Geoff Johnson

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Geoff Johnson is an IBRS advisor specialising in all aspects of enterprise networking and related IT solutions particularly networking infrastructure and services including telecoms, data communications, network preparation for cloud applications, unified communications and collaboration, telephony, contact centre, Internet of Things / operational technologies networking, satellite and mobility. He has 23 years of experience in enterprise networking analyst and consulting roles. His specialty is business development, strategy and architecture consulting for large and mid-size enterprises, government agencies, networking infrastructure vendors and network service providers. Geoff has been a Research Vice President, Telecommunications Director, General Manager and Network Manager in both user and supplier roles.

Conclusion: The future of customer service will rely heavily on automating assistance with targeted empathy1.

Expect virtual digital assistants to heavily reduce the need for contact centre services and become the preferred choice as a CX channel.

Amazon’s $100 million investment2 fund to drive innovation in Alexa and its large installed base will advance Alexa and consumer digital assistant Echo capabilities rapidly3.

Treat Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) new “Connect” Contact Centre-as-a-Service (CCaaS) product as a complementary customer experience (CX) tool. Expect Connect to operate as a Trojan Horse for more complete AWS AI and CX solutions inside AWS customers’ operations.

Within two years it should be clear that AWS Connect has provided a significant point of inflection in the direction and functionality of global contact centre operations and the use of blended virtual digital assistants for voice navigation in CX. This is because in future, ecommerce or any customer service supported by separate or poorly integrated merchandising and buyer assistance platforms will be thoroughly unacceptable to end users4. A seamless fully blended CX56 will have become the (minimum) norm.


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IT consists of information and communications technologies (ICT) typically used in business, corporate or enterprise management (e.g. computer processing, data management, business processes and applications, customer service, enterprise networking).

OT consists of specific operational technologies used to run a business operation (e.g. capital assets, manufacturing process control, machinery, vehicles, equipment, avionics, telemetry).

This MAP and its companion Compass research note provide guidance on evaluating the forms of organisation necessary to deliver reliable and effective interworking of IT and OT. The proximity of IT and OT varies substantially by industry.

Whatever the industry, organisations must seek out and evaluate existing and emerging opportunities in converging IT and OT. If these opportunities are missed, the business will lag in real-time management and suffer loss of their productivity and competitive edge.

 


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Conclusion: Preparing the modern business for Cloud requires a common computing and networking infrastructure with new Cloud architectures converging with data centres over a hybrid of both direct Cloud connections and traditional wide area networking.

Organisations must begin by conducting a “triage” of their applications into three networking categories: those in pure public Cloud deployment; a hybrid of public and private (“on-premises”) computing; and those that will never go to Cloud (such as legacy apps, or for regulatory or security requirements).

At Cloud-scale the network becomes a fabric that facilitates software-defined technologies1 (compute virtualisation, SD Storage, SD Networking and SD Security). Software-defined networking (SDN) abstracts network functions so that existing switches, routers and appliances can be made programmable to enhance their functions and reduce costs.

Eventually business IT processing will be delivered by SD Everything as all fundamental IT functions coalesce.

From today, businesses should be placing new emphasis on the “management” of their networking as both “virtual” and physical networks and plan to drastically reduce manual configuration and operation of networked IT as indicated below.


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IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.


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 IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.
 

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Conclusion: IBRS’ finding is that prominent Cloud marketplaces (CMPs) such as AWS Marketplace1, Microsoft Azure2, Google Cloud Platform3 and IBM Bluemix4 are gaining traction as alternatives to conventional enterprise ICT infrastructure and services sourcing.

Given the state of maturity of these marketplaces, they are currently only useful for quickly and conveniently locating and obtaining ICT infrastructure and microservices for use in low-risk small scale pilots or trials.

As wider take-up is underway with larger applications being adopted through AWS and Azure organisations should begin to prepare for a shift in the viability of enterprise-level solutions.

Our caution is that CMPs will not have profound impacts on enterprise ICT provision until both the IT and Procurement organisations within a business become satisfied that this approach has validity, value and is auditable5 and manageable.


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Conclusion: Many municipalities and civic enterprises contemplating Smart City initiatives are simply not capable of implementing them because they lack the leadership, partnering skills, corporate experience, skills, sophistication and organisation required to address these global urban planning and ICT developments locally1.

The remedy is at Governance level.

Municipalities must assess their own native capability to contemplate, evaluate, manage and complete Smart City business and ICT solutions according to global best practices.

Conducting a fundamental high level appraisal of a city’s ability to undertake Smart City tasks and programs may be the most valuable contribution that most mayors and civic management teams can make for the modern municipality.


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Only municipalities working through a broad Digital Transformation strategy can truly expect to be in strategic control of Smart City initiatives as part of that framework. 'Smart’ initiatives are a critical element in fulfilling Digital Transformation for cities. 

For many civic organisations, the Mayor, Councillors, City Planners and Administrative Staff react to Smart City opportunities as if they sit outside their traditional local government role. However, the first principles of Digital Transformation require that a logical baseline of current capabilities should be established so that any initiatives are grounded in an understanding of the city’s ability to effectively evaluate them and deliver reliable solutions. 


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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.


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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.


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