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Conclusion: The release of Amazon’s Echo in 2014 heralded the first of a series of “ambient” technologies1. These new devices are unobtrusive, multiple purpose and capable of responding to conversational input through integration with virtual digital assistants (VDAs) such as Amazon’s Alexa.

A key enabler of these platforms is the ability to implement “skills” or expand the platform’s capability to interpret and respond with appropriate conversational content beyond the basic function of the device itself.

The consistency of information required by organisations under omni-channel delivery models, combined with under-resourced editorial teams, mean organisations must prepare for conversational channels by transforming existing content sooner rather than later.

Failure to do so will see history repeat itself through short-term replication of content to support new channels only to have that content and channel functionality merged back into increasingly sophisticated content management platforms at significant cost.

Conclusion: Eforms hold the promise of democratising the development of work-related apps. However, eform projects will stagnate, or even fail outright, if they are initiated primarily as a technology-driven initiative. Instead, the selection of an eform involves identifying where on the eform solution spectrum your organisation sits, and this can be accomplished by answering four questions.

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"How to succeed with eforms Part 2: The five most common eforms challenges" IBRS, 2018-02-01 10:06:14

Conclusion: The initial gathering of momentum for change is difficult enough to generate, but letting that momentum lapse will make it even more challenging next time to generate the passion and endeavour to improve the modus operandi for the long haul.

Conclusion: The ERP finance system is one of an organisation’s critical IT applications that can benefit or constrict operations. It is the backbone system that underpins how an organisation interacts with customers and suppliers, and manages day-to-day transactions and business operations. It is the CEO and CFO’s key business tool used to make business decisions. If an organisation can streamline its backend processes efficiently and automate transactions to speed up interactions with customers direct from online bookings to the capturing of payments swiftly, it sends a positive message to customers. This builds customer retention, a good reputation and long-term revenue by potentially increasing the lifetime value of customers and their referrals.

Conclusion: Mind mapping is a popular technique to assist with the thinking ability of an individual or team, and to help generate ideas and thoughts. Mind maps literally involve “mapping” out thoughts, using associations, connections and triggers to stimulate further ideas.

Whilst traditional mind maps have been drawn on paper, the availability of mind mapping software provides platforms that can be used within organisations to improve the productivity and creativity of individuals and teams. Additionally, it is possible to do things with digital mind maps that are not possible with a hand-drawn diagram, especially in the area of team collaboration, dynamic links and exporting to other formats such as presentations, websites or project plans.

Standardising on a particular mind mapping application can provide a powerful collaboration tool for all employees in the organisation1. With so many choices available, organisations should define their needs and select an application that best integrates with how they expect to deploy mind mapping.

Conclusion: Technology decision-makers have a larger and ever-growing set of technologies to choose from. The creative entrepreneurship driving the expansion of products is generally beneficial to end-users because it stimulates change and helps to drive innovation from the major vendors.

For larger organisations, in most cases, the major enterprise offer will be selected for many reasons, incumbency being significant, along with compatibility. For other organisations, examining the new and emerging vendors’ technologies may unlock a better process. However, assessing all the vendors within a category vertical, each with their own range of solutions, features and technical aspects, can result in a lot of information to process. The most effective method is to apply the principal business objective and assess how it aligns with strategic execution.

Conclusion: The current wave of digital transformation will see the retirement of large numbers of legacy systems. Although the cost of operations, including storage of data, in newer Cloud-based solutions is often cheaper, the cost of migration of historical data to new platforms can be significant. IBRS has observed increasing numbers of digital transformation projects where the decision is being made to preserve legacy systems using back-up infrastructure techniques at the application and/or database level without any reference to regulatory records management requirements.

Many legacy systems were not designed with a long-term view of key business records and information they capture and generate, nor are back-up technologies designed for long-term archival and retrieval of individual records. The result of these strategies is the potential for access to official records and chains of evidence to be interrupted – a situation likely to be viewed by regulators and stakeholders as a failure of the organisation’s record-keeping obligations.

Conclusion: Both Google G Suite and Office 365 can enable deep collaboration. As discussed in Deciding between Google G Suite and Microsoft Office 3651, while G Suite puts deep collaboration front and centre, Office 365 allows organisations to evolve into this new way of working. Whatever office suite is selected, two aspects of end user computing are impacted when organisations seek to embrace deep collaboration: identity management and information governance.

  • Identity management must change to allow information to be shared with and worked upon by external parties.
  • Records management/compliance must change to enable an asynchronous knowledge management lifecycle.

Both of the above have policy and technology impacts. Prior to selecting either G Suite or Office 365, these impacts need to be carefully considered and the approaches taken by Google and Microsoft weighed against the organisational needs and appetite for change.

Conclusion: Astute CIOs and business managers must consider not only which COTS (Commercial off the Shelf) vendor best meets their needs, but also how to best deploy the solution. This is because many vendors not only offer a mix of on-premises or private Cloud or SaaS (Software as a Service) solution but due to a limited local presence may lack the capability to implement it.

A further complication in the debate is that many COTS solutions are functionally mature which often means the selection decision hinges on their meeting qualitative and non-functional requirements.

Conclusion: Learning Management Solutions, Talent Management Solutions and Performance Management Solutions are increasingly offered as Cloud-based SaaS services and are merging into a single product category: Human Capital Management. For Australian organisations, this is both a blessing and a curse. In the long term, it will lessen the need to integrate previously disparate solutions. In the short term, it means that selecting a solution to meet a specific need – say creating and delivering eLearning resources to the workforce – must factor potential future needs of the workforce and the broader issues of Human Capital Management. ICT groups need to proactively provide guidance and governance to HR around the selection of solutions for all areas of Human Capital Management.

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