Justin Butcher

Justin Butcher

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Conclusion: Application portfolio rationalisation offers the promise of reduced ICT maintenance costs while improving data quality, process support and usability for end users, and increasing organisation effectiveness and efficiency.

An effective approach to application portfolio rationalisation involves five steps: 1. understand your business architecture; 2. understand your applications portfolio; 3. develop principles for rationalisation; 4. assess opportunities for rationalisation; and 5. rationalise.


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Conclusion: Many organisations in Australia struggle with accurate prediction of project cost and schedule. There are two steps that organisations can make to address this: the first is reuse of well-defined solution building blocks – the second is repeatable construction of solutions using those building blocks.

Architecture and estimation are closely related functions. Therefore CIOs who struggle with projects that run over-time or over-budget should look to enterprise and solution architecture methods to increase the degree of reuse and repeatability when defining ICT-enabled solutions. This leads to improved accuracy in cost and schedule estimates.


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Conclusion: Enterprise architecture tools and processes have traditionally missed the mark in providing timely and relevant support for executive decision making. A fresh approach is required that focusses on just enough information to support defensible, evidence-based planning. Enterprise architecture functions must provide value in short, focussed iterations.

Enterprise architecture provides an evidence-based approach that demonstrates clear traceability for investment planning decisions. Astute executives will understand how enterprise architecture can be used as a powerful approach for developing an ICT investment plan that is robust and defensible.


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Project directors and SROs1 are still falling for the same mistakes that Brooks explained so elegantly in 19722.In large government environments where project scope and deadlines are dictated years in advance by election promises and new policy initiatives, many aspects of ‘agile’ can’t be adopted: BDUF (Big Design Up Front) is alive and well.


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Conclusion: Enterprise architecture should be viewed by CIOs as a fundamental toolset to provide sound, defensible, evidence-based decision making. CIOs who ignore or misunderstand enterprise architecture forego a powerful management device.

CIOs should understand and make use of the enterprise architecture techniques at their disposal; they must also recognise approaches to enterprise architecture that will not work. CIOs should set expectations with their enterprise architects for quick delivery of highly relevant outputs: days not years.


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Conclusion: As outlined in a previous research note1, CIOs need to ensure that external-facing websites support an appropriate range of browsers. This is to ensure websites can be accessed by the largest possible percentage of users per dollar spent on development and testing.

The very public nature of the issue means that it is wide open to criticism. Many CIOs have been called on to explain their position. Astute CIOs will have a clearly defensible support policy that can stand the test of public scrutiny.


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Conclusion: The federal government has undertaken a number of whole-of-government (WofG) application and information services initiatives over the last five years. Now that these programs have mostly reached closure, a second wave is being initiated. At the same time state and territory governments are looking to implement similar programs.


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Conclusion: IT Managers and CIOs who are responsible for external-facing websites are faced by the difficult proposition of determining the optimal set of browsers and browser versions to support. Supporting too many browser platforms wastes money; supporting too few risks alienating users.


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Conclusion: Two-thirds of all ICT projects fail to deliver all of their intended benefits on schedule and within budget1. This results in ICT Executives spending a lot of time explaining why project schedules have slipped, why projects have been abandoned, or why goals and requirements have changed.

The Gateway Review Process(GRP) provides a well-proven and recognised approach to project assurance. Increasingly the process is being used as a basis for developing customised assurance processes in organisations across Australia.

Knowing when and how to customise the process is non-trivial andmust be based on lessons learned from application of the GRP. Many aspects of the GRP have been based on careful design and research – changing those aspects unwittingly will greatly reduce the effectiveness of the custom process created.


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Conclusion: Bernard Shaw is attributed with the saying that “Common sense is instinct and enough of it is genius”. The most “genius” statements of ICT Strategy are often those that seem like common sense to the reader.

The ABCD model described in this research note is a helpful model that IBRS has observed in use by a small number of government agencies. The model can be applied in a wide range of situations including agency-wide ICT Strategy development, and problem definition and planning in the context of a specific project of any size. The ABCD method provides a helpful framework for developing a strategy and equally importantly it provides a clear and helpful basis for communicating that strategy to a wider audience. The method can be used by an individual or by a group of any size, and has been used very successful in workshop situations many times by some government organisations.


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Conclusion:" Fail to plan and you plan to fail". This statement has been attributed to a number of people including Winston Churchill and Ben Franklin.

Most CIOs know that strategic planning is a key part of their remit1 and the most successful leaders maintain a clear strategic outlook. Effective CIOs make a high priority of articulating a strategic plan for ICT within their organisation, rather than getting involved in the management of each and every project and business unit. Conversely, a lack of clearly defined and widely understood strategy indicates a deficiency in leadership.

A rigorous ICT Strategy must be based on a solid foundation – there are several ways to gather the evidence that will provide that foundation.


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Conclusion: A well-written ICT strategy can be a powerful tool for the CIO to showcase the vision and potential of ICT within any organisation. An effective ICT strategy demonstrates to the organisation that the CIO has a plan and is able to provide suitable leadership.

In some jurisdictions, such as NSW1, agencies are required to develop ICT Strategic Plans that demonstrate support and alignment with government priorities and which form a key part of the business case approval process.

Government agencies that do not have a documented ICT strategy have at times come under public or political scrutiny. For example lack of ICT strategy has attracted media attention and has caused questions and criticism in parliamentary forums and “estimates hearings” in various jurisdictions2.


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Conclusion: Based on conversations, interviews and meetings with Australian clients, IBRS has compiled a list of the top six mistakes that are probably impacting your architecture practice right now.

Astute CIOs and business executives will take steps to avoid these common mistakes which we see repeated in many organisations.


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Conclusion: CIOs need to decide if they will invest in the practice of enterprise architecture and if so, how to approach it. Many CIOs choose to invest in enterprise architecture for the wrong reasons: because other organisations are doing it or because a consultant says it is “best practice”. Instead CIOs should consider which enterprise architecture functions would provide specific benefits, given the functions that are already provided in the organisation.


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