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Guy Cranswick

info@ibrs.com.au

Guy Cranswick was an IBRS advisor between 2002 - 2017 who covered Google (Apps and Search), broadband/NBN, Web 2.0 technology, government and channel strategy, including areas of business productivity. Guy had worked in the UK and France as Strategy Manager for Initiative Media and director of European operations for Modem Media (Poppe Tyson), the first online marketing and development company. In Australia, Guy was Senior Analyst at both Jupiter Communications and GartnerG2 covering online technologies and strategy in Asia-Pacific. He has published analytical articles in business and technology media, including the AFR, and was the winner of the Australian Institute of Management 2003 essay prize on the topic of corporate communications.

Conclusion: Waste is a normal consequence of marketing. It appears as high budgets in costly marketing channels, which can occasionally under-deliver a solid return on investment. In buoyant economic times wastage is accepted, but in a downturn, as is occurring now, alternatives are sought to improve efficiency, become more 'accountable' and cut all wastage.

In response, the typical strategy is to reduce budgets and seek cheaper alternative marketing channels. While these strategies are proven, to improve marketing investment returns a major piece of information is still missing, in good and bad times: that is, to have better information on consumer purchasing behaviour with special reference to the adoption cycle.


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As countries struggle to improve their populations’ dietary habits, now may be the right time to borrow an idea from the ICT industry: just claim it, whatever it might be, leads to higher productivity. The argument seems to work because products that linger on shelves start to move with this simple but effective message. It also motivates policymakers to design grand projects on the basis of productivity gains; it is at the centre of how business is done and it provides an unassailable argument. No one would deny the benefits of productivity.


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Conclusion: The corporate battle for search supremacy between Microsoft and Google over Yahoo! has been a good spectator sport for several months. So far it’s unresolved, but it should refocus attention on search marketing strategy, on optimal tactical channel selection and the opportunities that may emerge from a new landscape in search marketing.

With changing conditions in the economy leading to greater uncertainty, organisations ought to use this time to re-examine their search strategies and to look for better value and accountability from search channel suppliers.


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Conclusion: Even though the National Broadband Network (NBN) will not be ready for another year, and despite the lack of detail provided about it; speculation about the value of this network is widespread. The covert nature of the planning process is one major reason for criticism of the NBN. A second reason is the degree of understanding into the broadband market that underwrites its strategy and the NBN solution offered in a commercially litigious marketplace.

The National Broadband Network may become an object lesson for executives involved in strategic planning in that use and adherence to independent facts is critical, and the development of solutions must extend from that understanding of the industry or market. Although rollout of the NBN is delayed it is highly probable that policymakers will have to develop a better plan in the next three years.


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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.


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Conclusion: Web 2.0 technologies promise to deliver greater productivity and seamlessly collaborated, workers. While the tools can be applied to a range of functions, and may probably assist in evolving hybrid business processes, the proclaimed big productivity gains are speculative.

Once the work re-processes and investments are factored in, the implementation of many Web 2.0 technologies may pose a substantial cost to an organisation. Therefore any potential productivity boost is likely to be diminished.

Even so, examining the range of technologies, picking the best and most suitable of the Web 2.0 options may be a wise choice for organisations as they evolve work practices for the future.


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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.


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Conclusion: Through various channels of the media the news that the first wave of Baby Boomers are retiring implies some uncertainty. While it is true that those people who are 60 are retiring, the actual numbers are quite small and the flow on effect to the economy not large – just yet.

Population, like the planet, is something accepted as a basic fact, but like the initiatives to reverse global warning and operate in a sustainable way, significant changes are happening to the composition of the population that alter sixty years of accepted facts.

Organisations cannot create a single strategy to deal with demography but the effects of demographic change must be catered for in the next decade. In the broadest terms, with fewer young people and more older people, different approaches to training and skills, working arrangements and communication with the market are likely. Organisations that have seen and planned ahead may not only find a competitive advantage but an easier transition to the changes that will ensue.


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Conclusion: Although Net Neutrality has had a much larger play in the US, some voices on this side of the lake are rationalising it’s imposition on the broadband market here. In sum the arguments to apply it in Australia are false, as are the facts to support the case.

Net neutrality will emerge more strongly in the next two years as Telcos believe they are suffering a loss of revenue, or that there are revenues they are owed. At this stage the advocates of net neutrality are lobbying from self-interest and hoping to persuade decision makers that they have a business case.

Policymakers, regulators and technology strategists at state and federal levels of government should review net neutrality in the context of the public good and consequences for the economy, not an individual Telco’s market share.


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Conclusion: The new government broom in Canberra will implement its policies and that means the telecoms market, and in particular broadband, is set for a clean sweep that may revolutionise the Australian communications market. Before the initial tenders close on the $4.7 billion broadband strategy, sometime after June 2008, it’s timely now to investigate the background to these policies that will bring big changes in Australia.

To a large extent the broadband initiative is based on foreign experience; both South Korea and Japan being important influences. In those countries the superficial evidence of investment induced benefits to the economy from high speed broadband has captured the imagination of Australian policymakers, yet the measured economic benefits are not clear, despite the enthralment of superfast broadband and its promise for the future, and to uninvented industries.

As the scale of the projects and the size of investments are so large, the arguments about economic advantage, and lessons from foreign experience to date, and into the near future is critical; otherwise it will be difficult to dispel the impression that projects have been undertaken without adequate understanding or that simple gullibility has prevailed.


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