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Michael Smit

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Michael Smit is an IBRS advisor who focuses on project and program management, procurement and general IT business management. Michael’s experience began in tier 1 consulting and was further developed across a range of industries with a particular focus in oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and government sectors. Michael’s IT career began in project management and procurement, broadening into program management and ultimately into a head of department role, which he is currently active in. Michael has recently completed a full strategic roadmap delivery from definition to operations. The roadmap covered implementation of a Cloud-first strategy across infrastructure and end-user computing, delivery of new core business applications and full desktop refresh across seven countries. Michael’s active role in industry allows him to support clients with highly practical consulting services that are applicable in real-world scenarios.  

Conclusion: An ERP implementation can be one of an organisation’s biggest investments when considering implementation services, licences, hosting and support. ERP implementations and major version upgrades continue to be endorsed the world over, suggesting ROI continues to be positive. In scenarios where an ERP tool has been implemented or upgraded but has not been reviewed for years, especially in a changing operating environment, the intermediate step of a health check can drive significant value through adjusting and performing minor upgrades to the system for less investment than a new implementation or major upgrade.

As health checks are a periodic activity outside of business-as-usual, they often benefit from a different perspective, so organisations often use external consultants. While health checks should yield outputs that consider risk and value, ensuring the accuracy of findings is paramount in ensuring targeted value creation. To do this, organisations should consider several factors in the setup, execution and output of health checks.


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Conclusion: Stage gate reviews can be a highly effective governance tool that can materially enhance project outcomes; however, their value can be eroded by poor design, a lack of planning, or if they duplicate the objectives of other governance processes. To ensure stage gates are designed to deliver enhanced project outcomes, four key areas of consideration should be addressed: risk, context and purpose, delivery, and scheduling. Addressing these areas will ensure that stage gates address a defined and unique objective and contribute to overall project success.


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Related Articles:

"Being a good customer of consulting Part 1: The importance of a client-side project manager in consulting engagements" IBRS, 2019-11-02 01:24:20

"Being a good customer of consulting Part 2: Driving value and successful outcomes by aligning RFP scope to supplier skills" IBRS, 2019-12-05 05:15:44

Conclusion: When engaging the market for consulting services, estimating the resource mix, including experience and skills, can form an excellent basis for evaluating if what is being proposed by consultants is likely to be optimal for the scope, and effective, given the environment of the purchasing organisation.
There are four main elements that should be considered:

  1. Engagement and project management
  2. Technical, strategic or design elements
  3. Guided, repetitive or high-volume elements
  4. Intellectual property.

The rationale for these, and approaches to consider when evaluating each, are discussed below.


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Related Articles:

"Being a good customer of consulting Part 1: The importance of a client-side project manager in consulting engagements" IBRS, 2019-11-02 01:24:20

"Being a good customer of consulting Part 3: Maximising the value of stage gates through considered design and definition of unique objectives" IBRS, 2020-01-08 03:32:07

Conclusion: Consulting engagements are often scheduled under the assumption of ideal conditions. In reality, many engagements experience a ‘slow start’ due to the consultants needing to request information and data, schedule stakeholder meetings, understand assumptions and parameters, and define and agree on the appropriate governance processes. This is often followed by a ‘frantic finish’ and can impact the quality of consulting outcomes.
All of the causes of the ‘slow start’ can be effectively alleviated through preparation and the role of a client-side project manager. This early work can often lead to significantly increased quality of consulting deliverables.


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Related Articles:

"Being a good customer of consulting Part 2: Driving value and successful outcomes by aligning RFP scope to supplier skills" IBRS, 2019-12-05 05:15:44

"Being a good customer of consulting Part 3: Maximising the value of stage gates through considered design and definition of unique objectives" IBRS, 2020-01-08 03:32:07

Conclusion: Deterministic1 project budgets do not convey any information about the range of possible outcomes for a project, or the associated risk factors driving the range. The ability to communicate the risk-weighted range of possible project outcomes can lead to much clearer expectations and understanding of project outcomes, especially for project sponsors. Modelling these ranges can be performed with relative ease, using basic Excel add-ins and high-level estimates of risk applied to the components that make up a project2.


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Conclusion: When engaging the market for suppliers, the objective of the procurement process is to select the supplier with the most suitable approach, who is able to accurately define the scope, and deliver in an effective and risk-mitigated way. In the context of a full project, for a proportionally minor investment, and a comparable amount of time and effort from key stakeholders, a competitive and paid discovery phase, involving multiple prospective suppliers, can yield significantly better outcomes for projects than through request for proposal (RFP) alone. The benefits include the ability to trial the delivery team, more accurately define scope, validate assumptions and hybridise the best of several informed approaches.


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Conclusion: With Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deployments the fastest growing and most deployed Cloud service globally, particular attention should be given to evaluation and selection approaches that align to the solution being selected. When evaluating SaaS solutions, greater confidence in the applicability and value of a solution can be gained via a rapid demonstration and trial-based evaluation versus the same level of time and cost committed to a full request for proposal (RFP) process.


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In the News

New cyber security rules reset $8b cloud marketplace - Financial Review - 26 July 2020

Philip Nesci, IBRS adviser and former CIO, has warned that agencies will need to get their information management sorted out to capitalise on the new rules. ‘‘Agencies need to identify their...
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Australia can build a culture of employee-led innovation - DropEverything - 24 July 2020

IBRS advisor Dr. Joseph Sweeney discusses why it falls to individuals to look at improving their work in a post-COVID world. Dr. Sweeney comments on the need to build a culture of innovation that...
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Outdated work from home policies bog down Aussie businesses - Computer Reseller News - 6 April 2020

IBRS analyst Dr. Joseph Sweeney provides best practice-advice on working from home in the current pandemic situation. Dr. Joseph Sweeney discusses current working from home policies which are...
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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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