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: As-a-Service solutions offer organisations agility, flexibility and scalability but the graveyard of unused software piling up should ring alarm bells. Neglected software utilisation and compliance will be factors that should drive a new Software Asset Management (SAM) investment. The impact of an unmanaged Cloud SaaS or IaaS solution will be quickly revealed during audits. At a time when management is a focus, this should be an easy win.

Organisations will need to quickly identify if they are running single or multi-tenanted instances and whether production and non-production environments are being managed efficiently for the purposes of SAM product selection.

Selecting a SAM tool should be proportionate to the cost of non-compliance. Unmitigated software licence costs can be eye-watering. Consider these factors when selecting your SAM product for Information Technology Asset Management (ITAM):

  1. Data points
  2. Software overspend
  3. Inefficiency
  4. Compliance

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Conclusion: Increasingly, organisations are looking to improve customer experiences through effective business processes. A ready portfolio of electronic services is expected by the market which offers services using online processes. SAP is often at the core of these ecosystems due to its scalability and interconnection with other specialised applications. This type of interconnection of systems has become the new norm.

Data collection, processing, security and privacy are but some of the concerns of customers. Systematic collection of data including seamless integration and extension of processes across multiple applications are part of the customer’s expectations, albeit unseen.

Once SAP forms the core of the ICT ecosystem, the ROI concerns will not stop once SAP integration is complete. Instead, organisations carrying a large SAP licensing investment would naturally dwell on maximising the ROI. Let us explore the risks associated with achieving this ROI now SAP has shifted the definition of user licensing.


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Conclusion: Choosing to simplify the SAP migration project by removing irrelevant KPIs could increase adoption. This is the common thread for organisations that have successfully undertaken the SAP migration from on-premise to the Cloud.

Choosing an SAP certified practitioner with S/4HANA migration expertise helps reduce migration risk and enables a simpler migration strategy. SAP design for the S/4HANA suite replaces the extensive tables structures of the ECC series with a new digital core, in memory processing and reduces data storage costs.

Project risk can be minimised by considering these during the planning stage:

  1. An experienced SAP S/4HANA project team.
  2. Fully engaged executive sponsors and users.
  3. Early user engagement and user training.
  4. Allow testing to increase user confidence and reduce fear of data loss.
  5. Not underestimating the impact organisational issues will have on the project timeline.

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Conclusion: Finding technologies that meet print demand across differing personas is challenging. CIOs are being asked to replace printed documents with digital workflows but many formal documents are still printed for boards, corporate stakeholders, consumers and management. The answer can be to reduce the cost of printing and provide greater flexibility rather than simply removing printing. Remote print solutions in the Cloud should be investigated as a viable alternative to on-premise printing.

Remote worker definition is becoming broader as organisations look to reduce their footprint across leased buildings. Workers are looking at flexibility to perform their roles wherever work can be completed. The solution can be remote printing that is secure, easy to use and reliable.

Organisations need to consider print software that is operating system agnostic and allows the workforce to print from any location securely. This could eliminate the need to own or lease print hardware in your business.


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Conclusion: If your organisation has not entered a phase 1 managed print services providers (MPSP) agreement then having a clear understanding of your network connectivity, print assets and security requirements is essential before progressing to a tender. The business case needs to deliver at least 20 % savings on the current arrangements before considering value-add services to justify the request for proposal (RFP) process.

Enterprises entering phase 2 agreements with MPSPs should examine the value-add services and determine how they will contribute to further savings. Vendors will be offering automated workflows, data analytics, security and consulting services to increase the contract value.

If use case benefits are unclear, run a request for information (RFI) to enable comparative analysis of vendor capabilities.

Prior to developing the RFP, consider use cases that look at B2B or B2C workflow efficiency such as:

  1. Integration of print activities with other delivery processes
  2. Reducing resources to deliver improved outcome
  3. Accelerate the shift to digital transformation.

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Conclusion: Identifying weaknesses in vendor management will be more effective for organisations that continuously examine their processes and manage vendor performance through an optimised vendor governance framework (VGF). An effective VGF must contain overarching guidelines which are applicable for all ICT vendor categories. Examples could include delivering increased value, promoting and providing cost reductions and recommending improvement to service levels. Mature organisations plan for vendors to provide value-added solutions and/or costs reductions in the range of 10 %+ p. a.1
To ensure the VGF continues to be relevant, organisations must firstly consider their latest ICT strategy then complete gap analysis of current vendors needed to deliver the strategy. The framework needs to be flexible to meet the changing dynamics of an organisation’s various operations whilst avoiding the vendor supply chain adversely impacting service delivery.

IBRS advises assessing and developing an organisation’s vendor governance framework using the IBRS Vendor Governance Maturity Model.


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Conclusion: Reimagining the ERP strategy will require IT and business collaboration to ensure requirements are clear. Retaining the 5–10 year old ERP system1 may serve back office functions but this may impede innovation. ERP customisation is being replaced by vendors who deliver regular updates to their SaaS ERP model. This provides innovation which could reduce the need for complex business cases.

ERP vendors have signalled sunset on support for older ERP systems to challenge organisations to embrace modernisation in the next five years2. This seems far away but experience suggests laggards could see skills shortages and higher costs as the deadline approaches.

ROI measures successful ERP migrations but SaaS models will challenge this. Organisations will need to hold regular conversations to understand these competing parameters. Business leaders will question business requirements; however, innovation should not be ignored during the development of the new ERP strategy.


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Conclusion: ERP SW licensing or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has many permutations and influences one of the largest IT investments for most organisations. Vendors aim to integrate, at a minimum, shared corporate data from financial data, HR, operations and sales. The benefits of aligned data, reporting and processes helps C-level decision makers track and improve organisation performance.

The most common arguments for implementing an ERP system are the cost savings and productivity improvements1. Effective SW governance is essential to avoid eroding expected cost savings or efficiencies.

Large government departments, local government authorities, public listed corporate entities or privately owned entities are all likely to have significant investment in an ERP and will need continued investment in the ERP if ongoing value is to be extracted. Small to medium organisations tend to be more agile and may be able to migrate to a SaaS solution to take advantage of lower migration costs and more cost-effective licensing arrangements.

Either way, modernisation or migration programs are opportunities to renegotiate SW licensing costs provided the pros and cons have been assessed.


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Conclusion: Asset management can be described as ‘the life cycle management of physical assets to achieve the stated outputs of the enterprise’. To achieve the appropriate level of asset management maturity, investment in people, processes and technology all increase the likelihood of developing an effective asset management system. Under-investment could result in asset leakage or increased maintenance costs, thus diminishing the expected returns of the assets.

Where asset management maturity model reaches the level of being ‘integral part of everything we do’, organisations can seek accreditation of the asset management framework using ISO 55000:2014.1

Where the common question is often ‘why waste our time on asset management’ then assets are usually at risk of leakage or poor customer satisfaction ratings. Outages and incidents may occur regularly. The risk of business collapse increases without recognition and change. Here organisations need to consider the steps to commence a review using the asset management model.


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