Digital Transformation

Conclusion: Microsoft Teams is a collaborative hub for teamwork with links to a wide range of information sources and communication capabilities. While a latecomer to the collaboration software solution market, Teams benefits from being included in Microsoft’s 365 platform, which means many organisations have ready access to collaboration capabilities without the licensing costs of dedicated third-party solutions.

Teams is a relatively new and rapidly evolving solution; therefore, deployment challenges are present. Organisations must prioritise a structured approach to planning, governance development and security. Planning is important to empower users so that the organisation can break down information and communication silos. The sooner the organisation prepares concrete plans, the smoother the transition will be. This paper outlines better practices for such planning.

Organisations that rushed the deployment of Teams to support working from home as part of the pandemic response should revisit their Teams deployments against the better practices discussed in this advisory paper, and ‘back-fill’ any missing activities to ensure that Teams maintains long-term benefits for the organisation.

Conclusion: Digital transformation is a journey that will require an organisation to undergo metamorphosis. Unlike projects, it does not always have a short-term or long-term timeline. However, organisations can tread with discernment by harnessing clarity of purpose and an adept understanding of its culture and the values of its people.

There are different types of organisations in terms of how they handle digital transformation. These are the ‘visionaries’, the ‘explorers’ and the ‘watchers’. Visionary companies are those which truly utilise digital for transformation and truly believe that they can implement change. Explorer companies utilise digital transformation for experience.
Organisations that are considered as watchers utilise digital transformation for efficiency and have a traditional view with regard to technology. They believe that technology adoption can be used to reduce waste and gain efficiency.

The type in which an organisation falls may also affect the strategy it employs in handling challenges and obstacles. The most common hurdles faced by organisations are insufficient funding and technical skills, lack of organisational agility and entrepreneurial spirit, having a risk-averse culture, lack of collaborative culture, security concerns, competing priorities, lack of strategy and understanding.

Aside from the obstacles and challenges companies encounter, there are also various pitfalls they fail to recognise early on. This leads to mistakes and miscalculations.

Conclusion: Shifting end users to a digital service delivery channel is more cost-effective for most scenarios and most organisations. The return on investment is through a reduced volume of low-value interactions and an increase in the volume of high-value interactions within high-cost traditional channels. This is a strategic tactic for many organisations and mature ones will have this articulated in a channel management strategy with defined channel migration/shift/uptake targets.

If that channel migration target is not at the centre of the key performance indicator (KPI) design before it gets rolled out to front line staff, organisations run the risk of creating internal tension between their departments which in turn slows down the rate of transformation.

Well thought out and designed KPIs are a critical success factor in the time it takes for an organisation to see a return on the investment in service delivery transformation.

Conclusion: Digital transformation is the number one information communication technology (ICT) challenge for information technology (IT) leaders across Australia and New Zealand. Organisations are faced with various hurdles whenever they try to implement digital transformation initiatives. The major concerns for these organisations are how to get to the other side of disruption efficiently and effectively and how to best deal with the cultural and technological challenges of digital transformation. Challenges are not focused on technology or adoption approaches as these are available and matured. Traditional challenges of organisation change, culture and budget seem to not have been overcome, even after more than three decades.

Based on Infosys Digital Radar 2019, in terms of the digital maturity ranking in the Asia Pacific per country, Australia is within the top 5 out of 10 countries and New Zealand is in the top 7 out of 10 countries. Organisations are encountering obstacles in adapting successfully in the digital era.

Conclusion: Agile approaches are being applied to a wide range of projects and activities within organisations including infrastructure upgrade projects of known tools and devices and across existing customer bases. Focusing on the technology elements and progressing quickly to build and test can uncover blind spots due to a high degree of familiarity and assumptions. Areas such as stakeholder engagement, vendor management, integration and the need for discovery and design can be glossed over as it is assumed that most of the details are known. The result is a discovery and gaps are discovered at the end of the test phase, just prior to release or even after release to production.

Conclusion: The three largest service providers in Australia for mobile phone services, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, have all committed to providing 5G networks. 2019 has seen the introduction of 5G networks and devices; however, the coverage is still limited. Initial coverage by the service providers will focus on areas with the highest population density, providing coverage to a greater number of potential users. In 2019, it is estimated that coverage should be available to about 4 million potential subscribers.

The jump in speed and reduction in network latency will open up opportunities for new services and customer experiences that would not be practical using existing 3G or 4G networks. There is a large potential economic upside and organisations should be planning for future use cases.

Conclusion: Many strategic planning activities that are meant to set the future direction for the organisation fail to meet that objective. Current success, a high level of incumbent expertise or even passion can prevent an organisation from considering red flags or other indicators that will impact on future success. At worst, it can result in significant failure; at best, it limits the activities of the organisation to do more of the same with a tactical work plan. Overcoming this myopia is critical to ensuring that strategic planning i.e.fective and provides a useful compass for the organisation.

Conclusion: The ubiquitous availability of smartphone and wearable technology has opened up opportunities for a wide range of new applications that take advantage of knowing the location and proximity of these devices.

One of the newer underlying technologies that enable these new apps are low-cost small beacons that provide regular transmissions, usually to Bluetooth-enabled devices. When working on digital transformation projects or opportunities to innovate, these technologies should be included in the developer’s tool bag.

Conclusion: Globally, organisations are dealing with the challenges of “digital transformations” and the need to “innovate”. Chief information officers (CIOs) need to support their organisations in these initiatives, but the ownership in defining what is required rests with the business managers, and the key executives such as the chief marketing officers, chief supply chain officers, chief human resources officers and chief executive officers. If the organisation has one, chief technology officers would be a contributor in terms of how technology can be included in innovation initiatives.

CIOs need to be valued as trusted advisors to the business leaders in terms of what technology solutions will support their businesses’ initiatives.

Conclusion: Innovation is a growing key competency for organisations in the public sector and seemingly an imperative for the commercial and not-for-profit sectors to grow or maintain market share and relevance in a continuously dynamic marketplace. Although innovation is included in nearly all current strategic plans, both business and technology, organisations still struggle to actually adopt innovation in practice. Only by recognising how not to innovate can organisations ensure that change to their actions and behaviours supports innovation and does not kill it.

Conclusion: Agility has been introduced into organisations as part of their approach to increase the cadence, or velocity, of design, development and implementation cycles for project delivery. Increased levels of activity and visibility are also integral to many social media solutions and their approach to online presence. However, strategic planning processes evolve slowly and for many organisations this critical business and technology planning activity is lagging behind and no longer supports the business objectives in the digital era. 

Conclusion: Developing a digital strategy or embarking on a digital transformation program is now a common business narrative. For some organisations it is a process of recasting existing IT strategy and continuing in more or less the same manner. For others it involves initiating a technology project as a way to learn new processes and update platforms and skills. Understanding the business readiness of the organisation is a critical element for any change but is key to digital transformation.

Related Articles:

"Digital transformation – get strategy and people right first" IBRS, 2016-08-03 08:01:16

"Digital transformation: More than a technology project" IBRS, 2018-06-01 04:04:24

"Digital transformation: Top 4 lessons" IBRS, 2018-10-04 13:03:00

Conclusion: Increasingly, leaders in the field of AI adoption are calling out the limitations of the current machine learning techniques as they relate to knowledge representation and predictive analysis.

Organisations seeking to adopt machine learning as part of their AI-enabled transformation programs should ensure they fully understand these limitations to avoid unproductive investments driven by hype rather than reality by expanding their definitions of machine learning to include the use of graph networks and social physics solutions.

Related Articles:

"Machine learning will displace “extract, transform and load” in business intelligence and data integration" IBRS, 2018-02-01 10:03:37

"Prepare to manage the “evolution” of AI-based solutions with “DataOps”" IBRS, 2018-03-31 06:43:42

"Preparing for the shift from digital to AI-enabled transformation" IBRS, 2018-06-01 04:10:21

Conclusion: Digital transformation is happening everywhere. It is being included in organisational strategic plans for government service improvements and in commercial organisations to address market challenges and industry disruptors. Digital transformation efforts include a core group of domains including strategy, innovation, experience, automation and trust and these must be addressed in any digital transformation approach. However, a core element of digital transformation is people and the hardest part of digital transformation is the cultural piece.1 Understanding the people elements of digital transformation and appropriately addressing them can mean the difference between success and failure for organisations.

Related Articles:

"Digital transformation: Top 4 lessons" IBRS, 2018-10-04 13:03:00

"Digital: Use it to garner support for your next initiative, but avoid the risks!" IBRS, 2016-08-03 08:01:14

"Know how to sell ideas and support the digital strategy" IBRS, 2018-08-01 09:46:03

"Who should lead digital transformation?" IBRS, 2018-11-02 11:39:29

Conclusion: In IBRS’s 2018 Top Business Technology Trends Priorities Report, we noted that despite significant media attention on blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) in 2017, the primary concerns of Australia’s Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in 2018 remains focused on the more pressing issues of migration to the Cloud, and its impact on IT operations and staffing.

However, ignoring DLT in the long term is no longer an option. After 10 years since the advent of blockchain, real world and production examples are now emerging from market-influencing players in Australia such as the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and Commonwealth Bank (CBA). This, combined with significant investment from credible vendors (both old and new), requires that CIOs and their Enterprise Architects review the implications of DLT becoming a mainstream means for secure, immutable data exchange to enable fully automated multi-party workflows.

Related Articles:

"Blockchain Principles and Cases" IBRS, 2016-03-31 23:14:46

"The Top Business Technology Priorities for 2016" IBRS, 2016-02-01 01:10:48

Conclusion: Organisations either recognised early that digital transformation was essential to meet the competitive demands of their respective markets or accepted that general community expectations had increased where digital transformation of traditional business operations, processes and services was no longer expected and demanded. Digital transformation became the next big thing in organisations and initiatives were launched in earnest everywhere. While there are always success stories, many more have been less than successful and their stories have some very common themes. To make digital transformation work for the long term it is critical to avoid these mistakes.

Related Articles:

"Agile: The other considerations" IBRS, 2018-03-31 06:46:04

"Digital transformation will fail without capable leaders" IBRS, 2018-09-04 13:40:06

"Digital transformation: More than a technology project" IBRS, 2018-06-01 04:04:24

Conclusion: Organisations seeking to ride the new wave of AI-enabled transformation are facing a clear choice when it comes to the adoption of supporting AI capabilities such as machine learning or speech recognition, either:

  1. DIY (Do It Yourself) – By adopting AI early as stand-alone services; or
  2. MODIFY (Make Others Do It For You) – By waiting for AI functionality to be embedded in existing solutions.

Deciding which path to take requires that organisations reflect on their current maturity when it comes to building solutions. Only those organisations that can honestly demonstrate full development lifecycle capabilities and that have contemporary development tools and frameworks should expect anything but proof of concept success with DIY approaches to AI solutions.

Related Articles:

"Machine learning will displace “extract, transform and load” in business intelligence and data integration" IBRS, 2018-02-01 10:03:37

"Preparing for the shift from digital to AI-enabled transformation" IBRS, 2018-06-01 04:10:21

"Proactive optical character recognition of incoming content will accelerate AI-enabled automation" IBRS, 2018-03-06 06:54:57

Conclusion: Organisations everywhere are thinking about, planning or undertaking digital transformation activities. While good progress is being made, there is still a tendency to view digital transformation as a technology project or series of technology projects which will provide some value but will not result in an organisation being digital.

Conclusion: In seeking to achieve their vision, goals and objectives, organisations constantly evaluate internal and external factors in order to take action. Although tuned to the unique needs of each enterprise, there have been identifiable waves of factors and responding actions that have occurred since 2000 in the form of business and digital transformation.

Business transformation addressed the changing nature of markets in a connected and globalised world by focusing on delivering cost savings through new models of operation, while the subsequent wave of digital transformation sought to employ technology and exploit pervasive connectivity to increase the efficiency of internal processes and customer-facing interactions.

IBRS has identified a new wave we call “artificial intelligence-enabled (AI-enabled) transformation”, which is focused on optimising business operations through the use of emerging technologies that leverage “self-learning” algorithms to make predictions, respond to real-world objects and events, and possess user interfaces that mimic how humans communicate.

However, in order to successfully exploit this new wave of transformation, organisations must first understand what exactly AI is and how AI-enabled transformation differs from the waves that have come before it.

Conclusion: Due to years of tactical software deployments in response to urgent digital transformation uplifts, organisations have created a jungle of business intelligence (BI) technologies deployed in the absence of a well described and comprehensive approach to the challenges faced; challenges that will continue to increase with the shift to AI-enabled transformation.

Instead the majority of solution paradigms have centred around the application of emerging technologies with little articulation of a coherent architecture traceable to the underlying functional or non-functional requirements required to support a well governed and long lived data analytics platform. Instead, with each new trend in reporting and analytics, e. g. big data, results in a litany of partial solutions.

Enter Data Vault 2.0 (DV2.0) is the first well described architecture, methodology and modelling approach to emerge from the BI community in the last 5 years. DV2.0 provides a solid basis for organisations wishing to avoid the data sins of the past and adoption should be a top consideration for the inevitable expansion of BI that flows from business application transformation and as part of a clear DataOps strategy.

Conclusion: Business leaders should convert recent global interest in AI applications, safety and effectiveness into AI governance guidelines in the exercise of their triple bottom line responsibilities (for profit, social responsibility and sustainability) as outlined in IBRS research note, “The emerging need for IT governance in artificial intelligence”1.

AI includes a very broad range of technologies being applied in virtually all industries. This means that the use of AI in both IT and operational technologies2 (OT) requires C-level attention and supervision.

Conclusion: Achieving the ability to comply with the new European General Data Protection Regulation is seen as a costly and burdensome overhead adding a new layer of complexity to how organisations will need to manage and secure Personally Identifiable Information (PII) records kept by them.

However, organisations should view the potential benefits of being able to use obtaining and maintaining the ability to comply with GDPR as an opportunity to justify investments in technologies, process improvements and people to deliver better overall outcomes for the organisation.

Rather than simply focusing on doing what is required to be able to comply, focus should be on using the opportunity to update tools and processes to improve organisational efficiencies, reduce costs, increase customer and employee loyalty, and improve productivity.

Conclusion: Managing large IT environments and provisioning IT services within an organisation is complex and complexity will always exist. However, not all complexity is “bad”. “Good” complexity is the complexity required to simplify, to reduce costs, create value, improve security and improve overall operations and results.

Focus needs to always be maintained on reducing “bad” complexity. “Bad” complexity is the complexity that makes it difficult to do things, difficult to secure, difficult to manage, difficult to innovate, or difficult to adapt to changes in the organisation. “Bad” complexity comes with high costs, including hidden costs in lost employee productivity and morale, potentially loss of new business opportunities, or higher staffing costs due to the limited availability of the skills needed.

Organisations need to maintain a mindset of constantly managing initiatives to drive towards simplification in their IT portfolio, understanding that achieving this will involve sophisticated and often complex planning and the successful execution of those plans.

Conclusion: Australian Government digital transformation programs tend to adopt the model implemented by the UK Government and use this to develop priorities and implement programs. This will provide line-of-sight improvements and may help to identify some breakthrough options. Additional priorities will ensure that there is appropriate leadership to lead cultural and behavioural changes. In the future, citizen-centric should not mean a better way for each tier of government to deliver their traditional services but that services are designed to meet the needs of the citizens regardless of the jurisdiction or level of government service delivery.

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.

Conclusion: Although automation is actively being introduced through digital transformation projects, it may still be a minor part of the technological mix for a few years. The main reason for the potentially slower progress with automation is the relatively mixed economic background. In some specific instances, it is an obvious option but otherwise its benefits will be ambiguous for some time.

In these foreseeable circumstances it may be that business as usual (BAU) is the overriding strategic principle.

Conclusion: Automation will overturn the old model of technology in some industries and workplaces. How automation could modify work practice is being explored but it is the ramifications which are obscure. If automation becomes widespread, as credible forecasts claim, it will have multiple consequences which require understanding and response.

Conclusion: Abbreviated trialling of RPA platforms is shaping up as a relatively low risk, low cost approach to exploring the use of robotics to aid business process rather than lengthy technical evaluations.

However, business process re-engineering experience shows that just automating existing business processes without addressing inherent inefficiencies and adding a robotic overlay is a total waste of resources.

Basic RPA applications do not need IT coding and can reduce repetitive tasks and improve accuracy.

In more complex situations, use of RPA platforms and tools relies on leveraging IT systems integration in providing robotic aid to assist human intuitive decision-making.

Conclusion: Abbreviated trialling of RPA platforms is shaping up as a relatively low risk, low cost approach to exploring the use of robotics to aid business process rather than lengthy technical evaluations.

However, business process re-engineering experience shows that just automating existing business processes without addressing inherent inefficiencies and adding a robotic overlay is a total waste of resources.

Basic RPA applications do not need IT coding and can reduce repetitive tasks and improve accuracy.

In more complex situations, use of RPA platforms and tools relies on leveraging IT systems integration in providing robotic aid to human intuitive decision-making.

While the objectives of improved profit and productivity are straightforward, innovation is more complex than just the implementation of technology. Innovation touches people, processes and how organisations maintain their purpose in future

Conclusion: While activity based working can deliver a better ambient environment and cut some fixed costs, it is the less easily measured outcomes that are the objective. These objectives tend to come under the heading of collaboration.

Public sector organisations need to see beyond the initial phase of ABW and look to the longer term in order to achieve the promise of activity based working.

Conclusion: Many business leaders around the world have concluded that although information and communications technologies (ICT) are mature, their own business has yet to systematically address digital transformation as an opportunity and a Digital Officer is required to provide that focus. ‘Business-as-Usual’ is an increasingly rejected approach.

A Chief Digital Officer (CDO) or similar appointment with broad responsibilities is clearly needed to deliver radical digital transformation in large or complex enterprises.

Conclusion: The new digital business model for IT is based on selecting, composing, and leveraging a dynamic range of Cloud based external services. Under the new IT paradigm people will work the way they want, when and where they want and with all the tools with which they are familiar; collaborate using a wide range of low-cost commodity services; and use their own devices (and in some cases their own applications) while those responsible for information governance seamlessly maintain control over the organisation’s enterprise information, privacy and security.

This Compass is a companion document to IBRS’ Master Advisory Presentation (MAP) “Delivering Digital Business Transformation” which outlines business and management issues and provides guidance on delivering an effective digital business transformation.

Conclusion: Business investment has all but disappeared in the last five years1. Therefore it is understandable that the appeal for more investment in the drive to digital transformation will unlock innovation and a new route to productivity. However, it is not that simple, as a review of the data illustrates.

Planning the future with rear-vision perspectives is sure to disappoint, if not fail. Organisations would be better to examine their own situation and discard received wisdom, especially from vendors.

Conclusion: User-centricity, positive customer experiences (CX) and active customer engagement are the necessary central drivers of any business’ digital transformation.

Customer experience trends and issues need to be addressed methodically using a checklist to produce the necessary reviews of current approaches and plans to transform them into best practices.

Systematic use of the tools contained in contact centres, customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, algorithms in apps and communications-enabled business process will be the only responsible path for enterprises committed to improving their customer experience.

Conclusion: Since the inception of Bitcoin, the blockchain is now viewed as a potential technology improvement to many ordinary transaction and data storage functions. The financial sector has led the way, from investment banks to stock exchanges, but deployment of the blockchain has application in other industries. Its clear advantages may yield much efficiency leading to reduced costs. Organisations should examine how and when they might adopt the technology.

Conclusion: Many organisations looking to transform or innovate their existing business find it difficult to think about it in a completely new way as the past is always present. One way to approach the common strategic planning activity is take the perspective used by start-ups and build a business model for the future which re-evaluates current paradigms. Existing business models can be dissected into key elements and each element can be critically examined and evaluated in terms of its contribution to the desired value proposition.

Conclusion:Within the ICT industry new technology is deferred to as the catalyst of innovation. While this is partially true at the current time and over the next 3-5 years, the shifting structure of the wider economy is the more likely agent of transformation, and even perhaps of disruption, which will be seen through the adoption of various technologies.

Conclusion: Australian Organisations are actively developing and refining digital transformation strategies in recognition of the changing business and government operational environment. Innovation is generously mentioned in most strategies and there has been an increase in the number of Chief Digital Officer roles being offered and filled to assist organisations to achieve the transformation they are striving for. However, organisations need to actively develop innovation and entrepreneurial skills and capabilities across their organisations to ensure that they have broad skills to contribute to transformation and innovation programs and an entrepreneurial culture to support ongoing experimentation and change.

Conclusion: Telstra’s new shared access WiFi service Telstra Air solves the problems of users’ limited access to WiFi away from their own home, office or WiFi Hotspots by sharing some of other users’ WiFi capacity (2Mbps on a land line).

It uses globally deployed Fon services which also have massive capital expenditure reduction benefits for fixed and mobile telecommunications carriers and global roaming benefits for Internet service providers and users.

Enterprises should evaluate this type of architecture and service for use in novel ways to brand, differentiate and transform their customer engagement. Shared WiFi access to the Internet is another example of recent trends in the ‘sharing’ economy such as airbnb, Uber, GoGet carshare and others that create practical value.

Conclusion: There are almost no examples of traditional organisations metamorphosing their physical products (and related business models) into digital products (supported by new business models). On the other hand the list of organisations that have gone out of business as a result of the digital revolution continues to grow. Three characteristics are common to non-digital organisations that have lost out to digital competitors.

Conclusion: Nearly all organisations recognise that the world, their industry, and their customers are changing. Evidence of that realisation can be seen in company restructures, strategy and vision documents, and the discourse used by executive management. Change vocabulary such as transformation, innovation, anything Cloud, as-a-service or mobile is widely used. However, history shows that even highly successful companies find change and transformation difficult, with icons such as Novell and Netscape either failing completely or being relegated to market followers.

Review of these and similar organisations shows that being overly committed to a previously winning formula, misreading the market and competition dynamics or responding to market changes too slowly were common missteps.

Conclusion: Digital disruption is now a given in every industry vertical, although each is impacted in its own distinctive ways.

The drivers for connecting everything and transforming business are the desires for improving corporate agility and personal productivity. The use of utility information and communications technologies (ICT) such as Cloud and Mobility is proving to be a key enabler of Digital Transformation for any size of private or public sector business in any sector.

Transformation, agility and productivity are coming from hyper-connected people and processes.

Conclusion: moving to an activity based working (ABW) environment is a complex multifactor project. Organisations can take stock of their readiness to approach activity based working by using the maturity model. The model will assist in developing the planning criteria required for any ABW strategy.

Conclusion: Once an organisation decides its on-premises IT infrastructure model must be transformed into a Hybrid Cloud model the important question becomes “how is this best achieved?” While Cloud Native applications and Dev/Test infrastructure are the typical first steps they do not address the Enterprise applications that are central to most enterprises.

An emerging transformational strategy is one based on Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). This is a low cost, low risk, incremental approach to transforming on-premises IT infrastructure into a Hybrid Cloud infrastructure. The DRaaS leaders in Australia will be VMware, Microsoft and AWS in that order.

Conclusion: The popularity and growth of online social media platforms has pushed social data into the spotlight. Humans using the Web mainly interact with human-produced data. Yet the floods of machine-generated data that flow through the Internet remain invisible to humans. For a number of reasons attempts by organisations to mine big social data to improve marketing and to increase sales will fall significantly short of expectations. Data from digital devices and sensor networks that are part of the Internet of Things is eclipsing human produced data. Machines have replaced humans as the most social species on the planet, and this must inform the approach to data science and the development of healthy economic ecosystems.

Conclusion: Failure to embrace the SMACC stack (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud and Consumerisation) will result in the wider organisation working around the internal ICT provider. Job losses in the ICT team and a reduction in wider corporate capability will result.

Conclusion: The Standard Operating Environment (SOE) desktop has long been considered a best practice and is widely used. However, in recent years consumer IT has dramatically changed users’ expectations resulting in frequent complaints that the SOE desktop is inflexible and a hindrance to doing business.

With corporate supplied desktop continuing to be a key application access platform for the foreseeable future, IT organisations need to find an approach that meet the user’s expectations while controlling complexity, manageability, security and cost. One solution is a Dynamic Desktop1 extended with a self-service portal that emulates an ‘app store’ experience.

Conclusion: Amazon Web Services (AWS) dominates the IaaS market, witha commanding market share lead over all other vendors. Since there are no clear market forces that will change this in the next few years the question is who will become second and third?

Conclusion: The digitisation of services that used to be delivered manually puts the spotlight on user experience as human interactions are replaced with human to software interactions. Organisations that are intending to transition to digital service delivery must consider all the implications from a customer’s perspective. The larger the number of customers, the more preparation is required, and the higher the demands in terms of resilience and scalability of service delivery. Organisations that do not think beyond the business-as-usual scenario of service delivery may find that customer satisfaction ratings can plummet rapidly.

Conclusion: Technology increasingly is a commodity that can be sourced externally. In contrast, trustworthy data has become a highly prized asset. Data storage can be outsourced, and even SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) technology can be sourced from the Cloud, but the patterns of data flow in a service-oriented architecture represent the unique digital DNA of an organisation – these patterns and the associated data structures represent the platform for the development of innovative digital services.

Conclusion: Although small businesses and certain entrepreneurs are using Bitcoin, there is a business case for many other organisations to use the currency in limited conditions. It is one more transaction option that can assist commerce.

Conclusion: Innovation is becoming increasingly important in the 21st century organisation, whether it be companies growing or keeping their customers or the public sector, trying to deliver services with ever decreasing budget – innovation will play a key role as established models for business processes become increasingly under strain. A crucial part of innovation is ideas management. Ideas management involves how to generate and capture ideas, how to select and progress ideas and how to diffuse ideas.

Many organisations focus on the tools and technology available to improve idea management within their organisation, but this ignores the other important elements including strategy, people and processes, resulting in a low level of maturity and often a poor performance of implementing ideas. Improving maturity across all the elements of idea management increases the opportunity to find the best ideas and get them implemented. While a high level of maturity across all elements may not be feasible or desirable, organisations should identify those areas that are important and ensure they optimise these.

In the technology industry Apple, Google, Amazon and others are seen as synonymous with innovation. These companies disrupted prevailing business processes and changed the way people use music, buy products or even write documents. From their design, software tools, and e commerce, what these corporations have done to business around the world is dynamic. Innovation has been at the centre of their success and with it has come development and growth.

Conclusion: While on-premises is still the dominant IT delivery model, Cloud is increasingly viewed as a robust complement or alternative. When evaluating new IT system and services ensure IT staff evaluate the use of Cloud as an alternative delivery model. The evaluation should include non-cost benefits, such as time-to-solution, rapid scale-up and scale-down, pay-as-you-go, as well as traditional metrics such as Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and risk.

Rather than ask “Should we move to the cloud”, IT executives should ask “Why, What and When”, and then use these three questions to create a guidelines for comparing Cloud as an alternative delivery model to on-premises.

Conclusion:There is no other IT project as politically charged as the NBN. Politics and ideology will determine this project, not technology. The 2013 election may be the event that produces a different network to the one that was envisaged in 2008. Every strategy needs a plan B and that is the likely outcome of the NBN.

In early 2013 there is little or no disruption to such a change of outcome because the rollout has not reached a critical mass. However, any visions, or intentions, that hinged on the full fibre rollout may be trimmed in line with the altered network. Organisations will have a lot of time to plot their telecommunications requirements on the modified NBN. But they may also be able to realise the original NBN if they are willing to pay a higher price under a ‘user pays’ principle.

Conclusion: While organisations and personal customers anticipate NBN reaching their premises soon, the fact is it will take some time. The roll out timetable has been well known since the NBN design was outlined. The apparent delays in the roll out are the result of implementation and resourcing which NBN Co. has solved. NBN Co. expects to be able to ‘catch up’ on the roll out by the middle of 2013 and exceed its targets.

Organisations that want, or have a high demand, for the NBN should refer to the roll-out timetable and geographical detail. It may be a catalyst for planning, or allow them to develop strategies for services within their own organisational network which can be deployed in a timely manner.

Conclusion: Although more attention is given to mobile payments, the delivery of services will probably gain wider traction and help promote all trust-based types of transaction. Under this umbrella of services should be added loyalty programs. For brand vendors, loyalty is two-way as they understand the appeal of mobile devices is not simply transactional. It has a subliminal emotional quality which can be used as a platform for commercial gain.

Organisations ought to have business strategies incorporating technical scope and feasibility for mobile services. Critical market mass is important. While smartphone penetration grows quickly planning for programs and services should be put in place. Over the next year is when concepts may be organised into well-developed strategies.

Conclusion: Ticketing and other forms of transactions are essential elements to make other forms of non-cash and mobile financial transaction become habitual to customer behaviour. The familiarity of using the mobile device in such a way, with guaranteed security and convenience, is fundamental to user acceptance. It will help encourage all trust-based mobile interactions on a wider scale.

While smartcards have been seen as the transport ticketing solution there are risks and costs. Ticketing solutions built on smartphone platform is the obvious choice for transit authorities and other organisations that offer services to large groups of users and must manage their use of the service.

Conclusion: A major pillar for mobile transactions to gain widespread use is consumer acceptance. The various parties in the payments industry are working to convince the public of the efficacy of the technology and thereby change behaviour.

Payment vendors know that customer behaviour and usage must change for them to succeed. Altering behaviour can be difficult and costly. The adoption of cashless payments is not a done deal.

Conclusion: The seemingly growing deployment of enterprise social media may add another layer to organisational communications and collaborative suites; or it may replace them altogether. At this stage definite judgement is not possible, given the varying feedback on usage, value and overall benefits.

Ostensibly these tools are being introduced to improve collaboration and productivity. Yet the evidence is not conclusive on those criteria. Nevertheless, it is not necessary to rationalise such deployments on efficacy criteria alone.

Conclusion: Crafting a durable social media strategy is a challenge. How social media tools and behaviour will mature, and the lessons taken from the early phase, will define how it will be implemented later. To manage the social evolution, adequate guidelines can serve as a strategic path.

The two key elements to have in creating a social media strategy are: 1) a robust view of how users and user behaviour is evolving and 2) practical and tactical techniques and tools to deploy and measure in order to produce the information to grow competence.

Conclusion: Investment in meeting room management systems is becoming increasingly important for organisations looking to modernise and optimise their facilities. It is however a complex investment. The investment will fail if appropriate stakeholders’ perspectives are not included in the process and if an objective analysis of user requirements fails to occur. When executed correctly, the definition of a meeting room can be expanded, ensuring efficient use of assets such as car parks, lockers and technology.

Conclusion: Optimising the efficiency and security of statutory board communication is a critical requirement for any organisation. The development of board portal solutions have enabled the basis of board communication to shift from paper to digital media. It is vital that the IT department helps to facilitate this shift. The key challenge for IT departments is to ensure a focus on solutions that are able to be implemented across multiple platforms, and not tied to the latest ‘must-have’ device.

The cloud computing economic model is expected to bring significant rewards – apparently. Those rewards may be possible, but the quality of analysis to demonstrate that the cloud paradigm will yield an ever-growing margin is far from assured. The assumptions underlying the economics of the cloud are tenuous and therefore the promotions and promises should be treated with caution. More analysis has to be done to evaluate how and where advantages are achieved, and at what cost and margin. Without sufficient rationale, empirical data and analysis, the hype will burst once the ambiguous and unclear economic outcomes emerge, just like other technology bubbles before.

One of cloud computing’s apparently key advantages is reduced operational costs. On deeper investigation, however, the purported savings are achieved by removing obvious waste, which represent the bulk of the headlined ‘savings of 50%’ that cloud computing allegedly offers.

Web 2.0 tools are often seen as beneficial and effective for so-called celebrities and online activists. Yet a recent business survey suggests tangible benefits to organisations, together with subtle but real changes in the way business is done.

Conclusion: Web delivered applications, along with specific Web 2.0 tools, have created new, and possibly higher expectations of online interaction from users. As government, at all levels except local, continues to examine ways to deploy these tools and raise its interactive capabilities, it will have to develop customer-centric techniques and possibly behaviour too, or else stumble in the attempt.

In evolving customised government channels the planning process will need greater attention than has hitherto been given to government channels and website content management. In addition, considerations of technology deployment will require a deeper level of strategic priorities and future proofing.

Conclusion: Despite better and more available government services online there are considerable gaps in service quality. These gaps, or dissatisfaction, with services are based primarily in users' ability to deal with accessibility, navigation and understanding of government services and information.

There are two recommendations to be made from the five years' of usage data of government sites: Firstly, that content management, site navigation and information discovery has to be improved, and, secondly, an information marketing campaign to assist users should also be considered using the Web and traditional media to inform and educate the public.

Conclusion: Expanding Web 2.0 tools in government consolidates the current experimentation into a new range and reach of technology from established practices. Adoption of 2.0 tools may create new responsibilities and pressures for government agencies and consequently managers will have to review specific strategies and prioritise the deployment of 2.0 tools.

Many highly accessed government web sites are fragmented, with out of date information, and appear poorly coordinated. While some departments and agencies have demonstrated positive web governance abilities, the expansion of Commonwealth government web sites, coupled with lack of oversight or continuity, means that gaps in service and information delivery are evident.

Conclusion:Government does not only want to supply information and transactional services, it wants engagement from within and outside its ranks. But that ambition may be already too late.

The reality of online use is that government (including its policies and services) is part of the online knowledge system network that includes a plethora of blogs, forums, videos and mailing lists. As the Web grows in scope and complexity, the idea of developing Government 2.0 as a media policy is already history. It's time to investigate a new approach to government online.

Conclusion: Any potential user of Google Apps should understand how Google operates and distributes software products and services. Google’s economies of scale may offer a compelling basis to utilise its software.

Conclusion: Building valuable software solutions increasingly means building solutions that run on the web, and that are not dependent on any particular operating system. Pervasive web connectivity leads to a new paradigm for building software architectures that is based around the availability of high quality web services and around the conscious use of Open Source software in selected areas to reduce vendor lock-in.

Conclusion: The Commonwealth Government’s drive to cut its operating costs and improve efficiency is a worthy one but last month’s Federal Budget has not matched the rhetoric. The emphasis and even reliance placed on ICT (Information and Communications Technology) to help meet expected client service levels means all agencies have to be able to deliver services at the lowest cost. To do this management must have a thorough understanding of the cost components in the delivery process and focus on reducing them.

IT managers can identify improvements in efficiency, but in all probability technology will be utilised to ensure levels of service across the ‘back office’, and to the wider community are maintained. The immediate task is to identify and evaluate costs and redesign processes to ensure efficiency gains are possible.

Conclusion: Whether anyone takes international surveys such as the United Nation's worldwide e-Government survey seriously or not, they are used and referred to widely. They are important in establishing where a country wants to be in delivering e-government services, and the survey results indicate why our governments are not leading other nations.

Applying some of the lessons learned from the Scandinavians, who always seem to perform well in international exams, is one obvious strategy for Australasian governments to help them do better next time; but the key element of any successful e-government strategy is not technological: it is the connection with citizens. Technology in this instance simply facilitates contact.

Conclusion: For most corporate IT departments, concepts such as Cloud Computing seem light years away from current day-to-day reality. Yet the number of commercial providers of such services is growing fast, and even more far-fetched ideas such as global software service supply chains are emerging on the horizon. The distance between innovators and late adopters of modern techniques and technologies is growing. In this scenario it is essential to know when not to remain amongst the late adopters, to avoid being left behind in the dust and struggling with evaporating profit margins.

This article is the first in a series of three on technologies and techniques that are leading to fundamental changes in the architectures used to construct software applications and software intensive devices. First examples of these changes are already visible today, and over the next five years, many of the current rules for architecting business applications will be re-written.

Related Articles:

"The Industrialised Web Economy - Part 3: Automation and Model Driven Knowledge Engineering" IBRS, 2008-05-28 00:00:00

"The Industrialised Web Economy- Part 2: Software Supply Chains" IBRS, 2008-04-28 00:00:00

Conclusion: Open Source software is demonstrably successful in specific business and government areas (think of all those Linux and Apache servers humming away!). However, apart from these, MySQL and a few exceptions from, for example, the Mozilla stable, Open Source systems have not yet had a significant impact in the mainstream world of business IT. The one exception is in Government where there is a world-wide trend to espouse Open Source Software. Government agencies are reporting what they see as compelling arguments for adopting Open Source. Those in the Government arena who have not yet considered this option may wish to re-examine their stand.

Just a week has passed since the election, and the Australian population can switch off their PCs (and Macs too) and Web connections as they have blogged themselves into exhaustion; debating and understanding the policies; been involved at the grass roots level of political and social debate, all in all, thoroughly engaged in the of political process.

Conclusion: Although without a firm launch date, the Google phone offers another interesting facet of Google’s relentless pursuit of digital media domination. While it may add some interesting competition to the mobile market, telephony is the least interesting aspect of the innovation.

The potential – at this stage that’s all there is – of Google’s phone on search and mobile directory services, all of which are related to advertising, looms larger and larger. It may a genuine catalyst in the development of Web 2.0 services, and along the way cause some anxiety to traditional media, Telco and directory service providers.

Conclusion: Fundamental to any consideration of mobile banking will have to be a balance between risk and convenience; and that applies equally to both bank and customer. Even with the choice of secure technology the viability of mobile banking as a service will reside in its adoption, or not, by customers.

Worldwide the expansion of mobile banking is varied and the key factor in its sustainability is not technology but most probably customer acceptance. Any bank considering such real transactional services should conduct research into its likely acceptance with its customers thoroughly and use the responses to decide if mobile banking is likely to be a good deal for both parties.

Conclusion: In the IBRS Trends forecast for 2007, we stated that governments would adopt a new approach to e-government, “moving it from being simply a ‘publishing medium’ to it becoming a true extension of its service arm.”

The purpose of this paper is to examine where the new approaches are taking form as they evolve over 2007. Governments consider their policy options and how they will be delivered well in advance which means that while developments may be emerging, not all will be apparent to users by December 2007.

In the last twelve months Australian and New Zealand governments have been expounding their revised strategies and taking action to fulfil their policy vision. In IBRS’s view governments could adopt a number of basic processes. These processes should be integrated in the implementation of the plans so as to achieve the objectives.

Conclusion: Most organisations are fairly adept at dealing with routine changes that have minimal local impact on processes and systems. The topic of change management becomes an order of magnitude more challenging when the changes in question amount to a fundamental shift in the business model or in the way in which the business model is implemented: Form needs to follow function, new approaches need to be validated in depth before company-wide roll out occurs, lower and upper limits apply to the speed of implementation, and expectations need to be managed judiciously.

Conclusion: Marketing can seem the very opposite of IT: lots of look and feel and rather intangible when compared with systems that must deliver on time. Yet IT can inject ideas and methods into marketing across an organisation, and an organisation that harnesses the expertise of its distinct and specialised divisions can realise positive results.

The product of greater cooperation may be several and various in the role of marketing. IT specialists may offer knowledge and expertise with practical effect for marketing strategies. Many marketing solutions involve technology solutions, and coupled with a thorough understanding of processes and the implementation of technologies, an IT manager can play an influential role to a marketing team.

Conclusion: The emphasis on marketing eGovernment has dropped in priority. There was a Community of Practice on Marketing E-government run by Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) but that government-only group is no longer meeting. In addition there is no specific area in AGIMO responsible for marketing e-government, yet marketing activity is critical to building usage, adoption and education of a product or service.

As the government is committed to delivering services on the Web, it should, as a business would, create the necessary structures for professionals to market the services. To ignore marketing wastes investments in the websites. Currently, the so-called 'operational' areas have some marketing inbuilt into their projects but there is no overall responsibility to oversee standards and market online services.

In addition a complete review of all government website usability should be undertaken to assess weaknesses and client usage. Such a review may entail revising sites. Thirdly the definition and application of “access’’ through the sites ought to be clarified: is it published information; transaction for payment, or email contact with government officers. The fulfilment of any one of these actions should be measured to report if the objective of access has been successful.

Conclusion:Government websites are not reaching the public as effectively as they might. This phenomenon is common around the world and while some sites have functional value to the public, research shows that people are confused, ignorant or unable to find what they need from many government sites.

To improve their usability government should examine practical steps to reach citizens, firstly by marketing the sites in conjunction with improved navigation and, if required, re-designing sites for users to know what they can find on them.

Secondly, refine the execution of the sites, with special reference to improving the quality of sophisticated interaction that is possible between citizens and the administration. This process of should be conducted in the context of the strategic objectives of e-government policy if they are to achieve that particular policy target.

Conclusion:The Federal Government is proud of its achievements in getting community acceptance of e-government. It has connected more citizens and customers over the last 2-3 years and e-government is proving to be an efficient means of processing transactions, and disseminating information.

The Government is on the brink of taking its activities online to a new phase, which will not result in a radical overhaul of current practice, but rather a consolidation of extant systems and delivery.

Yet despite the government’s success there is considerable criticism from SMEs of what it can offer them. The magazine CRN covered this story last year. The SME’s dispute with government was concisely summed up by one ICT executive as hinging on the perceived higher financial risk, or stability, of an SME. In addition the level of liability insurance the supplier must have as required by government – which for many SMEs inhibits their engagement – means the prospect of winning government business, is remote.

In the context of the challenges for SMEs, the imminent reappraisal of e-Government policy should take into account pragmatic methods to permit this sector of the market to compete with larger enterprises. It might do this by setting an objective for SMEs to win a percentage of business by a specified timeframe. This is not a new idea and since 1953 under the Small Business Act it has been legislated in the US. The ICT sector in France has formed the Richelieu Committee to implement a similar agenda.

Alternatively, government might modify some engagement conditions, depending on circumstances, for certain types of services. In developing policy allowance must be made for the large difference between hardware, software and intellectual consulting engagements; that is, between the risks associated with one service versus another. Such practical measures may improve the competitive field for enterprises competing for government business and be a boon for SMEs who can use government contracts to develop their businesses in other markets and overseas.

In early September the Audit Bureau of Verification Services released its online advertising market report which showed that revenue had grown by 62.7% year-on-year to $488m. For the last five years the online advertising industry has been promoting its growing revenues as proof that it has “arrived”, and by implication, companies should use online media as an advertising channel.

VOiP is apparently, “the only sexy thing out there” in technology today. Decoded, this quote means that it’s VoIP is apparently, “the only sexy thing out there” in technology today. Decoded, this quote means that it’s growing quickly. Telephones and sex go back nearly a hundred years so the metaphor is not surprising.

The information and communications technologies market is emerging from its torpor. After the spending excesses of Y2K, then the GST, followed by the bursting of the dotcom bubble and the demise of some major consulting practices, the past four years have been positively somnolent for an industry that has always enjoyed double-digit growth.

Conclusion: Cross-agency initiatives are high-risk endeavours that can deliver significant community and financial benefits. They are extremely challenging because they require a coordinated approach across Agencies as well as high levels of business and technical capability.

Failure to establish high Capability Maturity Level (CMM) processes and to acquire / develop key skills is a major reason why managers involved in many cross-agency initiatives encounter problems.

Before work on an initiative begins program directors should review the capability of each participating Agency in the areas of: project management; risk management; financial management; strategic planning; and, benefits management. If the capability of participating Agencies is not up to the level required, then a capability development program must be undertaken before major work can begin.

Conclusion: Failure of the two main parties to use their websites to reach voters, as indicated by visitor levels just prior to the ballot, suggest important lessons for organisations marketing online.

The first is that content and information cannot retain audience interest, especially if the content is static and unchanged over several months.

The second lesson is that contact between an organisation and interactive communication through a website can be a strong tactic to galvanise a market. Evidence from the US demonstrates that the effective use of the Web, in conjunction with the mainstream media, builds momentum.

Many organisations’ websites do not change over long periods and the value of the site to the organisation, and to the marketplace, drops. Refreshed content and promotions, or other gimmicks may not be right, but techniques to reach and gather individuals, such as an online conference or chat room, can give renewed purpose to an otherwise static website.

Conclusion: SMS has proved more versatile and effective in business-related communications than simply a means of chatting with text. By reducing costs and simplifying the process of communication, SMS is proving to be effective for firms dealing with their suppliers, customers and staff.

Firms of all sizes – and Government departments - can likewise benefit from SMS in two key ways. Firstly, it is a marketing communication channel which can be used for product promotions and secondly, it has proved its worth as an operational communications tool which can be used for channel management within an organisation.

Experience shows firms can cut costs and increase efficiency by using SMS to deliver timely and useful information to stakeholders. Having said this, it is important that the ease with which messages can be delivered should not be equated with permission to flood mobile phones with frequent and irrelevant messages.

Conclusion: Investment attraction is the main business driver of local government Smart City projects and planning, followed by automation and internal productivity improvement.

Trophy Smart City projects based on entirely new cities are rare, but new towns, city centres, technology parks, recreation precincts and showcase suburbs are common and benefit from the same principles.

Every existing municipal service should be reviewed as a candidate for support and improvement using digital techniques.

Current and emerging technologies can routinely deliver Smart City services such as smart waste management, parking, transport, street lighting and facilitating community formation. Imagination is initially the resource in shortest supply.

The Mayor’s support for Smart City projects and programs is essential (because of their novelty and the political courage required) in any region of the world. Always.