Intervate unveils first SharePoint 2013 website in SA

To correspond with the launch of Microsoft Office 2013, Intervate, enterprise information management (EIM) solution provider and Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, is the first company in South Africa to develop a Web site using SharePoint 2013.

This Web site showcases the product’s latest Web content management features and indicates Intervate’s enthusiasm and confidence in SharePoint 2013.

“We are excited to be first to market in showcasing SharePoint 2013’s new functionalities through the Intervate Web site,” says Susan Reid, Web Content Management solution specialist at Intervate.

“The new SharePoint 2013 platform delivers a comprehensive list of Web content management (WCM) features that have been lacking up until now, particularly regarding online marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO) and user experience (UX).

“This should excite businesses and their marketing agencies alike and SharePoint 2013 makes this easier ‘out of the box’.

“Intervate.com is a responsive Web site that uses Twitter’s Bootstrap framework, a collection of tools used to create responsive Web sites and Web applications. Responsive Web design (RWD) is a design approach which provides an optimal viewing experience which adapts through resizing to match the device that the site is being viewed upon, such as a desktop computer, a tablet or mobile phone.

“With the proliferation and ubiquity of mobile devices for Web browsing, responsive design is one important strategy for ensuring accessibility on multiple form factors. Intervate has standardised its responsive Web design on Bootstrap and has completed a number of projects already on this framework, as a part of its mobile Web strategy,” adds Reid.

“In previous versions of SharePoint a customer would need to purchase a separate licence to host Web sites and extranets on the SharePoint platform. This hurdle created a significant barrier to entry which Microsoft has now removed in SharePoint 2013,” says Troy Gerber, director at Intervate.

“When customers purchase SharePoint 2013 now, they can decide to build their intranet, extranet and Web site without the need for additional licensing and cost which significantly increases the value proposition.

“One of the key benefits when customers do run all three solutions on SharePoint is cross-site publishing which is the process of publishing the same content to your intranet, extranet and public Web site without a lengthy and individual deployment process.”

“Through cumulative improvements on previous SharePoint versions, the new features and capabilities makes SharePoint 2013 arguably the best commercial WCM platform for enterprise business and digital agencies.

“In 2012, Gartner positioned Microsoft SharePoint as a challenger in their magic quadrant and this was based on SharePoint 2010. With the host of improvements across the board and with Microsoft’s focus on the user experience, SharePoint 2013 is bound to enter the Leaders Quadrant in 2013,” concludes Gerber.

For businesses considering implementing SharePoint 2013, Intervate are offering a comprehensive demonstration of the product and a discussion around SharePoint 2013’s value-add and business benefits for their enterprise information management needs.

The Top 10 Things Intervate is Excited About, About SharePoint 2013

By Marc Fletcher, Sales & Marketing Director, Intervate Cape Town.

Microsoft SharePoint 2013 has been released to volume licence customers since November 2012 and the general release is expected in March 2013.  The excitement over SharePoint 2013 has been notable.

The SharePoint 2013 release builds on the already robust and versatile SharePoint 2010 engine and the changes in this release, which I believe will have the biggest impact are  ‘user experience’ features.  By ‘user experience’  I refer to improvements and features that make using SharePoint easier and more intuitive and are going to be practical to the information worker and administrator alike, in terms of delivering business value by improving collaboration, improving productivity, and reducing costs.  SharePoint 2013 is not only a comprehensive Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform, but also a user friendly and easy to use solution that should greatly improve user adoption within companies.

The features in this release are what most information workers and knowledge workers have been asking for for a while, but the implementation of this technology still needs a business driver to realise the benefits.  Just because it’s a cool feature doesn’t mean that it’s going to meet the needs of your business or help you fulfil your mission or objectives.

However, with a small amount of effort it is relatively straight forward for an ECM consultant from a Microsoft partner who is familiar with your business to identify areas of your business that could benefit from aspects of what the SharePoint solution could offer.

At Intervate we are very excited about the year ahead and the opportunity SharePoint 2013 will provide to businesses.  SharePoint 2013 has introduced a pelthora of new features and capabilites that delivers across a wide range of workloads which will appeal to a broader audience.
SharePoint 2013 has embraced the cloud through SkyDrive Pro, mobile through the enhanced capability for intuitive and functional mobile access and has taken a huge leap forward in social business and web content management spaces to the point that SharePoint 2013 will most likely lead the way in mainstream enterprise content management solutions through 2013 and beyond.
Intervate ran a pre-launch event in Cape Town and Johannesburg on the 4th and 5th February 2013 respectively, in which we looked at ‘the top 10 things that we are excited about, about SharePoint 2013”, and if you were not one of the lucky 150 people that managed to attend, here is the countdown.

Number 1 – Easier to use productivity features – this is going to really drive user adoption

Drag and drop content uploading.  It sounds futuristic in a business application, yet this already exists in many forms today. You always could drag and drop documents and other files into folders from the earliest Windows days, yet it took a decade to see this type of ‘ease of use’ find its way into SharePoint. It really is as simple as it sounds – you can drag a document from your desktop into a SharePoint 2013 document library and there it is…in SharePoint.  No multiple clicks, navigating dialogue boxes and selecting files.  If you are an information worker that is regularly uploading content to SharePoint, you will save appreciable time and be able to focus on the actual task at hand.

New live document previews also provide the ability to ‘look’ at documents without opening the associated applications.

The ability to have visual reminders of who you have shared the document with further compliments the new user friendly and intuitive interface.  The new ‘follow’ feature allows you to track the updates to a document. and you can follow people and sites and this information is surfaced in your activity feed.

The productivity features are designed not only to improve your personal and collective productivity but also to give a much improved experience in the process.

Number 2 – Improved social features

At last the newsfeed on the new MySites facilitates a threaded conversation!.  This was an aspect of functionality that was lacking in SharePoint 2010, especially considering that a threaded conversation was an essential part of any social conversation since forums first appeared in the 1980’s – or am I showing my age?  The expected social ‘actions’ are now also present, including ‘Like’ and ‘Reply’ and the ability to select people from an intuitive people picker that is accessed through the “@” character. The picker also returns matches as you type.  It’s all very standard in Facebook and Twitter but SharePoint 2010 was sorely lacking capabilities that people have come to expect and need in an information management solution. 

Number 3 – Enhanced web building and authoring tools and simplified licensing

One of the barriers to using SharePoint as web content management (WCM) platform previously was the Internet connector licence or FIS (For Internet Site).  This FIS licence, required for hosting websites and extranets was an additional ‘product’ that came at a price. The price barrier coupled with a lack of WCM features which were available in other best of breed web site platforms led most companies to consider alternatives for their WCM needs.  This has now changed in SharePoint 2013 and the WCM tools, which are significantly enhanced, are now bundled with SharePoint 2013.

SharePoint’s WCM capabilities have developed to the point that SharePoint 2013 will compete strongly against most other WCM platforms in terms of features, performance and robustness.  SharePoint 2013 will also start to turn the heads of not just corporate enterprises with existing SharePoint licenses but also new customers considering SharePoint 2013 as a serious WCM contender. 

In 2012, Gartner positioned Microsoft SharePoint 2010 as a challenger in their WCM magic quadrant.    I am sure we will see SharePoint 2013 nudge towards the Leaders Quadrant in 2013.
Through SharePoint 2013, Microsoft have delivered a WCM solution that finally addresses the needs of commercial websites  to deliver not just an effective user experience and interface but also be able to support online marketing through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and SEO related practices to achieve visibility in today’s vast swathes of content on the Internet.
SEO optimisation is now native in SharePoint 2013 and provides support for XML sitemaps, customised SEO properties, Meta tags and keywords. 

Friendly URL’s are now finally available in SharePoint 2013.  In SharePoint 2010 you could have ended up with a URL like http://yourcompanyname.com/Pages/Products.aspx#/ID=654&Source=http%2%%2F10101 .  A friendly URL by comparison would be http://yourcompanyname.com/products/tv .

This is a momentous improvement and delivers a more effective SEO tool and user experience.
These two enhancements alone will impress digital agencies who have long discounted SharePoint as a true WCM platform due its inability to effectively manage the needs of SEO.

Content authoring has also been a challenge in the past because most content authors want to write content in Microsoft Word and then copy and paste into SharePoint.  In previous versions of SharePoint this would be a problem because the content copied from the source would include markup from Word, which when pasted into the SharePoint content editor would change the style or the page layout or both.  Now content authors have an improved experience. Content authors can copy content from Word and paste it directly into a Rich Text Editor Web Part, Content Editor Web Part, or an HTML field control on a page.  SharePoint 2013 will also render semantically correct HTML markup in the styles that are on the page created by the site owner or designer. 

Futhermore site owners and designers can customise the global and current navigation menus by dragging and dropping menu items directly on the page.  Clearly this is not something that you would do lightly and without testing first on a QA platform, but the availability of this type of user based administration negates the need for an experienced software developer. This is a huge step in delivering a significant level of control to the information worker in the marketing and communications team.

Image renditions is another huge benefit to content authors.  In previous versions of SharePoint there were challenges around managing the images for articles or posts and the associated images for the thumbnails of those articles.  SharePoint 2010 just could not resize on the fly which through my own experience was a real disappointment and quite a pain.  Now with SharePoint 2013, image renditions faciliates the uploading of full size images and then the creation of versions of the same image cropped into defined sizes which can be used for thumbnails or other purposes.  This is the same idea as Facebook’s profile picture where you can crop an existing photograph of yourself to include as your profile picture thumbnail.  Well done Microsoft for adding this feature – I can hear web content managers everywhere saying the same thing: “about time!”.

For the creative folk and user experience designers out there you will be relieved to hear that the need to work within SharePoint Designer or Visual Studio has now been relaxed.  As a designer you can now use your tool of choice, whether that is Adobe Dreamweaver or one of the other mainsteam HTML editors.  The branding for a site can be created by implementing the HTML, CSS and JavaScript created through these tools.  Are we tempting the agency folk yet?

Number 4 – SkyDrive Pro – for rich SharePoint offline

Let’s start with what SkyDrive Pro is and the differences between SkyDrive Pro and SkyDrive, because SkyDrive Pro is different to Sky Drive. 

SkyDrive is a free online storage solution that provides you with a personal library where you can upload and manage files from any device, share them with your friends and collaborate on the content.  The content is held in the cloud and is synchronised to your devices that have the SkyDrive application installed.  SkyDrive works the same as Dropbox and the other personal cloud storage providers.

SkyDrive Pro is also an online storage solution that also provides you with a personal library, but your SkyDrive Pro library is managed by your organisation and is only available as a part of Office 365 or SharePoint 2013.  The content in SkyDrive Pro can only be shared with colleagues within your organisation or with invited guests if they are logged into Office 365.  SkyDrive Pro facilitates synchronizing content from SharePoint 2013 to the cloud and then to your devices that have a SkyDrive Pro application installed.

The benefit of SkyDrive Pro to the corporate user is that you can save documents directly to SkyDrive Pro from Office desktop applications or synchronise them directly from SharePoint 2013.  Furthermore enterprise IT teams will feel relieved that they have a little more control over the company information that is being sent to the cloud and disseminated to others.
This will be most useful for mobile information workers including marketing and sales, executives, regional managers and others that spend time away from the office. 

Number 5 – eDiscovery

Let’s start with what is eDiscovery.  eDiscovery is the process of identifying, delivering and securing electronic information that can be used as evidence in a legal investigation or procedure.
eDiscovery has been enhanced in SharePoint 2013 and coupled with Exchange 2013, SharePoint 2013 can now create a eDiscovery set to identify and locate specific material and then preserve the sites and mailboxes in which the content was found. 

SharePoint 2013 then provides the ability to further refine the content that is relevant, preview the content and export the content as eDRM, which is an XML standard for eDiscovery data and in turn can be combined with stand-alone eDiscovery tools.

Some of the key features of the enhanced eDiscovery in SharePoint 2013 include a ‘Case Manager’ which enables records managers to create and manage enterprise-wide discovery projects, place potentially large amounts and various types of content on hold, and preserve a snapshot of content. ‘In-Place Holds’, another key new feature, enables a legal practitioner to preserve a snapshot of content while ensuring that users can continue to make changes without disturbing the state of the content snapshot. And lastly the ‘Analytics’, which enable legal practitioners, administrators, and records managers to collect and analyse data about eDiscovery activity.

Number 6 – Mobile, mobile, mobile. Ubiquitous mobile

Mobile has been cited as one of the big bets for the last two plus years and the statistics in South Africa show that mobile smart device ownership is rapidly growing, spurring the Bring-Your-Own-Device phenomenon, as well as sharply increasing the numbers of people using their mobile to access the Internet.   Mobile usage has become ubiquitous ranging from the board executives to the shop floor.  SharePoint 2013 delivers significantly enhanced mobile functionality.

First in the new capabilities is the SharePoint 2013 Newsfeed app.  This is one of the new features that has finally brought SharePoint 2013 to the realms of being truly social.  This new app allows users to post to all newsfeeds, follow people, mention, share documents and follow hashtags.  The app can be installed on Windows Phone, Windows 8 and iOS for iPad and iPhone.  For those companies that embraced MySites in SharePoint 2010,  these new social features are going to accelerate user adoption and usage and enable you to reach new levels of social engagement and collaboration. 

Next is an optimised mobile browser experience via what’s called the “Contemporary View”.  This feature also enables mobile users to natively start working with SharePoint without the need for a third party app, which let’s face it, is not the ideal solution.    Contemporary View delivers a simple HTML5 user interface especially designed for mobile users. 

Thirdly, a greatly enhanced Office Web Apps user experience including touch support for tablets.   In SharePoint 2010 the use of Office Web Apps on a mobile device was not very effective. In SharePoint 2013 this has been enhanced significantly to deliver a specific user interface for mobile devices ensuring that users can easily work with and create Office documents on the go.

The last one I want to mention is Push Notifications.  Push notifications are a given with most mobile apps that we have on our Windows Phone, iPhone, Android device or tablet.  Microsoft now brings this feature to SharePoint 2013 to send device updates as a tile or toast notification.  At the moment this only works with Windows Phone, but I see no reason why this won’t be expanded to include all mobile devices in due course.

Number 7 – Best in class – FAST Search

SharePoint 2013 delivers a single search engine which combines the best features of SharePoint 2010 search, FAST search and technologies and ideas from the BING search engine.  It’s a standard part of SharePoint 2013 providing an extremely powerful enterprise search engine ‘out-of-the-box’.

The new features  and benefits of search and threfore the appeal can be split between two groups, the techies and the general user community.  The new improved features include native and faster PDF indexing, federated location search, mailbox search and an improved scalability. 

The user interface has been improved significantly to deliver a clean and crisp interface that has a richer experience. Results are delivered through Ajax eliminating page refreshes when additional information is requested.  Refiners have also been improved with a new visual refiner displaying information in graphs and also a count returning an absolute number of matches in an index.  The new preview pane has to be one of the best features designed for the user community and will undoubtedly speed up the process of search for specific documents.

Result Types is a new feature that allows the application of a template to a given result.  This can enable different representation of returned information dependent on a customised set of result type rules – this really provides a detailed level of control over results improving the search experience.  A simple example of this is the use of different templates for results that are text or image based.

The advanced query syntax facilitates a new level of search that could assist large enterprises with significant repositories of information under their care.  For example: A query for documents containing ‘Life Insurance’ and authored by people with ‘John’ in their name would be written: “ALL(Life Insurance) (DetectedLanguage=”en”) (IsDocument=”True”) Author:John”.

Number 8 – The shift to the app model

Like the apps that you install from the app stores on your mobile device, the SharePoint app store allows you to download standalone apps that can be easily installed, managed and removed from your SharePoint solution.  This will have the effect of reducing the load on the IT operations and will empower the users to innovate around their collaboration and enterprise social needs.

Number 9 – Shredded storage

Shredded storage is a feature that sounds really technical and could inadvertently be disregarded by many readers. It is however one of the most beneficial improvements potentially dramatically reducing operating and maintenance costs of a SharePoint environment.
Shredded storage will remove file duplicates (from multiple versions in a document library, for example) and reduce the amount of content sent across the wire.  That’s it.  For the techies that means that delta’s are only being stored and passed, which is going to reduce WAN traffic.  For the business manager this is going to positively impact your budgets in terms of data transfer costs, time and effort.  And as a user, well you will have one of the most immediately noticeable benefits – your experience should improve in terms of speed and responsiveness; more so if you are accessing your SharePoint document library over a slow WAN link.

Number 10 – The “upgrade” from SharePoint 2010

Microsoft have removed the dread from the upgrade process and provided a way to show administrators and users alike what their site could work and look like in SharePoint 2013.
However, the term upgrade is a bit of a misnomer as there is no in-place upgrade as there was with SharePoint 2010.  The database-attach method is now the only supported way to upgrade databases to a new environment which will reside on SharePoint 2013.
 
The site collection health check will allow you to see what code and templates need attention in advance of the upgrade allowing you to plan for the upgrade without too many surprises.
There is however an ‘upgrade evaluation’ which allows a site collection administrator to request a preview of their site collection in SharePoint 2013 – this is called an ‘upgrade evaluation site collection’.  The ‘upgrade evaluation site collection’ creates a separate copy of your site collection in SharePoint 2013 – therefore any changes you make to it, or conversely any issues you encounter, will not affect the original site collection sitting safely on SharePoint 2010.  The upgrade evaluation site collection is set to automatically expire after 30 days which makes it an excellent method of trialling the SharePoint 2013 functionality and features with your solution before making a final commitment.

Once you have upgraded you will be presented with the new SharePoint 2013 user interface which follows the Microsoft ‘modern’ (formerly known as ‘metro’) design.  Modern design uses tiles and typography to deliver its interface which includes plenty of white space and a responsive design that is gaining popularity in the world of web.

So there you have the top 10 things that Intervate are excite about, about SharePoint 2013.  Please feel free to contact me or any of my colleagues with further questions or if you want to discuss the ‘upgrade’ to SharePoint 2013 or any other enterprise information management (EIM) enquiry.
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Newsgator Enterprise Social Platform Taking SharePoint To The Next Level

At this year’s Share conference which takes place on March 11th-13th, Intervate, an Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solutions specialist and Microsoft Gold Partner for Content Management, Digital Marketing and Portals and Collaboration, will be the power behind the Newsgator and Software Innovation 360 stands.


NewsGator’s Social Sites solution is a leading Enterprise Social offering and is fully compatible with Microsoft SharePoint 2013 and Windows 8-ready. The solution is bringing the benefits of the social media phenomenon to the business environment and integrates directly into the SharePoint collaboration platform.
 
While SharePoint 2013 itself and Microsoft’s recently acquired Yammer cloud platform do offer useful social feature sets for businesses, Newsgator’s offering is targeted at enterprises who are mature in their requirement for high-value advanced social use cases, and have deeply embedded on-premise SharePoint implementations. Customers include Citibank, Barclays, ING and HSBC in financial services, Accenture and Deloitte in consulting, Turkcell and MTN in telecommunications, and Adidas and Oakley in retail.
 
“It is common knowledge that communication and the sharing of ideas, knowledge and intellectual property (IP) are difficult, but essential to the success of any business. The NewsGator solution enables organisations to streamline communication, improve employee recruiting and retention, and boost overall organisational productivity to their benefit. This alone will set an organisation apart from its competitors and ensure the process of sharing business knowledge and ideas,” says Roy Hobson, Business Development Executive at Intervate.
 
A key challenge for users in an information-heavy workplace is that there are many streams of content flowing from many different sources. Newsgator starts to aggregate these streams together into a single place to get work done in a “social” way. New to the Social Sites solution is a personalised, universal toolbar, allowing users monitor notifications, initiate new conversations, ask questions, and respond to the items in their activity stream from any SharePoint page or web page. This means that Microsoft Outlook email, calendar and tasks are now brought into the solution, enabling users to do their work in a single centralised and personalised dashboard.
 
Also integrated in the solution is a secure social media monitoring function which tracks news sites, blogs, wikis, external social streams, like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, and delivers them directly to a user’s activity stream. Employees are therefore always conscious of industry happenings, conversations and discussions that impact on their business to either contribute to or learn from. They are always in the know and not left behind.
 
The ‘Getting an Answer’ application allows users to ask and answer questions in real-time within a community and is one of the quickest ways to drive the value of cross-enterprise collaboration.
 
Fluid real-time and asynchronous conversations can be conducted through the Microsoft Lync integration with the Social Sites solution. It makes on-the-fly instant messaging, as well as audio, and video conversations possible, further prompting the sharing of ideas and increasing organisational communications.
 
“Understanding that mobility is a necessity for organisations has not been forgotten. ‘Glassboard’ is a free social mobile application integrated in the Newsgator solution that lets users anywhere engage in private group sharing with external stakeholders using their mobile devices,” adds Hobson.
 
“By integrating Newsgator directly into your SharePoint collaboration deployment it makes your organisation truly social. Companies can focus on delivering value to users and unify technology infrastructure while fully leveraging the SharePoint social network,” concludes Hobson.
 
For further information about the SharePoint Conference 2013 and Newsgator Social Sites solution stand, contact Talia Farber at taliaf@intervate.com or visit the Newsgator stand at the SharePoint 2013 Conference, 11 -13 March 2013 at the Sandton Sun, Johannesburg.

Intervate garners excitement with SharePoint 2013

Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solutions specialist and Microsoft Gold Partner, Intervate, is taking the lead with holding pre-launch events for Microsoft’s latest Enterprise Content Management product, SharePoint 2013 on the 4th and 5th of February in Cape Town and Johannesburg respectively.

“We have always been ahead of the game and this year will be no different. Though SharePoint 2013 is currently available through volume licensing, the official launch date is yet to be announced by Microsoft South Africa. Our pre-launch events, titled ‘The top 10 things we are excited about, about SharePoint 2013’ will take you on a journey through the aspects of SharePoint 2013 that we believe are the biggest game changers.  We believe that these events will provide decision makers, strategists and technologists alike a significant insight to Microsoft’s latest SharePoint product and how it can help them in their business”,” says Troy Gerber, Director at Intervate Cape Town.

IT Managers, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and general IT and business executives who need to understand the business value proposition for either deploying SharePoint 2013 for the first time or who are planning the move to SharePoint 2013 in the near future will benefit from the various keynote speakers at the events, such as Gerber himself, Naz Parker, Manager of the SharePoint Shared Service at Sanlam, as well as Akesh Lalla, Business Productivity Sales Manager at Microsoft and Felix Honigwachs, Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft.

Gerber will be extoling the virtues of SharePoint 2013, both from his recent practical experience with customers as well as his knowledge gathered at SharePoint Conference held last year October in Las Vegas.

Sanlam’s Parker will present on Sanlam’s plans and experiences around the implementation of SkyDrive Pro with SharePoint 2013, addressing the needs of executives who are looking for alternatives to other cloud-based virtual storage solutions.

Johannesburg attendees will be treated to an exciting opening address by Akesh Lalla and Felix Honigwachs. They will be sharing a preview of the soon-to-be launched Microsoft SharePoint 2013 and why Microsoft is excited about it.

“SharePoint 2013 is an intuitive solution with increased enterprise content management functionality,” says Gerber. “The solution has the same familiar look and feel of Microsoft Office, making it user-friendly, with no need to learn a complete new platform of operation and navigation.”

The Intervate SharePoint 2013 pre-launch events will provide an important insight into the product and its top functions before the official announcement later this year.

Events details

Cape Town

Date: Monday 4 February 2013

Time: 08:00 – 11:30

Venue: Vodacom Century City, 082 Century Boulevard, Century City, Cape Town

Johannesburg

Date: Tuesday 5 February 2013

Time: 08:00 – 11:30

Venue: Microsoft, Auditorium 3, 3012 William Nicol Drive, Bryanston, Johannesburg

Seats are limited so register today by contacting Talia Farber on taliaf@intervate.com or visit www.intervate.com

Intervate maintains Industry Pedigree

Intervate, industry leader in enterprise information management solutions has won five Microsoft Partner Network Awards for 2012. The results were announced at the Microsoft Partner Network Awards Dinner, at Helderfontein Estate, Kyalami, on Thursday, 1 November 2012.

Already a multiple award winner in previous years, Intervate, scooped the 2012 Microsoft Partner Network Awards for Services Partner of the Year, Content Management Partner of the Year, Portals and Collaboration Partner of the Year, Digital Marketing Partner of the Year and retained the prestigious Customer Experience Partner of the Year.

Migal van As, Chairman of Intervate comments: “We are extremely proud to have achieved such phenomenal success in 2012. Although this is the 7th consecutive year of Intervate’s Microsoft Partner Awards achievements, it is the first time we have won 5 awards. It is testimony to Intervate’s dedication to working closely with Microsoft and our policy of ensuring best practice service delivery and customer experience in all competencies”.

Intervate has won the related Microsoft Information Worker category award for the previous five consecutive years and scooped the Portals and Collaboration, and Content Management awards when the category was split in 2011. This year, Intervate made a clean sweep of the Microsoft SharePoint Server related awards with the addition of the Digital Marketing award for website and search solutions.

The Microsoft Partner Network 2012 Awards recognise partners in South Africa that have excelled in delivering Microsoft solutions over Microsoft’s fiscal year 2012. The criteria for the different awards are divided into six category areas, namely winning new customers, driving customer satisfaction, growing the business, innovation, enabling people and bonus factors. Companies are assessed according to criteria such as business growth, successful project implementations, customer satisfaction, innovativeness, strategic alignment with Microsoft and investments into training and skills development.

The Microsoft Partner Network Awards are highly regarded by Microsoft and partners and as such, the process of awarding winners and finalists is a stringent and serious one.

Commenting on Intervate’s award results, Uriel Rootshtain, Information Worker Lead at Microsoft SA says: “These awards attest to our longstanding 14 year partnership with Intervate and the significant value that the relationship has delivered to our customers and the Microsoft brand in general. The wins are well-deserved recognition of Intervate’s partnership, track record and market achievements”.

Intervate continues to be the leading Microsoft SharePoint solution provider in South Africa and will continue to partner with clients to maximise the benefits they derive from their investment in the Microsoft platform.​

Sam Swain
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Partner of the year award winners

Intervate, industry leader in enterprise information management solutions has won five Microsoft Partner Network Awards for 2012. The results were announced at the Microsoft Partner Network Awards Dinner, at Helderfontein Estate, Kyalami, on Thursday, 1 November 2012.

Already a multiple award winner in previous years, Intervate, scooped the 2012 Microsoft Partner Network Awards for Services Partner of the Year, Content Management Partner of the Year, Portals and Collaboration Partner of the Year, Digital Marketing Partner of the Year and retained the prestigious Customer Experience Partner of the Year.

Migal van As, Chairman of Intervate comments: “We are extremely proud to have achieved such phenomenal success in 2012. Although this is the 7th consecutive year of Intervate’s Microsoft Partner Awards achievements, it is the first time we have won 5 awards. It is testimony to Intervate’s dedication to working closely with Microsoft and our policy of ensuring best practice service delivery and customer experience in all competencies”.

Intervate has won the related Microsoft Information Worker category award for the previous five consecutive years and scooped the Portals and Collaboration, and Content Management awards when the category was split in 2011. This year, Intervate made a clean sweep of the Microsoft SharePoint Server related awards with the addition of the Digital Marketing award for website and search solutions.

The Microsoft Partner Network 2012 Awards recognise partners in South Africa that have excelled in delivering Microsoft solutions over Microsoft’s fiscal year 2012. The criteria for the different awards are divided into six category areas, namely winning new customers, driving customer satisfaction, growing the business, innovation, enabling people and bonus factors. Companies are assessed according to criteria such as business growth, successful project implementations, customer satisfaction, innovativeness, strategic alignment with Microsoft and investments into training and skills development.

The Microsoft Partner Network Awards are highly regarded by Microsoft and partners and as such, the process of awarding winners and finalists is a stringent and serious one.

Commenting on Intervate’s award results, Uriel Rootshtain, Information Worker Lead at Microsoft SA says: “These awards attest to our longstanding 14 year partnership with Intervate and the significant value that the relationship has delivered to our customers and the Microsoft brand in general. The wins are well-deserved recognition of Intervate’s partnership, track record and market achievements”.

Intervate continues to be the leading Microsoft SharePoint solution provider in South Africa and will continue to partner with clients to maximise the benefits they derive from their investment in the Microsoft platform.

Driving User Adoption with Social Intranets

The first wave of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) investments has been in the realm of tighter control of records and documents, and the management of the content lifecycle process. This layer of the ECM platform is commonly referred to as “Systems of Record”. However, the broad adoption of these systems by users has been lacking.

Businesses are looking longingly at the successful user adoption of consumer social media, and intranet owners inside businesses grapple with two interrelated challenges: How do I drive user adoption? And, how do I drive employee engagement with my systems of record?
This has given rise to a new layer of ECM solutions, called “Systems of Engagement”. Systems of engagement place people at their centre, as opposed to systems of record which place the content and documents at the centre. Corporate intranet and employee portal designs are following this shift to be more people-focused, forming the core of this new digital workplace. Intranets are evolving into the space where traditional managed content and applications merge together with social and collaborative content streams, delivered to any device.

This is a major evolutionary leap for corporate intranets and taking this leap is made more challenging in an environment where there is stiff competition for budget and internal resources to execute on intranet projects.

Intervate, a leading provider of ECM solutions on the Microsoft SharePoint platform, is assisting multinationals and corporates in South Africa to navigate this shift to social business on their ECM platforms and intranet portals.

“We meet customers where they are in their evolution to social business. There is no ‘one size fits all’ technology solution to throw at the problem, because putting down the engagement layer of the ECM platform is fundamentally about people – and more specifically, the people operating within the unique culture of each customer,” says Roy Hobson, Business Development Executive at Intervate.

“For the many companies that have invested in Microsoft SharePoint as the core of their platform, there are three different possibilities that we recommend: as a first step the native collaboration features within SharePoint 2010, which are greatly enhanced in SharePoint 2013; secondly, the cloud-based social platform offered by Yammer, which is loosely coupled with SharePoint; and for those organisations willing to make the biggest evolutionary shift, we deploy the Newsgator Social Sites platform, in which the user engagement mechanisms are tightly interwoven with the ‘system of record‘ features of the underlying SharePoint platform.”Intervate is hosting a seminar titled “Social Intranets and the Digital Workplace”, and is inviting interested companies to attend. The seminar will cover the latest trends in Intranet functionality and services, share insights from the field on when to use which features, and will then take a hands-on look at several options for adding social content streams – including the new SharePoint 2013, Yammer and Newsgator. The seminar is on Monday 22 October from 3.30pm – 5.00pm at Microsoft’s offices in Bryanston. Please contact taliaf@intervate.com to reserve a seat.