Governance & Planning

Many enterprises are simply not capable of implementing the ICT programs and projects that they attempt because they lack the experience, skills, sophistication and organisation required to address these developments adequately.

The "fix" is at Governance level. Businesses must assess their native capability to contemplate, manage and complete the IT solutions planned to support their business operations.

This MAP addresses the need to identify an organisation's level of IT Maturity and outlines the steps that should be followed to improve on that level. 

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All too often mobility solutions are developed or procured in isolation to address narrow business needs, without consideration of how such solutions will scale-up into production or fit within the larger ICT ecosystem. Over time this hinders ICT’s agility in providing mobile solutions and increases the risks of project failures.

A Mobility Solution Delivery Framework can help maintain agility in mobility solution delivery and reduces risks. Moreover, it ensures a close alignment between business needs and investments in mobility.

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You have probably already started some mobility initiatives for your organisation, and that is a good thing, because mobility has the potential to be truly transformative to many, many industries.

Not only does it change where work gets done, but in many cases it can change how work gets done, and even who does the work. It can actually alter the structure of your workplace. So mobility clearly is something that you want to look for, if you're striving for innovation.

But one of the things that we've noticed with many, many organisations that we have dealt with and many, many case studies we have been involved with, is that over about two or three years tops, many mobility initiatives start to bog down. It starts getting harder and harder and harder for organisations to really keep up that speed of development, to maintain that rate of innovation.

This is so common that we have a term for it: we call it the Burning Rabbit syndrome,

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Conclusion: Organisations source and procure research and advisory services for a range of reasons. The benefits of access to external research and advisory can vary widely from organisation to organisation. Today’s business and technology environment is changing in more radical and rapid ways. Organisations that fully access and embed the information and advice available from research and advisory services can enhance the problem identification and solving process, ensure staff are incorporating a broad range of information into their thinking and systematically include changing environmental information at strategic, tactical and operational decision making levels. Research and advisory can also be used to improve staff analysis and presentation skills. 

Observations: Many Australian organisations recognise the need to procure and access business and ICT research advisory services to ensure that current and emerging trends, issues and opportunities are considered and incorporated into future looking strategies and tactical plans. However, a number of approaches can be incorporated in a more systematic manner within organisations to maximise the benefits of research and advisory.

Business cases & proposals: One of the most common applications of industry research is in the development of business cases and proposals. Business cases may be produced to support a business change which incorporates business process, business information systems and/or a change to technology products or services such as devices, storage, data or processing services.

Business case presentation and proposals should always include a section or notation on how input information was identified, collected and considered as part of the preparation process. Staff responsible for the preparation and presentation of business cases and proposals should be able to discuss the approach and analysis they have undertaken, which provides an opportunity to assess not only the options provided but the comprehensiveness of the analysis to conclude a final list of options.

Watching briefs: Most organisations have strategic governance groups whose mandates include the responsibility of overseeing the development of business improvement investment plans, approving ICT strategic plans that support the strategic objectives of the organisation and oversight of the identification and management of significant risks and issues. Additional responsibility may include the establishment and support of an organisational innovation framework and the consideration of emerging technology and processes that may provide competitive advantage or a significant benefit to the organisation.

Many of these strategic governance groups meet on a monthly basis and agendas can be focused on the prioritised projects, risks and a number of tactical issues. Watching briefs on emerging trends, issues and vendor movements in technology markets which are available from research and advisory can ensure that ongoing visibility is maintained. This differs from the general practice of having a discussion about an issue and then requesting be an architecture or strategy and planning group to prepare a paper on the issue.

Staff presentations: Staff in both business operational areas and within the ICT and technology areas are focused on the day to day issues which are ongoing and can consume all focus and attention. Disruption caused by market maturity and emerging trends is having a significant impact on operational staff. Many are concerned about their future opportunities and how they will have opportunities to develop new skills and capabilities. In addition, staff are sometimes only called on to present when they have a specific issue or project to be communicated. Information gathering, analysis and communication skills are often some of the areas in which management feel that staff are not appropriately skilled and experienced.

Business and ICT research and advisory information can be made available to staff as part of a skills development opportunity. Staff can be encouraged to source the information, consider the implications for the organisation, prepare a short summary presentation and deliver the presentation to an audience.

Such a skills development opportunity is evidenced in encouraging staff to be seekers of knowledge and information and not just recipients. It inspires them to identify and consider emerging trends, market changes and potential issues and opportunities.

In addition, syntheses of information into a cohesive proposition and preparing a presentation to a wider audience are skills that are often lacking but are important and relevant to staff regardless of their position in the organisation and have the benefit of being portable as staff move from position to position.

Staff can be encouraged to collaborate on the preparation and presentation of information derived from research and advisory services. Presentations provide an opportunity to practise communication. In addition, inviting stakeholders from other business areas can encourage relationships and collaboration across the organisation over and above the formal reporting business lines.

Next Steps: Ensure that high utilisation is made of business and ICT research and advisory services. If this has been a challenge in an organisation in the past then a number of actions can assist including:

  • Review strategic governance meeting agendas and terms of reference to ensure that there is an explicit focus and agenda item that includes emerging trends, issues and opportunities and market changes as a watching brief or summary in a proactive approach rather than reacting to items that are raised by attendees.
  • Review the business case and proposal process and procedures within your organisation. Ensure that the method, source and currency of research and advisory information are explicitly stated and are comprehensive in terms of supporting well considered and informed decision making.
  • Incorporate a review of research and advisory information by staff within the ICT area and in collaboration with relevant business areas. Encourage staff to source the information, consider the implications for the organisation, prepare a short summary presentation and deliver the presentation to an audience.

Conclusion: Migrating to Office 365 requires a significantly different set of skills from on-premises office suite upgrades. Traditional skills will need to be reassessed and new skills will be needed internally. Also, some specialist skills are only required during the migration so may best be acquired from experienced external providers. Understanding which skills need to be developed, added or outsourced is essential for a successful and economical Office 365 (O365) migration.

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Conclusion: IT executives in financial services organisations have expressed frustration at the seemingly vague requirements of APRA, but this misses the true intention of APRA. APRA is not anti-Cloud, but the regulator insists that financial services organisations consult with APRA so that APRA can gauge the maturity of the proposed plan. This is not a mechanism to forbid Cloud, but rather a sanity check to ensure the stability of the Australian financial market by ensuring that organisations are not abrogating their risk identification and management responsibilities.

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Conclusion: This note seeks to analyse two questions: Is a return to the high period of IT investment likely? And what were the conditions surrounding the last one?

The answer to the first question is, currently at least, of a very low probability. The conditions or background that produced the long IT investment boom are not seen today and are not likely to provide the same business environment in the near-term either.

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Conclusion: Design thinking is increasingly being utilised by organisations in Australia and globally to create new products and services. Based on the current level of adoption by leading organisations and those investigating design thinking it could be considered the next best practice concept. However, like other best practices, it is the art of applying the technique that reaps benefits, rather than just following the process.

In other words it is the nuances that need to be considered closely and not just the elements that can be seen and touched. Understanding the elements of design thinking and, most importantly, applying the right people using the right approach with the right expectations will ensure that the results match the promise. Empathising with users, customers or consumers is the first step in the process and is critical to the success of all the effort that follows.

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Conclusion: The analysis of various and complex data sets could provide a catalyst for team collaboration. One of the challenges organisations will face in combining teams is setting out the conditions in which they will work together. Looking past obvious differences in background, or so-called professional culture, will be necessary to organise roles with the talents available.

Initially devise pilots to assess teams and roles and the value of the output. The development of data projects should produce quick benefits in terms of output and team cohesion. Understanding of the analytical insights should be shared widely in order for the benefits to reach as many within an organisation and bring change where it is needed.

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Conclusion: Organisations often look to their competitors for new ideas and innovations and to provide a comparison to their own operations and business direction. Public sector organisations tend to look at other public sector organisations at different levels such as local, state or federal and public sector operations in other countries. Australia generally looks to Canada and the United Kingdom for advances in public sector administration and operations.

However, there are many lessons to be learned from other sectors and industries that could have significant benefit for individual organisations. Failure to identify and harvest the lessons and ideas from other industries will place organisations at a significant disadvantage in the future.

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