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Joseph Sweeney

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Dr. Joseph Sweeney is an IBRS advisor specialising in the areas of workforce transformation and end user computing, including: workplace strategies, enterprise solutions, collaboration, policy, organisational cultural change, and software deployment and licensing.  He is the author of IBRS’s Digital Workspaces methodology. Dr Sweeney has a particular focus on Microsoft products, and often assists organisations in rationalising their Microsoft licensing spend and helping to identify budget for end user computing innovation. He is an accomplished technology strategist and pioneer of Asia’s internet industry. He was a cofounder and Vice President, of Asia Online, where he headed up product development  and assisted the start-up grow into one of Asia’s leading Internet and on-line services. He is also deeply engaged in the education sector. He was awarded the University of Newcastle Medal in 2007 for his studies in Education, and his doctorate, granted in 2015, was based on research into Australia’s educational ICT policies for student device deployments.

Conclusion: Being Cloud-based, Microsoft’s Office 365 includes features that would traditionally be considered backup. According to the Microsoft Office Trust Center, Microsoft establishes itself as a data processor with a primary focus on data privacy and management. It is not responsible for compliance or backup, but reliability and availability. As a result, Microsoft may not be able to provide security and protection to data in a way that meets an organisation’s compliance requirements.


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Is your Working From Home Policy causing you grief?

Most organisations’ Working From Home policies are created under the assumption that people would be seeking permission to remote work. As a result, they focus on things that are simply not applicable to, or even blockers for, mandated working from home and self-isolation. 

Worse, many policies have clauses that are impossible to enforce during this pandemic, go against government recommendations and potentially open the organisation up for workplace challenges. At the very least, older WHF policies can confuse and worry staff.

To help, IBRS has created a template for a simple, practical WHF policy, written in staff-friendly language. You can quickly customise and download this policy template as a Microsoft Word file.

Click here to create your Working From Home Policy template

 

Conclusion: Starting as a Melbourne-based SharePoint plug-in for forms creation solution, Nintex1 has grown into a Cloud-based process and workflow automation platform. In the last 18 months, Nintex has leveraged acquisitions of process mapping and robotics automation technologies to expand its offerings. The Nintex platform can now identify, visualise, manage and automate processes, placing it in competition with traditional business process modelling vendors. The firm has reconfigured its sales and marketing to focus on the market for enterprise optimisation – a market traditionally held by the likes of Pegasystems, IBM, Appian and Oracle. IBRS believes that Nintex now has the critical components of a pragmatic, Cloud-based business automation suite. Nintex should no longer be viewed as a niche workflow vendor for Microsoft solutions but should be considered along with other competitive mainstream business process automation solutions such as Red Hat, TIBCO Software, Software AG and K2.


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IBRSiQ 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: Many organisations are interested in next-generation office space designs that leverage technology to promote collaboration and workforce transformation. Leaders in this field incorporate a human-centric approach. However, environmental factors in designing next-generation workspaces are also considered. Workplaces are the intersection between people and place, and both must be considered to enhance productivity.

In 2019, IBRS conducted an extensive study into transformative workplace designs and interviewed Australian organisations that have been successful when implementing next-generation workspaces. IBRS identified common traits for success. This paper details the environmental (built space) aspects of designing a next-generation workplace.


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Conclusion: To support the changing workforce, businesses should look at adapting transformative workplace designs to maximise productivity and collaborative efforts. Early adopters of modern workplace designs have tried a variety of approaches in an effort to provide tangible improvements to staff productivity. Unfortunately, in many cases, the high hopes for innovative office designs resulted in the opposite – workplaces that confused, frustrated and distracted staff. IBRS conducted an extensive study into transformative workplace designs and interviewed Australian organisations that have been successful when implementing next-generation workplaces. IBRS identified common traits for success. In this paper, we detail the human aspects of designing a next-generation workplace.


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Conclusion: It is not uncommon for IBRS to see vendors delaying licensing negotiation for renewals until the very last month via a variety of tactics. By delaying negotiation vendors can limit customers’ time for reviewing their options to reduce the overall licensing spend through either better licensing packages and licensing optimisation processes. Clients should put in place practices that reduce vendors’ ability to apply delaying tactics and put vendors on notice that this tactic is no longer tolerated.


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Conclusion: Under its 365 umbrella, Microsoft offers a portfolio of plans with different packages of products and services. These Enterprise plans vary in terms of Features, Analytics, Security Development Options, Device Management and Security. However, some of the packages are suitable only for certain types of needs and employee roles. It is crucial to narrow down which tools the organisation should consider licensing through an in-depth analysis of the interplay between the organisation’s target achievements for a certain period of time and the employees’ performance and expected output. Matching different 365 plans to different employees may not only save money, but can also make for a more effective and efficient workforce.

However, mixing plans also comes with future compliance risks. There are several features of higher-level 365 licences than cannot be easily limited to just those staff licensed to use them. In the future, it is possible that Microsoft and its partners could use these features to argue for an uplift in overall licensing due to difficult-to-prove compliance obligations.


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Conclusion: Microsoft is pushing its enterprise clients from Premier Support to Unified Support. Unified Support bundles many new and existing support services into a single program. As a result, the adoption of Unified Support is, for many clients, significantly increasing their support costs. The problem is that there can be a vast difference between support that the client has been consuming for the last decade or more, compared to what Microsoft gives them with Unified Support.

The challenge for organisations is how to decide if Unified Support is appropriate for them. If Unified Support is appropriate, how will the organisation ensure it draws new value from the program to justify the expense? If not, what are the alternatives for obtaining support services?


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Conclusion: Dropbox’s announcement of a new interface may seem trivial, but its repositioning of ‘folders’ heralds the next disruptive phase of information management. By changing folders from being an approach for hierarchical organisation of information to being a ‘digital workspace’ for collaboration, Dropbox is leading the charge to drop the ‘paper metaphor’ in favour of collaboration. The impact on traditional information management lifecycles and information management will be both significant and challenging.


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In the News

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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How Do You Choose The Best Application Environment For Your Business? - WHICH-50 - 8th October 2019

According to a new IBRS study, spend on enterprise solutions is set to increase in 2019-2020. Both IT and line of business buyers need to consider how they manage procurement of these new solutions...
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