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As a consequence of the Internet, and with it, the development of several technologies, and e-commerce (and piracy, too) and now, all things ‘social’ there is an expectation that disruptive innovation is critical to success. More than that: disruptive is the key to success, and without it businesses will die. Survive or die; it’s either/or. The choice is clear.

In the US, as each new social media IPO is a success, the disruptive power of social is proven and now figuratively slapping the faces of tired old enterprise IT. Look at the P/E ratios of Cisco and Microsoft and Google – too low and unexciting because they are not disruptive. They are like remnants of the US steel industry, slowly rusting.

Conclusion: Australian IT organisations should be setting the bar higher to extract maximum value from outsourcing arrangements. Furthermore, if the level of outcomes for many providers has been exceeded, it is often only because those expectations were set so low, with a focus on organisations pushing off low-hanging IT functions.

Clearly the blame in allowing the sub-optimal outcomes to occur is shared by both vendor and customer. Organisations must ensure that they are evolving the way in which they manage their outsourcing vendors to take advantage of cloud and utility based service delivery.

Conclusion: Most branch office data is poorly protected by the organisation’s existing backup strategy. Recent improvements in network connectivity, and the commoditisation of advanced deduplication techniques, fundamentally change the landscape and make highly automated, reliable and cost effective branch office affordable to most organisations.

Organisations with extensive branch office data that is not adequately protected should revaluate their branch office backup strategy.

Conclusion: Running a robust, cost efficient data centre requires a scale of operations and capital expenditure that is beyond most ANZ organisations. Organisations that host equipment in their own facilities have a higher business risk. Business management is unlikely to be aware of these risks, and has not signed off on them, leaving the IT organisation exposed.

Business management should ask for a business impact assessment to expose these risks to an appropriate decision making level. Management can either sign-off on these risks or request a mitigation plan. For many organisations, moving to a commercial Tier-2/3 data centre reduces risk without substantially changing the total cost. SMEs should consider migrating to a cloud environment (IaaS and/or SaaS) and get out of the business of owning and running their own IT infrastructure.

Over the past two years, IBRS has come to the conclusion that many IT departments are at war with consumer mobile device trends. We have been inundated with enquiries regarding mobility and mobile devices. Questions range from how best to support secure email on iPhones, or how to manage a fleet of iPads, to how to plan for Android application deployment.

These enquiries have one thing in common: they all focus on the device.

Conclusion: For many organisations the question of thin vs. full is highly polarised and usually framed as a mutually exclusive choice where the “winner takes all”. Recent advances in desktop deployment methods enable this question to be constructively reframed as a benefit analysis focused on who, what and where. This approach ensures the appropriate device is used in each scenario, enhancing desktop agility and improving the user’s desktop experience. 

2010 has seen many high profile IT failures in well-run Australian companies

  • Westpac’s online banking system was down for about nine hours in August, due to a “software patch”.

  • Virgin Blue had a complete outage of its online reservation system in September, which lasted for about 21 hours. This was caused by data corruption on a solid state disk that appears to have then corrupted the recovery environment. Virgin said this created severe interruption to its business for 11 days and estimated the cost as between $15 million and $20 million.

  • NAB’s core banking system was impacted by the “upload of a corrupted file” in November. This prevented many of customers from receiving payments or withdrawing funds. The impact of this failure was still being felt some weeks after the initial incident.

  • CBA had processing problems that impacted about five per cent of customers so that from an ATM their accounts had a zero balance.

  • Vodafone customers experienced poor reception and slow download speeds for over a month ago after a “software upgrade caused instability” in its system.

In five months Australian has experienced five high profile failures from five brand name companies. So how is this possible? Each of these organisations has large, well-funded IT organisations.

Conclusion: In recent months several Tier-1 Australian and New Zealand vendors have announced, and in some cases delivered, locally hosted Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)1. These announcements will reduce Business and IT Executives’ perception of the risk of adopting IaaS, and result in greater interest in using cloud as a “lower cost alternative” to in-house infrastructure.

While the cloud is often assumed to be an inexhaustible supply of low cost virtual machines, that are available on a flexible pay-as-you-go model, organisations that have looked beyond the hype found it was not as cheap, or as flexible, as you might think.

Conclusion: Data centres which are less energy efficient will ultimately be more expensive to host in; because customers will end up paying for a data centre's excessive power consumption. CIOs should insist on knowing the Power Usage Efficiency (PUE) score of their data centre service provider, as this score will have a direct impact on pricing. Some data centres are very shy about their PUE, so any PUE claim should be independently verified.

Conclusion: Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform has a long heritage in the enterprise, but in the past five years its market share has decayed as a tsunami of consumer-oriented smartphones hit the market. Microsoft’s latest offering, Windows Phone 7, is a big step up from its previous mobile offering, but it is unlikely that it will be able to bury the iPhone, as Microsoft attempted to imply recently1. However, the platform has a strong story to tell with regards to enterprise mobility.

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