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December 04
Technical website wins Plain English Award
Brendon Livingstone with Paul Ramsay with Award for WriteMark Plain English Website - private sectorEquinox IT’s decision to use plain English instead of technical jargon in its website was recognised at the Writemark Plain English Awards last night.

The Wellington and Auckland based information technology consultancy won the Best Plain English Website, in the private sector category.

Equinox IT’s Brendon Livingstone says when the firm launched their new website earlier in the year, they deliberately avoided over-used technology phrases and clichés.

“We wanted business decision-makers to find the information they needed without knowing the technical language or the solution required,” he says.

“At the same time, we knew IT professionals would want to go directly to the details they needed. This dual focus was an important consideration in the way we structured and wrote the content for the website.”

The Writemark Plain English judges noted that the Equinox IT website was an excellent example of ‘plain English in action’, which was an achievement given the complex and technical nature of the company’s work.

Image: Brendon Livingstone and Paul Ramsay of Equinox IT after accepting award.
November 18
Connect. Create. Transform. Visual Studio 2013 Launch Events

Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 Launch, ALM Gold Partner

Next week Microsoft will hold two full day Visual Studio 2013 launch events, in Wellington and Auckland. As the New Zealand Microsoft Gold Partner for Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), Equinox IT is playing an active role, participating and presenting at both events.

With a theme of modern application development, there will be presentations on agile planning, agile testing and quality enablement, enterprise dev/ops, and developing modern applications for Windows, the web and the cloud.

The events are spilt into morning and afternoon sessions, with the morning presentations suitable to decision makers and the afternoon to technical, project or testing members.

Check out the programme for the day, register and head along. We’d love to see you there.

September 17
Equinox IT first IT consulting company signatory to CloudCode™

Equinox IT is the first independent IT consulting company to sign as a signatory to the New Zealand Cloud Computing Code of Practice.

Launched in July 2013, CloudCode™ Version 2.0 is a voluntary, disclosure-based, Code of Practice that has been developed to improve the standard of services being provided by cloud service providers. The CloudCode was developed by the New Zealand cloud computing industry, facilitated by the Institute of IT Professionals New Zealand (IITP).

Cloud providers working through the process of becoming signatories include accounting software company Xero, IaaS provider Revera, and secure file host Mega Ltd.

The Code was developed with input from over 250 New Zealand cloud providers, users and other stakeholders over a two-year period and was funded by industry with major contributions from Equinox IT, Gen-I, NZCS, OneNet, Webdrive and Xero with Salesforce.com, Google, EOSS Online Ltd, InternetNZ, NZRise and Systems Advisory Services also contributing.

Equinox IT was been a major contributor to the Code since the first version was launched in early 2011. Dean Sloane, Equinox IT’s Chief Technology Officer has been an active advocate for the adoption of the Code and instrumental in developing the CloudCode disclosures.

“As the cloud continues to transform New Zealand business, it is important that there is an independent Code of Practice – a benchmark – that organisations can have confidence in. Equinox IT is proud to have been a major contributor to the development of the code and to be one of its first signatories.  The Institute of IT Professionals is to be congratulated on its leadership of this initiative,” says Equinox IT Director, Paul Ramsay.

“The CloudCode reflects a collective commitment to improve the standard of services provided by cloud service providers, and is already attracting international interest.  Why?  Because it provides certainty and builds trust.”

Equinox IT CloudCode Signatory 

Independent cloud computing advice
As a CloudCode signatory and an independent consultancy, Equinox IT provides consulting and advisory services in accordance with the Code of Practice. These services include architecture, technology options analysis, risk assessments, IT governance, performance management and independent quality assurance to help ensure that clients deploying cloud solutions are fully informed and choose the right solution for their needs.

Download the CloudCode.

September 04
The options for Next Generation Enterprise

Dr. Peter Weill, addressing Equinox IT consultants in August, talked about his research into Options for Next Generation Enterprise.

Dr. Weill is Chairman and Senior Research Scientist for the MIT Sloan Center for Information Systems Research (CISR). He was in Wellington as a guest of Equinox IT and spoke with government, Wellington City Council, and business leaders about CISR's research into why enterprises will need to be either drivers or participants in several digital ecosystems, and a driver in at least one to survive.

He discussed CISR’s research methodologies and said creating the framework for researching Options for the Next Generation Enterprise had been extremely difficult.

“We do a lot of interviews and research to come up with the dimensions we think will be important in predicting the future of business. The dimension that took us by surprise (and in hindsight shouldn’t have) was the value in knowing your end consumer. More specifically, we believe knowing your customer’s goals makes a key difference,” said Dr. Weill.

 

© 2013 MIT Sloan CISR-Weill, Woerner

He said the Options framework was based upon two axes: Business Design—the value chain ecosystem; and Knowledge of Your End Customer. CISR research in turn generated the four quadrants: Omnichannel Business (e.g. USAA, Woolworths Australia, Coles Australia); Open Ecosystem Driver e.g. (Amazon); Great Modular Product/ Service Producer (e.g. PayPal); and Supplier (e.g. purchasing insurance via an agent).

“CISR’s research indicated that when margins are low, organisations become under pressure and seek to move out of their quadrant.

“Most companies who are multi-channel are trying (and this is a big, difficult change) to become omnichannel businesses offering a multi-product client experience.

“Our research shows organisations in the Supplier quadrant wanting to move up, and businesses currently in the Omnichannel Business quadrant seeking to move right towards an Open Ecosystem Driver. Huge investments are now being made to move within these axes.

“The exception is an organisation such as PayPal which has determined to be the best in the world at one thing, and plug-and-play in anyone else’s’ ecosystem,” said Dr. Weill.

Assessing the options
One way you can measure your options is to bring the Voice of the Customer inside your company said Dr Weill.

He referenced the USA Net Promoter Score (NPS) 2013 benchmarking survey which noted the average Financial Services industry ranking for banks was 29%. In other words 29% of customers would net promote their bank to their friends. The United States Automobile Association (USAA) ranked first in this category with 78% in the 2013 survey. Significantly USAA also led the Select Insurance sector with an 80% approval ranking for their home content insurance.

Amazon was by far the highest-ranking organisation in the Online Services sector with a NPS ranking of 69% outstripped bricks and mortar retailers.

Dr. Weill, looking at USAA’s NPS performances and paraphrasing Bill Gates’ famous quote, said “We all need banking. I’m just not convinced we need banks.”

USAA’s results also supported, he said, CISR’s July 2013 Research Briefing that companies with better digital business models have higher financial performance. CISR found that enterprises with above-average digital business effectiveness had revenue growth eleven percentage points higher than their industry average.

An Australasian context
Dr. Weill said that Coles, the supermarket chain, is now one of the larger insurance players in Australia.

“They’ve added insurance to their customer experience and the relationship they already have with you.”

As well as owning Coles, parent company Wesfarmers also owns Bunnings, Target, Kmart and Officeworks, together with substantial coal, chemicals and insurance operations.

"Wesfarmers is now a diversified mining, energy, retail, insurance and agricultural corporation that has successfully expanded its insurance business through the relationships customers have with Coles," said Dr. Weill.

More
Read Tom Pullar-Strecker’s September Dominion Post story about USAA’s car purchase digital ecosystem.

Measuring the impact of digitisation on your organisation
Complete the following six-question poll based on MIT CISR's own research polls. It will help you to assess the future impact of digitisation on your organisation. 

The poll takes just a couple of minutes and is anonymous. Summary results will be presented in a future blog post.

Complete the digital ecosystem poll

September 04
New additions to the Equinox IT family

We are pleased to welcome new additions to the Equinox IT family.

Greg Hunt
Senior Consultant, Architecture Practice
With over 12-years proven experience in infrastructure, application and security solutions, Greg aligns business objectives with technology solutions and outcomes ownership from architecture through to delivery. He holds a Diploma in Business Computing and is a Microsoft Certified Professional (2000), VMWare Certified Professional, IBM Certified Systems Administrator (WebSphere Application Server, Network Deployment v6.0) Sun Certified Engineer (Sun ONE Directory Server 5.x) Sun Certified Systems Administrator (Solaris 8) Sophos PureMessage for Unix, and Sophos Anti-Virus for Windows Certified Engineer.


Hamish Macdonald
Client Consultant
Hamish joined Equinox IT in July 2013. He’s a business development professional who has advised clients in both the public and private sector. He has excellent relationships with ICT and business networks, and extensive experience consulting with multiple stakeholders and subject matter experts. Hamish holds a Bachelor of Arts, Geography & American Studies from the University of Canterbury.

James Wu
NET Development Specialist, Software Development
James is a passionate .NET developer with more than five years’ public and private sector experience developing web solutions using Microsoft frameworks and technologies. James holds a BSC majoring in Computer Science, and a Graduate Diploma in Information Science from Massey University.

Nigel Heeney
Consultant
Nigel joined Equinox IT in July as a Consultant in our Business Change practice. He has more than 15 years proven business analyst experience in New Zealand and Asia, and a proven ability to align ICT and business as part of multi-disciplinary teams on ICT, procurement, process improvement, and management systems projects. Nigel is a certified PRINCE2 practitioner, an IIBA member and is currently working towards CBAP certification.

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