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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.

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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Conclusion: The aim of IBRS’s CRM modernisation series of advisory papers is to help organisations create a contemporary CRM strategy, not to advocate for specific solutions. Many organisations are considering two powerful players in the CRM space as part of their modernisation efforts: Salesforce and Microsoft. These two vendors are the most encountered local players when talking about CRM systems at the high end of the market.

We have selected these two vendors to illustrate the nuances in the pricing structure for licensing and total costs of services.

Comparing the two vendors’ solutions is complicated by the fact that each packages different aspects of the modern CRM in different modules, and prices them in different ways. This paper strives to provide clarity for organisations attempting to evaluate the two solutions. More importantly, it is an example of how the ‘devil is in the detail’ when it comes to total cost of service of SaaS-based solutions.


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This document provides a template of specifications and requirements for a modern CRM, categorised by several key areas


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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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