Mark Unwin

Mark Unwin

Mark Unwin is an IBRS advisor specialising in the areas of commercial contract negotiation and vendor management. Mark has a career spanning 25 years across Government, Defence, ICT, Telecommunications and Infrastructure, and in this time has developed innovative solutions to transition and transformation ICT contracts, including project management, effective negotiation and relationship management. Mark is adept at aligning ICT service providers using the ITIL service delivery model in particular encompassing service desk implementation, asset management, unified communications and collaboration, end-user computing, ERP systems design and implementation, and software deployment and licensing. Mark has negotiated software audits and licensing agreements for Microsoft, Adobe, Veritas, SAP and Oracle. Mark is CPA qualified and has supported CIOs and CFOs to justify ICT investment programs throughout his career.

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Conclusion:

For IT departments who see no difference in the way they operate now under IT infrastructure library (ITIL) 3 vs ITIL 4, there should be an immediate scrutiny of the documented process and methodology of addressing customer requirements. ITIL 4 practices need to become part of the fabric when engaging the business on digital solutions as best practice can easily come from, or be influenced by, vendors outside the business. The outcome for IT is routinely playing catchup when it comes to selecting the best value IT solutions for the business and customer application.

ITIL 4 moves the conversation from simply an IT solution to a holistic framework that aligns service to business requirements. The framework incorporates the guiding principles, four dimensions of service management practices that can evolve and adapt to the increasingly digital landscape now expected by customers in a mobile, 24/7 world. Business requirements, when analysed through the ITIL 4 lens, can create responses with a supportable and reliable business case for change.


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Conclusion: Organisations that surpass the tipping point of Cloud migration must ensure the investment in Cloud talent keeps up with the business demands for effective Cloud solutions.

IBRS sees the centre of excellence (CoE) as the most qualified skills base to align business and operational needs, but the CoE is also well placed to identify Cloud skills sources to support upcoming Cloud development opportunities.

At each phase of the Cloud maturity cycle, the CoE is best placed to research and advise the executives and business stakeholders of where new investment should be provided to extend the Cloud talent pool. The resourcing strategy should contain flexibility and agility to support short-term project needs and ultimately more permanent IT operational demands.

Be warned that complacency and market pressures will place your next Cloud migration or Cloud optimisation project at risk if your Cloud skills gap doesn’t have a resolution plan.


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Conclusion: Don’t be the last organisation to assess the trajectory of email and other electronic communication strategies and solutions. As awareness of CO2 emission sources grows, communities and governments will be considering both large and small changes to achieve a net zero emissions target by 2050. New challenges will be presented to measure large industry specific Greenhouse CO2 emissions and smaller seemingly innocuous sources such as email.

Moving forward, upcoming generations will challenge the use of email as the primary communications channel and opt for more flexible, integrated communications channels. The tools will focus on aiding collaborations within and outside the organisation, and streamlining email overload. Much of this has already started, with vendor integration seeing emails as one element of a multi-functional approach to electronic communications. Digital marketing, customer relationship management, singularity workflows, workforce management, and project management Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) developers are all embedding emails, chat, social media, Agile Kanban boards, and emerging communication methods within their products to engage future generations in the way they experienced prior to joining the workforce.


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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:

If you lack confidence in the direction of your Cloud migration team (CMT), you are not alone. Chances are the Cloud migration was led by one or two enthusiastic champions from enterprise architecture, infrastructure or apps development who were comfortable being high-risk takers to advance their careers. Too often, these efforts result in partial results and sporadic application, which leaves many senior executives questioning the value of these untamed Cloud engagements.

What is needed now is a structured approach to Cloud skills development and team selection, that culminates in a CMT that effectively manages business needs and the underlying IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) to deliver those business needs. Holding complimentary skills across the team will ensure a more robust analysis of the business needs, and a selection and rightsizing of solutions that continues to flex to meet changes in business and customer requirements. A post-migration Cloud framework should also apply, and contain a continuous improvement register which is examined and updated as the Cloud evolves, and governance programs that identify opportunities to maximise any hybrid or multi-Cloud solution.


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Cloud migration is increasingly becoming one of the most important parts of business processes. When migrating to the Cloud, organisations must find a balance between cost, risks and benefits. It is also vital to create an effective roadmap. IBRS lead a webinar with our advisor Mark Unwin, where we discussed a recent Cloud migration case study, Mark further gives an overview of IBRS's Cloud migration roadmap framework and addresses the next steps you need to consider to successfully migrate to the Cloud.


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Conclusion: Don’t leave Cloud skills benchmarking to chance. Determine where the skills’ gaps exist and create a skills’ development program that is not limited to in-house IT resources, but extends to any outsourced Cloud specialists. Vendors with specialised Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) products find themselves having to maintain a rigorous training regime to keep up with the investment demand of Cloud communities they have created and support.

Organisations should take advantage of the investment by Cloud providers to increase skills through the variety of online resources now available. The difference now is that organisations no longer need to invest directly in their own learning management systems (LMS) as Cloud providers see their LMS investments providing traction and portability for users entering or existing within Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), SaaS and PaaS product suites.


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Conclusion:

Dual SIM mobile phones can deliver value to employers and employees alike in an increasing transient and gig economy workforce. Mobile phone policies need to be modified and adapted to ensure BYO devices are enabled with a corporate SIMs business number, and a suite of corporate apps. It should be as effective as providing a new starter with a laptop.

The market is responding with increasing product sophistication to address these overlapping demands of business and personal use. A business number and applications can reside effectively on one handset alongside a private number and personal applications provided both are addressed by technology and policies. The business policy must be designed to promote business benefits first principles.

Porting of business numbers has become clumsy with businesses bearing the cost of number porting. Users are also left with the dilemma of managing one or more handsets to retain their personal information, or worse still, having to sacrifice a long-held number to accept a business phone. Reducing these legacy policies and supporting dual SIM phones will contribute to greater employee choice and satisfaction rather than addressing business benefits alone.


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Conclusion:

The choices when selecting and designing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution are immense and typically require industry-specific considerations. Executives rightly desire fully-integrated IT services across all departments within an organisation. The end result is a reliable, fully-integrated, and secure solution whether it is deployed in a public or hybrid Cloud solution.

What should not be up for negotiation are the essential, machine critical controls (CCs) that maintain the effectiveness and security of this critical asset during normal business operations. In all, IBRS previously addressed the 10 human-facing CCs1. In this research article, the focus is the remaining 10 machine CCs.


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Conclusion:

Chargeback of enterprise-wide ICT costs were developed to assign ICT costs to the point of usage. The outcome is twofold; it ensures the initial allocation of ICT assets and services are identifiable, and it enables reallocation of underutilised or unnecessary services. This relies on IT creating assets and services which are commodified and transferable.

A chargeback arrangement can increase tension between ICT and the department managers. Allocating all ICT costs to achieve a zero-sum IT department can exacerbate that tension. Making IT fully responsible and accountable for IT costs can create insular behaviours which stifle innovation and investments in new IT services for departments. Departments will feel entitled to explore ICT improvements without an effective relationship with IT. Creating a chargeback governance model that manages disputes and builds trust in the process is preferable.


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Conclusion:

The choices when selecting and designing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution are immense and typically require industry specific considerations. Executives rightly desire fully-integrated IT services across all departments within an organisation. The end result is a reliable, fully-integrated, and secure solution whether it is deployed in a public or hybrid Cloud solution.

What should not be up for negotiation are the essential, human-facing critical controls (CCs) that maintain the effectiveness and security of this critical asset during business operations. In all, IBRS sees organisations needing to address 10 human-facing CCs from a group of 20 CCs. The remaining 10 CCs will cover the technical controls later in this research series.


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Conclusion:

The complexity and scale of Cloud operations is beyond the capability of traditional financial management processes. Today, organisations use Cloud service providers to increase agility, flexibility, and efficiency. Efficiency in this context means the speed of delivery coupled with a reduction in both capital and operational costs. However, that is not the only benefit to be derived. Operating cost reduction is a challenge to organisations that are new to the Cloud and even with those who achieved a certain maturity level. Dealing with operational cost needs in-depth Cloud financial management (CFM).

With this in mind, there are three things to consider with Cloud cost optimisation. First, assess your organisation needs and its level of maturity in using the Cloud. Second, if you lack the skills, then collaborate with a Cloud-Certified Partner (CCP). Lastly, set a collective governance system (guidelines and guardrails) to ensure the services are continuously cost-optimised.


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Conclusion

Whilst many enterprises have successfully implemented a bring your own device (BYOD) mobile policy, many have put this in the too-hard basket fearing a human resources (HR) backlash.

Revisiting the workplace mobile policy can reduce operating costs associated with device loss, breakages, and unwarranted device allocation. IT service delivery operating costs have been increasing annually as more sophisticated and expensive handsets hit the market. Meanwhile, mobile applications are creating increased security concerns which add to asset management and monitoring costs.

Now is the time to take stock and transform the organisation’s mobility space by creating a shared responsibility with staff. Mobile phone allowances are fast becoming the norm with a multitude of different models now being adopted. Choose the one that delivers cost savings across the board as there are both direct and indirect costs associated with each option.


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Conclusion

DevOps, business intelligence (BI) and data, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) are all driving rapid change within IT departments. The challenge will be finding Cloud certified people to meet the rising demand.

Leaders have two main choices. Upskill their existing teams, or embark on a recruitment campaign that brings in Cloud certified professionals to manage Cloud migration and provide the ongoing support and optimisation needed to bring the full value of Cloud to IT operations.

For organisations who suddenly realise how far they are behind on the Cloud value curve, pressure will mount to deliver results quickly. Make sure staff are certified and ready to address your hybrid or multi-Cloud environments.


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