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Mark Unwin

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Mark Unwin is an IBRS advisor specialising in the areas of commercial contract negotiation and vendor management. Mark has a career spanning 25 years across Government, Defence, ICT, Telecommunications and Infrastructure, and in this time has developed innovative solutions to transition and transformation ICT contracts, including project management, effective negotiation and relationship management. Mark is adept at aligning ICT service providers using the ITIL service delivery model in particular encompassing service desk implementation, asset management, unified communications and collaboration, end-user computing, ERP systems design and implementation, and software deployment and licensing. Mark has negotiated software audits and licensing agreements for Microsoft, Adobe, Veritas, SAP and Oracle. Mark is CPA qualified and has supported CIOs and CFOs to justify ICT investment programs throughout his career.

Conclusion: Identifying weaknesses in vendor management will be more effective for organisations that continuously examine their processes and manage vendor performance through an optimised vendor governance framework (VGF). An effective VGF must contain overarching guidelines which are applicable for all ICT vendor categories. Examples could include delivering increased value, promoting and providing cost reductions and recommending improvement to service levels. Mature organisations plan for vendors to provide value-added solutions and/or costs reductions in the range of 10 %+ p. a.1
To ensure the VGF continues to be relevant, organisations must firstly consider their latest ICT strategy then complete gap analysis of current vendors needed to deliver the strategy. The framework needs to be flexible to meet the changing dynamics of an organisation’s various operations whilst avoiding the vendor supply chain adversely impacting service delivery.

IBRS advises assessing and developing an organisation’s vendor governance framework using the IBRS Vendor Governance Maturity Model.


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Conclusion: Reimagining the ERP strategy will require IT and business collaboration to ensure requirements are clear. Retaining the 5–10 year old ERP system1 may serve back office functions but this may impede innovation. ERP customisation is being replaced by vendors who deliver regular updates to their SaaS ERP model. This provides innovation which could reduce the need for complex business cases.

ERP vendors have signalled sunset on support for older ERP systems to challenge organisations to embrace modernisation in the next five years2. This seems far away but experience suggests laggards could see skills shortages and higher costs as the deadline approaches.

ROI measures successful ERP migrations but SaaS models will challenge this. Organisations will need to hold regular conversations to understand these competing parameters. Business leaders will question business requirements; however, innovation should not be ignored during the development of the new ERP strategy.


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Conclusion: ERP SW licensing or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has many permutations and influences one of the largest IT investments for most organisations. Vendors aim to integrate, at a minimum, shared corporate data from financial data, HR, operations and sales. The benefits of aligned data, reporting and processes helps C-level decision makers track and improve organisation performance.

The most common arguments for implementing an ERP system are the cost savings and productivity improvements1. Effective SW governance is essential to avoid eroding expected cost savings or efficiencies.

Large government departments, local government authorities, public listed corporate entities or privately owned entities are all likely to have significant investment in an ERP and will need continued investment in the ERP if ongoing value is to be extracted. Small to medium organisations tend to be more agile and may be able to migrate to a SaaS solution to take advantage of lower migration costs and more cost-effective licensing arrangements.

Either way, modernisation or migration programs are opportunities to renegotiate SW licensing costs provided the pros and cons have been assessed.


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Conclusion: Asset management can be described as ‘the life cycle management of physical assets to achieve the stated outputs of the enterprise’. To achieve the appropriate level of asset management maturity, investment in people, processes and technology all increase the likelihood of developing an effective asset management system. Under-investment could result in asset leakage or increased maintenance costs, thus diminishing the expected returns of the assets.

Where asset management maturity model reaches the level of being ‘integral part of everything we do’, organisations can seek accreditation of the asset management framework using ISO 55000:2014.1

Where the common question is often ‘why waste our time on asset management’ then assets are usually at risk of leakage or poor customer satisfaction ratings. Outages and incidents may occur regularly. The risk of business collapse increases without recognition and change. Here organisations need to consider the steps to commence a review using the asset management model.


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