Verto 365 App approved by the NHS Technical Design Authority for all NHSmail users

February 2022

Verto 365, by VertoCloud (Verto), is a work collaboration and project management App which runs entirely from within Microsoft Teams (MS Teams) and integrates with N365. NHS staff can now manage their day-to-day tasks and activities within MS Teams as Verto 365 has been approved for use by the NHS Technical Design Authority (TDA) for all NHSmail users. 

The TDA have now approved around 25 custom and 3rd party applications, all available to NHSmail users. Verto 365 is one of a new breed of embedded apps, which can run entirely from within MS Teams or vis a browser. 

Verto has over 160,000 users and provides Verto 365 for free to all NHS organisations for their first 3 projects. Management functionality such as Kanban boards, interactive Gantt charts, dynamic dashboards, planning, and reporting are now all available to NHS staff. With the TDAs approval in place, all 1.4m NHSmail users can install the Verto 365 app today to begin managing work at all levels.

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Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council - Case Study

178,000+

Population to serve

18

Wards

About Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is growing and transforming to deliver an ambitious council plan whilst keeping residents, businesses, and communities at the heart of everything they do.

The council serves a population of approximately 178,000 across 18 wards and has set an ambitious and aspirational shared vision to ensure that residents have high quality homes, jobs, leisure, and community facilities for decades to come.

Like many other councils, Basingstoke and Deane has multiple programmes and projects running in tandem, from those concerning digital transformation to climate emergency. In addition, the council is also facilitating several larger development opportunities to better cater for both local and prestigious businesses within the area, as well as beginning a village-style housing development for residents.

What was their challenge?

Basingstoke and Deane previously applied a basic approach to project management based on Prince 2, utilising common tools such as Excel and Word to document and report programme and project progress.

This was not always applied effectively, leading to inconsistencies when reporting, planning, and controlling projects. As the number of programmes and projects increased and grew in complexity, so did the necessity for a more comprehensive, standardised, centralised, and transparent programme and project management approach.

The need for delivering consistently formatted, regular highlight reports to corporate programme board was increasing. These began as Word documents on SharePoint, then through to Excel spreadsheets, so a systematic reporting method needed to be found, agreed on and understood by all stakeholders involved.

 

What was the solution?

In 2019 with a new director in place, amongst other new staffing changes, the council recognised the need to establish a Corporate Programme Management Office (CPMO) to standardise programme and project project-related governance processes and facilitate the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools, and techniques, supporting the Council and providing assurance to senior leaders and members.

The Transformation and Improvement team transitioned into the CPMO, undertaking a review of current PM approach and generating a road map to centre of excellence. This led to the creation of a new CPMO framework, approach documents and techniques based on APM methodology.

The council identified early on that bringing in a proprietary project management tool would help support and reinforce the newly established CPMO framework, so an initial phase of research via the digital marketplace, including demos, calls and further exploratory work began to find the right system.

 

Why Verto?

After review of three similar software systems, Verto was the best match for Basingstoke and Deane’s Project Management tool requirements. It also appealed to the CPMO team with its capabilities including single sign-on, the flexibility to configure the system to align to the newly created CPMO framework and the reporting for transparency of progress to senior leaders and members.

With Verto, the council and their managers have complete control over the projects and programmes they are running. The Governance processes built in are easy to use and made sense for their move into the APM style of project management, which was one of the main drivers of Verto’s success with Basingstoke and Deane. Finally, the report creation via Verto was both cost effective and easy to generate.

Basingstoke and Deane

“We’ve had tremendous cooperation from the report-writing team, and the support team throughout our entire journey”

Martin Coles, Project Manager, Basingstoke, and Deane Borough Council

With the initial platform in place, it soon became apparent that the system was going to need to grow as various new pieces of work surfaced that required additional innovation using Verto features for the CPMO to deliver effectively.

 

Plans for the future

Verto is a system that has been allowed to grow and expand as the council has needed, with incremental additions being added or developed specifically for them as required. It has got to a stage where the development side of the work is well in advance of the deployment side but by being ahead of the curve, when there becomes an immediate need for a new piece of functionality, it is often the case that the tool is already developed ready to be taken advantage of.

Originally, Basingstoke and Deane opted for basic controls around stage gate governance for project and programme management, along with highlight reporting and were just considering performance management tools. However now with a dedicated team in place, they are looking to expand their use of Verto and are looking to build on the existing performance management tool to create a bespoke option to enable the council to achieve their aims.

The team at Basingstoke and Deane still have lots of innovative ideas for scaling up their platform features like benefits management and dependencies. The CPMO team are now ensuring everyone in the team are knowledgeable in Verto configuration, by developing a set of training manuals and training sessions, making sure the system is providing the data and flow of information in the way people have come to expect and stakeholders are used to seeing.


The new Verto 365 app is now available to access directly from within Microsoft Teams for the NHS

December, 2021 

Today, the Verto 365 App has been made available to install from within the NHS Microsoft Teams app store for all NHSmail users. 

Verto 365’s availability marks a significant step in the development of the app, as it makes access to powerful work management software within Microsoft Teams widely available for NHS organisations to use within the familiar platform. 

Microsoft Teams was adopted by the NHS in March 2020 as a way to improve collaboration methods in their fight against Covid-19. Now, with increased access to detailed tools for managing projects and programmes of activity, including the use of dynamic dashboards, Kanban boards, Gantt charts, risks, benefits, finances and every detail needed to successfully run projects and programmes on any scale, the NHS workforce will be able to improve efficiencies across departments for those working within a set of complex structures and working styles. 

Greg Patel-Harris, Corporate Systems Manager at West of England AHSN says

“Following the Verto365 demo, we’re really excited at the prospect of using Verto’s project management tools straight from MS Teams without having to navigate from one platform to another on a web browser. It’s going to make managing projects a lot simpler for our staff and we anticipate greater engagement from it!

 

Why it’s important

Microsoft Teams users can now access all project work from within the familiar Microsoft Teams platform, where workforces spanning industries already communicate and collaborate (especially as hybrid or remote-working teams). This means there is now no need to navigate away to manage your workstreams, share documents, and control and report on data. This is further enhanced by the use of a seamless Single Sign-on process eliminating the need to remember and input login credentials across multiple platforms each time you want to access your project information.

The benefits of integrating this effectively with Office 365 are also evident when uploading/downloading documents directly from/to your OneDrive folders from Verto 365, minimising interruptions to your flow of work.

What’s next

Verto are user-led in their approach to continuous improvement and are excited to work with their existing clients, already making use of Verto 365, for the next phases of development. The Verto team are already planning to begin incorporating their platform into more of the Microsoft suite of tools once the technology is further developed and ready for them to do so. As a small and agile company, Verto are one of the first organisations to exploit the new opportunities that Microsoft’s deep integration abilities now offer, and by simply asking, “why not?”, they have re-designed Teams into a fully functioning project, programme and work management platform to bring ease and simplicity to organisations’, often complex, working practices.

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The new Verto 365 app is now available to access directly from within Microsoft Teams

December, 2021

Today, the Verto 365 App for Microsoft Teams, that provides a solution for any organisation to manage complete projects and programmes, launches on the popular collaboration platform.  

Verto 365 marks a significant shift in user experience as there is no need to navigate away from MS Teams to log in to Verto or manage any aspect of the project process from within the main Verto site. Everything can now be done directly from within MS Teams.

For those not using MS Teams, Verto 365 is also available via a web browser, showcasing the new updated view and all Verto 365 functionality as found within the MS Teams app. 

Greg Patel-Harris, Corporate Systems Manager at West of England AHSN says

“Following the Verto 365 demo, we’re really excited at the prospect of using Verto’s project management tools straight from MS Teams without having to navigate from one platform to another on a web browser. It’s going to make managing projects a lot simpler for our staff and we anticipate greater engagement from it!

Verto 365 allows new users to sign up for complete project management software to be used in its entirety from within MS Teams. The app allows for complete project management from within MS Teams, including the use of Kanban boards, flexible dashboards, Gantt charts, risks, benefits, finances and every detail needed to successfully run projects and programmes on any scale.

The Verto Playground is a Verto 365 free trial option where users can test and learn by viewing huge amounts of sample project information as well as being able to input their own test data to get to know the tools in their own time. The Playground is available for an unlimited time and includes all functionality. 

Why it’s important

Verto 365’s seamless Single Sign-on process eliminates the need to remember and input login credentials across multiple platforms each time you want to access your project information. By accessing all your work from within the familiar Microsoft Teams platform, where workforces spanning many industries already communicate and collaborate (especially as hybrid or remote-working teams), there is now no need to navigate away to manage your workstreams, share documents, and control and report on data. And you can still maintain effective communication via the chat functionality and link-sharing features with your team members regarding their actions. The benefits of integrating this effectively with Office 365 is also evident when uploading/downloading documents directly from/to your OneDrive folders from Verto 365, minimising interruptions to your flow of work.

What’s next

Verto are user-led in their approach to continuous improvement and are excited to work with their existing clients, already making use of Verto 365, for the next phases of development. The Verto team are already planning to begin incorporating their platform into more of the Microsoft suite of tools once the technology is further developed and ready for them to do so. As a small and agile company, Verto are one of the first organisations to exploit the new opportunities that Microsoft’s deep integration abilities now offer, and by simply asking, “why not?”, they have re-designed MS Teams into a fully functioning project, programme and work management platform to bring ease and simplicity to organisations’, often complex, working practices.

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Verto 365 leads the charge for a new generation of Microsoft Teams supporting apps

December, 2021

Today, the Verto 365 App for Microsoft Teams, that provides a solution for any organisation to manage complete projects and programmes, launches on the popular collaboration platform.  

Verto 365 marks a significant shift in user experience as there is no need to navigate away from MS Teams to log in to Verto or manage any aspect of the project process from within the main Verto site. Everything can now be done directly from within MS Teams. For those not using MS Teams, Verto 365 is also available via a web browser, showcasing the updated view and all Verto 365 functionality as found within the MS Teams app.

Now, with the Verto 365 app, Verto users can install the project management software to be used in its entirety from within MS Teams. The app allows for complete project management in any style from within MS Teams, including the use of Kanban boards, flexible dashboards, Gantt charts, risks, benefits, finances and every detail needed to successfully run projects and programmes on any scale.

The Verto Playground is a Verto 365 free trial option where users can test and learn by viewing huge amounts of sample project information as well as being able to input their own test data to get to know the tools in their own time. The Playground is available for an unlimited time and includes all functionality across both the web and MS Teams views.

 

How it works in Microsoft Teams

The significant change for Single Sign-on solutions (SSO) is the use of Microsoft’s cutting-edge technology, Open ID Connect (OpenID), which allows a website to fully interact with an organisation’s active directory. 

Microsoft has developed its own Graph API, an exciting tool which allows an application to read information the users have access to, and act on behalf of the user within the Microsoft platform. This enables automation and makes syncing data across platforms, a reality.

 

Why it’s important

Verto 365’s seamless SSO process eliminates the need to remember and input credentials across multiple platforms each time you want to access your project data. And by accessing all your work from the familiar Microsoft Teams platform, where the majority of your teams’ communication and collaboration already takes place (especially as a hybrid or remote workforce) there is now no need to navigate away to manage workstreams, share documents, control and report on data as well as maintain effective communication via chat and links with your team members and their activities. The benefits of integrating this effectively with Office 365 is also evident when uploading/downloading documents directly from/to your OneDrive folders from Verto 365, minimising interruptions to your flow of work. 

Verto 365, as a solution, is an innovative and revolutionary way of using developments in back-end technology to benefit users by improving their individual work management habits. And it’s far more than just integration. Verto, as a small and agile company, are one of the first organisations to exploit the abilities of the Graph API for their users. By asking “why not?” the entire Verto system can now be embedded within Microsoft Teams as a fully-functioning platform to bring ease and simplicity to organisations’, often complex, working practices. 

 

What’s next

Verto are user-led in their approach to continuous improvement and are looking to their existing clients, already making use of Verto 365, to suggest the next phases of development. Certainly, as Microsoft’s Graph API continues to expand, Verto will use Open Data (OData) to incorporate their platform into more of the Microsoft suite of tools. For example, by using OData, the Verto team will soon enable the use of PowerBI for teams to produce data reports in real time, and embed the resulting dashboards directly into Verto. 

Verto already envisage a shift in user behaviour where dashboard views become dominant in project delivery, as the scope for interaction and management into all project areas through dashboard data, improves. And Verto fully intend to be a major player behind that shift.

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The Challenge Behind System Implementation

The Challenge Behind System Implementation

Implementing a new system can be exciting, but daunting if it doesn’t quite come together for your organisation. It’s all about finding synergy between your people, processes and the technology identified. So here’s how Verto 365 breaks down the barriers to make that a reality.

Finding the Balance

It’s not enough just to invest in a great platform. Your system needs to work for your internal processes, your company structure, and perhaps most importantly, your people. Finding this balance is important and each component has to gel in order to make it work. 

Meeting your Process Needs

Probably the first thing you’ll consider when looking at implementing a new system is whether it can fulfil your company processes better than your current system. Here you’ll need to consider:

  • What features does the new system have?
  • How do all these features work together?
  • To what extent can users collaborate with each other?
  • Will it enable you to make company processes more efficient?
  • What benefits will it actually bring to your organisation?

Verto 365 is a work management and collaboration platform that works both from a browser, featuring dynamic dashboard functionality and new features that make the process of managing projects simpler and more logical for everyone, and importantly it now fully integrates with Microsoft Teams, coming with all the same features and tools. Think interactive gantt charts and Kanban boards, alongside reporting and benefits tracking, all for use within your MS Teams platform. 

Meeting your People Needs

 In order for your new system to benefit your organisation, it has to suit the working styles of its users. Here are a few things to consider:

  • What tools and methods are your people used to using?
  • Are there any existing processes that could be streamlined with the new system?
  • To what extent do your people need to collaborate?
  • To what degree will your people make the most of the system’s capabilities?

Integration is key to get right for your people to maintain their flow of work. A break in activity to navigate to another system to perform the simplest of tasks is annoying and takes people out of productivity. This is why apps that fully surface within popular collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams are performing so well, as everything can be done from one single platform. 

Verto is Improving the Microsoft Teams Offering

Here at Verto, we’ve directed our attention to joining our system with the MS Teams platform completely, in order to improve what it can do for the benefit of all the users spending so much time on the platform. 

Verto 365 embeds into Microsoft Teams, expanding the functionalities within MS Teams. As a small and agile company, Verto are one of the first organisations to exploit the new opportunities that Microsoft’s deep integration abilities now offer, and by simply asking, “why not?”, they have re-designed Teams into a fully functioning project, programme and work management platform to bring ease and simplicity to organisations’, often complex, working practices.

It is true ‘integration’ meaning MS Teams users can expand what their system can do, making use of Verto’s tools within Microsoft Teams itself. When using Verto 365, you won’t even know you’re using Verto, but rather a radically upgraded version of Teams.

Seamless Integration

Verto’s fusion with MS Teams creates a version of Teams equipped with a range of work collaboration tools. Instead of running two separate systems (Teams and your work management system) Verto 365 enhances the existing MS Teams system with all the tools you need to work collaboratively. The end result: one system that does everything.

Working from one system removes so much of the lag and blockage caused by flicking between two. Utilising a range of tools and functions that work in tandem with each other saves everyone time and effort. Forget importing data from one into the other, with Verto 365, it’s all there in MS Teams.

Perhaps one of the biggest issues with new system implementation is getting your people to adopt it. Organisations often struggle to understand how their tech works, but this issue is negated with Verto 365. No need to learn a system from scratch, all that’s needed is to explore the new features of MS Teams that Verto 365 provides. 

Get in touch today to take advantage of what Verto 365 can do. 

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Making the Most of the Systems you Have

Making the Most of the Systems you Have

In a world where digital maturity is expected, it’s no wonder that so many new apps and platforms promising to improve the way we work, from productivity to managing accounts, are emerging to help organisations transform in an ever-increasing digital world.

The issue is, which do you choose for your organisation?

Assessing your Needs as a Business

Focusing on macro, micro and internal factors when structuring any part of your business is a sensible route to being able to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).

Macro factors might not have been a consideration for something so specific as sourcing a new app or platform before the pandemic. However, we now know that being able to collaborate with colleagues via video functionality is an everyday occurrence, and vital for the progress of daily activities. So, ensuring our collaboration tools are proving successful for hybrid working teams in all their guises is high on the agenda.

Micro factors also play a part when considering your sector and industry competitors:

  • What are others within my industry using?
  • What are the next big trends in digital?
  • Is my sector experiencing a shift in behaviour or structure?
  • Who are the dominating players?

And obviously, internal factors will have huge impact on the decision:

  • What platforms are already in use?
  • What free apps are the individual users installing?
  • How do departments interact with each other
  • What challenges are there in gathering data simply?
  • What does the organisation want to achieve?

Ecosystems

We’d like to introduce you to our new integration that is set to aid collaboration across a wide range of working styles – Verto 365 for Microsoft Teams. And here’s how it can benefit any organisation:

“Integration” isn’t a new word or piece of terminology, but it can be interpreted in different ways to different people. Microsoft’s suite of office tools is used widely and often and it isn’t much of a stretch to consider that at some point every organisation in the world has used a Microsoft product, even if it’s a simple Word document. But when we look at their complete range of office solutions, and how they function with each other, we can start to see the true meaning of an integrated digital ecosystem.

Microsoft Teams has seen dramatic uptake since the start of the pandemic because it seamlessly allows for collaboration methods between teams of remote workers. Now that people are so used to being on MS Teams and spend so much of their day within the platform it makes sense that MS Teams apps are emerging to allow you to do more from within the one platform.

Verto 365 is a work collaboration platform that brings people, teams and organisations together to effectively and logically manage programmers, projects and workstreams of any size and complexity. Verto 365 is a Microsoft Teams app that fully surfaces within MS Teams, meaning all the features and functionality you have within Verto 365 via a web browser, you can now also achieve directly from within MS Teams without having to leave the platform for anything, even to sign in.

What integrations and automations allow for is the reduction of a break in workflow, which leads to improved productivity providing workers with more time. Apps that provide true integration go one step further by leaving their egos at the door and allowing for complete system integration where there isn’t a need to leave the platform you’re in, to use all the functionality of another system. 

Single sign-on functionality is another method used to maintain the flow of work where there is no need to login to the app you are using within Teams. It’s all done automatically to make your workflow easier.

System implementation

The challenges of new system implementation can also be addressed by nurturing a digital ecosystem within your organisation:

Integrating with an existing system doesn’t tend to put people off in the same way as bringing in a new tool that looks different and has unfamiliar configurations and workflows. Those who are used to a certain way of doing things may not need to completely change their old processes and procedures when they can implement a new app that rests within a legacy system. Those who are reluctant to ‘buy-in’ to a new system may have a softer introduction if they can view and use the new tools within an existing legacy platform they are already familiar with.

A new set of digital tools may also be a struggle to learn for some within the organisation but with a carefully selected platform that has the ability to introduce additions as needed and provides flexible customisations can ease the pain point to extinction.

Routes to interact more seamlessly with other departments to identify dependencies or generate same format reporting methods can be attractive but setting them up can appear daunting. Therefore, a consideration of the new app or platform should be the support they provide. Where is the support team based? What does the ongoing support look like? A sales team that initially won you over is unlikely to be the same team that helps you link your HR dashboards to the finance departments.

Final Notes

It can be appealing to invest in a new system, and is often the right choice. So, look to your company and decide whether your legacy systems can do more for your organisation, like Microsoft Teams, and enhance the way you operate by implementing a fully integrating app, such as Verto 365.

Try Verto 365

UK Research & Innovation Logo

continued partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

Verto announce our continued partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

UK Research & Innovation Logo

Today, we at Verto announce our continued partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) as they extend their contract with VertoCloud for the next three years. 

UKRI brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England, which is responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education institutions in England, and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

Since last year, VertoCloud has been tasked to bring UKRI’s large programmes of work together and coordinate activities and competencies spanning  several parts of the organisation, while also recognising the unique and individual working environments that each area brings. Now, the newly signed three-year deal includes a significant increase in licenses obtained by the organisation to roll out to further teams.

We look forward to ensuring the VertoCloud platform out-performs expectations set by UKRI in the years ahead.


UKRI extends the use of Verto across their research councils

Case Study: UKRI extends the use of Verto across their research councils

UK Research & Innovation Logo

Launched in April 2018, UKRI is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

UKRI brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England, which is responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education institutions in England, and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

The challenge for UKRI

Previously, different parts of the organisation approached project delivery differently, but the formation of UKRI, presented the opportunity to work more fluidly towards having common practices when required. 

UKRI’s project scope was to identify and implement a portfolio management tool that would support greater collaboration and improved efficiency of its processes.

After initially assessing available software, they shortlisted potentially suitable systems before choosing Verto to run on a trial basis in early 2019. 

Onboarding Verto

The Verto team hosted an initial phase to identify the feasibility of the work and assess whether the needs of UKRI would be met. Throughout the trial phase, Verto achieved the goals set by UKRI to bring multiple parts of the organisation together providing greater visibility of projects and programmes to enable evidence-based reporting and planning, which would enable greater active collaboration.

Verto’s solution was a consistent workflow process with clear, easy to follow frameworks that allowed all data and information to be stored and managed from one central place. The objectives that Verto’s tools achieved, identifying them as the chosen platform for UKRI, were as follows:

  • Objective 1: Improves project effectiveness: Verto allows for project alignment. Common data requirements are mapped across large-scale workstreams, collaborative work has facilitated cross project learning, and ongoing consistency has been achieved. 
  • Objective 2: Improves strategic decision effectiveness: By using Verto, UKRI has been able to exceed its involvement target from partner organisations. Now portfolio stakeholders can come together to report on metrics that help to inform strategic decision making and include Major Projects Portfolio Reporting, which was beyond the original scope of work. 
  • Objective 3: Improves benefit management: Verto’s benefits mapping tool has been implemented as part of UKRI’s system requirements. Highlight reports link the benefits and track them across the project lifespan.
  • Objective 4: Improves efficiencies in resource time, resulting in financial savings: Resource mapping tools have been set up for use and will be rolled out across UKRI, which is now able to track time saved on reporting.
  • Objective 5: Allows greater career development opportunities: Using Verto to manage data and resources in turn creates opportunities for individuals to move between projects and programmes. This extends their in-work career experience to suit their own personal objectives alongside team and corporate objectives.

Additional scope

Further developments, such as portfolio reporting, within the whole of the Major Projects portfolio will now include teams that were previously out of scope. Additional roles and processes have also been developed including data administration, change management and approval processes.

UKRI’s Mark Bradley, Head of Project Delivery Profession, said: 

UKRI’s ambition is to work collaboratively and make our processes simpler and better for users, including both our own colleagues and the wider research and innovation communities. After a successful implementation, we are pleased to be further rolling out the use of Verto within UKRI and to be gaining from the team’s experience.


UKRI expands its use of VertoCloud for project management across all research councils

November, 2021

VertoCloud has agreed a three-year partnership contract with non-departmental public body, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which sees its use extended to each of their seven research councils.

UKRI implemented the project management platform, Verto, in June 2020 for Innovate UK and Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) as well as the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), Digital, Data and Technology (DDAT) and UKRI Project Development & Improvement (PD&I) departments.

UKRI has opted for a bespoke Verto platform to provide a set of standard frameworks for managing projects across UKRI for continuous improvement, as well as project methodologies such as Waterfall and Agile. The system also provides resource planning functionality and facilitates reporting into BEIS for UKRI’s Major Projects Portfolio. A second Verto project is currently being initiated to onboard further teams and functions within UKRI and deliver additional functionality including a programme lifecycle and portfolio level reporting.

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