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Governance & Planning

Conclusion: A recent Harvard business review article1 reinforced the view that meetings have increased in length and frequency over time from 20 % to nearly 50 % of the working week. This time does not include the planning, reading and preparation of those meeting. Executives such as CIOs or similar should spend some time assessing how effective meetings are in their organisation to return the valuable commodity of time to all and reap the benefits.

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Conclusion: When engaging the market for consulting services, estimating the resource mix, including experience and skills, can form an excellent basis for evaluating if what is being proposed by consultants is likely to be optimal for the scope, and effective, given the environment of the purchasing organisation.
There are four main elements that should be considered:

  1. Engagement and project management
  2. Technical, strategic or design elements
  3. Guided, repetitive or high-volume elements
  4. Intellectual property.

The rationale for these, and approaches to consider when evaluating each, are discussed below.

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Related Articles:

"Being a good customer of consulting Part 1: The importance of a client-side project manager in consulting engagements" IBRS, 2019-11-02 01:24:20

"Being a good customer of consulting Part 3: Maximising the value of stage gates through considered design and definition of unique objectives" IBRS, 2020-01-08 03:32:07

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.

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Conclusion: Unless the attributes of user stories (agile) or high-level requirements (waterfall) are succinct and testable, business systems specifications will lack rigour and could compromise the system’s integrity. To ensure these attributes, i. e. succinct and testable, are present, the stories and high-level requirements should be peer reviewed to identify content that is unclear or just expressing an unrealistic ‘want/wish’ list.

It is important the stories or high-level requirements contain sufficient context to enable systems requirements, i. e. functional and non-functional, to be developed because unless they do it will be difficult to prioritise them based on business drivers.

Similarly, the results of user acceptance testing should be peer reviewed to ensure the agreed requirements have been met and the output is verifiable.

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Conclusion: Despite its widespread adoption, enterprise architecture (EA) continues to suffer from the perception that in a world of lean start-ups, design thinking and agile delivery, it is simply not pragmatic. As a discipline EA is shrouded in language that can be seen as alien or obtuse with many practitioners quick to launch into discussions of frameworks, meta-models, methodologies, notations and ultimately tools. The result is EA has become stayed and stifled in archaic notations and models often inaccessible to anyone outside the fold.

Just as software development, project management and product management have all undergone an ‘agile reformation’ in areas where traditional approaches had failed, EA is entering its own ‘revolution’ with the emergence of ‘architecture thinking’ and ‘lean tooling’. If successful, these trends may establish a new manifesto that heralds a reformation of the EA discipline’s core practices, a renaissance in EA tooling and a turnaround in the perception of its value.

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Conclusion: Taking the guesswork out of capacity planning by making an informed forecast of demand for computing and support resources for the strategic capacity plan is an ongoing challenge for IT professionals and managers. Reputational damage can ensue when resources are either under or overestimated and there are claims that guesswork was employed.

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Conclusion: Consulting engagements are often scheduled under the assumption of ideal conditions. In reality, many engagements experience a ‘slow start’ due to the consultants needing to request information and data, schedule stakeholder meetings, understand assumptions and parameters, and define and agree on the appropriate governance processes. This is often followed by a ‘frantic finish’ and can impact the quality of consulting outcomes.
All of the causes of the ‘slow start’ can be effectively alleviated through preparation and the role of a client-side project manager. This early work can often lead to significantly increased quality of consulting deliverables.

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Related Articles:

"Being a good customer of consulting Part 2: Driving value and successful outcomes by aligning RFP scope to supplier skills" IBRS, 2019-12-05 05:15:44

"Being a good customer of consulting Part 3: Maximising the value of stage gates through considered design and definition of unique objectives" IBRS, 2020-01-08 03:32:07

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.

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Conclusion: Analysts in general are correct to identify the challenges in the industry to develop appropriate skills, meet the demands of digitisation and to counter the security threats. When it is distilled down it is all about the business. The CIO is supporting business outcomes which will need specific technology solutions, which will, in turn, drive ICT strategy. The key to success is defined by how the CIO drives the outcome. The CIO, therefore, must possess soft skills as well as technical knowledge to deliver success.

The key to success for CIOs is mastering four soft skills that allow them to achieve control of the ICT environment. Effective control will allow the CIO to deliver exemplary services in support of business today, whilst gaining support from the executive for the ICT strategy to meet the demands of tomorrow. Sounds simple but as experience has found, it is easier said than done.

The secret lies with good networking within the executive and key stakeholders, situational awareness of the ICT environment, the ability to effectively delegate with clear direction of what is to be achieved, and a communications strategy which allows for engagement by all stakeholders and escalation of issues through both technical and management channels without fear or favour.

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Conclusion: Deterministic1 project budgets do not convey any information about the range of possible outcomes for a project, or the associated risk factors driving the range. The ability to communicate the risk-weighted range of possible project outcomes can lead to much clearer expectations and understanding of project outcomes, especially for project sponsors. Modelling these ranges can be performed with relative ease, using basic Excel add-ins and high-level estimates of risk applied to the components that make up a project2.

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In the News

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Centrelink crashes under demand for crisis payments - Australian Financial Review - 23 march 2020

IBRS workforce transformation advisor Joseph Sweeney said many government departments had to navigate difficult IT environments that were only part-way through their digital transformations, with...
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Inside EY's security work at ANZ - Australian Financial Review - 3 March 2020

"There is more security work to go round than there are resources. So I don't think the market is that crowded. It's important to remember that security is not something you buy and then it's done;...
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Google cloud boss looks to AI as it fights Amazon, Microsoft duopoly - Australian Financial Review - 2 March 2020

IBRS analyst Joe Sweeney has been tracking the three major Cloud vendors capabilities in AI and said Google is right to believe it has an edge over AWS and Microsoft when it comes to corpus (the...
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What should be in Australia’s next cyber security strategy? - Computer Weekly - 10 Feb 2020

Peter Sandilands, an advisor at analyst firm IBRS, called the discussion paper “a pre-judged survey” that is mostly looking for answers. He also questioned if the resulting recommendations would be...
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