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Intergen Decade

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A summary of Intergen's first ten years and the people who helped on this journey.

Publicado en: Tecnología
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Intergen Decade

  1. 1. decade {1.0}
  2. 2. decade {1.0}
  3. 3. Welcome to the celebration of our first decade. What follows is an account of 10 years in business, told through photos, quotes, interviews and memories that depict the essence and achievements of Intergen through our first 10 years. As you read through the book, I hope you will get a sense of the pride and dedication that has been a feature of the people who have made Intergen what it is today. These people have become known as Intergenites, wearing the colour yellow proudly as they represent Intergen in business, in sport and in their private lives. Intergenites are dedicated to delivering the absolute best solution to their clients, and they will always go the extra mile even if it means personal sacrifice. From the all-nighters, cancelled holidays and call- outs in the middle of the night, there never seems to be any question that the customer comes first. Intergenites take great pride in being innovative and technically excellent. They like nothing better than to make something right where others have failed. They love to see the difference they make and see people benefiting from the solutions they deliver. They do all this without egos, never afraid to ask for help nor reluctant to acknowledge those who go above and beyond. Being an Intergenite is like belonging to an exclusive club: it is hard to get in and once you’ve been a member, you are changed forever. This book is by no means just the story of a company. It is the story of the people, the Intergenites, who together have created a reputation envied throughout our industry. We salute these Intergenites, past and present, and know that their spirit will carry Intergen forward for the decades to come. Tony Stewart, CEO
  4. 4. Contents The Intergen Brand 1 Tony Stewart 4 10 Years of Intergenites – a Roll 9 The Intergen Launch, 10 The Importance of 13 10 Years of Intergen 14 The Auckland 17 10 Years of Sporting 18 10 Years of 21 Paddy Payne 22 10 Years of the Intergen BHAG in 24 26 The Southern 29 Wayne Forgesson 30 Desktop 32 The Intergen-Microsoft 35 Interviews with Intergen’s 36
  5. 5. Contents Intergen’s Work with Microsoft 40 10 Years of Microsoft 41 10 Years of Intergen 46 Chris Auld 49 10 Years of 52 Intergen Technology 55 Simon Bright 56 10 Years of Industry 58 10 Years in the 60 62 Richard Westlake 64 The Intergen Family 66 Decade Party, June 70 The Sydney 73 The Perth 74 76
  6. 6. decade {1.0} 1 The Intergen brand imagined In June 2001, after brainstorms and roundtables, musings and research, late nights and loud debate, the Intergen brand was born. It could have been orange, or even purple, but after careful consideration yellow shone through (in all senses of the word). But why yellow? As a brand new company with grand aspirations and a shoestring budget, Intergen wanted to punch above its weight and get noticed in the New Zealand IT crowd. In choosing yellow, we found a way to distinguish ourselves in a competitive market; and over the years yellow has become not just a differentiator in business, but a cultural talisman as well. “Being yellow” has come to represent a quality, not simply a colour. And why Intergen? INTERGEN = INTERNET + GENERATION + INTERNATIONAL (GENERATE / INTERNAL / GENERAL / INTO) What might have been – the contenders (As at May 28 2001) Intergen might have been called… Ignition, Radix, GEM Systems Limited, B2B Solutions Limited, Bizware, Resolve Solutions, Intergrate, Halousinate, Topaz, Partical, Breach, Matric, Nova, Mirage, Pyramind, Illousion, Impel, Vatic, Cohere, Ultra, Pure, Paradigma, Cynosura, Object, Zygo, NovaSys, Grilse, Groove, Wave, Intrinsic, Singularity, Ground Zero, Quincunxial, Stream, Accelerate, Assert, Beyond, Focal, Release, Span or Volume What would Intergen look like if you met it in a bar? As part of the brand envisioning phase in 2001, the founding Intergenites went to great lengths to give dimension and life to their newly-imagined brand by visualising the company as a person (and completing many other exercises besides). Here’s how Intergen manifested in human form… Youthful but experienced (late 20s or early 30s), sophisticated (rather than sexy), male, smart, well-mannered, well-dressed, polite, trustworthy, business-savvy, intelligent, opinionated, creative, dependable, innovative, works hard and plays hard, dedicated, a bit left field, serious but fun to deal with.
  7. 7. decade {1.0} 3 “Great brands aren’t created by design agencies, they’re hard earned by an organisation’s total commitment to delivering on a promise. For Intergen, that doesn’t just mean a logo design (or a splash of yellow!), but an identity that is rooted in the culture and determination of every team member. By building the brand from within, the original staff had a high sense of ownership that in turn drove a cultural norm around expressions of the brand. Over time, staff have become Intergenites, fiercely proud of their yellowness and everything it represents as a smart, youthful player in an otherwise dry IT landscape. So how did we get there? None of the founders had any special affinity with the colour yellow – that was never the point. Yellow was a way for us to make a bold statement; we knew we could make a big splash on a small budget. We did a visual analysis of what everyone else was doing and yellow was the only colour that no one in the IT industry was using exclusively. It was efficient, economical and distinctive, and very quickly became the Intergen footprint. The colour yellow became an expression of everything the company represented, and people just got it. The brand has proved to be a definitive part of Intergen’s culture – it doesn’t just stop when someone hands over a business card. And when you get one of the company directors (Wayne) wearing a full-length yellow coat at a black tie function, or you manage to convince the CEO to put padded and studded vinyl banana-yellow doors on all the meeting rooms, you know the brand is alive and kicking”. Eamon O’Rourke, Creative Director, 2001–2009 “We’ve had a number of opportunities present themselves to us that have made us what we are today. The challenge for any good business is to seize upon the best of these opportunities when the proverbial door opens and act on them in a timely manner. Our history and our track record have been shaped by the doors that have opened to us.” Tony Stewart. Thinking outside the (yellow) box.
  8. 8. decade {1.0}4 Interview TONY STEWART – DIRECTOR How did Intergen come to be? In January 2001 I was on holiday in Taupo and was called by the then-CEO of Advantage e-Commerce. He told me the forecasts were not looking good and that Advantage Group management wanted to reduce costs in the e-Commerce division. I cut my holiday short to go to a meeting in Auckland. At the meeting, they asked how many positions we could make redundant. I was set a target and so was the GM of Auckland. At the time, the Auckland business wasn’t doing particularly well, but we were not so bad in Wellington. They’d gone through a number of different GMs, and all the original Auckland Glazier staff had left. They had hired quickly to “meet demand” but there was no one there who really understood the business. It was my first experience of making people redundant. I managed to make about 20 people redundant and then, to my disgust, when they reviewed the Auckland team they couldn’t come up with any positions to make redundant. I had an 18-month contract with Advantage as part of the sale and purchase agreement of Glazier Systems, which was coming to an end. Things had not been going well, so I decided to resign. And then for the first time since varsity days I started to look for another job. I’d only just started looking when I was in Auckland and I was asked to a meeting by two of the Advantage Group directors. They asked me if I would buy back the Wellington business. My first reaction was to say no. After a bit of a discussion with Paddy and Wayne, we agreed to make them an offer. They didn’t give me any information for me to be able to establish a value, so I came up with one on my own based on my knowledge of the business. Advantage wanted to retain a stake in the business, initially more than I wanted them to have. After some negotiating, we agreed to buy the Wellington business for approximately 10% of what they had paid 18 months ago. The original agreement was that we would buy 80% of the business and Advantage would keep 20%, but at the last minute they sold 100% and gave us a loan for the value of the 20%. The deal was signed on 6 June 2001 and was to be backdated to 1 March. As part of the deal we took on all lease obligations (one out of two of the floors, desks, chairs and a whole lot of ex-Glazier assets that weren’t on the register). We collected all profits from March to June and paid all the expenses. January and February had been bad months (as is standard) but March, April and May had been very good. The cash returned to us as a surplus from trading was about the same as we had paid for the business. This was to prove extremely important because, with the September 11 attack, the market hit a low point and signalled some pretty difficult times ahead. We had our official launch party on the 13th September 2001. The mood was subdued. By that point our weekly chargeability had dropped to about $26,000 for 40 staff. We didn’t have enough work to cover costs and started seriously eating into our cash reserves. We had the option of making people redundant but made the conscious decision that we did not want to become a small business. Faced with no other choice, at the beginning of December 2001 we asked all staff to take a 10% pay cut, effective 1 January 2002, so they could at least enjoy their Christmas. Because it was across the board it had a much larger
  9. 9. decade {1.0} 5 effect than making 10% of the staff redundant. We knew if we scaled back our capacity we would never recover. The cut gave us some breathing space and allowed us to live to fight another day. The lesson about not making a kneejerk reaction and laying people off paid dividends during the recession that followed the Global Financial Crisis in 2009. We focused on how to make more revenue, not just on cost cutting. With all the spare time we had on our hands, we decided to invest in learning the new .NET framework that Microsoft was about to release. We built .NET applications wherever we could and by the time .NET was launched we had amassed a great portfolio of applications. In January things immediately started picking up. We secured some big projects, like Vodafone (through Andrew Kissling) and Context Connect (through Rod Drury). .NET launched in February and by that point we’d delivered 20 .NET applications, and we were onstage for the NZ launch. Our experience allowed us to win more than our fair share of the .NET development work that followed. In January our bank balance had got down to $13, and had been trending down since June. In mid-January it started going back up again. There had been a really positive reaction to the buy-back, and even the staff on board who hadn’t been with us in the Glazier days immediately changed to the old Glazier way of thinking. There was a noticeable change in attitude – people were no longer working for a faceless public company and it showed straight away. Our clients had the same viewpoint, and many started moving back to us. I am pleased we saved the business, firstly from Advantage, who would have no doubt have shut it down, and secondly from the effects of the Dot Com Crash and the global slowdown that followed 911. Survive year one. Tick! What does 10 years mean to you? People say, “Can you believe it’s been 10 years?” Well, actually I can. Not because it has dragged on or not been enjoyable, but simply because of everything that has happened. In 2001, we set a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, that “everyone, every day is touched positively by the things we do.” We set that goal because we believed that technology had an important part to play in society. Over the years we have completed many projects that we believe contributed to that goal but when you take a step back, it’s not just the projects that have had a positive effect – our whole business has. And that’s really satisfying. I don’t often look back, but every now and then I’ll be talking to someone outside the business, and when I start saying, “We have almost 300 staff now”, I think, “Well, actually, maybe it is significant. If you look at all our stats now you can really say we’re not a small business anymore. And when you think of all our offices – Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Sydney, Perth, Redmond – it’s all quite different to 10 years ago! In 1995 Glazier Systems was formed by Pat Ryan, Rod Drury, Andrew Kissling and Tony Stewart. With its tagline “we do Windows” explaining the choice of company name, the key tool in Glazier’s arsenal was Microsoft Access. Glazier was purchased by Advantage e-Commerce in 1999.
  10. 10. decade {1.0}6 Our monthly salary bill just passed $2.5 million. A person once told me, “When your monthly salary bill exceeds the value of your house, you should give up worrying. If it goes bad, you’ll be so far gone it doesn’t matter anymore.” But it doesn’t stop you from having a strong sense of responsibility and pride. A professional services business like ours will always have its challenges. I used to think, “One day, when we get bigger, things will be easier. We’ll have enough people to do the work and a much steadier flow of work to keep everyone busy.” I’ve learned that it is just not the case. As we’ve grown, we’ve grown by taking on more clients, more projects and more staff. The result is more people, more projects and a bigger challenge to match them together. When you’re reflecting on the last 10 years, when did you know Intergen was big? Sometime in 2006, I realised that I could no longer run all the finances myself. It was a pretty big call, as I had done them all since we started Glazier. We hired Murray Newman, and he started after Labour Weekend in 2006, when we had about 100 staff. Up until then I was still doing everything. We’d just got Therese Lloyd in to do accounts payable and Liz Fauatea was doing accounts receivable. I did all the monthly accounts and payroll. I authorised all payments and had two logons so I could do this by myself (don’t tell the bank) – and no one else could do it. If I wasn’t at work on a payday no one could get paid and there was no one else who knew how to do the payroll. It was pretty risky stuff. Before Murray I used to get up in the morning and when I was having breakfast, I’d log on, get the bank statement and enter all the receipts. That way I’d get the job out of the way before I got to work. I wrote all our accounting and payroll systems and wrote new features as the business got bigger and we needed more functionality. Before Murray I knew the bank balance every day. I didn’t need to do cashflow forecasts because it was all in my head. I had to time my holidays so that they weren’t near billing or payroll, and I couldn’t take more than two weeks’ holiday at a time or I’d run into billing or payroll periods. That was just the way it was. It’s a lot better now. Everything is much more robust. We are protected from any single point of failure and have proper industry standard solutions (even if I do keep saying that they have less flexibility than the ones I wrote!). We have a really great leadership team who are all focused on driving the business forward. I feel really confident that we have what it takes to break through to the next level. What obstacles have there been along the way? A major event for me personally in the last 10 years was being diagnosed with Guillain–Barré Syndrome (GBS), an auto immune disease which attacks the Mylar coating on your nerves. This results in signal loss and sometimes even full paralysis. Intergen had been in business for a year when it happened. I kept going for four months not knowing what was happening. The feeling I had all the time was like the feeling of exhaustion you get after a long running race when you reach the finish line. I’d have to get my wife Andrea to do up my buttons and tie my shoelaces because I couldn’t move my fingers. On my drive down Ngauranga Gorge to work each day, in the traffic, I had to take my car out of gear because I couldn’t hold my foot on the clutch pedal. I’m not sure what would have happened if I had to brake suddenly! I’d walk across the office to see someone and have to sit down when I got to their desk because I was exhausted from the long walk. When I got home from work every day I had to go to bed straight away. I didn’t even have the strength to pick up my two year-old.
  11. 11. decade {1.0} 7 I finally got to see the specialist the day I was due to catch a plane to Los Angeles for my first Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. He told us what he thought it was but referred me to another specialist. I still caught the plane, much to the fright of Andrea, who stayed home Googling the condition while I was away. When I finally got to see the right specialist and got a confirmed diagnosis, they decided that I needed to go on week- long course of intravenous immunoglobulin. I went to work in the morning then to the hospital each afternoon. And after a while it got better. So the early days came with their challenges. Why do you do it? Because I can’t resign – I tried and failed! Seriously, though, I enjoy working with smart, enthusiastic and successful people. I get a buzz out of the projects we do and the impact we have on our clients. I like challenges and I like to win. There are plenty of things that happen that make you wonder why you keep doing it, but at the end of the day you just face the challenge, fix the problem and move on. And when you know you’ve done something great, especially if no one else could have done it better, then you get a great sense of satisfaction. What have been our greatest achievements over the past 10 years? I guess I would look at our achievements in terms of the opportunities we have taken advantage of and the good decisions we have made, like: • The purchase of e-Centric – this was a really successful acquisition (and brought with it Lee Herd, Laurie Hogg and Eliza Hyde), and we still have some original e-Centric customers with us to this day. • Getting Chris Auld on board with the acquisition of Kognition. • The decision to go with EPiServer – this was something we could easily have missed. • Talking to Microsoft about their ERP software and making a play to get in this space, acquiring Interfusion in 2005, and then bringing on Simon Bright and his team in 2008. Now this area of the business represents nearly one third of our revenue. A lot of other companies missed the boat in this space, but we didn’t. How do you see the next 10 years? I think that the idea of the cloud (or at least the ideas that are being labelled “the cloud”) will continue to grow. We will need to position ourselves accordingly on the back of that and work out how we want to position our business on top of the cloud and do something else (e.g. move down into the infrastructure management space). What you might not know about Tony… An accountant by trade (with shades of the frustrated old-school developer who’d happily return to the world of code if only he knew how), Tony is a keen motorsports enthusiast and car racer AND a long-time cake decorator.
  12. 12. decade {1.0}8 People often think that we fall into new business directions accidentally. We may be opportunistic, but we’re not accidental. I see Intergen Australia growing as big as Intergen New Zealand (in numbers rather than market share). If you consider that typically we’ve grown at 30% per year, this means we double in size every three years. So, following this equation, in 10 years’ time we’ll be a $264 million company with more than 1500 staff. What impact has Intergen made on the New Zealand market in the last 10 years? We’ve had a lot of organisations watching what we’ve been doing and have led the way in a number of areas. It’s things like our involvement in TechEd and our involvement in Hands on Labs, and our yellow shirts… We’ve put some colour into the industry. I also think that the way we engage with Microsoft has helped more organisations engage in a positive way with them. We’ve built some really neat systems and have had a positive impact. We’ve sponsored user groups and training. We’ve had a MSDN Regional Director on staff since we started (Rod Drury, Ian Morrish, Jeremy Boyd and now Chris). We’ve put a lot back into the developer community, and we’ve had a lot of staff who have gone on to do great things. At an individual level, what is the greatest thing that Intergen represents for you? The things I’m most proud of are the people that we’ve got and that we’ve had, and the positive influence that we’ve had on their careers. It’s really important to have a successful business, but at the end of the day I can’t see the point in any of it unless you care about the people in the business. I still get upset every time someone leaves, even if I don’t personally know them. It especially upsets me if they’re not leaving for a better opportunity. What gets you out of bed in the morning? I have a great sense of pride in Intergen. Glazier/Intergen represents two thirds of my working life and yellow has become my favourite colour. For me there is only one way to go, and that’s up. What gets me out of bed in the morning is the challenge to help keep Intergen moving forward. Sometimes it’s tough, sometimes it’s challenging, but I work with such great people that there is always a resolution. I am always very proud of the fact that we always think there is a better way and we are always striving to improve. I think everyone genuinely wants Intergen to be the best.
  13. 13. decade {1.0} 9 SimonSmith|Ajay Khanna|KeriClimo|BryceScanlen|Peter Golconda|NiamhMcManus|CeliaBlack|ThomasReil|Jeremy Glubb|SarahEpps|SueQuigley|HamishDobson|GavinBarron|Sjefvan Gaalen|SimonBaker|RobertStewart|BryceTelford|RichardBrown|GlennConner|Mark Ginnever|JeffreyHarris|KatySweetman|AdrienneYap|DaveWallis|MattScrafton|Rosie Rear|JasonMcBratney|StevenHiggan|MarkWaller|SethVeale|RobertReese|SimonGardiner|Chris Auld|DebAuld|RonKim|AlasdairMitchell|JohannesPrinz|TonySinclair|RobinDoddridge|Lloyd O’Keefe|TraceyLennon|GabriellePilgrim|AaronSinclair|AngelaKnight|PeterMcClymont|Andrew Watson|DaveKeyes|TimHowell|JianSun|SteveChappel|ShannonWilliams|NathanWatson|John Murdoch|JacquiSun|BenCarmichael|JessicaNickelsen|JuniorEse|ScottJackson|HarryBarton|Carl Hickton|RyanHolguin|StuartHolley|SimonOvens|ChrisWest|PieterJansenvanVuuren|SaisaiWright|Christina Gillmore|DavidClayton|TommyOlesen|MartinHolman|CliveVermeulen|MartinJohnston|KirkFitzpatrick|Stephanie 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Slagter|ElizaHyde|JoeNewton|Simon Brierley|MurrayNewman|BaroonAnand TenYearsofStaffatIntergen...
  14. 14. decade {1.0}10 June 2001: Intergen was born in Wellington. September 13, 2001: The Intergen brand was officially launched, marked by Intergen’s first yellow knees-up. And while the mood was sombre in the shadow of 911, Intergen’s founders, staff and friends still managed to gather together to paint their corner of the town the appropriate shade of yellow (Pantone 109, to be precise). The Intergen Launch
  15. 15. 2001“2001 was an interesting year for us. We had 38 people, times were hard in the IT world with the Dot Com bubble bursting, and some people went their different ways. When we started Intergen we had enough money to last us for three months. When the money ran down we made what I think is a culturally significant decision. Being a people-focused company, we decided to consult with and talk to our people about it, rather than making redundancies. We needed to do something for the sake of all of us, and decided on everyone taking a 10% pay cut. And apart from one or two people who went their own way at this point, everyone stayed. This sent a really strong signal that we were all in it together.” Paddy Payne – Director 38 STAFF * THE PC TURNS 20 * BLACKBERRY RELEASES FIRST INTERNET CELL PHONE * WIKIPEDIA IS FOUNDED * USB 2 INTRODUCED * HP PURCHASES COMPAQ * IPOD RELEASED * INTERGEN FORMED * INTERGEN PROJECTS SHOWCASED AT NEWZEALAND.NETLAUNCH*WINDOWSXPLAUNCHED DOT COM CRASH UNDERWAY * INTERGEN ACHIEVES MICROSOFT CERTIFIED GOLD PARTNER STATUS * MICROSOFT’SFIRSTVERSIONOFSHAREPOINTLAUNCHES
  16. 16. decade {1.0}12 In 2001 the average age of Intergenites was 30, with an age range spanning four decades. In 2011 the average age of Intergenites is 34, with an age range spanning six decades. Intergen has had a presence in Australia since 2004. Martin Johnston (right) represented Intergen in Sydney from 2004 to 2010 and Ben Bishop (left) represented Intergen in Perth from 2007, joining the full Intergen Perth team in 2010.
  17. 17. decade {1.0} 13 The Importance of Partnerships Over the years Intergen’s key partnerships have played a vital role in us delivering the very best of breed solutions to our customers. From local partners just a stone’s throw away to as far afield as Sweden, the Intergen partner ecosystem is alive and well. The beginning of the EPiServer/Intergen relationship went something like this… “Mike, I got a call from a company in New Zealand. I told them we don’t have an office there and therefore we don’t do any business in the region.” “Are you mad? I would love to do business there. Give me their number – I’ll call them myself!” After many Skype calls and about a zillion emails, we were ready to have a meeting with our first potential New Zealand customer. I bought a cheap plane ticket with leg space that would have been illegal in most countries, folded my bad knee inwards to avoid any accidents with service carts and went the long (long) way to Wellington. I remember the yellow invitation to the launch of EPiServer in New Zealand. It said something like “What’s as cool as Absolut, as reliable as a Volvo and as chic as ABBA?” And the invitation even went out in Swedish, with the English version following the next day. Approximately 800 staff have worked at Intergen. I have since sold EPiServer but I can still from time to time remember the years when everything was possible and the world was uncharted. And winning the EPiServer International Partner Award was recognition of the professional spirit surrounding Intergen. Intergen was my favourite EPiServer partner. I don’t really know exactly why, but the kiwis have a mindset similar to ours and an “anything is possible” attitude. Congratulations to Intergen decade {1.0}!” Mikael Runhem – Founder, EPiServer AB.
  18. 18. decade {1.0}14 Intergen has taken serious swathes of yellow to the crowds and surprised the eyes of many an unsuspecting delegate at hundreds of tech and business events over the last decade. From Microsoft’s much anticipated TechEd to the total web immersion that is the Webstock experience, from to GOVIS to ALGIM (and with many more conferences in between each year), we’ve kept the IT beat and web scene colourful. And, adding up a decade’s worth of Intergen’s Twilight seminars and Intergen’s own ever-popular Dynamics Days and THINK events, we’ve hosted more than 300 free events since we set out in the world. 10 Years of Intergen Events
  19. 19. 2002“2002 was the year that pure bespoke development started to give way to implementation and customisation of products. Where we would have previously developed portals and intranets from scratch we are now building on the features providing by Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server and Microsoft Content Management Server.” Tony Stewart, SMARTS 2, 2002 PAYPAL ACQUIRED BY EBAY * APPROXIMATELY 1 BILLION PCS SHIPPED SINCE 1970S * CAMERA PHONES INTRODUCED TO THE NORTH AMERICAN MARKETPLACE
  20. 20. decade {1.0}16 We first started Glazier Systems in Tony’s dining room table many, many, years ago. Little did we know then how many jobs would be created and new companies would flow out of the network. Our core values were professionalism and individual responsibility. But laughs were never far away. When I see people from Intergen now I know that they are the very best. Congratulations on building a world class business and culture. Rod Drury – CEO, Xero (Glazier Systems & Advantage Group 1995–2001).
  21. 21. decade {1.0} 17 The Auckland Story AS TOLD BY SHAUN DONAGHEY, EX REGIONAL MANAGER – NORTHERN (2002 – 2010) Intergen Auckland was born in May 2002. I’d been keeping an eye on Intergen and sent Tony Stewart an email to see what plans he, Wayne and Paddy had for the Auckland market. I thought they might be interested in expanding out of Wellington and – as it turns out – they were. For a while there the Auckland office was just me, a laptop and a dial-up connection. Then Paul Quirk (now Microsoft New Zealand) joined us from Wellington and our headcount doubled overnight. In those early days, with the Intergen brand virtually unknown in the Auckland market, we pounded the pavement pretty hard, talking to anyone who would listen to us. I spent so much time in at Microsoft’s offices that Annie, the receptionist, would joke about reserving me a carpark. Our first milestone client and project was the Shared Valuation Data System (SVDS) for Environment Waikato, and we had to win the work before hiring the staff. In recent years our key cornerstone project has been Vulcan Steel. SVDS was really the catalyst for growth for us, and we’ve never looked back. We ramped up our project manager and developer capacity and in 2003 went through our first relocation to accommodate this growth. When we underwent relocation number three in 2008 we didn’t have to go far – we took over the same floor of the same building (we’d been in a space not much bigger than a cupboard) as well as securing naming rights to the building. With more than 50 staff on board in Auckland now, there have been lots of highlights (and some lowlights) along the way, from our first presence at TechEd in 2002, to being named finalists in the Auckland Business Excellence Awards in 2004. We’ve had births, deaths (just one) and marriages – you name it, the Auckland office has done it. We’ve had a lot of firsts and broken our way into the Auckland market When I look back on the history of the Auckland office, the first thing I think of is the great people. I think about how fast everything was back in the days when we were getting established. It was like a start-up, and those were probably the most satisfying years for me, all-nighters and all. I look at Intergen Auckland now and it’s sustainable; we’ve really built something. Intergen’s Northern region has critical mass and has a life of its own. I remember Tony saying when he visited all Intergen’s offices he wanted to feel they were all part of the same company. And there’s no doubt that Auckland office is truly representative of Intergen as a whole, not just in terms of delivery but from a cultural perspective as well. Shaun at TechEd.The Auckland office relishes the opportunity to display some impressive geek chic.
  22. 22. decade {1.0}18 Intergenites seem to love letting off steam on the sports field almost as much as they love tinkering with technology, and Intergen has long encouraged these bouts of oxygen to the brain, helping to fund sports teams and individual sporting endeavours. From the dragon boats on Wellington Harbour to the ski fields of Japan, the Intergen sporting attire has made its mark. And if you’ve ever picked up on a strong Intergen motorsports theme over the years, you’re not imagining it. There’s just something about geeks and petrolheads. Not to mention Intergen’s esteemed leader’s passion for racing (if Tony’s not at work you’ll probably find him – or his children – on the track). 10 Years of Sporting Intergenites
  23. 23. “We find ourselves in a different market to that of the past two years. Organisations are once again investing in information systems. In contrast to Y2K and the Dot Com boom, information systems investments are now being made in the name of efficiency. E-Commerce is alive and well!” Tony Stewart, SMARTS 5, 2003 FIRST INTERGENITE ACHIEVES MSDN REGIONAL DIRECTOR STATUS (AND WE’VE HAD ONE EVER SINCE) * MICROSOFT CRM RELEASED * THE INTERNET UNOFFICIALLY CELEBRATES ITS 20TH BIRTHDAY * GOOGLE CLAIMS A SEARCHABLE DATABASE OF 3.6 MILLION WEB PAGES * CHRISTCHURCH OFFICE OPENED BY TIM MOLE AND BRYCE SAUNDERS 2003
  24. 24. decade {1.0}20 I treasure the special connection I have with your very bright yellow brand, and all you talented Intergenites that I have worked with over the years. My journey began during those hairy Advantage days. Then I bit my nails with you during the cliff-hanging transition to Intergen, and now am most honoured to help out whenever you guys ask me to do that PowerPoint jig. The Intergen alumni has a strong sense of accomplishment in having been part of building the foundations of that highly successful talent engine – which Intergen has become. I also have a very strong feeling that you guys are going make a positive difference to the planet, in more than just growth terms. Go yellow! Or should that be green? Mark Fowler – Director, Global Foresight (Advantage Group, 2000 – 2001, and Intergen ‘tenant’ until December 2004).
  25. 25. decade {1.0} 21 10 Years and 25 Editions of Smarts Intergen’s 25 issues of SMARTS, the Intelligent Business magazine, span a decade of technology change and thought leadership. They also capture 10 years’ of Intergenites in their work habitats… and at play. And if scanning through all 25 issues of SMARTS can teach us anything, it’s that while things may change at pace in the world of technology, just as much stays the same. The technologies themselves may evolve but the underlying need to provide Intelligent Business through the application of technology remains unchanged.
  26. 26. decade {1.0}22 Interview PADDY PAYNE – DIRECTOR What does 10 years mean to you? The last 10 years have been an exciting ride. It’s been a rollercoaster ride at times – some times have been fantastic and some have not been so great. Sometimes we’ve been upbeat and optimistic and sometimes we’ve been doom and gloom. Over the past 10 years Tony has had to carry the weight and responsibility of the business. I don’t really think about that kind of thing, so I don’t have that burden. I’m a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. A lot of life is out of control and worrying won’t help that; you’ve just got to do the best you can to keep going and deal with what comes when it happens. What have our greatest achievements been over that time? I think our biggest achievement has been our growth, and retaining more of the culture and values than I thought we’d be able to with the amount of growth that we’ve gone through. To have been able to have retained the essence and the heart of Intergen is awesome. And it’s not down to the directors; it’s down to everyone who has ever joined us and contributed a bit of themselves over the years. Of any organisation I’ve seen, we’ve employed a far greater proportion of quality people in terms of our hiring decisions. And as we grow bigger and don’t know everyone in the organisation, it’s really important to be able to trust these hiring decisions. How do you see the next 10 years? Our growth will carry on. We can’t not grow. Growth has become part of our DNA. One of our bumpy patches happened when we reached a point where a lot of people liked the size, scale and feel of a 60–100-person organisation. There was a lot of resistance to this continued growth, and quite a few people voted with their feet, going on to smaller organisations and start-ups. We’ve gone past that now. Now people join Intergen because we’re big and established. Back then, people wanted to be part of a hot, small company. We aspire to grow the business to be able to provide more opportunities for people and to deliver more value to 1) our stakeholders, 2) our clients (offering and delivering more in terms of depth and breadth) and 3) our shareholders (growing the value of the company from their perspective). All three stand to benefit significantly from this growth. I’ll be 60 next year, so the chances are I won’t be working here in four or five years’ time. I hope to make a graceful exit and still be part of the Intergen family for years to come. In the next 10 years we will become a truly global company, with strong Australian growth. We’ll also grow the work we do for Microsoft, which has been a key differentiator for us in New Zealand and the wider market as well. What you might not know about Paddy… Giver of the infamous “man hug”, Paddy is a man of mystery, intrigue and colourful attire. He has hung out with Audrey Hepburn, Sir Peter Ustinov, Roger Moore and Sir Richard Attenborough, loves making and flying kites, and used to make his own tofu. And being the sort of Microsoft advocate you’d expect an Intergen director to be, Paddy has visited every state in the US except for Washington (where Microsoft is headquartered).
  27. 27. decade {1.0} 23 What impact has Intergen had on the New Zealand market? We do have a phenomenal reputation as the go-to organisation for all things Microsoft. I think our ability to deliver value and really successful projects for clients has stood us in good stead. And this has improved enormously over the years. This has come about through putting more process around things, like reviewing our solutions and taking more care in pitching. We have contributed significantly to the marketplace by providing a really good training ground for people. Our focus on providing top quality Microsoft solutions has rippled out into the IT community and had an impact on other organisations where Intergenites or our partners have gone on to work. I believe people can make a better contribution to the overall IT marketplace because of the time they have spent here. On an individual level, what’s the greatest thing that Intergen represents for you? Being able to succeed in business without being hard-nosed, doing business in a fun and cooperative way. To be able to do it without losing sight of the culture and be nice people to work with and for. So many organisations lose that when they grow. I still think Intergen is the best company I have ever worked for – by several orders of magnitude. The thing I love is that as a company we’re always wanting to do better. We’re never satisfied by the last job we did. We’re always critiquing, looking to do better, keeping a mentality of always getting better at things – not just cranking the handle, but doing it better every time you do it. It’s a defining characteristic of Intergenites and the organisation on the whole. What gets you out of bed in the morning? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! I love the people I work with. I love the clients I work with. I love everyone. I can’t help it – it’s all about the love for me. I get to work with smart people on projects that make a difference using cool new technologies. I get to help people and to do my bit in making the world a better place. What are some of the biggest challenges Intergen has faced over the past 10 years? One of the biggest challenges has been retaining the Intergen culture and not becoming too bureaucratic and corporate as we’ve grown. The bigger you get, the more process you need and the more effective you need to be; but at the same time this all needs to be done in a human way. We’ve had our rocky moments. At times the pendulum has swung too far and we’ve been too black and white in our thinking. But we’ve been more successful – particularly in holding onto the things that make us unique – than I ever thought we would be. And I’m more confident now than ever that we’ll be able to hold onto our cultural values. Highlights? A highlight for me has been watching Intergen mature. We’ve grown from being a little kid to a mature, sensible adult. Along the way we’ve had our turbulent and spotty adolescent times and now we’re a respectable, socially conscious and responsible corporate citizen. But of course there’s still a lot more for us to do. And the fact that the founders are all still together is another highlight. We all work in our own little spheres but have trust and confidence in each other and know that everything is moving in the right direction.
  28. 28. decade {1.0}24 The Intergen BHAG in action – 10 years of making a difference Intergen’s founders had high hopes and big aspirations for Intergen, and one goal in particular rang truer and more urgent than the rest. Work shouldn’t be about blood, sweat and tears or Monday morning dread. It shouldn’t be about surrendering yourself to a faceless empire and losing the best part of your working years to the man. Work needed to be fun and to have meaning. It needed to make a difference. And so the Big Hairy Audacious Goal (aka the BHAG) was born. It was a mission statement of sorts, a modus operandi for all projects, big and little. Everyone, every day is touched positively by the things we do. 10 years on, the BHAG is as relevant as it ever was. In the space of a decade, the number of projects we 2001 Community Funding goes online Manual processing of thousands of applications for millions of dollars’ worth of funding every year becomes a thing of the past when the Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGS) goes online. “COGS Online has brought us nearer to communities – virtually as well as physically.” Donald Shand, Department of Internal Affairs 2008 The NZI Sevens website takes the party to the web, helping guarantee sell-out crowds “We want to constantly extend our interactions with fans, so we need to be fresh and innovative all the time. Intergen steps up to the challenge each year – they’re willing to give it their best shot each time, coming up with creative elements that add a new dimension to the site, so fans see and experience something new.” Steve Walters, General Manager, New Zealand Ruby Union 2002 Local Government goes online Wanting to help councils achieve real online interaction with the public and raise the bar in the web space, the Community On Line web project created a toolkit for councils across New Zealand, using a model that allowed for sharing and re-use. 2008 carboNZero takes its E-Manage greenhouse emissions management tool to the world (2008) “To take us forward we engaged Intergen to design the most effective and appropriate solution possible using integrated Microsoft technologies that would allow us to bring carboNZero to a diverse audience worldwide.” Mike Tournier, Business Manager, carboNZero 2003 The Maori Language Commission gets an automated language translation tool A Microsoft Innovation Centre initiative to create an innovative CMS 2002 solution to provide an email-driven multi-lingual workflow engine translating all English content into Maori. 2009 ButtercupReader shows how rich internet applications can remove accessibility barriers, making digital accessible information systems – “talking books” – freely available within the browser using Silverlight “ButterCup’s design is exciting and intuitive to use. Intergen has done really clever things with all the interactive design interfaces and the result is a really sharp, well- designed experience. The key to it all is that it’s absolutely accessible – it can be there, ready to go on a web browser, with no special applications or expense required.” Kevin Prince, Adaptive Technology Services Manager, Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind 2003 The Correspondence School creates an interactive online learning tool – the first of its kind – to allow collaboration and flexibility for 20,000 students A mini website built with CMS 2002, giving students an unprecedented ‘live’ learning experience. 2009 The Department of Internal Affairs makes searching for historical births, deaths and marriages a simple matter of going online 11 million births, deaths, marriages and civil union records dating back to 1848, and finding information could take days or weeks. When DIA got the green light to make the information online, they got Intergen on board to build an easy to use online search service. The 13,507 unique visitors to the site in its first 12 hours seemed to indicate that the service is a popular one!
  29. 29. decade {1.0} 25 2004 The State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme spreads the word with an all- new web presence “Our launch date was six weeks out, so we chose Intergen as they had a lot of public sector and e-govt requirements experience. They leveraged their existing CMS experience, shortening the development timeframe, giving us a flying start into the project.” Paul Parlane, State Services Commission 2010 The New Zealand Navy reaches potential recruits with a new Naval Display Unit, a bus that visits schools, job fairs and career days, and engages Intergen to make the experience engaging and interactive through the use Windows Presentation Foundation. “We needed a channel that was more interactive and engaging. Students expect to see and use technology. It’s part of who they are today.” Michael Hester, Project Manager, Royal New Zealand Navy 2005 Statistic New Zealand engages Intergen to automate the 2006 census for the first time “If it wasn’t for Intergen’s approach and professionalism we wouldn’t be where we are now, and certainly not ready for March 2006.” Gary Goddard, Project Manager, Field Data Services, Statistics New Zealand 2010 Spectrum Care sets a new standard for the disability sector, using CRM as a tool for its people (2010) “Our CRM system has helped us achieve our vision of providing bespoke, person-centred outcomes for the people we serve. Kudos to Intergen for taking the time to understand our business, seeing the big picture and then designing a solution that really matched what we were aiming to do.” Aaron Overington, IT Manager, Spectrum Care 2006 Department of Internal Affairs handles soaring rates rebate applications by bringing the process online From a paper-based system using Microsoft Access to a simple and intuitive electronic management system used by more than 73 councils. Six weeks in operation and 60,000 applications processed, totalling $17 million. 2011 The Charities Commission is the first New Zealand public sector organisation to make its information freely and dynamically available to the public online “This is seriously useful data. I hope that the new Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission will take the lead from Charities Commission NZ and facilitate access to their data in a similar way.” Lisa Harvey, Australian blogger 2007 The Modern Apprenticeships programme creates a website that entices youth to sign up for vocational training “To sum up how far we’ve come, I feel we’ve gained 100% control. The end result is funky, youthful and appealing and the site was turned around in a matter of weeks – on time and on budget.” Kate Clode, Team Leader, Tertiary Education Commission 2011 STAMP, the Subtitling Add-In for Microsoft PowerPoint, makes closed captions and audio files within PowerPoint a reality, making Microsoft Office more accessible and user friendly for those with hearing disabilities “We’re pretty passionate at Intergen about overall accessibility. One of the themes of the accessible applications that we build is that they should be amazing experiences. It’s not just making the accessible experience the lowest common denominator.” Chris Auld, Chief Technology Officer, Intergen Quick disclaimer time… This is just the very tip of the iceberg (constrained by time and space… and, okay, a little bit of information overload in the face of 10 years’ worth of project documentation) complete may have leapt off the scale, but our reasons for doing them have stayed exactly the same. Here’s a very abridged decade’s worth of BHAG-worthy highlights:
  30. 30. decade {1.0}26 Intergenites Being an Intergenite is about more than just being part of a working family… It has a way of extending well beyond the four walls of work, enveloping children and pets, family and friends. It’s as much about an attitude as it is about a colour… although, having said that, there’s definitely no shortage of yellow in the life of a trusty Intergenite.
  31. 31. “Our staff numbers now exceed 75 and we have established an office in Christchurch so we can better serve our South Island clients. Our Auckland office has moved in to larger premises in Takapuna that will provide us with a long term home.” Tony Stewart, SMARTS 7, 2004 INTERGEN’S OWN WEBSITE REDESIGNED AND LAUNCHED FOR THE FIRST TIME * INTERGEN SYDNEY PRESENCE LAUNCHED * INTERGEN FIRST EPISERVER PARTNER OUTSIDE EUROPE * MYSPACE, FLICKR AND FACEBOOK ALL LAUNCHED * ‘WEB 2.0’ AS A TERM ACCEPTED INTO THE MAINSTREAM 2004
  32. 32. decade {1.0}28 What an awesome company to have been involved with! I’d like to pay tribute to Tony Stewart, who has guided and grown this organisation from its very humble beginning. Intergen owes its stature to Tony’s outstanding leadership, and I’m sure all of us who have worked with and for Tony are more competent professionals for the experience. Well done Intergen. You are an enduring success story in New Zealand’s IT industry. Andrew Kissling – CEO, GetStaffed Ltd. (Glazier to Advantage, 1995 – 2000).
  33. 33. decade {1.0} 29 The Southern Story TIM MOLE, REGIONAL MANAGER – SOUTHERN The Christchurch office opened in September 2004. Before moving to Christchurch I’d been with Intergen back in the Glazier days, went on my OE and returned to Intergen’s Wellington office. In the early Christchurch days it was just Bryce Saunders and me and we were working in an office the size of a shoebox on Armagh Street. When Intergen acquired Interfusion we inherited Scruff (Richard Malloch), and we hired our first project manager in March 2006. The Dunedin office came into existence when Intergen acquired Kognition in 2007, and we employed our first office manager in December 2007. Before the first earthquake in September 2010, the Christchurch office had already moved four times. Since the second quake in February this year our Hereford Street building has been completely out of bounds, and we worked out of three Portacoms and a caravan while we wait to occupy our new premises in the Airport Business Park. As we hit the 10 year mark, the Southern Region has a team of 46 (38 in Christchurch and eight in Dunedin), with customers spread as far north as Nelson and as far south as Invercargill. In our first year we made $90,000, and in the financial year just been we turned over $5.3 million. When I think back on the most memorable events of the Christchurch era, the Christchurch Christmas party of 2006 stands out… It was Intergen’s most expensive Christmas party yet (costing more for 10 of us than the whole Wellington party cost that year). It resulted in very stern words from Tony and still gets talked about today. The Christchurch office is a laidback, family-oriented bunch. We don’t dress posh like the Aucklanders, for example, and we’re not quite as young and trendy as the Wellington team. The pace is slower here and we enjoy the southern lifestyle and the outdoors – the wide open space and being away from the rat race. When I look back on Intergen’s journey over the past 10 years I can see how much we’ve grown and matured, especially in the last two years. We’ve gone from being a local IT consultancy to a structured international organisation. We have so much more focus and we’re just starting to realise our potential. We have a super strong identity and a reputation that’s second to none. We’re better structured and organised now and we don’t have to put in so many late nights these days to get things done. Being part of the journey is more enjoyable now than it has ever been. Intergen takes on Dunedin in 2007. The Christchurch team celebrating Intergen’s first $3 Million Dollar Month in the old Hereford Street office.
  34. 34. decade {1.0}30 Interview WAYNE FORGESSON – DIRECTOR What does 10 years mean to you? In my mind, it means we’ve gone beyond the status of a recent arrival; we have substance in the market and ongoing recognition. We’ve been around for a while and people are aware of us simply because of this fact. We have plenty of stories of people who have worked for us and then gone away for a number of years and then come back. We haven’t changed the world in 10 years. What we’ve achieved has been the cumulative result of our past incarnations before Intergen, having spent a total of 15 years in the Microsoft world. Our BHAG has played a key role over the last decade, and there are numerous projects we could highlight to show how the solutions we build have a positive impact on the world around us (or, in the words of our Big Hairy Audacious Goal, how “everyone, every day, is touched positively by the things we do”); two examples that spring to mind are online motor vehicle licensing and the Births, Deaths and Marriages register. It’s great to be able to look back on the last 10 years and reflect on the projects we do that make a difference. It gives me warm fuzzies. What do you think Intergen’s greatest achievements have been over that time? Firstly: survival. We started in 2001 in the middle of a massive downturn and have just been through another one. We’ve come through both, although not entirely unscathed. I’m sure I didn’t have any grey hair before we started Intergen. Secondly: our growth. In 10 years we’ve gone from 38 to nearly 300 staff, with projected growth based on demand well beyond that. Thirdly: the number of people we’ve helped along in their careers. We’ve had approximately 10 graduates a year for 10 years and it has been important for us to give people the leg up, and give back to the community in this way. How do you see the next 10 years? Hopefully from my deck with a glass of fine wine! Seriously though, I see continued growth and a much greater Australian presence – in the medium term I see our Australian operations being of the same size as our New Zealand operations. There’s also a world of opportunity for us to grow our export revenue. In terms of the technology itself in the next 10 years, I see New Zealand continuing to lead in its use of technology, continuing to pioneer and do things either before or better than others due to our nimbleness and willingness to give things a go. I also see continued consolidation of the services market. What you might not know about Wayne… As well as holding Intergen’s brand reins and creating market demand for all things yellow, Wayne tends chickens and enjoys a glass (or two) of fine red wine. He parted ways with formal education at the end of high school and was a volunteer at the 1990 Commonwealth Games.
  35. 35. decade {1.0} 31 Over the last 10 years, what impact has Intergen had on the New Zealand market? We have helped promote and grow the use of Microsoft technologies in New Zealand and have been a major contributor in fostering the IT community, for example with our grads. We’ve also been a part of people going on to bigger, brighter and better things, for example the Mindscape founders, JB and JD, and the Aptimize figureheads, Ed and Derek. We’ve also made the IT world realise that yellow is a good thing – we’ve introduced the colour yellow to the black-t-shirt-loving geek world. On an individual level, what’s the greatest thing Intergen represents for you? It represents a family outside my actual family. Outside of my family, it’s everything I do. I take pride in our growth and our achievements. I don’t do it very much, but when I sit back and reflect, I see we’ve done some fantastic things. For me, Intergen is a combination of colleagues, friends and family. Being onstage at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington last year (to pick up our Country Partner of the Year Award) was also a huge highlight for me. Being able to wear my yellow shirt in front of 10,000 people was certainly a highpoint! What gets you out of bed in the morning? The ongoing challenges and the competitive drive to continue to succeed and to be at the forefront of what we do. It would be less exciting if we weren’t always growing and progressing towards the goals we continue to set. What have been some of the biggest challenges? Acknowledging that people are going to leave. Realising that no matter how close-knit Intergen is, people are still going to move on. We need to be supportive of this, but it is a challenge. A lot of the team that do leave do it reluctantly, which in itself goes some way to soften the blow of losing them. Another challenge has been continuing to grow our systems to keep pace with company growth. We’re completely different process-wise than we were 10 years ago, and we’ll be completely different again in 10 years’ time. What highlights and lowlights spring to mind? One highlight was definitely being on- stage in Washington, and also some of the public recognition we’ve received in the last three or four years. In terms of lowlights, personally I have learned the need to take regular holidays. At a business level, one of the lowlights is when we lose pitches that we really should have won and the client says to us, “I don’t know why we’re not working with you,” especially if (as often happens) we get called in later to fix up what wasn’t done correctly.
  36. 36. decade {1.0}32 Desktop Personalities
  37. 37. 2005“2005 was a year of strong growth for Intergen. Revenue was up by 25% and there is no sign that things will ease. There continues to be strong demand across all our offices and markets.” Tony Stewart, SMARTS 9, 2005 INTERGEN HITS 100 STAFF * INTERGEN ACQUIRES INTERFUSION AND BECOMES MICROSOFT DYNAMICS CAPABALE * YOUTUBE LAUNCHES * GOOGLE CLAIMS SEARCHABLE DATABASE OF 8.2 BILLION WEB PAGES
  38. 38. decade {1.0}34 Thinking of my time at Intergen evokes the memories of a passionate team and the journeys spent building awesome software, the challenging and diverse work mixed with the amusement of the Brookes awards and man-hugs from Paddy. All of this helped spur me on to new heights. Jeremy Boyd, Co-founder, Mindscape (Advantage to Intergen, 2000 – 2007). I count many Intergenites amongst my best friends today. Seeing the success of Intergen from the inside only spurred me on to do my own thing. I can’t imagine how different my life would have been without my years at Intergen. I continue to watch Intergen grow and I look forward to seeing how far they go in the next 10 years. John-Daniel Trask, Co-founder, Mindscape (Intergen, 2004 – 2007).
  39. 39. decade {1.0} 35 “I do recall the very constructive relationship that developed between Intergen and Microsoft in those early days – it was a great example of how an organisation that focused explicitly on the skill, depth and quality of its people could add real value to an international organisation like Microsoft. Intergen was a great example of what “value-add” really meant.” Geoff Lawrie, ex-Microsoft New Zealand Managing Director, 1996 – 2001. “Congratulations to the Intergen team for a decade of delivering quality .NET innovation and services. You’re an exemplary Kiwi hi-tech company and I wish you all the best for another stellar 10 years of excellent service and growth in your business.” Ross Peat, ex-Microsoft New Zealand Managing Director 2002 – 2006. Think Microsoft, think Intergen “Partnering is defined by reciprocity and trust. These, amongst their many other fine qualities make Intergen stand out as a true partner. I consider many of the team in yellow my friends and would rush to the front of the line if there was an opportunity to support them.” Kevin Ackhurst, ex-Microsoft New Zealand Managing Director 2007 – 2010. “Intergen has been a valued member of the Microsoft Partner Network since their inception in 2001. Their specialisation and deep engagement have contributed to a number of collaborations with Microsoft and are testament to Intergen’s expertise. As a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, Intergen has the knowledge, skills and commitment to assist organisations in strengthening their capabilities, help serve customers better and be part of a community that sparks innovation.” Paul Muckleston, Microsoft New Zealand Managing Director 2010 – Present. Since Intergen’s earliest days, the Intergen-Microsoft relationship has sat squarely at the heart of everything Intergen has done and continues to do so. Intergen does well when Microsoft does well is a familiar mantra amongst Intergen’s strategists, and one that has held true for more than a decade, as relevant today as it was on day one.
  40. 40. decade {1.0}36 Intergen is proud to have clung onto a handful of relics that have survived the ravages of a decade. For one: Tony Stewart’s timesheeting system, Pracman, lovingly crafted in Access by his own hands and tenderly nurtured to this day. But most of these “relics” are in fact the people who have been part of the journey since day one. Not including directors, our 10-year stalwarts are: Dave Brown, Karen Young, Mark Delaney, Liz Lei (now Fauatea), Fulton Hargreaves, Mark Trotter, Barry Spriggs, Damon Coursey. Here’s what some of these very loyal subjects had to say about their journey with Intergen thus far. MARK TROTTER What strikes you as different about working for Intergen? It’s one of those places you don’t mind getting up in the morning and going to work at. There’s a new challenge every day across the variety of projects we do. I think the best thing though is the real tough stuff I’ve had the chance to do. Why are you still here after 10 years? What keeps you here? After 12 years working with these guys – that’s a very good question! I’ve had the unique opportunity to progress from a grad doing Microsoft Access development, through to project management and then into a sales role, accepting more responsibility with each progression. Each stage had its own challenges, and combined with the Intergen culture (where I’ve made a number of lifelong friends and had some crazy adventures – infamous Social Club Weekends, the very random Twizel hotel incident with our resident retiree Andrew Jamieson, and my failed attempt at an O.E… which are all folklore now) just make me keep coming back for more. The opportunities and trust (or shall we say a certain amount of rope to hang myself with) that have been given to me by Tony, Wayne and Paddy I believe wouldn’t have been afforded to me elsewhere. I’m sure they’ve wanted to bury their heads in their hands at some of the stuff I’ve done along the way, but it all seems to have worked out in the end! Fondest/weirdest/most memorable memories? Social Club weekends away, client Christmas parties, the Beer Tasting Crew, Paddy’s man hugs, being able to work with like- minded car enthusiasts – there’s so much to talk about. One particular early memory is the whole company banding together and taking a 10% pay cut for six months in 2001 while we battled through the post-September 11 period and the Dot Com flop. That’s the family environment Intergen created at its best – you just wouldn’t get that anywhere else. Everyone shared the dream and wanted it to work. But I’m pretty sure it was one of Tony’s worst moments having to tell us all at the Friday meeting. What’s changed about Intergen over the past 10 years? What’s stayed the same? What’s changed… The take-off of the Internet, the movement to product-based Microsoft platforms from purely bespoke .NET development, and we’ve moved with the times across all of it. And now here comes the cloud! What’s the same… I can still walk up to Tony’s desk and bend his ear on something. There have never been any barriers. Chewing the fat with Intergen’s old-timers
  41. 41. decade {1.0} 37 Where do you see Intergen in another 10 years? I see consolidation of the brand in New Zealand, and huge growth in Australia, rivalling if not surpassing our presence in New Zealand. And I might be still here at year 20 as the cleaner or something. DAMON COURSEY What keeps you here after 10 years? Working is a large part of your life, so if you find somewhere you enjoy coming to each day you should stick with it! The diversity of products and technologies we get to work with and being on the ‘bleeding edge’ means that things are different from one year to the next. Fondest/weirdest/most memorable memories? Mark Fowler winning the Brookes award for locking himself out of his hotel room at night... naked. Planning and moving the Data Centre from the old Intergen offices to the new ones (all moved in about a 30-hour period over New Year’s Eve!). What’s changed about Intergen over the past 10 years? What’s stayed the same? In the ‘old days’ you knew who everyone was and you saw them all almost every day. Nowadays it’s a struggle to keep up with all the new faces. Intergen’s core values have remained unchanged over the years and I think this is a large driver for the culture staying strong. MARK DELANEY What strikes you as different about working for Intergen? Yellow! Since their inception in 2001, our brand values have been tried, tested and still stand true today. Why are you still here after 10 years? What keeps you here? Yellow! After 10 years of working as a user experience design consultant, I’ve had the opportunity to experience how the other half live. I like my patch of grass better. Fondest/weirdest/most memorable memories? Yellow! I will always have fond (if somewhat hazy) recollections of the early Intergen weekends away (Taupo, Turangi, Napier), Mark Fowler’s crazy animated PowerPoint presentations, and Eamon O’Rourke’s fascination with some guy called Reginald Futtock and the name Barry, The Mark Trotter mysterious broken hand incident and the Friday meeting. What’s changed about Intergen over the past 10 years? What’s stayed the same? Yellow! It’s still the same Pantone colour but now more than 280 people bask in the yellow glow. Where do you see Intergen in another 10 years? Still yellow! And still doing more good work for more good people.
  42. 42. decade {1.0}38 LIZ FAUATEA What strikes you as different about working for Intergen? Intergen has always had a really strong emphasis on personal development and people doing well at whatever it is they want to do. There have been and continue to be some amazing people working here, and many who have left have gone onto fantastic opportunities either here or overseas. Why are you still here after 10 years? What keeps you here? Intergen has a really great working environment with awesome people. It is great working for an organisation that excels at being ahead of everyone else in the game. Although I still don’t understand the tech talk, it’s really great to have seen the changes in technology over the past 10 years and see Intergen leading the way in New Zealand and now Australia. Fondest/weirdest/most memorable memories? I still have quite a vivid memory of the staff meeting Tony called to tell Advantage E-Commerce staff that he, Paddy and Wayne were planning on buying the Wellington business from Advantage and offering staff the opportunity to invest in the new business. There was relief for a lot of people, I think, and people were excited by what was to come. The atmosphere in the office changed overnight from gloomy to “Yeah, let’s get on with-it.” We got off to a bumpy start with the downturn at the time, topped off by 911 and the uncertainty that brought, but it has been an awesome journey. Tony, Paddy and Wayne are an awesome team. The memory I still chuckle at every now and then is of Trotter and AJ being mistaken as bed friends when they checked into a Tekapo hotel together back in 2002. They were there working with a client. My weirdest memory is probably Paddy dressed as Bad Jelly the Witch one Friday October 31. (Fortunately he did get changed afterwards to go to a client visit.) What’s changed about Intergen over the past 10 years? What’s stayed the same? Intergen is still a fun place with exciting, clever people. As we have grown bigger we have had to have more processes and more structure in order to support the growth, but fundamentally it is still the same place it was 10 years ago, just bigger and with a lot more clever people. Where do you see Intergen in another 10 years? In 10 years I expect Intergen will be a dominant player in Australia and have offices and staff at other overseas locations. BARRY SPRIGGS In my time with Intergen… The biggest difference I see between Intergen now and then is the size – I used to know everyone and what everyone was working on. I’m still here 10 years on because of the people. My best memories are of the yearly weekends away in the early days. Where do I see Intergen in another 10 years? I predict worldwide domination!
  43. 43. decade {1.0} 39 FULTON HARGREAVES What strikes you as different about working for Intergen? Intergen has a culture of adapting quickly to market trends. Intergen has recognised the value, put a lot of effort into and had a close relationship with the Microsoft staff in the Auckland and Wellington regions, and this has enabled us to continue to adapt in line with a changing IT industry. Why are you still here after 10 years? What keeps you here? The people and type of work definitely inspire me. I really enjoy the various fun characters, and my role within Intergen. Over the years I have had the pleasure of working with some of the smartest people in the industry, working on leading edge technologies. With the constant enhancements to technology, who would want to move on from an environment that encourages early adoption, working with such a great bunch of like-minded go getters known industry-wide for leading the charge in the technology space? Fondest/weirdest/most memorable memories? Fondest moments… There have been a few, however the best would have to be when we celebrate specific milestones, achievements, and social nights – that’s when you get to see the characters within Intergen come out to play. The Intergen social events are certainly a highlight. Specific mention needs to go to the Intergen Christmas parties and social activities; a lot of effort, planning and logistics have gone into creating themes where everyone dresses up to have a blast and recognise the achievements throughout the year. What’s changed about Intergen over the past 10 years? What’s stayed the same? A lot of personnel have come and gone over the years. We have also had various changes in structure and new service offerings that have been implemented to extend our capability which have contributed to where Intergen is today. Although some of the highly experienced staff and colourful characters that have inspired us along the way may have moved along to new and exciting challenges, Intergen continues to progress, grow and aspire to new heights as new personnel with equally interesting expertise, and equally colourful personalities, come on board. The main premise of how we do business has remained the same – having top of their field, experienced and smart people producing top quality, creative, leading edge solutions to resolve today’s business IT problems and having a lot of fun doing it. Where do you see Intergen in another 10 years? In my rear view mirror while pulling a wheelie! ….. Er, I mean while gracefully leaving the office to go to a client site. Bruce (our colourful character GM of Sales) thinks I should get a T-shirt saying “If you can read this I have lost my developer.” Seriously, I think Intergen has huge potential and always has. We are continually looking at ways to increase the footprint into the market place and with the strategic planning success seen so far from the management team, that old adage “past history dictates the future” sends a clear message that Intergen is “in it to win it” and will continue to do well. There has been a lot of change thus far and I am sure there will be significant change in the future; you just have to be adaptable and willing to be part of that.
  44. 44. decade {1.0}40 Our work with Microsoft Corporation
  45. 45. decade {1.0} 41 Life on the bleeding edge INTERGEN’S WORK WITH MICROSOFT CORPORATION It’s been said that if you’re not on the edge you’re taking up too much room. Maybe that’s why we like blazing trails with the newest and shiniest Microsoft technologies before anyone else has even remotely got their hands on them. In recent years, Microsoft Corporation has become one of our top customers. And in 2010 we established our first official on-the- ground presence in Redmond. There’s something about the tight deadlines, the Chinese walls and the adrenalised late nights; something about playing a central part in creating world-firsts; something about having the creative freedom to bring new technologies to life and show just what they’re capable of (often in front of crowds bigger than small New Zealand towns). Whatever the secret ingredient is… we can’t get enough of this stuff. And how many antipodean IT companies can say they’ve delivered their work right into the hands of Steve Ballmer? We’ve built keynote demos for Microsoft conferences around the world – from the Worldwide Partner Conference, to Convergence, Professional Developers Conference, MIX and TechEds far and wide. We’ve built developer training materials and delivered training from Bangalore to the States. We’ve helped Microsoft make its Office products more accessible with creations like ButtercupReader and STAMP. And along with the likes of TextGlow we’ve taken brand new rich internet applications and made them into useful tools, showing the world their potential. We’ve mixed and matched and pushed the envelope with the gamut of Microsoft technologies – SharePoint, Silverlight, Azure, Microsoft CRM and AX, to name just a few. At any given time, whole teams of Intergenites are hard at work, up against non-negotiable deadlines, breaking new ground, testing hitherto untouched limits, their lips firmly sealed until the moment of the big international reveal… The definition of a “Chris special”: a Microsoft-commissioned project that is high profile, top secret and due tomorrow (or not long after). Usually brought to the troops by Chris Auld himself, these projects are high in cool factor and big on kudos, giving people the chance to break new ground working with future Microsoft technologies.
  46. 46. decade {1.0}42 decade {1.0}42 26% of Intergen’s employees have been women, in an industry often dominated by men. Madeline Stewart (daughter of Tony Stewart) poses for an Intergen advertisment, 2008.
  47. 47. 2006“Our focus on 2007 Office System goes hand in hand with our acquisition of a Microsoft Dynamics NAV business and a growing number of Dynamics CRM implementations. There are great benefits in combining Intergen’s broad set of technical skills gained through the development of numerous bespoke solutions with an increasing amount of business- focused application implementation, configuration and customisation.” Tony Stewart, SMARTS 12, 2006 INTERGEN NAMED EPISERVER INTERNATIONAL PARTNER OF THE YEAR * INTERGEN WELLINGTON CROSSES THE ROAD TO ITS NEW OFFICE, AND THE NEW DATA CENTRE IS LAUNCHED ON NEW YEAR’S EVE 2006 * INTERGEN ACQUIRES ECENTRIC AND EMBARKS ON A JOINT VENTURE WITH FUSION5
  48. 48. decade {1.0}44 Intergen has a fundamentally unique approach to delivering innovative experiences through technology. Their deep technology expertise and flexibility in project management, have resulted in award-winning technology demonstrations of our latest CRM product. I’ve really appreciated their hands on approach to large multi-faceted projects as well as their incredible tenacity in turning around complex pieces of work in amazing time. Intergen has truly helped us develop a unique story and vision for how Microsoft as a company delivers business value in the cloud. Varun Krishna – Group Product Manager Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
  50. 50. decade {1.0}46 Intergen has had its share of public accolades and limelight over the years, but the best and brightest tributes have always been the awards given within our own ranks. We’ve recognised and rewarded a range of behaviours and achievements with weekly and annual awards. No notable blunder or act of abject stupidity goes unnoticed, and individual and team over-and-above efforts are lauded, too. From the Big Bucks awards for sales to the end of year IAFTAs, to the regular awards given based on customer feedback, there’s a chance for every Intergenite to shine (or to gain infamy Intergen-wide). 10 Years of Intergen Awards
  51. 51. 2007“We are very pleased to have the clients and staff of Kognition join us. They bring new capability in the areas of Mobility and Smart Client development and add strength to our innovation commitment. I am particularly happy to welcome Chris Auld as Director, Strategy and Innovation of Intergen.” Tony Stewart, SMARTS 13, 2007 SILVERLIGHT RELEASED * INTERGEN ACQUIRES KOGNITION AND A DUNEDIN OFFICE IS OPENED * NEW INTERGEN DATA CENTRE LAUNCHES * iPHONE LAUNCHES * KINDLE RELEASED * ACTIONTHIS LAUNCHES
  52. 52. decade {1.0}48 You might ask what makes a great company. My answer is that you need to balance the relationships between vision, fairness, management competence, and getting right that delicate mix of work space and home space. I see clearly that getting this mix right more often than not is what has made Intergen a large and successful company – and an over-sized contributor to the economy in New Zealand. Congratulations! Andrew Jamieson – Business Development, ASPEQ Limited (Glazier to Intergen, 1997 – 2004).
  53. 53. decade {1.0} 49 Interview CHRIS AULD – DIRECTOR How did you end up at Intergen? Intergen was pitching for a project, and Kognition (my company) did mobility as our specialty. Intergen wanted to bring Kognition on board to tag team on the tendering process, so I got on my bike, rode from Willis Street to Lambton Quay and we met at Bordeaux Café for a chat (this was in 2006 when Intergen was still across the road). We shook hands and decided to have a crack at it, and we worked closely together throughout the RFP process. We did the presentation and I did my usual arm-waving. We lost the project, but nonetheless I’d had a great time working with Intergen. Tony Stewart and I continued our conversations and talked about the various ways we intended on taking our respective businesses forward. We decided that there would be definite value for both parties in some kind of merger (I like that term better than acquisition). We kicked around a bunch of ideas and in the end we came up with a pretty simple plan. The Dunedin and Wellington Kognition offices would both come on board with Intergen. Most of the staff came across for at least six months; some moved on eventually but most still keep in touch, like Skip, who’s now focusing on another venture we did together called MedRecruit. And it’s been four and a half years of hard work (and far too much travel) ever since. I’m looking forward to my sabbatical now. We probably do a bit less mobile than I was expecting and a whole heap more work for Microsoft. I think it was a merger that delivered great value for all parties. All the way through university I had been lining myself up to become a Microsoft developer evangelist. Six months after I started Kognition, Microsoft knocked on the door. But by then I had committed to a whole bunch of clients and didn’t really want to drop the ball on them. I’ve never actually been a Microsoft employee, but when you look at a lot of what I do now, it makes complete sense that I lined myself up that way. In the early days Kognition was a business run out of a bedroom. The first staff member was Jason McBratney, who is still a part of our Dunedin office today. We did a mixture of stuff for Microsoft and mobility-related projects. Then we moved into the Centre for Innovation at the University and moved into an old biochemistry lab with linoleum floors (which made it very noisy) and a chemical shower but also an amazing glass-walled meeting room looking out over Castle Street. It was pretty sweet being part of life on campus but I have to say I ate far too many Marlows Pies. My wife, Deb, took a secondment opportunity in Wellington and had so much fun she wanted to stay, so I set up a Wellington office with Nick Head, who was our CTO and was moving back to Wellington as well. And a year or two later we both joined Intergen. What does 10 years mean to you? Although I haven’t been with Intergen for the full 10 years, I’ve kept an eye on Intergen since it started. I remember TechEd well – seeing Gabe and Derek in the yellow bowling shirts, looking like Ali G. My first memory of Intergen is those bowling shirts – secretly I think I liked them and really wanted to own one. We’re a mature business now, and we’re still growing. We haven’t come out of growth mode since we started; I think that’s the amazing thing… 10 years on, nearly 300 people, and we still feel like a pretty tight family group.
  54. 54. decade {1.0}50 What are our greatest achievements over that time? For me the greatest thing is seeing the young guys who’ve joined us fresh out of university or polytech, watching them grow in their roles and careers, going to the bank and getting houses. The greatest thing has been being able to have built something that has allowed people to have a cool lifestyle. I think our biggest achievement is that we are unquestionably the Microsoft platform experts in New Zealand. In the great spitting match of life, no one else comes within cooee of us in this area. How do you see the next 10 years? In the next 10 years I see us getting bigger – and bigger in Australia, especially. We’ll become a regional force there. It’s called the “lucky country” and in the next 10 years we will continue to invest and grow there, taking the Intergen experience and culture from New Zealand and making it happen. In terms of what the next 10 years has in store for us on the technology front, 10 years is a hell of a long time in IT. But then, if you think back 10 years, Windows XP was being launched, and there are still a few people who are attached to XP. So I guess a lot changes and a lot stays the same. Connectivity is only going to get faster and faster. And any concept of telephony is going to rapidly disappear and become something of an anachronism as we move toward ‘IP connected things’ instead. Whatever happens, technology-wise, it’s important that we continue to keep a razor-sharp focus on showing our clients business benefits. What impact has Intergen had on the New Zealand market? It’s tough to say at a local level, because I spend so much time out of the country. We’ve had a significant impact in helping Microsoft to build their business here. If you think right back to the late 90s, Intergen (since its previous incarnations) has been strongly involved in Microsoft community events, like Developer Days. TechEd, roadshows and national tours. Intergen has been at the forefront in helping to foster developer culture in New Zealand. This has also been beneficial to Microsoft partners. I don’t think that any other partner has given back, or made the same impact, as we have. On an individual level, what is the greatest thing Intergen represents for you? It’s my largest shareholding in a single business, and I invest a whole lot of time and resources into it. But it’s really more than that for me – I live and breathe it every day. I paint my bike yellow and have a collection of yellow shoes for which I am globally renowned. I get upset when I can’t get the car I want in a suitable shade of yellow. I only took yellow T-shirts on my trip to Europe and everyone wondered if I actually changed my clothes. Intergen is an integral part of my life and I’m pretty stoked to have it that way. With Deb also working at Intergen and my amazing baby daughter being big into yellow already it’s really an extended family to us. What gets you out of bed in the morning? I’m up early most mornings because US West Coast gets me up. 5am our time is 8am their time, so I’m up early to deal with mail from customers in the US.
  55. 55. decade {1.0} 51 I like playing with shiny new stuff, and the nature of what I do means that I don’t stick long with any one technology – I am forever hopping between technologies like the adrenalin junky I am, always playing with the new stuff. It’s exciting, but it’s also exhausting. What have some of the biggest challenges been? I fitted into Intergen reasonably easily, although when I started in early 2007 it was a rough few months financially. Growth is always a challenge. I come back to the office after time away overseas and every time there’s a bunch of new faces. What you might not know about Chris… With more air miles under his belt than an air steward and more energy to burn than the Energizer Bunny, Chris descended from a family of lawyers, studied law and then chose a career in… IT. A self-confessed adrenalin junky with ADHD tendencies, and Intergen’s own yellow clothes horse, Chris is also a Microsoft MVP and creator of the ‘Chris Special’ (see page 41 for details). 10 years ago we were paying $1.70 per MB for internet traffic, with monthly bills averaging $6,500. If the same rates still applied to us now as they did then, our monthly internet bill would exceed $5 million.
  56. 56. decade {1.0}52 From universities and polytechs far and wide they come, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, eager for their entrée into the seductive and ever-changing world of IT. We subject them to the rigors of the week-long annual Boot Camp (and an overdose of PowerPoint presentations) and watch as their eyes boggle and reality slowly dawns on them. Then they’re released out into the wilds and Real Live Work begins. And within no time they’re accomplished IT professionals achieving big things. 72 graduates have been Intergenised over the past 10 years. 10 Years of Graduates
  57. 57. 2008“We are extremely proud to have been awarded Microsoft Partner of the Year for 2008. Intergen (and prior to that Glazier Systems) has been a dedicated Microsoft partner since we started out in the world in 1995. It was extremely rewarding to be recognised by Microsoft for our contribution to their success. Microsoft has certainly played a big part in our achievements over the past 13 years.” Tony Stewart, SMARTS 14, 2008 STAFF NUMBERS REACH 200+ IN NEW ZEALAND AND AUSTRALIA COMBINED * INTERGEN ACHIEVES PRESIDENTS CLUB STATUS FOR THE FIRST TIME * INTERGEN AWARDED MICROSOFT NEW ZEALAND PARTNER OF THE YEAR * GOOGLE CLAIMS SEARCHABLE DATABASE OF ONE TRILLION WEB PAGES (1,000,000,000,000) * SOCIAL MEDIA WELL AND TRULY A PART OF THE TECH VERNACULAR
  58. 58. decade {1.0}54 “10 years is a long time in our industry, and the pace and scale over the last decade have been unprecedented. Intergen has consistently delivered outstanding customer solutions throughout that period and their business has evolved as software, hardware and web-based services have matured. Intergen is recognised as an industry leader, both in New Zealand, and internationally in the Microsoft eco-system. Congratulations to Tony, Paddy, Wayne and Chris for their vision and commitment to the industry and to delivering for their customers.” Brett O’Riley, Chief Executive Officer, NZICT Group.
  59. 59. decade {1.0} 55 A very short history of Intergen’s technology path “Glazier Systems was founded on the basis that smart business people could use a high productivity tool like Microsoft Access to build clever business systems without having to have a deep technical background. As the business grew, we began to use Microsoft SQL Server to allow us to build larger-scale systems and we started to hire more technical staff. When Microsoft entered the web space with Active Server Pages (ASP), we followed and began building browser-based business applications, websites and intranets and established our hosting capability. The business continued to grow, our projects became bigger and more complex and our staff became more technically focused. In 2001, .NET came along. We embraced it and moved into a new world of enterprise applications. At about the same time, we were introduced to a new wave of application environments from Microsoft with the likes of Content Management Server. We again stepped up, branched out and broadened the scope of what we did. More recently, as Microsoft has moved into the ERP and CRM markets, we have followed suit and added those solutions to our offerings. Microsoft now affords us the opportunity to provide an extremely wide range of business solutions to our clients. We have grown our business to support the increased breadth of solutions and have supplemented our deep technical teams with a range of business-focused people covering areas such as ERP and CRM consulting, knowledge strategy, architecture and business process design.” Tony Stewart, SMARTS 18 (late 2008) FROM GLAZIER SYSTEMS TO NOW – THE MICROSOFT BASE TECHNOLOGY EVOLUTION IN A NUTSHELL.