Alan Hansell

Alan Hansell

Alan Hansell is an IBRS advisor who focuses on IT and business management. Alan is able to critique and comment on IT and business management trends, ways to justify and maximise the benefits from IT-related investment, IS management development and the role of the CIO. Alan has extensive experience in IT management, consulting and advising senior managers in matters related to IT investment. He was a Director in Gartner's Executive program and adviser to over 50 CIOs and business managers and before joining Gartner a consultant with DMR Group. He also worked as an IS professional, manager and industry consultant for IBM for nearly 30 years. Alan is a CPA and Associate of Governance Institute of Australia.

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Conclusion: Unless the attributes of user stories (agile) or high-level requirements (waterfall) are succinct and testable, business systems specifications will lack rigour and could compromise the system’s integrity. To ensure these attributes, i. e. succinct and testable, are present, the stories and high-level requirements should be peer reviewed to identify content that is unclear or just expressing an unrealistic ‘want/wish’ list.

It is important the stories or high-level requirements contain sufficient context to enable systems requirements, i. e. functional and non-functional, to be developed because unless they do it will be difficult to prioritise them based on business drivers.

Similarly, the results of user acceptance testing should be peer reviewed to ensure the agreed requirements have been met and the output is verifiable.


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Conclusion: Taking the guesswork out of capacity planning by making an informed forecast of demand for computing and support resources for the strategic capacity plan is an ongoing challenge for IT professionals and managers. Reputational damage can ensue when resources are either under or overestimated and there are claims that guesswork was employed.


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Conclusion: Increasing the IT literacy of business managers and professionals has sharpened their interest in buying off-the-shelf software to meet immediate business needs, but potentially without the expertise to implement and support it, often leading to unexpected requests for IT support. When the request is a surprise, and there is a compelling business priority, IT workforce plans must be put to one side and changed to find the resources needed. When the dust has settled and the surprise element is a thing of the past, the IT governance group is bound to ask, ‘How did this surprise occur and what can be done to ensure it does not happen again’? It is a reasonable question and one that needs a cogent response.


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Conclusion: In an age-diverse workforce, it is important that IT managers and professionals understand the different expectations and management styles of stakeholders and accommodate them to gain their support for IT-related initiatives being proposed.

Without understanding the management styles and expectations of age-diverse stakeholders, a level of disconnect may occur and business relationships could slip from being of mutual benefit to transactional and ineffective.


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Conclusion: IT auditors typically consult with, and report their findings to, the board’s Audit and Risk Committee. Their POW (program of work) or activities upon which they will focus may or may not be telegraphed in advance to stakeholders, including IT management.

To avoid getting a qualified audit report for IT, e. g. when internal (systems) controls are weak or IT risks are unmanaged, business and IT management must first get their house in order, by tightening controls and addressing risks before the possible arrival of the audit team. Failure to get the house in order, before an audit, could be career limiting for IT and business managers.


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Conclusion: Increasing competition where thin profit margins are the norm forces management to analyse business data more intently to identify ways to increase revenue and/or reduce operating costs. Similarly, in the public sector the aim is often to connect common data from multiple sources and determine if government programs are achieving their objectives.

To ensure the analysis is sound and the resulting scenarios can withstand scrutiny, management must rely on skilled and commercially astute data analysts1. The latter typically operate in small teams and may need to resolve data errors or inconsistent definitions of it to process the data correctly and interpret the results.


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Conclusion: Increasing emphasis in the media and in industry literature on cyber security and the risks of data breaches with service disruptions is likely to get extra attention in future from the board and their audit and risk committee (or ICT governance group).

Not only must the committee be concerned with risk prevention, astute members will also want to know how the organisation will recover from a data breach or ransomware attempt and restore the organisation’s operations, if an unexpected disruption to services occurs.

To minimise business risks, committee members must stay aware of local and international cyber security incidents, how they occurred and were addressed and what they need to do to make sure they are not replicated in their organisation.


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Conclusion: When faced with determining the long-term future of an ERP solution that has met the organisation’s needs, business and IT management must investigate and weigh up their strategic options.

To make an informed determination, business management must take ownership of the buying process in their role as demand managers while IT management and staff support the process by assuming the role of supply managers and technical advisors.


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IBRSiQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.


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IBRSiQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.


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Conclusion: In an environment where the quality of front line services is critical for customer loyalty, the call centre’s (or contact centre or help desk) performance is pivotal. A salient way to measure the call centre’s performance is to calculate its First Call issue Resolution rate (FCR), i. e. the rate at which received calls are resolved the first time while the caller stays online.

A 2019 survey of 300 contact/call centre managers found if the rate is around 70 %1, the call centre is performing well and likely to be satisfying the needs of customers. Conversely if the FCR is well below 70 %, IT management must initiate strategies to increase it. Failure to do so will adversely affect the customer satisfaction rate.


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Conclusion: Unless software testing practices are rigorous and enforced, system defects will continue and compromise meeting of service delivery objectives. Whilst defect-free code, and clean vendor software patches, are an objective, their realisation may be as elusive as the so-called paperless office.

To significantly reduce defects, and minimise risks, IT management must implement a program that elevates quality ahead of expediency and pragmatism, even if it is at the expense of the project’s schedule.


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IBRSiQ is a database of client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

Read more


IBRSiQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.


Read more