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Intergen Smarts 4 (2003)


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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 4 (2003)

  1. 1. Gold Partner status for Collaborative Solutions I S S U E F O U R >> HOT NEWS: >> T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E < Copyright 2003 Intergen Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission of Intergen Limited > Intergen have recently been awarded Gold Partner status for Collaborative Solutions. This adds to our Gold Partner status for E-Commerce Solutions which we have held for the past two years. To the best of our knowledge we are the only double gold in New Zealand and we are the only Gold Partner for Collaborative Solutions. As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, we have passed the highest level of requirements from Microsoft. The Gold Partner status means we have demonstrated the most robust, efficient and scalable implementations of Microsoft technologies. As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, we have a track record of success in providing advanced solutions, backed by customer references. To achieve this status we were required to provide at least three customer references for deployed solutions with a project focus on collaboration. Further, Microsoft Gold Certified Partners need to have four premier-level certified professionals on staff. We meet this requirement and our team is growing all the time. As a result of reaching the required standard for Gold Partner status we receive, and therefore can provide you the benefits of: prioritised access to advanced training opportunities, MSDN access for exclusive technical support, pre-releases of Microsoft business products, and monthly updates on the new products and solutions. Call us today to learn more about our experience and how we can work with you to make the most of your technology. >> B U S I N E S S S O L U T I O N S BUSINESS SOLUTIONS >> INNOVATION CENTRE >> TECHNICAL >> PROJECT CASE STUDY >> NEWS >> CREATIVE STUDIO & LEISURE >> INTERGEN CONFERENCE >> 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 The buzzword is “BizTalk” As organisations have grown, so has the need to deploy multiple applications and platforms to fulfil their business needs. For example, accounting has its own systems, as does finance, sales and manufacturing. Most applications are run independently with little or no integration. The Creative Studio has recently been refitted to provide room for growth and an even more functional working environment. For more on the Creative Studio and examples of what they have been up to recently see pages 6 & 7. Give us your feedback via the questionnaire accompanying this edition of SMARTS and be in to win a bottle of wine. Full story Page 2
  2. 2. < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E F O U R >>> B U S I N E S S S O L U T I O N S Integration projects have focused on the development of interfaces for specific applications to meet an immediate business need. Each integration project is usually conducted in isolation, essentially reinventing the wheel each time. The result is considerable costs due to lack of commonality and the increased effort required to maintain unrelated interfaces. Louder than ever, organisations are asking “How can we bring disparate systems back under control?” To solve such issues, Intergen has successfully utilised the considerable advantages of Microsoft BizTalk Server across projects in the private and public sectors for the last 18 months. Projects have included the integration of disparate internal systems into a common XML driven standard, through to the automation of a previously manual paper driven business process. BizTalk allows organisations to connect disparate systems in a common framework, >>2 eliminating the traditional problems of point-to-point interfaces. Using standards like electronic data interchange (EDI), XML, and SOAP frameworks, BizTalk Server ensures flexibility and interoperability with any business partner, regardless of their choice of application, platform or transport. For example, when using BizTalk, a complex process such as fulfilling a purchase order can be automated. The PO must be received and processed – often requiring information to be passed between a number of systems including inventory, financial and CRM. BizTalk can bind these systems together, controlling the entire process from PO receipt to inventory, financial and CRM updates, through to invoice. Previously, separate interfaces would have existed between each system, unrelated to a particular order. BizTalk enables a process such as purchase order and invoice generation to be managed as a single entity, allowing an organisation access to real-time data on the progress of orders. Microsoft BizTalk Server enables businesses to achieve application integration through five key processes: document transport and routing, data transformation, application integration, scalability and manageability services, and process automation. Each process is achieved through receive functions, channels, ports, schedules and tools. RE CE IVE FUNCTIONS MESSAGING P O R T S ME S SAGE Q UE UE S XML W E B S E RV ICE S .N E T CO M COM CO MPO N E N T S SCRIPTING CO MPONENT S CHANNEL S SCHEDULES The buzzword is “BizTalk” continued from cover Receive Functions – monitor HTTP, File locations and MSMQ message queues for files to be submitted to BizTalk. Channels – modify the structure of documents, manage encryption, digital signatures and logging. Also ensure incoming documents adhere to a formal specification and transform them to meet the target system requirements. Ports – send documents to schedules, components or to external organisations and trading partners. Many third party providers have developed adapters that allow BizTalk to communicate natively. Schedules – orchestrate business processes by receiving documents from a messaging port then passing them to COM components, other BizTalk Server messaging channels or XML Web services. BizTalk offers “once only” delivery of documents, comprehensive document tracking, and logging and support for failover clustering to ensure documents are delivered to their destination and are not ‘lost’ in the process. It supports the latest security features available today, including public key infrastructure (PKI), multipurpose Internet mail extensions (MIME), secure/multipurpose Internet mail extensions (S/MIME), digital signatures, and more to ensure the security of data. Think of Microsoft BizTalk as the glue that binds the enterprise. In summary, BizTalk will make it possible for you to easily integrate internal products and technologies, securely connect with business partners over the Internet, and rapidly automate your business processes. Give Intergen a call to discuss how we can deliver the maximum benefits of BizTalk to your business.
  3. 3. Microsoft’s Innovation Centre is all about being rich in ideas, not rich in funding Kahu Kirikiri Kahu has extensive technical consulting experience in the government, energy, and insurance sectors. What do you do? I am a Developer with Intergen’s Development & Integration team. How do you make a difference? My background is in customer service and business analysis, with a strong focus on business solutions. In my role as a developer, I now get to use my technical skills to further hone in on that business solutions focus. What do you love about your job? I love the buzz of solving problems, creating smart solutions and knowing that people will get practical use out of something that I had a part in developing. A bit about yourself? My greatest passion is sharing my life with my wife and children. Any time I do get to myself is generally spent playing soccer in the dizzying heights of Division 8 and hacking my way around 18 holes of golf. >> INTERGENITE: >> I N N O V A T I O N C E N T R E < 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 F O U R > >>3 You can’t put a price on innovation, and that’s exactly the angle that the Microsoft New Zealand Innovation Centre is coming from. At no cost, the Innovation Centre and selected IT partners such as Intergen, are working with national and local government agencies to help turn innovative ideas into proof of concept prototypes. MAORI LANGUAGE COMMISSION Solution Overview: The Maori Language Commission’s website was finding it difficult to maintain fully bilingual content, causing inconsistencies in the information available to Maori and non-Maori audiences. Microsoft and Intergen developed a Proof of Concept solution, based on Microsoft CMS 2002 and Visual Studio .NET. All content is now translated efficiently and consistently into Maori and English, setting an outstanding example for other government agencies wanting to implement bilingual sites. By providing Microsoft services and commercial partner expertise for no charge, government agencies are getting an opportunity to address key business challenges. They can put a toe in the water to test technologies and ideas that might otherwise never be tried. To date, this virtual centre has received two rounds of applications from government agencies and proof that it is working couldn’t be clearer. Twenty high quality proposals in the first round have accelerated into a number of projects, with Intergen being selected to partner on two of the first six projects. The first is an innovative CMS 2002 solution, to provide the Maori Language Commission an email driven multilingual workflow engine translating all English content into Maori. The second also uses CMS 2002 to deliver a first of its kind online learning programme being piloted for 20,000 students at The Correspondence School. MINISTRY OF EDUCATION THE CORRESPONDENCE SCHOOL Solution Overview: The Correspondence School sought to launch an online learning program to provide a greater degree of flexibility for students to collaborate on projects. Intergen used CMS 2002 to create a mini website that gives students a number of interactive tools and a ‘live’ learning experience. Paddy Payne, Intergen’s Professional Services Manager explains “We were selected to partner The Correspondence School because of our acknowledged expertise in CMS. They tell us we have more than exceeded their expectations and are delighted at the flexibility the pilot delivers”. Where to next for the Innovation Centre? The site, itself created by Intergen using CMS 2002, is attracting more and more attention. Manager Shane Bartle anticipates another round of proposals being called for and encourages government agencies to act on their ideas. Applications can be made via Shane Bartle, Manager of the Microsoft NZ Innovation Centre, sees “collaboration” as the lynchpin to why the Innovation Centre is working so well. “Achieving the ‘right fit’ between each government agency and their selected partner is the real catalyst to results”. “Intergen were able to demonstrate their considerable investment into Content Management Server 2002 and could support the Maori Language Commission beyond just development by providing a complete hosting platform”.
  4. 4. < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E F O U R >>>4 >> T E C H N I C A L >> 1 R E L I A B I L I T Y With the new architecture of the server, the core runs as a kernel mode driver (runs as part of the operating system), and then individual web requests are farmed out to processes which run as standard system users. This allows all 3rd party code to be executed away from the core web server, preventing an error prone component or application from crashing the web server. Another major feature provided with IIS 6 is health monitoring/recycling. This feature allows you to configure on a per application pool (group of websites) basis, the running characteristics of the pool. Characteristics include expected CPU usage, memory usage and any temporal restrictions. IIS 6 then actively monitors this, and will recycle worker processes exceeding the limits imposed. In this way badly written applications are prevented from consuming excessive resources. Because the web server runs as part of the operating system, requests are caught, and queued until the system is in a valid state for servicing requests, at which time the requests are then processed. This allows websites to be restarted without clients receiving unwanted error messages. Where “modified kernels” have nothing to do with Corngate IIS 6 (Internet Information Services) is included with Windows 2003 Server and represents a huge improvement over previous versions of IIS. Microsoft have re-engineered IIS from the ground up and have focused on four main areas of improvement to make a very robust and high performance new web server. >> 2 S Y S T E M M A N A G E M E N T Administration in IIS 6 is easier than ever. Command line tools have been made available to allow scripting against any action under IIS 6. It is now possible to never use a GUI! Additionally the metabase (configuration) can be exported as XML for easier offline administration or collation in a central repository. >> 3 S C A L A B I L I T Y The new architecture of a kernel mode core and user mode workers, allows for several performance benefits. High usage websites can now be tuned to have multiple workers serving requests, whereas a low usage website can stick with a single worker. Parsing and caching is handled by the kernel mode core, allowing for extremely fast performance and scalability. >> 4 S E C U R I T Y IIS 6 comes locked down by default (initially it only serves static content), and is not installed by default when you install Windows Server 2003. This means you don’t have to immediately worry about forgetting to apply complicated lockdown policies and scripts. You switch on only what you need for your specific server instance. Configuring application pools allows worker processes to execute under the context of a standard Windows NT account to maximise ACL based security. Websites can easily be transitioned from IIS 5 through to IIS 6 by using the “compatibility mode” provided. The need for this may be limited, but it’s comforting to know Microsoft are catering for backwards compatibility. In summary, the four areas of improvement add great value to what already was a very solid performing web server. For more information about IIS 6, its functions, and how to deploy it, contact Jeremy Boyd ( or check out the following
  5. 5. >> INTERGENITE: >> P R O J E C T C A S E S T U D Y >>5 Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives Intergen takes Parliament publishing system online Gina Harper What do you do? I am Intergen’s Receptionist/Office Manager, I greet our clients and keep the office running smoothly. How do you make a difference? I see my job as making my colleagues working life as hassle free as possible. I take care of administrative things and make them seem automatic so everyone can concentrate on their work for our clients. What do you love about your job? The people interaction, the energetic fun atmosphere, and the variety. Each day people require different things so no two days are the same. Tell us about yourself? After graduating from Vic with a degree in Computer Science I originally joined Glazier Systems back in 1995 as a programmer. However, I got OOS and coincidentally at that time our receptionist/office manager left. I started filling in till they found a replacement, but found that I really enjoyed it, so chose to continue in this role. What do you do in your spare time? I love the cardio machines at the gym, practising yoga with the Hare Krishnas and reading novels. < 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 F O U R > When the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives was confronted with the termination of the printing contract for parliamentary publications and legislation, Deputy Clerk, Mary Harris, turned it into an opportunity rather than a challenge for the Office. A programme of publishing projects was implemented to automate both print and web publishing systems. Intergen worked with the Office of the Clerk (the Office) and its other IT suppliers to transform manual processes into a streamlined online web publishing process using Microsoft Content Management Server 2002 (CMS) and SharePoint Portal Server 2001. Publishing for Parliament The Office maintains records of all proceedings associated with Parliament. It must ensure documents arising out of business transacted by the House are available, in accordance with the parliamentary timetable, and in a form that accurately represents the work of the House or a committee. The walls of the Office are testament to the publishing responsibility. Rows and rows of thick books are stacked to the ceiling, and these have to be updated on an ongoing basis. The processes to maintain the records were, until last February, mostly manual. e-Government The Office had also been tasked with finding ways to use technology in order to improve the public ability to access parliamentary materials, as part of the e-Government initiative; a government-wide initiative to improve the dissemination of public information through greater use of technology. For the Office, and many other government offices, if an interested party needed to read a public document, in the past they would have had to physically locate it, possibly in head offices or public libraries, and pull the document or book from the shelf. Moving Online with Intergen “We chose Intergen to orchestrate the Web arm of the publication process using Microsoft software. Intergen had a solid grasp of our needs as an organisation and Microsoft’s CMS proved to be user friendly, which was one of our requirements. In addition, Microsoft combined with Intergen’s support and expertise gave us the peace of mind that we have backup if we need it.” CMS has enabled the Office to quickly and efficiently build, deploy, and maintain the Parliamentary website to host many of the documents the Office is required to publish. Said Harris, “The Intergen solution means we can now write and edit online and publish directly to the website.” Increased Access Said Harris, “We are very excited about the Intergen and Microsoft solution. Initially we had to focus on getting the entire system up and running. Our next focus is to improve continually and add to the site, which with the CMS ease- of-management, we have the potential to do.”
  6. 6. >> N E W S>>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 F O U R > “Usability” – another Dotcom buzzword? >> INTERGENITE: Mark Johnson What do you do? I am a Solution Manager in the Professional Services team. What do other people call you? Tina. Why? Being the fifth staff member with the name Mark, my colleagues felt that a nickname was called for. So Mark became Mark V, then Mark V Cortina, then it got shortened to Tina. How do you make a difference? I work with clients to help them understand and define their requirements. I then work to ensure that Intergen delivers a solution that not only meets, or exceeds the client’s requirements, but delivers value. What do you love about your job? The job is about the people. Intergen people are fantastic to work with, always ready to go the extra mile. Our clients are fun to work with, and there is nothing more satisfying than a happy client. Tell us about yourself? I am a Wellingtonian born and bred. I have been doing IT stuff for over 14 years. I love sport, but now restrict my activities to selecting All Black teams, and critiquing Hurricanes games. The Dotcom bubble has long burst and with it many “smoke & mirrors” era buzzwords. The one that has endured and is here to stay is “Usability”. The time has come to stop bragging about the number of “hits” a site has and to focus on attracting repeat visitors who are able to engage in a quality experience on your website. Benefits of the Website Usability Audit include: The Audit is a fast turnaround process and can usually be completed in around 4-8 days at a cost of $3,000 - $4,000 depending on requirements and the size of the website involved. Contact Intergen now for more information on the value of a Website Usability Audit for your organisation. To draw a comparison with a conventional communication media, there would be no point in an organisation investing in an expensive direct marketing campaign if the printed document did not clearly communicate the product, price and place to the recipient. Why then do so many organisations assume that because a website visitor has arrived at their site , that they are also prepared to “work” to find the services or offer? The increasing breadth of audience expectation, experience and literacy is creating an ever widening range of users that need to be accommodated in both the design of architecture and interface tools. Usability addresses the issue of maximising the experience and communication with your customer. Subtle design and language improvements can deliver significant overall gains in user acceptance and stickiness (increased site visit duration). Simplification and Intuitive Logic are the new web objectives for success. At Intergen we have taken a broad perspective on the term ‘usability’ as it relates to a website. The Intergen developed “Website Usability Audit” system and report draws on industry best practice and the experience of our team members to analyse and recommend improvements to an existing website. The audit and report covers the assessment of website objectives and audience profiles, content – including copy, brand and design values – usability, functionality, interactivity, marketing approach and a general impression. >> An excellent starting point for the design of a new site or improving an existing site >> Assessment against current practices, often based on new knowledge/understanding >> Opportunities presented by new technology standards >> Identification of inconsistencies in communication of brand values and standards >> Better facilitated communication >> Improved site ‘stick-ability’ and/or function >> An enhanced user experience and associated brand benefit >> Assistance in relationship development with the users
  7. 7. Quiet achievers! It’s a fact. We’re just not very good at bragging about what we do. Think of us as the stealth team of the web design industry. Since the last issue of Smarts we’ve been “bum up, head down” getting on with designing and building some of the best content managed websites in New Zealand. Just a few snap shots shown here, so get in touch if you would like a presentation of full case studies. >> C R E A T I V E S T U D I O & L E I S U R E < 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 F O U R > >>7 Hot on the heels of the design and implementation of the Meridian Energy Intranet in Content Management Server last year, we have just completed a total “clean sheet of paper” redesign of their online communication channel. A great result designed using our Navigation Prototype methodology. The Tourism Research Council set us an enormous challenge: To design a usability driven website that reflects the authority and strategic- level involvement the TRCNZ has in disseminating information to the tourism industry and related sectors. The solution is fully extensible and e-government compliant. IAG were looking to achieve synergies with their State and NZI ( websites which we delivered by designing separately branded user interfaces over a Content Management Server solution. Both sites have recently gone live and are already receiving glowing feedback from staff and customers. At the Intergen Creative Studio it’s not just about large enterprise level solutions for our corporate clients. Earlier this year we completed this Flash brochureware site for Service Printers – New Zealand’s pre-eminent offset printers. The website is a great showcase for their exceptional work as well as that of our design team. The tight three: Eamon, Jillian and Mark have been Intergen’s leading interface design team for over three years. Tori Amori’s Paua Fritters Here’s a taste sensation from Intergen Associate Mark Fowler’s Hawkes Bay clan. This recipe is the result of much prototyping and taste testing over the last five years. It is now, by popular acclaim, ready to seek the title of “world famous in New Zealand”. >> Paua, 4 fresh, finely minced >> Onions, 2, finely diced >> Eggs, 2 fresh >> Salt, 1 teaspoon >> Black pepper, 10 coarse grinds >> Spring onions, 3, finely sliced >> Coriander, fresh, handful, washed, chopped, including stalks >> Mint, fresh, ten washed leaves chopped coarsely >> Chilli sambal paste, 1 level tablespoon >> Breadcrumbs, 1 cup for fritter mix, 2 cups for fritter coating >> Fish sauce, 1 tablespoon >> Flour, 2 heaped tablespoons The Mix Mix all ingredients, except the flour, in a large mixing bowl. Once mixed, sprinkle one heaped tablespoon of flour over the top of the mix, and then mix in thoroughly. Repeat with the second tablespoon of flour. Fritters While coating in breadcrumbs, shape each fritter with your fingers, into a small round shape: – 3/4” high by 1.5” diameter. Fritters can be frozen, or fridged for one day or cooked immediately. Cook slowly on barbecue hot plate, or in a fry pan which has a light coating of olive oil for up to 15 minutes. Serving Great as a drinks nibble or entrée. Mix will produce 20-25 small fritters. Serve warm, on bed of coriander, garnished with lemon wedges. Sweet Thai chilli sauce is a great dipping sauce. A dry quaffing Riesling or Gewürztraminer is an ideal accompaniment.
  8. 8. >> NE WS Hi Ho, Hi Ho For the second year running Intergen has been ranked 6th in Unlimited magazine’s annual Best Places to Work survey. Over 10,000 employees from 117 companies participated in this year’s survey. Intergen have maintained their reputation as a great place to work even with sustained growth in revenue and staff numbers. “While staff enjoy themselves and we have a tremendous atmosphere, we continue to be very successful developing business solutions for our customers” said Intergen Managing Director, Tony Stewart. “Making Intergen so special is just part of what happens” according to Tony Stewart. “Intergen’s culture is enhanced, by among other things, staff having shares in the company, therelaxedattitudetodress,recognition of family needs, and a real sense of participation in company events.” Check out for more details and tips on making your place a great place to work. < 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 F O U R >>> I N T E R G E N C O N F E R E N C E To be added to the Twilight Seminar invitation contact list email, or call Gina on (04) 472 2021. We look forward to your company. However, if you are unable to attend a scheduled Seminar for any reason but are interested in the topic let us know. We are often able to schedule another session and provide presentation materials. Oct 8 Building castles on sand – Strategic information systems planning for today – Andrew Jamieson, Paddy Payne Oct 22 Template Design for Content Management solutions – Eamon O’Rourke, Mark Orange Nov 5 XML Web Services, what are they and why should we consider using them – Derek Watson, Tony Stewart Nov 19 Microsoft CRM Preview and demonstration – Wayne Forgesson, Mark Trotter 2003 The Intergen Twilight Seminars are informal late afternoon sessions designed to inform you about current trends, technologies and initiatives in the space where business and information technology overlap. The seminars consist of an interactive presentation followed by open questions, drinks and nibbles. They are presented by topic experts either from within Intergen or from one of our business partners. They are not “Sales” oriented but designed to inform, educate and initiate informed discussion. Guests are welcome to stay around for a drink and discussion with the presenters and fellow attendees. >> EVENT S: Twilight Seminar Series Time 4:20 for a 4:30 Start 4:30 – 5:30 Presentation 5:30 + Q/A, discussion and drinks >>INTERGEN ON TOUR: Early September the annual Intergen conference was held in Turangi. This year the conference was dubbed Road Trip 2003. Here are some shots of the team and what we got up to. Clockwise from top: Unsuccessful fishermen out on Lake Taupo; Air hockey – fierce competition; Gretna Hotel Taihape – a drink on the way; Magic Bus at Hunterville enroute; Shortcut over Barbed Wire; Rob MC’ing; Parking ticket for AJ in Taupo.