Joseph Sweeney

Joseph Sweeney

Dr. Joseph Sweeney is an IBRS advisor specialising in the areas of workforce transformation and the future of work, including; workplace strategies, end-user computing, collaboration, workflow and low code development, data-driven strategies, policy, and organisational cultural change. He is the author of IBRS’s Digital Workspaces methodology. Dr Sweeney has a particular focus on Microsoft, Google, AWS, VMWare, and Citrix. He often assists organisations in rationalising their licensing spend while increasing workforce engagement. He is also deeply engaged in the education sector. Joseph was awarded the University of Newcastle Medal in 2007 for his studies in Education, and his doctorate, granted in 2015, was based on research into Australia’s educational ICT policies for student device deployments.

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Conclusion:

Too often, information communications technology (ICT) and business analytics groups focus on business intelligence and analytics architectures and do not explore the organisational behaviours that are required to take full advantage of such solutions. There is a growing recognition that data literacy (a subset of digital workforce maturity1) is just as important, if not more important, than the solutions being deployed. This is especially true for organisations embracing self-service analytics2.

The trend is to give self-service analytics platforms to management that are making critical business decisions. However, this trend also requires managers to be trained in not just the tools and platforms, but in understanding how to ask meaningful questions, select appropriate data (avoiding bias and cherry-picking), and how to apply the principles of scientific thinking to analysis.


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Future of Work expert and IBRS advisor Dr Joseph Sweeney has made seven recommendations towards good Microsoft Team governance after surveying and speaking to 80 CIOs across Australian organisations. 

Microsoft Teams usage grew to more than 44 million global daily active users during COVID-19 and has still continued to grow. Dr Sweeney's findings discovered a number of concerning issues for organisations with Teams implementation and the risks associated with them. Businesses rushed to deploy Teams in a way that left them at risk of exposing critical data and damaging productivity.

Dr Sweeney emphasised Microsoft hasn't created an insecure environment with Teams. "Out of all the vendors Microsoft actually has a really good security Story" said Dr Sweeney. "The problem is, a lot of organisations in the rush to get people working from home turned Teams on, and they've deployed (it) without full consideration of all of these new risks."

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Microsoft teams governance: Emerging better practices

Better Practice Special Report: Microsoft Teams Governance

With the rush to deploy Teams to enable remote work in 2020, the majority of organisations have not yet fully considered the highly disruptive nature of deep collaboration. Governance has been largely overlooked in the effort to ‘just get people working’. IBRS outlines the seven critical areas of governance that must be immediately addressed for Teams to be sustainable and to mitigate the new risks (and benefits!) of deep collaboration. Find attached a PDF of the webinar to download for free. Or to view the webinar, click on the video below.

 

Observations: In theory, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) technology enables organisations to be nimble, providing flexible, remote working and (for some use cases) more cost-effective deployment of digital workspaces. Recent events and technology advances have tested this theory and spawned several major changes. The rush to cater for remote working has increased adoption to Cloud-based VDI for ‘burst workloads’, at least in the short term. The need to quickly address scalability issues for organisations that had previously invested in VDI has favoured increased sales of hyperconverged solutions.

Longer term, organisations are looking to leverage VDI to enable compute and data-intensive tasks while keeping information ‘inside the data centre’. Some organisations – especially in financial services – are looking to expand previous VDI experiments to transform workplaces and service delivery models.


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Conclusion: Regardless of its digital strategy, many organisations have not been positioned to properly leverage the digital and data assets that are available to them. A Chief Data Officer (CDO) role can improve this situation by advancing an organisation’s data portfolio, curating and making appropriate data visible and actionable.

The CDO position is appropriate for all larger organisations, and small-to-large organisations focused on data-driven decision-making and innovation. These organisations benefit from a point person overseeing data management, data quality, and data strategy. CDOs are also responsible for developing a culture that supports data analytics and business intelligence, and the process of drawing valuable insights from data. In summary, they are responsible for improving data literacy within the organisation.


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Conclusion: Machine learning operations (MLOps) adapts principles, practices and measures from developer operations (DevOps), but significantly transforms some aspects to address the different skill sets and quality control challenges and deployment nuances of machine learning (ML) and data engineering.

Implementing MLOps has several benefits, from easing collaboration among project team members to reducing bias in the resulting artificial intelligence (AI) models.


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Conclusion: Despite decades of investment in new technologies and the promise of 'digital transformation', workforce productivity has languished. The problem is that technological change does not equate to process nor practice change. Put simply, doing the same things with new tools will not deliver new outcomes.

The mass move to working from home has forced a wave of change to practices: people are finally shifting from a sequential approach to work to a genuinely collaborative approach. And this work approach will remain even as staff return to the office.

The emerging wave through 2020 and beyond is process change: continual and iterative digitisation of process. Practice and process changes will be two positive legacies of the pandemic.


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IBRS iQ 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: Growing use of SaaS-based, low-code application development platforms will accelerate digital process innovation. However, embracing citizen developers (non-IT people who create simple but significant forms-based applications and workflows) creates issues around governance: including security, process standardisation, data quality, financial controls, integration and potentially single points of failure. There is also a need for new app integrations and service features for its stakeholders that need to be addressed before the potential for citizen developers can be fully realised.

If governed properly, low-code platforms and citizen developers can accelerate digital transformation (or at least, digitisation of processes) and in turn alleviate the load on traditional in-house development teams.


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Conclusion: The coming global recession will see ICT budgets cut, or at least constrained, in the 2021 financial year through to 2023. CIOs are now inundated with advice that boils down to this singular direction for efficiency and mostly, for survival. Although sound, this advice does not take into consideration that many CIOs have long been practising cost-efficiency. Many IT shops are already cut to the bone.

IT projects will be on the chopping block. Hence, it is crucial to prioritise now – before the cuts are mandated – which IT projects can be shelved for a few years without unacceptable risks to the organisation. It is important to note here that postponing or cancelling projects is being framed as a business risk decision. The CIO’s role is to put forward the risks of delaying or killing off a project, not to be the sole arbitrator. 


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Conclusion: In August 2020, IBRS ran a roundtable on the issue of Microsoft Support service, and specifically options for obtaining services in the most effective manner. 

The replacement of Microsoft's traditional Premier Support programs for its Unified Support program is well underway. For many organisations, the new program is a strong fit, offering a wide range of services and unlimited reactive support inquiries for a fee that is directly proportional to their Microsoft software and platform investment.  

However, for others, the program is not an ideal or cost-effective fit. During the roundtable, 16 peers shared their stories of how they have approached Microsoft support in the new era and a set of practical recommendations was developed. 


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Conclusion: For the last two decades, the market for ruggedised computing has been led by emergency, policing and military needs. The advent of lower-cost wireless networking, 4G and now 5G has prompted a sharp rise in field workers using devices and mobile-ready solutions to streamline operations. Unfortunately, legacy thinking about the type of devices to be used has prevailed: either staff get consumer devices (iOS or Android) or military-spec ruggedised devices.

There is an opportunity to rethink this polarised view of devices. Rather than seeing devices as either consumer or rugged, it is better to view devices on a spectrum of needs, including ruggedness, based on the work contexts in which they will be used.


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Conclusion: The Digital Ready Workforce Maturity Model serves as a tool to help organisations measure the digital readiness of their workforce. It provides the baseline for organisations. This insight then informs strategic planning, policies and capability development priorities for organisations to guide and subsequently monitor maturity and capability.


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Conclusion: IBRS has identified five areas of governance overlooked in the rush to deploy Teams. Organisations now need to ‘back-fill’ these areas to ensure the organisation meets its compliance obligations and reaps the full benefits of the digital collaboration environment.


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