consulting and deployment experience in System Center Virtual Machine Manager, a centralised management point for your virtual environment with the ability to increase server utilisation, and dynamically optimise resources across multiple virtualisation platforms. With over 300 management packs available for different applications, operating systems and devices ranging from servers to switches, System Center Operations Manager is pivotal to managing your IT infrastructure end-to-end. Imagine being able to monitor, alert and provide action according to the health, performance and availability of your systems across multiple hardware and software platforms from one single product. Talk to us about how we can help you realise the power of centralised infrastructure management. However, all too multi-product professionals. oal IT ted ctive use the What are the key be Management S >> Solutions t centre >> Prod virtua >> S man >> S >> R the b With Interg centrali for Windo best choic and contr profession >> Oper deskto >> Applic >> Hardw Introducing an exciting new service offering from Intergen – Infrastructure Management Services Introducing Mark Fenwick and Andrew Kosmadakis
  8. 8. >>8 >> W E B S T R A T E G Y : U S E R T E S T I N G < 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 F O U R > The truth about User Testing and other tales from the trenches. What is it? User Testing is testing a website or application to see if it meets your business objectives and the needs of your users. In industry speak, User Testing (also UAT: User Acceptance Testing) can take on a number of guises. Formal and informal. Qualitative and quantitative. Face-to-face and remote. Or a combination of these. It always depends on your project, your time constraints and, of course, your users. Many big brands or big sites are testing on a daily basis. They will run what’s known as ‘A/B Testing’ to rapidly test pages, paths, buttons, links, navigation, headline copy etc. to make ongoing, incremental enhancements to their website. This can be as granular as any User Interface element (e.g. a ‘Buy Now’ button) and include: colour, size, location, feedback and so on. Or it can be as large as a complete redesign. There are also a bunch of ‘lab tools’ out there including things like retina tracking (where users look), heat maps (aggregated behaviours), click paths (where individuals actually click) and so on – many of these have been used for decades. But as we begin to interact more via touch and gesture (as opposed to point and click) these tools will continue to evolve. Why do you do it? We are all too close to our projects. All of us. Without exception. It doesn’t matter if you are client-side or design/development-side or an independent ‘UX champion’. User Testing is the moment of truth when you realise that no matter how great your project is, it can always be better. Always. Users are brutally honest. They have no reason lie. If people love something, they’ll tell you. Likewise, if they are confused or frustrated, they’ll let you know. And you should be thankful. Now you have a chance to lick your wounds, repair your ego and make things better. “I’m sorry, they just didn’t get it.” Who should be involved? If you’re running face-to-face testing, it’s good to get at least four people to facilitate and run the testing. Ideally, they should be from across the business (and if they haven’t been involved in the project, that’s good too). Essentially, this provides balance to the process and removes the human nuances and elements of bias that we all bring to any project. How many users do you need? If you’re doing face-to-face testing, you need at least 12 users (for statistical significance). Preferably 20. And 30 would be even better. Face-to-face testing is more expensive, and more time consuming than using many of the online tools that are readily available today – and even if you don’t do it all of the time, you should do face-to-face testing at least some of the time. If you’re running remote testing (using software), you can test a lot more people and be really specific with what you test. Ideally, you should run a mix of qualitative and quantitative analysis because what people say and what they do are usually quite different. Also, you should try and collect anonymous data (again, people will score and rate experiences very differently ‘on paper’ to how they do in person). How often do you do it? Do it as frequently as possible. Don’t disappear into a project for two years and proudly emerge with a prototype that ‘just needs user validation’. Run small, informal sessions with users throughout a project’s lifecycle. And make sure the users are actually from your target audience and be really clear about what you’re testing. It’s absolutely fundamental for the success of any project to test while you design and while you develop. The truth hurts In my view, User Testing is absolutely the best part of working in this business. It can be tough. Users do not care about your requirements, your software, how tight your code is, how many designs you threw away, how many months you sweated and argued over every detail; they just want to get stuff done. If your users don’t get it, your website doesn’t work. End of story. And they will compare your site to others with far bigger budgets and resources than you will ever have. That’s just how it is. Finally … ‘fail fast, fail often’ … This maxim has been tossed around software development and entrepreneurial circles for a while now and it’s still a really valid insight. User Testing doesn’t have to be over-engineered. If you are willing to listen, to make changes, to throw things away and not fall in love with your design or code, then you’re off to a good start. Pick up the phone now, call your users and watch them break your stuff – it’s hard and it hurts, but it’s the only way to make things better. F O U R > Giles Brown is Intergen’s Web Strategist The moral of the story: involve your user.
  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 F O U R >>> S P O T L I G H T O N R E T A I L In the last issue of SMARTS I talked about multichannel convergence being one of the top three topics for retailers to address. Since then I attended 2010 Global Consumer Trends, a seminar arranged by the New Zealand Retail Association, and my thoughts have been confirmed: e-retail, multichannel and convergence channel shopping have become centre stage for the Retail industry. But what does this means to your business? Consumers driving the retail agenda Consumer confidence is increasing, but according to recent research by Nielsen Consumer Confidence 2010, 44% are saving and 39% are paying off debt. This is significant for retailers who are looking to drive up average transaction value (ATV). For retailers to reach and maintain engagement with the consumer, they’re looking outside the conventional bricks and mortar stores and identifying e-retail opportunities. A recent survey conducted by McKinsey, 2009, shows consumers are taking a multi-channelled approach to research and shopping – 48% of consumers shop across more than two channels, and 24% shop across three channels. What are these channels, and how do I build engagement with consumers in the right channel? Monash University suggests that having visibility of product initiation and direct design input creates and establishes loyalty with consumers. Retailers are tailoring product based on actual consumer feedback prior to manufacturing. Research also suggests that social media sites such as Facebook are being used to establish reviews on product. Whilst social media is being used as a new channel for product feedback, it’s not necessarily the right place to sell product. According to Nielsen’s 2010 Social Media report there has been a jump in Facebook usage from 30% in 2007 to 82% in 2010. This has to be an example of an unavoidable engagement channel for retailers? Price remains a point of difference for consumers. More interestingly, the presence of product and price comparison websites is taking off, for example Close to two thirds of customers who visit the site and subsequently purchase an item save approximately $20, while 15% save between $101-$499. What does this mean to the traditional bricks and mortar outlet? I can speculate and find evidence that physical store formats are becoming showcases for products. The dwell factor in stores could well be on the increase, as a consumer who visits a physical outlet has made a conscious decision based on product and price research from other channels. So in essence they will be looking for a confirmation of their decision. The ability to foster a connection between the web channel and the physical store is becoming a growth strategy for retailers. The concept of ‘click’, buy online and ‘collect’ in store is yet another customer offer that is present in European and US markets in all product sectors. This puts the consumer back in control of how, when and where they want to interact with a brand. Intergen’s Retail vision When pulling together our Retail Strategy and service offer we looked at what was important to Retailer and Wholesale businesses. Without doubt, the consumer remains at the forefront. Our Retail vision involves looking at end to end processes, from the view of the customers, designing experiences around how you want to serve your end consumer. For example, it’s not as simple as saying “I want to capture customer information online” – that’s only the beginning. It’s important to think: “Is this the correct place to capture information? How will I use this information? How can I use it in all my channels?” Working out how you serve your customer will allow you to identify how staff and supply chain partners’ processes need to change. My advice is to start with the end user experience in mind, road test it and find the way to deliver it. Intergen is now an active member of the New Zealand Retailers Association. >> S P O Spotlight on Retail: The consumer’s in control Daniel Munns is Intergen’s Industry Lead - Retail Specialist
  10. 10. >>10 < 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 F O U R >>> S H A R E P O I N T 2 010 I N A C T I O N Silver Fern Farms looks to SharePoint for its new intranet and finds a place that 800 staff now call home. As New Zealand’s leading procurer, processor and marketer of sheep, lamb, beef and venison, and with more than 800 intranet-using staff in various roles across the country, the time had come for a new intranet for Silver Fern Farms. Staff collaboration, document management and a more complete and instant view of all areas of the business was needed, with Business Intelligence and ease of use and collaboration being key considerations for Silver Fern Farms in building its intranet, HomeBlock – the online embodiment of the place on the farm that a farmer comes home to. The previous intranet had been custom-developed in-house and sat within the IT team. While it fulfilled its intended purpose, it required several full-time resources to support it, it lacked flexibility and it couldn’t be extended without significant effort. It became evident that the business was outgrowing the existing platform. Stewart Cowan, Silver Fern Farms’ Business Intelligence Manager, says: “We’re a pretty spread out, geographically diverse company, and HomeBlock – with its dozens of ‘paddocks’ (team collaboration sites) being built within it – brings people together. And the fact that champions from within each team can take full control of their own sites just goes to show how user-friendly SharePoint is”. All quiet on HomeBlock >> INTERGENITE: Steph O’Keefe What do you do? I’ve been with Intergen for just over three years. I used to work in the Project Management Office in Wellington and manage project resourcing but have moved to Auckland to become a Client Services Manager in the Managed Services Team. How do you make a difference? I work closely with our sales and project teams to ensure that we are providing an efficient and proactive support service to our customers. I also provide our Auckland office with some great London banter! What do you love about your job? I love making a difference and working with our clients and other Intergenites to achieve the right results. I thrive on the day-to-day challenges that I come up against, and getting that positive result makes it all the more rewarding. A bit about yourself… I was born in London and worked in the Financial Services Sector in the big smoke before I moved to New Zealand in 2007. I’m an avid Chelsea fan and love football in general, having played for Chelsea Women’s FC and then really hitting the big time when I got to Wellington and joined North Wellington Ladies’ FC! Silver Fern Farms was looking to select an industry standard solution, leveraging as much functionality as they could out of the box and customising the rest. They wanted a solid platform from which to create “one source of truth” and a go-to place for collaboration, integration with other line-of-business applications, along with the ability to surface business-wide information visually through a BI portal and to quickly produce a more comprehensive and sophisticated suite of reports. They selected SharePoint 2010 in beta state before the product had officially been released to market because, as Stewart explains, “The features, ease of use and the integration options were all so much better than the existing 2007 version of SharePoint, and on the BI side there was a far more evolved set of features available to us.” This decision meant that Silver Fern Farms was one of the first organisations in New Zealand to have a fully-fledged SharePoint 2010 intranet. And in addition to being early adopters, the quality of Silver Fern Farms’ solution was recognised by Microsoft New Zealand with the accolade of Portals and Collaboration Solution of the Year. HomeBlock is now the first thing staff see when they start their computers every day, and is central to all aspects of business. Stewart sums up one of HomeBlock’s greatest wins: “It’s all power to the people now – no more having to go cap-in-hand to IT. One of the benefits of SharePoint is that you can address people’s concerns really quickly and easily – usually we can take on feedback and turn changes around within a week.” He says it’s been “quiet” since go-live, explaining: “People only tell you the bad stuff. Going on that logic, we’ve definitely got a lot more happy people now!”
  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 F O U R >>> P R O J E C T M A N A G E M E N T >>11 >> INTERGENITE: Steve Sharpe What do you do? I’m a Senior DBA/Consultant – I deliver quality SQL database solutions and services to Intergen’s clients and provide support on client engagements and guidance to peers. My responsibilities also include designing, installing, configuring monitoring, testing, tuning and troubleshooting SQL Server solutions. How do you make a difference? I spent six years in Strategic Outsourcing for IBM Global Services, and have extensive experience with MSSQL. I help to ensure best practice production implementation and supportability, as well as performance, security and data resilience strategies. What do you love about your job? I love problem solving and dealing with challenges. Delivering solutions that meet and exceed the clients’ expectations while also being cost effective is my idea of job satisfaction! A bit about yourself I am a film addict and enjoy watching films in the cinema. My wife and I tend to go every week and usually opt for the low- budget films with a story rather than ones that rely on CGI. My favourite cinemas are the Penthouse in Brooklyn and the Shoreline in Waikanae. The fine art of Project Management Naomi reflects on the things she has seen help projects succeed – and those which have contributed to project failure – throughout her career in project management. What’s the function of a Project Management Office? What difference does it make to an organisation? A Global Project Management Survey in 2004 found that only 27% of the projects surveyed were completed successfully (on time, within scope and on budget); the remaining 73% were either cancelled or didn’t meet time, scope or budget constraints. The difference a PMO makes is in making sure that your projects aren’t amongst that 73%! Other noticeable benefits of having an established PMO include: >> Cost savings through better resource management, reducing project failures, finishing projects on time and budget and seeing the anticipated project benefits actually come to fruition >> Customer satisfaction through projects that are successfully delivered and achieve what they set out to >> Consistency and professionalism through reusable processes and tools >> Increased skills and competencies through dedicated training, development, coaching and support >> Visibility of all projects in an organisation >> Greater efficiency, control and focus What common “mistakes” do you see happening on projects? There are definitely common pitfalls to be avoided. These are probably the ones I see the most often: >> Poorly defined scope, scope management and lack of change control >> Poorly defined requirements >> Not understanding the reason for the project – what’s the business trying to achieve? >> Inadequate communication >> Poor stakeholder buy in – lack of consultation with key project stakeholders >> Lack of project governance during project execution >> Project risks not being actively managed >> Unrealistic project estimates >> Poor team engagement What would your Top 10 Project Management tips be? >> Know and understand the purpose of your project >> Invest in planning your project – if you don’t start projects well, they never finish well >> Communicate, communicate, communicate! >> Operate your project with complete transparency and visibility >> Make sure your team is engaged and knows what’s required of them, making sure that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined >> Spend time on project scheduling and tracking >> Remember that an investment in project governance management isn’t a fire extinguisher >> Focus on active project governance, paying special attention to risks, issues, schedule and budget management >> Engage a strong and active project sponsor >> Learn from your mistakes and take the lessons learnt with you – a mistake is only a mistake if you make it twice Naomi Lind is Intergen’s Chief Projects Officer, responsible for Intergen’s Project Management Office and the delivery of successful and consistently high quality projects to our clients.
  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 8211 0639 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 F O U R >>> R E C O R D S M A N A G E M E N T SharePoint has changed the game regarding document and content management. You no longer require a separate, traditional document management system. You can achieve the “holy grail” of good document and records management without end users needing to do anything more than their usual “save as” from Office or Outlook. Imagine a colleague named “Steve”. He creates a new report, works on it with others, saves it regularly, releases it for formal review and approval, and publishes the document for the wider audience – in a library or to a website. This is all pretty simple and straightforward. Happy Steve. Behind the scenes, SharePoint automatically assigns attributes to the document. These include document type, location (in the library taxonomy hierarchy), business classification, subject keywords, access rights and permission levels, unique record ID, retention and disposal rules, version control and the workflow to be used for the review and approval. This rich metadata provides much improved “findability” and all round better management of enterprise content. “Katy” (another colleague) is looking for information to support her project. She doesn’t know that Steve recently created a report, so she doesn’t know to look for it. In the past, she would have needed to know where to look or be presented with hundreds of results from the search tool. This time, she quickly narrows the search to a handful of likely documents to find what she wants. Happy Katy. Meanwhile, “Alex” the Records Manager has his own views of all stored content, the ability to adjust any record classifications, review and sentence records and generally report a high rating for good recordkeeping. Happy Alex. Last, but not least – “Tony” the Managing Director sees everyone working more effectively, quickly and easily, finding the right stuff that they need for their work, plus knowing that the enterprise information store is well managed. Happy Tony. Now all this is possible. SharePoint takes care of Steve’s and Katy’s needs without them knowing about the RecordPoint extension working “under the covers”. Alex of course wants to ensure that good recordkeeping practices are adhered to by staff, and he is very happy that this is achieved as a by-product of Steve’s and Katy’s normal activities. Records Management made easy with SharePoint and RecordPoint Tony sees it working well. Result: high adoption by end-users, greater volume and quality of documents available and under good information management practices. Happy everyone. Intergen has partnered with RecordPoint and OnePlaceMail to provide full records management solutions and services. RecordPoint is built on SharePoint extending SharePoint’s document management strengths and simplicity with a rules engine that automatically assigns business classification metadata and records policies to documents, emails and scanned images. Whether you are looking for improved operational performance through better management of your documents or recordkeeping compliance, we can help you. With Intergen’s “soup to nuts” services, you can ensure that your implemented solution delivers your desired business outcomes. If this strikes a chord with you and you want to find out more, either contact your Intergen representative or contact me at nged g tent no parate, nt m. e d nt n d eport, es it mal review s o a mple y Steve. Behind the scenes, SharePo document. These includ hierarchy), business c permission levels, un control and the work rich metadata p better man “Katy” suppo create past, s presen time, s docum Mean views classifi report a Last, but n everyone wo the right stuf the enterprise i Now all this is SharePoint takes knowing about t covers”. Alex of c practices are adhe achieved as a by-p Steve Lapwood is a Senior Management Consultant in Intergen’s Consulting and Architecture Services team.