Peter Hall

Peter Hall

Peter Hall was an IBRS advisor between 2016 and 2020 who covered enterprise infrastructure, management, managing vendor and customer relationships, vendor capabilities and vendor offerings. Peter is also experienced in Start-Up’s and Mergers and Acquisitions. Peter has over 37 years of experience working in the IT sector in ANZ and Asia Pacific, gaining invaluable insights into vendor offerings and strategies, relationship management, and channel strategies. Peter’s an experienced executive having worked for Hewlett-Packard, Blade Network Technologies (acquired by IBM in 2010), IBM and Lenovo. Peter is also an accredited Tony Buzan Licensed Instructor in Mind Mapping.

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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.


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Conclusion: Mind mapping is used broadly throughout the world as a technique for improving creativity, problem solving, organising, planning, learning and collaborating. It can be used effectively to help an individual with their personal productivity, and importantly it can help teams and whole organisations.

If organisations are going to embrace mind mapping and encourage employees to utilise this proven technique, then it should manage the rollout like it would for any other major new initiative. A specific training program needs to be utilised, and if software is to be used to enable collaboration via Mind Maps, the organisation will need to determine an approach and evaluate potential applications from the growing list of mind mapping applications becoming available.


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Conclusion: Whilst the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European regulation, some Australian organisations are likely to be impacted and will need to comply. One of the requirements of the regulation is to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO), whose job role has very specific duties and legal responsibilities which are defined as part of the GDPR.

However, the guidelines are not completely clear as to when it is mandatory for an organisation to appoint a DPO. Australian organisations should consider if, 1: will they need to comply with the GDPR, and, 2: will they need to appoint a DPO?


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Conclusion: Executives trying to put ambitious and commendable goals in place may not appreciate the clarification that they may see as downgrading their original goal. When IT is asked to provide systems to support ambitious goals, the executive team needs to make sure the costs are understood and any ramifications that may result in significant changes or investment in IT solutions to support the goals are clearly identified and costed.

Having corporate goals or strategies as a focus to help employees know what is to be achieved is commendable and a proven approach to getting individuals and teams to focus on specific targets or outcomes. But setting the targets too high can come at a cost that is not justified or that may result in a continual investment in trying to achieve something that is beyond the organisation. It can also be unnecessary when the goal only requires the organisation to be delivering better than the nearest competitor, or be providing a unique offering or service that defines the organisation and sets it apart from others in the market.


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Conclusion: Vendors use sales incentives, such as bonuses or rewards, as levers to focus the behaviour or outcomes of their sellers or channel partners. Many vendors work on quarterly results for their sellers, and set sales incentives for these periods. Vendors view sales bonuses and incentives as levers that they can put in place to try to drive a specific focus, or specific sales results.

Being aware of the existence of these incentives can help an organisation understand that incentives may be driving the negotiations approach that a vendor may be prepared to take, and on what solutions are being offered.


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Conclusion: ICT vendors compete to gain the loyalty of channel partners to take their products to market. Vendors often run channel programs that reward partners for specific behaviours and results, which can give specific partners an upper hand in competitive situations.

When organisations go to market to purchase specific technologies, they often seek out several quotes or proposals in an endeavour to ensure costs are competitive and reasonable.

Whilst pricing should not be the only factor in choosing a supplier, organisations should be aware of the way partner relationships work with vendors and how this may influence pricing and other outcomes.


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Conclusion: Paying for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) which is kept on-premises, but paid for on an Opex model rather than as a Capex outlay, is often positioned as ‘Cloud-like’. There can be use cases and specific workloads where this model makes sense and does give some advantages to the organisation.

However, on-premises management of an organisation’s own Cloud can be lacking in the degree of flexibility and pace of innovation that can be achieved when compared to some of the larger and more successful public Cloud offerings such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.

Organisations need to weigh up specific use cases and workloads and determine the optimal balance of when to use ‘on-premises’ Cloud versus public Cloud.


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Conclusion: Australian organisations and agencies need to embrace the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legal framework for protecting and managing Private Individuals Information (PII). There is considerable risk to organisations that do not take action to comply, financially and to organisations’ brands.

There are also potential upsides in embracing the requirements and being able to demonstrate compliance with the accountability principles, and implementing both technical and organisational measures that ensure all processing activities comply with the GDPR.

Whilst Australian companies may already have practices in place that comply with the Australian Privacy Act 1988, GDPR has a number of additional requirements, including the potential appointment of “data protection officers”. Action should already be taking place, and organisations should not underestimate the time and effort it may take to reach and maintain compliance.


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Conclusion: Virtual Teams have become common in most organisations, and technology and globalisation have been the major enablers. Leaders and team participants have found themselves as participants by default and without choice.

For many, little training or education has been provided to help individuals recognise that their future work environment is going to change, and what new skills or competencies need to be developed.

To effectively utilise Virtual Teams, organisations need to develop a culture that recognises how teams will be used, what tools will be used for communication and collaboration, and education for both leaders and team members.


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Mergers, acquisitions and divestitures are a fact of life that make vendor management an ongoing challenge for today’s tech leaders…

There have been several seismic shifts with IT vendors over the last couple of decades. The merger of HP and Compaq, Lenovo’s acquisition of IBM’s PC and server businesses and, more recently, the Dell EMC deal that has seen the two companies come together – while several businesses, such as Quest Software and Dell SonicWall, have been divested. And, more recently, we’ve seen HP split into HPE and HP Inc. Add the constant acquisitions of small companies and start-ups by the big boys and vendor management becomes a major headache for technology managers.

Peter Hall, an advisor with analyst firm IBRS recently published a research note on vendor management through mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.

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