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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: IT executives are increasingly being pressured to adopt Windows 64-bit operating systems as a foundation for the next generation of desktop environment. Vendors – and in many cases IT engineers – are touting a range of technical benefits of Windows 64-bit operating systems over 32-bit operating systems. However, these technical benefits do not equate to business benefits.

Unfortunately, market movements and vendor strategies will force enterprises to adopt Windows 64-bit desktops sometime in the next two desktop refresh cycles. As such, the move to a Windows 64-bit environment should be viewed as conceding to market pressures and adopted only within the context of moving to a new Dynamic Desktop architecture, which is where the real business benefits are to be found.


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Conclusion: SharePoint is well known as a platform for small-scale knowledge management, team collaboration, and Web applications. However, some organisations have begun experimenting with SharePoint as an alternative to large-scale Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions, handling more than 100 million documents. The lessons learned from these initiatives indicate that while SharePoint can deliver ECM, such projects require a great many technical and planning skills that are foreign to most SharePoint implementation teams in Australia. It is almost certain you will need to hire short-term project specialists to be successful.


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Conclusion: With the recent announcement regarding availability of Microsoft Windows 8, desktop managers are once again finding themselves with the challenge of building a business case for a desktop refresh. However, IBRS proposes that operating system upgrades should no longer be the centrepiece of the desktop refresh process. It is time to radically change how desktop refresh decisions are made. Instead, organisations should be creating an applications deployment strategy that looks not at devices and operating systems, but at ways in which to get the right applications in the right hands, no matter the device or OS.


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This month Microsoft unveiled aspects of its new Windows 8 operating system at the Build developers’ conference. A significant change in the new OS is the use of the “Metro” style user interface, which will be familiar to anyone who has used Windows Phone 7. Metro involves extensive use of multi-touch and “tiles” that represent both applications and live data, instead of icons and menus. The Metro user interface metaphor is arguably one of the most creative and context aware on the market, and is well suited for mobile devices and tablets. However, will Microsoft be able to bring this new User Interface to the traditional desktop space? To answer this question, we need examine three issues.


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Conclusion: Mature Unified Communications (MUC) is more than a blending of messaging, voice, and presence information. The coming wave of unified communications will be executed as part of a larger ’worker mobility’ strategy and be more closely coupled with business processes. This type of unified communications allows significant organisational structural change. Thus, planning for MUC begins with an examination of organisational processes and discovery of where knowledge is located within the organisation, and then evolves into a discussion regarding how to restructure teams to gain a competitive advantage.


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Conclusion: Market and technological forces are minimising the value of the Microsoft Office client, and pushing the true value proposition for productivity services to backend services. Microsoft’s evolving product, marketing and licensing strategies to support this trend. Understanding Microsoft’s strategy is important when planning future desktop deployments, as well as collaboration and mobility strategies.


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Conclusion: Google’s recent announcement that it was depreciating its Translation APIs (application program interfaces) with minimal notice sent shock waves through the world of translation services and developers of mobile, consumer and even enterprise software. After the initial announcement, Google changed its position and stated API services would be offered on a pay-per-use basis. Google’s moves highlights risks associated with public APIs that are provided under ‘terms of use’ rather than firm contractual agreements. As cloud services evolve, the use of free API services allow vendors to effectively hold enterprises and developers to ransom. Organisations must consider carefully the risks of free APIs, and create risk mitigation strategies while still reaping the considerable benefits these services deliver.


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Conclusion: IBRS has identified three broad approaches to Microsoft Office upgrades. In this research, we examine the benefits and challenges of each approach, and key considerations for planning. Organisations with more than 750 seats should avoid ad hoc Office deployments and take time to get their migration strategy in place, or risk creating a “demand feedback loop” that will result in higher costs and dissatisfaction with the IT department.


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Conclusion:  Moving from Office 2003 or earlier, to Office 2007/2010 should not be viewed as a software upgrade. It should be viewed as a migration to a new solution architecture entirely, and planned accordingly. If an organisation treats the move to Office 2007/2010 as a simple software upgrade, not only will there be no tangible return on investment for the upgrade initiative, but it is possible that productivity may be negatively affected.


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Conclusion: Analysis of Microsoft’ recently announced licensing model for education suggests that up to 60% savings are possible for K-6 schools, with 30% savings for 7-12 education. Furthermore, Microsoft’s new cloud-based offerings provide similar opportunities for licensing rationalisation. Educational organisations planning desktop migration must carefully assess these new licensing and deployment options in order to gain the most advantage of Microsoft’s new licensing models. The licensing costs involved also raise questions regarding the pedagogical value of take-home netbooks.


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