Intergen Smarts 6 (2004)

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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 6 (2004)

  1. 1. I S S U E S I X >> 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 INTERGEN NEWS >> 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Out and about. Recently the Intergen team has been busy attending the Portal conference in Auckland and the Software Developers conference in Wellington. Here seen in action is Bruce Smith from the Business Development Team. Exciting things in store An intro to Microsoft CRM. We profile Microsoft’s Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) product and how it can help manage your company’s relationships with individual customers or stakeholders. See page 8. Intergen has had a great start to the year and we are looking forward to more excitement and challenges in the months ahead. There appears to be no end to the demand to apply new technologies and techniques to solve business problems. We are working very hard to ensure our team is well trained in the technologies that we use, is well versed in “best practice” and supported by the best processes. You will read elsewhere in SMARTS about our Services Oriented Integration Framework, and about Jeremy’s appointment as an MSDN Regional Director and the Microsoft Technology Preview that Derek attended. These are important parts of our strategy to stay at the forefront of our field. All of our developers attend a 11/2 hour training session each week to ensure that knowledge gained is distributed throughout the team. We also place a great deal of emphasis on individuals obtaining relevant Microsoft certifications. A continuing theme for us is the requirement to implement Service Oriented Architectures that give organisations flexibility to extend their legacy systems to service their ultimate end user. We are finding that technologies such as XML < Copyright 2004 Intergen Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission of Intergen Limited > Web Services and products such as BizTalk are becoming increasingly important in the e-Commerce and e-Government projects we are working on. On Derek’s recent trip to Microsoft in Redmond, he met some developers from a company based in the United Kingdom. He was talking to them about the work we had been doing for clients based on Service Oriented Architectures. They were very surprised to find anyone actually doing it at all, let alone an organisation with the experience that we have. I guess it just goes to show that even though New Zealand may be falling behind in some areas of technology adoption, we are still right up there in others. Our Creative Studio is continuing to refine its very successful Navigation Prototyping approach featured in the last edition of SMARTS. It is doing extensive research and development to ensure that our government clients get the most functional solution possible while ensuring the highest degree of compliance to the e-Government Web Guidelines. Over the past 12 months our staff numbers have grown by a third and so starting from this edition of SMARTS we show readers each of our teams. The photo features the Business Development team. We now have a significant presence in both the Auckland and Wellington markets and we are currently planning our entry to the Christchurch market. We are looking forward to a great year and being of service to you, where ever you may be. INTERGEN PEOPLE >> SEARCH ENGINE NEWS >> INTERGEN NEWS >> BUSINESS SOLUTIONS >> From left Andrew, Wayne, Bruce, and Paul. tony.stewart@intergen.co.nz INTERFACE DESIGN >> BUSINESS SOLUTIONS >>
  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 S I X > Regional Directorship directed Intergen’s way Just call me a “Technical Evangelist” says Jeremy Boyd when asked to explain the breadth of his new role as Microsoft Regional Director. Nominations take place every two years and JB’s appointment for 2004/2005 places him as one of only two Regional Director roles in New Zealand, with just 140 worldwide. The new role will see him working closely with Microsoft via mentoring, speaking, strategising and facilitating opportunities to ensure the wider New Zealand developer community gets access to ideas and information on existing and future Microsoft products and technologies. The idea is that by bringing independent developers, architects and other experts together, it promotes the best and most informed link between Microsoft and developers worldwide. “Think of a Regional Director as a direct communication channel with Microsoft and you’ll see the significance. I will be taking views and issues to Microsoft, learning about new products and developments, and passing ideas back to New Zealand clients. Definitely it’s an excellent voice for Intergen customers.” “As a Technical Evangelist I look forward to talking more specifically about directions of new developments.” Anyone wanting to hear more about Jeremy’s new appointment – contact him on jeremy.boyd@intergen.co.nz racing keelers for his thrills. He is also quick to point out that he doesn’t own these craft, but “relies on people much wealthier than me”! Bruce has joined the yachting fraternity comparatively recently, but is on to his fourth vessel already, so isn’t wasting any time playing catch-up. Speaking of which, he has also crammed a life time of “learning experiences” into the past seven years. If you ever want to be cheered up, ask him about his Picton performance… Given that Intergen is in growth mode, our Development & Integration team has been expanding too and amongst the new developers is Nick, competitive keeler crewman extraordinaire. Nick is the most active of our sailing set and gathers a regular Monday audience for weekend tales of the high seas. Suitably enthused, an assortment of the rest of the Intergen team was recently inspired to embark on an introductory evening lesson on the RPNYC Sailing School’s two Muir 8.2 training boats. The novices were all smiles before they departed from the marina and discovered that the light breeze was in fact gusting at about 45 knots! Our skipper cheerily described it as a “baptism by fire”. Paul demanded more, Elaine desperately wanted a cigarette, John-Daniel just wanted to be back on shore. All in all, a great team outing! Plain Sailing Following on from the unexpected attention generated by the “Automotive obsession?” article in the last issue of SMARTS, many of our team immediately cried out that not everyone at Intergen is a Petrolhead! In fact the author of that article is also a keen sailor, so this feature centres on matters nautical. Long-time staffers AJ and Gabe have been solitary voices in the car-fixated wilderness for some time, but recently there has been an influx of keen yachties to bolster their chorus. In recent months we’ve ramped up our Business Development team with two great finds, Paul and Bruce. Proving that our recruitment policy is not exclusive to car freaks, these guys are both extremely enthusiastic and experienced yachties. Paul started in dinghies shortly after learning to walk and has never looked back. Progressing up through the ranks he is now a versatile crewman, preferring the team environment of All smiles before the “baptism by fire”! >> I N T E R G E N P E O P L E
  3. 3. >> I N T E R F A C E D E S I G N < 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 S I X > >>3 If you’d like to learn how Intergen’s e-Government website design experience can benefit your project, contact our Creative Director Eamon O’Rourke at eamono@intergen.co.nz website for the State Services Commission was one of the first websites to have the standards applied. Since then we’ve racked up a broad range of applied eGWG experience with government departments, local government and state sector organisations. We are also harnessing Intergen’s vast experience using Microsoft Content Management Server to build robust template designs that can be self- managed by multiple business units. We are currently engaged on e-Government projects with Land Transport Safety Authority, State Services Commission and New Zealand Immigration Service (more on these projects in a future SMARTS). Our applied experience with the guidelines means what you see is what you get. We only present concepts that can be built and maintained in an eGWG compliant manner. We know the eGWG document in detail, but don’t lose sight of the big picture – making your customers’ website experience positive! New Zealanders are the winners with e-Government Web Guidelines The e-Government Web Guidelines (eGWG) are a hot topic with the decision to make Version 2.1 the compulsory minimum standard for New Zealand government department websites from January 2006. Intergen’s Creative Studio has taken a positive and optimistic stand on the issues for the industry and the ultimate benefits for the New Zealand public. We firmly believe that the eGWG will improve the quality and consistency of experience for all Kiwis whose interactions with government departments are increasingly conducted on line. Intergen’s “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” is to touch every New Zealander positively every day. The State Services Commission eGWG 2006 initiative is going to assist us in ensuring that the experiences of the users of our government web projects are positive. Our user interface design methodology has been in a constant state of refinement since 1996. We advocate the disciplined application of best usability oriented design practice to all websites we create. Our approach is based on evolving internationally accepted standards, and parallels the intent and purpose of the eGWG. In our experience, applying the eGWG standards to government website and application interface design projects ensures that the final solution has the most value for the majority of users. Put simply, it guarantees the site is fast, simple and intuitive – the golden benchmarks for effective mass market interface design. Why have a compulsory standard? Up until now government departments and agencies have been able to self- regulate in terms of deciding what minimum standards of usability design are acceptable for their audience. By imposing the compulsory eGWG standards now, all government websites will be required to be structured, designed and built in a way that guarantees users will be able to access a site and have a familiar and consistent experience. This ensures that online provision of information is equitable, allowing all web users access, not just those best resourced or on metropolitan connections. Ultimately this will enable more New Zealanders to understand, interact with and participate in government. What lessons can be learned from the experience? eGWG compliant websites do not have to be dull and boring. Too many web designers are intimidated by the prescriptive standards and don’t realise the opportunity to create friendly and effective interfaces within the limits of the standards. Government departments reviewing their web presence now have a set of universal criteria to audit against and a reasonable time frame to achieve compliance. The challenge for the project teams will be to move from respecting the intent of the guidelines, to achieving complete compliance. This will require increased effort particularly in the areas of: accessibility for users with a disability or those on slow internet connections. bilingual/Maori content presentation. acceptable presentation degradation for older version browsers. rendering all PDF content in HTML. managing degradation from technologies like JavaScript. providing robust content management templates that preclude non- compliant population. Intergen Creative Studio has been designing and building eGWG compliant websites since the inception of the standards. Back in 2001 the www.jobs.govt.nz trcnz.govt.nzjobs.govt.nz wbopdc.govt.nz –
  4. 4. >> INTERGENITE: Alan Doak What do you do? I’m a graphic designer in the Creative Studio. I design websites and interactive new media like CD Roms and DVDs... How do you make a difference? In my previous incarnation I was an illustrative photographer shooting for many of New Zealand’s top ad agencies and design companies. The knowledge gained from that experience helps me apply design solutions from both a creative and business perspective. Basically I’ve got a big foot in both doors which, in the long run, is beneficial for our clients. What do you love about your job? The variety of work…making things look good…the ‘V’ in the fridge…the people…the morning teas…the Friday get together…what’s not to like? A bit about yourself? I’m learning the guitar…again. I try and listen to country music when my two year old twin boys have finished listening to “Bob The Builder” for the 29th time in a row…. < 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 S I X >>>4 >> I N T E R G E N N E W S Intergen has 6th sense for winning… 2004 Intergen Twilight Seminar Series Intergen has once again (for the third time) been ranked sixth in New Zealand in Unlimited magazine’s annual Best Places to Work survey. It’s now official – Intergen continues to be one of the best places to work in New Zealand. Intergen has once again placed sixth in the annual Unlimited Magazine Best Places to Work survey. This is Intergen’s third year of participation and the third time it has ranked highly in the top 20 places to work. >> there are only six companies that have been in the top 20 for three years running “Well done everyone for creating such a great place to work – because it isn’t down to any one person – it’s down to each and every one of us being wonderful, helpful, caring, well-rounded, passionate people. Personally, I think it’s the hugs that make all the difference.” PADDY PAYNE – DIRECTOR, PROFESSIONAL SERVICES “Intergen continues to work hard at maintaining an open and co-operative culture, particularly as the company grows and matures.” TONY STEWART – MANAGING DIRECTOR “Each of the Directors has previously worked in organisations where having fun hasn’t been a focus and this has made us even more determined to make sure our environment is fun for everyone at Intergen.” WAYNE FORGESSON – DIRECTOR, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT >> E V E N T S WELLINGTON 5 May Building usable and functional websites that comply with e-Govt guidelines 19 May Weblogs – For what? 2 Jun Leaderful practice: A leadership culture that leads directly to increased productivity AUCKLAND 5 May Microsoft CRM. An introduction and demonstration to find out how you can better manage your business relationships TIME 4:20 for a 4:30 Start 4:30-5:30 Presentation 5:30+ Q/A, discussion and drinks Intergen’s popular Twilight seminar series continues in 2004. These informal late afternoon sessions are designed to inform you about current trends, technologies and initiatives in the space where business and information technology overlap. >> C AN YO U MAK E IT? Let us know if you would like to receive more information about the Intergen twilight series or any of the topics listed. To be added to the Twilight seminar series invite list contact Gina Harper at ginah@intergen.co.nz While achieving this is a fantastic feat there are a number of interesting facts and figures: >> two years ago Intergen was sixth out of 87 companies, last year sixth out of 117 and this year sixth out of 128 >> Intergen had the highest response rate of all companies in the Top 20 – 98.9% of employees responded
  5. 5. >> B U S I N E S S S O L U T I O N S >>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 S I X > The SOIF addresses the problem of reuse at the solution level by considering the place of the existing services provided by the Microsoft product set. By understanding the integration points between the products and the extensibility interfaces exposed, solutions can be assembled from the components provided. This top-down assembly approach differs from the bottom up build approach in that the only plumbing code that is written by developers is “glue” code. Custom code must always be developed to provide the specific functionality to solve the business problem, but this will always be exposed via a service interface which allows it to simply be treated as a building block of the solution itself. The hub of the integration framework is BizTalk 2004. The use of BizTalk allows for the composition of the various component services into a more complete representation of the solution to a business process. The flow of information between systems, transformation between message schemas, and co-ordination of the business activities is controlled by BizTalk. The diagram to the right (top) presents this in a visual form: A typical implementation of a SOIF solution could include the products shown in the shaded area of the diagram to the right, but always includes BizTalk. Use of the SOIF implementation by a client application can be described as a collection of services provided by one or many of these products to solve a business problem. The Intergen SOIF (Services Oriented Integration Framework) In a follow-up to the articles last year on BizTalk and Service Oriented Architecture we continue to discuss how to make integration happen in a multiple component environment. For example, how do we provide a solution that needs CMS, Exchange, and SQL Server? Classically, we would have implemented all three products and provided data access and business logic to provide functionality in an unbrokered manner, where one of the products (usually the one in which most functionality is sourced) is chosen as the master. To apply the SOA architectural pattern to a solution of this type, we need a common method for exposing and consuming the services that these products provide, and a means of intelligent coordination of their function. This is the Service Oriented Integration Framework. ProvideOrchestrateConsume BIZTALK 2004 EXCHANGE CMS LEGACY SYSTEMS Microsoft Enterprise Server Products SQL SERVER BESPOKE SERVICES BROWSER APP INFOPATH MOBILE APPDESKTOP APP T H E S O I F D E F I N E S : >> Rules of engagement using BizTalk (messaging, translation, workflow, etc.) >> Rules for systems integration >> Best practice approaches >> Architectural patterns >> Design guidelines >> Suites of common BizTalk components. COMMERCE SERVER BIZTALK 2004CUSTOM WEB SERVICES SQL SERVER EXCHANGE SERVER EXTERNAL APPLICATIONS HOST INTERGEN SERVER CONTENT MANAGEMENT SERVER
  6. 6. >> INTERGENITE: < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E S I X >>>6 >> S E A R C H E N G I N E N E W S Mondosoft wishes your customers Many Happy Returns Neal Blomfield What do you do? Developer in the Development & Integration Team. My job involves working as part of a team to develop solutions for people to do something they were not previously able to do, or that simplify a previously difficult task. Currently I spend most of my time working with C# developing web-based applications. What do you love about your job? I enjoy solving the problems that arise as part of developing and delivering software solutions to business problems. I count myself lucky to be working with some of the most talented people I have known. Working at Intergen doesn’t often seem like work and if that’s not the best kind of job to have I don’t know what is! A bit about yourself? Being a bit of a late starter in the IT industry (I didn’t get my degree until I was 26), I’m constantly pushing my boundaries in terms of what I know and what I want to learn. Outside of work, I’m just starting to get into running, swimming and cycling with an eye towards competing in a few triathlons (and maybe even an Ironman). A Mondosoft solution enables you to maximize the value of information about visitors’ behaviour, gives power to your web presence, and simplifies the ongoing, day-to-day tasks of content and knowledge management. Mondosoft solutions are ideal complements to Microsoft Content Management Server and Microsoft Solutions for Internet Business, as seamless integration has been made to ensure added functionality, customer intelligence and support of the content management workflow. If you want insight into what your users want and knowledge of how to make your web environment more successful, Mondosoft’s solution can help. Mondosoft enables you to get a better understanding of how to provide a positive experience for the visitors of your e-commerce site, corporate website, portal or intranet. The solution works closely with Microsoft Content Management Server and Microsoft Solutions for Internet Business and is based on three interoperating products: >> MondoSearch™ is an advanced, multi-lingual enterprise search engine. There is more to it than just keyword searching and lists of results. MondoSearch delivers categorised search results in context, so users will know what is relevant to them. >> BehaviorTracking™ beats all other website analytics software products because it provides information that you can use instantly to improve response quality and, thereby, business results. BehaviorTracking makes MondoSearch smarter with every visit because it tracks each search all the way through to its successful – or unsuccessful – conclusion and learns from visitors’ behaviour. BehaviorTracking provides simple and concise reports-on-demand that actually recommend what actions should be taken to improve sales, cut costs and retain customers. >> InformationManager™ is the crucial link between BehaviorTracking, which provides a wealth of facts about visitors, and MondoSearch, which is your site’s strongest tool for interacting with users. InformationManager makes it easy to put the insight obtained via BehaviorTracking into actions and improvements that will strengthen your communication and help you to give your site visitors a great experience. Mondosoft Search Results screen For more information about Mondo email sales@intergen.co.nz and we will be happy to discuss what Mondo can do for you.
  7. 7. >> I N T E R G E N 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 S I X > >>7 In mid February Microsoft HQ in Redmond, Seattle, held a closed “Technology Preview” for the eyes of its worldwide partners. Derek Watson, Intergen’s Manager of Development & Integration Services, was selected as one of just 50 people worldwide to participate in this high-level two day event. Derek was the only Kiwi amid an international audience of software architects, development managers and project managers. Security restricts revealing what was previewed over the 48 hours, but Derek is emphatic that Intergen customers will significantly benefit from what took place. “Through experiencing Microsoft’s high level technology preview and by being part of a forum that allowed us to assess technology and see how it might affect the directions we are taking for New Zealand customers, we are able to continue to deliver great benefits. It means we are getting in early in the game and mitigating risk for our clients by taking up technology as early- adopters,” says Derek. “Microsoft is continually aiming to enrich the application development lifecycle to ensure customer success, and this event was a key opportunity to match innovative tools with evolving business needs worldwide. By bringing a NZ perspective to this event, it’s a huge gain for our customers.” The significance of the event will unfold later in 2004. More on Microsoft’s roadmap at http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/productinfo/enterprise/enterpriseroadmap/ 48 hours inside Microsoft’s Restricted Technology Preview Let’s do business better >> INTERGENITE: Daniel Reed What do you do? Technical Services Team Member. I work on consultancy, hosting support, internal support and the role is broadening as the company is growing. What do you love about your job? The whole work ethic here is excellent, get the job done, but more importantly, enjoy yourself while you’re doing it. Fantastic group of people with similar interests which makes for a great work environment. A bit about yourself? I was in the film and TV industry before deciding to head back to study for “many” years, first through Massey then Spherion. I love the whole technology industry – especially PC and Xbox. I joined Intergen towards the end of September 2003 and am totally enjoying the whole experience. Integration, B2B, e-commerce or just plain simple “let’s do business better” is a current topic among both small and large New Zealand organisations. In the New Zealand market more businesses are trying to realise value out of automating, interfacing and streamlining their business processes. A lot of this is pragmatic good business sense – surely the effort (and related cost) to manually do a task is higher than automating it? A good example is the airline industry. Pre-internet days, the average cost of processing a booking via a call centre was around $8. By implementing an online solution, this could drop to less than 50 cents. That all sounds good, but the key is defining and analysing the business requirements first. Too often, more focus is placed on the technology itself, without realising this is just a vehicle to meeting the problem and solving it. For example, Intergen Auckland has been working on several projects around integration, primarily with BizTalk and XML web services. A number of these projects involve interfacing with disparate and enterprise systems. Our team has excellent knowledge that could apply to your business – to know more give Shaun Donaghey a call on 09 488 1604 – it could be easier than you think. Shaun Donaghey
  8. 8. < S M A R T S - T H E I N T E L L I G E N T B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . I S S U E S I X >>> B U S I N E S S S O L U T I O N S Relating to CRM Microsoft Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) is an enterprise-wide application that provides the means to manage information on every aspect of a company’s relationship with individual customers or stakeholders. Details are captured from different areas across the organisation into a central repository, effectively tracking interactions at different points throughout the business. At the same time Microsoft CRM helps to manage work flow, keeping track of tasks and activities associated with the customer contact, interaction, sales cycle or service incident, and can automate business processes such as sales quote creation and order management. The built-in workflow engine helps management establish consistent business processes and frees employees from time-consuming tasks, enabling them to spend more time selling, giving quality service and managing customer relationships. Key business features and benefits >> Microsoft CRM is accessible from both an online web portal and offline Microsoft Outlook integrated client. >> Full integration with Microsoft Outlook means customer-related e-mails and appointments created in Microsoft CRM can be viewed and accessed via Outlook. >> Easy-to-use intuitive interface leveraging the familiar Microsoft Windows look and feel. >> Built using Microsoft .Net technology Microsoft CRM is flexible, easily customisable and configurable to ensure maximised business benefit. Fields can be added or removed, captions and drop down values can be modified. Views can be added and configured to include different columns. >> Total low cost of ownership – designed to ensure maximum flexibility within an affordable budget, Microsoft CRM can be deployed rapidly, customised and maintained easily, and scaled to adapt to changing needs. Intergen has set-up a CRM implementation team to work with business users to identify the key customer-centric business processes and configure Microsoft CRM solutions to suit. We are aware that there are many organisations in New Zealand that, although not sales-oriented, would greatly benefit from the implementation of an enterprise-wide system that can manage contact details and interactions. We are currently designing and proto-typing Microsoft CRM solutions tailored to provide maximum benefit to organisations within several industry verticals. The collated information is then available to users across departments in a customer-centric view, empowering employees with valuable information about the customer or engagement. This can include details such as existing relationships both internally and externally, marketing lead particulars, products purchased and service level agreements as well as both current and historic interactions/opportunities and service incident details. Having such a wealth of information gives a greater picture of customer behaviour and preferences, enabling employees to really know their customers and understand their needs, to provide superior customer service and make to informed decisions thereby assisting to build lasting relationships leading to higher satisfaction and service. Intergen has recently employed Emma Cuttance to help grow Intergen’s CRM business through: developing expertise with Microsoft CRM; deploying it for us in-house; pre-sales support for interested clients; defining a methodology to use in our CRM assignments; and implementing it for our clients. Emma has just returned from a four year stint overseas, in Australia and the United Kingdom. She is an experienced CRM consultant, having been with Onyx Software for three years. Prior to Onyx, Emma worked as an analyst programmer for Datacom in Wellington and Sydney for three years. She is an MCP (VB and SQL) and has a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems plus a post-graduate diploma in Finance from Otago. Any queries regarding CRM contact emma.cuttance@intergen.co.nz.

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