Architecture

Conclusion: Many organisations have integrated enterprise architecture (EA) into the business processes, whilst many have not. To some, it is a religious argument as to why the ICT group even needs to have people with ‘architect’ in their name; for others, the EA group is the watchdog of the system, ensuring both new capabilities and changes to existing capabilities will be fit for purpose.

Like most things in business, the cost versus benefit analysis to justify why any activity is a priority is essential before committing effort and resources to it. EA should be no different. Organisations should complete a business case assessment to justify why EA is necessary for their business model, and what form it should take.

In doing so, both business and ICT will jointly have a better understanding of the value EA brings to the enterprise, be able to manage expectations on what EA can deliver and judge its effectiveness.

Conclusion: As a result of COVID-19, has the criticality of web presence for your business changed? Is your organisation now exposed to threats and risks that previously were a lower order concern? Are there advantages to be gained in the realignment of the organisation’s web strategy?

IBRS recommends organisations assess the vision statement for its web presence. Once the vision is clear, review the framework for delivery and sustainment, the processes, and the roles and responsibilities for online web services, as a result of the impact of COVID-19. The purpose of the review is to ensure your organisation leverages the strengths and opportunities of the organisation’s online presence resulting from the impact of COVID-19.

Conclusion: Traditional service desks which are based on voice communication and email to engage with clients are no longer adequate for the current IT market. New-generation service desks should:

  • Allow self-service to extend the hours of operations.
  • Use multiple communication channels (e. g. online chats) to make the service desk more reachable to clients.
  • Adopt artificial intelligence technology to analyse unstructured data.
  • Deploy virtual agents to reduce service desk’s staff workload.

Conclusion: Many processes are relatively poorly designed and are not subject to effective governance. The reasons for this are many and varied: some relate to complexity, where there is a perceived risk associated with their criticality and whereby change could harm the business if they are altered; others are just not managed at all.

If your organisation does not understand how its business processes are architected, executives run the risk of fear influencing their judgement, rather than fact – the end result is ‘no change’ where change is needed. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for flexibility and agility in business processes to sustain and grow the business. The opportunities in the post-COVID-19 world, where many processes have been found wanting, are too great to be missed.

Successful organisations understand, manage and adjust business processes to meet the times. Having an effective business process management approach – where the process strategy is documented, processes are designed against set standards, implementation is monitored and managed, and controls are in place to manage the process lifecycle – is essential if your organisation is to achieve the best outcomes.

Conclusion: Increasingly, organisations are looking to improve customer experiences through effective business processes. A ready portfolio of electronic services is expected by the market which offers services using online processes. SAP is often at the core of these ecosystems due to its scalability and interconnection with other specialised applications. This type of interconnection of systems has become the new norm.

Data collection, processing, security and privacy are but some of the concerns of customers. Systematic collection of data including seamless integration and extension of processes across multiple applications are part of the customer’s expectations, albeit unseen.

Once SAP forms the core of the ICT ecosystem, the ROI concerns will not stop once SAP integration is complete. Instead, organisations carrying a large SAP licensing investment would naturally dwell on maximising the ROI. Let us explore the risks associated with achieving this ROI now SAP has shifted the definition of user licensing.

Conclusion: Finding technologies that meet print demand across differing personas is challenging. CIOs are being asked to replace printed documents with digital workflows but many formal documents are still printed for boards, corporate stakeholders, consumers and management. The answer can be to reduce the cost of printing and provide greater flexibility rather than simply removing printing. Remote print solutions in the Cloud should be investigated as a viable alternative to on-premise printing.

Remote worker definition is becoming broader as organisations look to reduce their footprint across leased buildings. Workers are looking at flexibility to perform their roles wherever work can be completed. The solution can be remote printing that is secure, easy to use and reliable.

Organisations need to consider print software that is operating system agnostic and allows the workforce to print from any location securely. This could eliminate the need to own or lease print hardware in your business.

Conclusion: Recognition of revenue and recording of objectively verifiable historical costs are the foundation of globally accepted accounting practices. These practices in turn provide transparency and consistency of reporting to improve the confidence with which enterprises conduct business and undertake trade, nationally as well as internationally.

Unfortunately, many enterprise architectures lack models that address this most critical of elements within an organisation. This absence of cost analysis means the recommendations from enterprise architects (EAs) can lack business credibility, rely on subjective assessments or are stymied by biases, cultural drag and ignorance of the true cost of the technology portfolio. Therefore, EAs must present business leaders with analysis from enterprise architecture (EA) that not only contains cost based on basic accounting practices, but also employs other important economic models, analysis and reporting techniques such as total cost of ownership, activity-based costing and technical debt.

Conclusion: Despite its widespread adoption, enterprise architecture (EA) continues to suffer from the perception that in a world of lean start-ups, design thinking and agile delivery, it is simply not pragmatic. As a discipline EA is shrouded in language that can be seen as alien or obtuse with many practitioners quick to launch into discussions of frameworks, meta-models, methodologies, notations and ultimately tools. The result is EA has become stayed and stifled in archaic notations and models often inaccessible to anyone outside the fold.

Just as software development, project management and product management have all undergone an ‘agile reformation’ in areas where traditional approaches had failed, EA is entering its own ‘revolution’ with the emergence of ‘architecture thinking’ and ‘lean tooling’. If successful, these trends may establish a new manifesto that heralds a reformation of the EA discipline’s core practices, a renaissance in EA tooling and a turnaround in the perception of its value.

Conclusion: Onboarding is a critical process when hiring new employees. Poor first impressions can impact the potential success of new employees, and potentially the productivity or benefits that an organisation may have been expecting when adding the new employees. Worst case is a new highly skilled employee decides quickly that the organisation is not a good fit for them, and they leave it to find a better one.

Software tools are available to assist with the onboarding experience and process.
These tools aim to assist in several ways including automation of administrative tasks such as getting HR documents out to new hires, providing e-learning tools, tracking new hire progress, ensuring governance, and managing workflows and checklists.

Tools can help improve the overall efficiency and potential effectiveness of the onboarding process, and importantly help develop a repeatable and consistent process that all hiring managers in an organisation can utilise. Onboarding is of course about welcoming a new employee into the organisation, helping them get up to speed quickly in terms of their new role and the organisation, and providing them with the support to be productive as quickly as possible. The importance of the ‘personal’ contribution to the process cannot be forgotten or replaced by software tools.

Related Articles:

"Can IBRS assist in the selection of a HRM solution?" IBRS, 2018-10-24 04:41:50

"Emerging HR tech solutions striving to improve hiring outcomes" IBRS, 2019-10-02 01:12:47

"Onboarding: First impressions count" IBRS, 2019-11-02 01:36:50

"Workforce transformation Part 1: Disrupting the very idea of paper is an important first step" IBRS, 2018-03-31 06:53:24

Conclusion: Unless the attributes of user stories (agile) or high-level requirements (waterfall) are succinct and testable, business systems specifications will lack rigour and could compromise the system’s integrity. To ensure these attributes, i. e. succinct and testable, are present, the stories and high-level requirements should be peer reviewed to identify content that is unclear or just expressing an unrealistic ‘want/wish’ list.

It is important the stories or high-level requirements contain sufficient context to enable systems requirements, i. e. functional and non-functional, to be developed because unless they do it will be difficult to prioritise them based on business drivers.

Similarly, the results of user acceptance testing should be peer reviewed to ensure the agreed requirements have been met and the output is verifiable.

Conclusion: Shifting end users to a digital service delivery channel is more cost-effective for most scenarios and most organisations. The return on investment is through a reduced volume of low-value interactions and an increase in the volume of high-value interactions within high-cost traditional channels. This is a strategic tactic for many organisations and mature ones will have this articulated in a channel management strategy with defined channel migration/shift/uptake targets.

If that channel migration target is not at the centre of the key performance indicator (KPI) design before it gets rolled out to front line staff, organisations run the risk of creating internal tension between their departments which in turn slows down the rate of transformation.

Well thought out and designed KPIs are a critical success factor in the time it takes for an organisation to see a return on the investment in service delivery transformation.

Conclusion: If your organisation has not entered a phase 1 managed print services providers (MPSP) agreement then having a clear understanding of your network connectivity, print assets and security requirements is essential before progressing to a tender. The business case needs to deliver at least 20 % savings on the current arrangements before considering value-add services to justify the request for proposal (RFP) process.

Enterprises entering phase 2 agreements with MPSPs should examine the value-add services and determine how they will contribute to further savings. Vendors will be offering automated workflows, data analytics, security and consulting services to increase the contract value.

If use case benefits are unclear, run a request for information (RFI) to enable comparative analysis of vendor capabilities.

Prior to developing the RFP, consider use cases that look at B2B or B2C workflow efficiency such as:

  1. Integration of print activities with other delivery processes
  2. Reducing resources to deliver improved outcome
  3. Accelerate the shift to digital transformation.

Conclusion: Since the earlier IBRS contact centre trend report was released at the beginning of 20171, it is time to reflect on those trends and reassess what improvements have been made. Fortunately, there have been new trends that emerged to assist ICT managers in strategic planning for the necessary tools and management aspects in transformational activities through to replacing call centre technical debt with future technologies.

Conclusion: Increasing the IT literacy of business managers and professionals has sharpened their interest in buying off-the-shelf software to meet immediate business needs, but potentially without the expertise to implement and support it, often leading to unexpected requests for IT support. When the request is a surprise, and there is a compelling business priority, IT workforce plans must be put to one side and changed to find the resources needed. When the dust has settled and the surprise element is a thing of the past, the IT governance group is bound to ask, ‘How did this surprise occur and what can be done to ensure it does not happen again’? It is a reasonable question and one that needs a cogent response.

Conclusion: Email is one of the most pervasive IT applications spread throughout organisations of all sizes. It is hard to imagine any employee in any organisation not having an email account. It is critical that all organisations have a formal Email Policy that clearly spells out what every employee’s responsibilities are in terms of usage of their email accounts, as well as what is not allowed or inappropriate usage. Additionally, the use of social platforms (for example, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram) has given rise to the need for organisations to also have policies that incorporate acceptable and unacceptable usage of social platforms, especially in terms of representing the organisation.

It is also important to establish guidelines for the expected etiquette and best practices around email and social platform usage; for example, when not to use email when another form of communication would be more effective, such as a phone call or conducting a meeting.

It should not be assumed that all employees know what is expected of them in terms of usage of these platforms, or how best to manage the information they handle every day.

Conclusion: ICT health checks enable organisations to better understand risks and prioritise activities to both maintain and improve the performance and reliability of ICT in support of business outcomes.

ICT health checks can be conducted as a light touch in the first instance, with detailed in-depth health checks being conducted as follow-up activities in specific areas where and when necessary.

An effective ICT health check strategy will be business-focused and not based on technology alone. Implanting health checks as part of your annual ICT budget planning will provide timely advice on the organisation’s ICT health and provide in-built regular reviews of ICT health to ensure business outcomes are achieved without unnecessary risk.

Conclusion: Enterprise architecture (EA) framework standards, such as the Zachman Framework or The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF), are often promoted by advocates as complete solutions for organisations seeking to maximise business alignment and mitigate risk during major transformations through the use of an agreed set of structured planning practices.

However, the term ‘framework’ has become overloaded and not all industry offerings are created equal. Some frameworks provide well-defined content meta models while others provide detailed methodologies and some industry-specific reference models. Therefore, organisations must understand the elements that make up a complete EA framework, then ensure that they adopt aspects from multiple sources to provide complete coverage in support of a contemporary EA practice.

Conclusion: Increasing competition where thin profit margins are the norm forces management to analyse business data more intently to identify ways to increase revenue and/or reduce operating costs. Similarly, in the public sector the aim is often to connect common data from multiple sources and determine if government programs are achieving their objectives.

To ensure the analysis is sound and the resulting scenarios can withstand scrutiny, management must rely on skilled and commercially astute data analysts1. The latter typically operate in small teams and may need to resolve data errors or inconsistent definitions of it to process the data correctly and interpret the results.

Conclusion: During periods of business-as-usual activity or low project investment, organisations often consolidate or reduce thei.e.terprise architecture (EA) capability. Conversely, when entering a period of transformation or increased investment, organisations often look to increase their EA activity and so must take stock of the state of current EA practices.

This assessment should not only review the number and calibre of the individual architects within the EA team but also include reviewing and/or renewing the organisation’s commitment to the tools and techniques employed in the form of a chosen EA framework standard.

However, the term “framework” has become overloaded and not all industry offerings are created equal, nor are they contemporary. Therefore, it is important to understand the elements that make up a complete “standard” when it comes to EA frameworks. In most cases, a hybrid approach is required to provide coverage of all the necessary elements needed to ensure the EA team can support the delivery of outcomes aligned to business strategy.

Related Articles:

"Architecture governance: Part 1 - a plan that is fit for purpose" IBRS, 2012-03-31 00:00:00

"Architecture Governance: Part 2 Effective Models for Project Reviews" IBRS, 2012-04-26 00:00:00

"Business Capability Modelling Part 1 - why you should do it" IBRS, 2011-12-27 00:00:00

"Business Capability Modelling Part 2 - what you should do" IBRS, 2012-01-27 00:00:00

"Business Strategy and Enterprise Architecture" IBRS, 2017-04-04 03:07:52

"Enterprise Architecture - do you need it?" IBRS, 2012-08-26 00:00:00

"Just enough enterprise architecture - supporting CIO decision making" IBRS, 2013-05-26 00:00:00

"Just enough enterprise architecture: supporting defensible strategic planning" IBRS, 2013-06-23 00:00:00

"Measuring the performance of an Enterprise Architecture team" IBRS, 2013-10-28 00:00:00

"The case for EA remains strong in the face of continual waves of transformation" IBRS, 2019-04-04 16:31:49

"The evolving role of Solutions Architects" IBRS, 2016-01-02 12:23:13

"Using models to link Strategy and Architecture" IBRS, 2011-06-30 00:00:00

Conclusion: Medium and large sized enterprises are complex, socio-technical systems that comprise many interdependent resources – including people, information and technology – that must interact with each other and their environment in support of a common mission1. These complex entities undergo varying levels of transformation throughout their useful life in a continual quest to remain capable of fulfilling the business mission and achieving their desired business outcomes.

A mature enterprise architecture (EA) practice is extremely beneficial in supporting and enabling a business to transform in a considered manner, to formulate and execute their evolving strategies. Whether in response to traditional business, modern digital or the emerging AI-enabled transformation agendas, the case for adoption of EA remains as strong as ever.

Conclusion: What to monitor and how you respond to the data is often poorly documented and not fully understood until after a failure occurs. In this world of “no surprises”, effective monitoring is a key success factor. If an organisation’s ICT monitoring strategy is to be successful it must be structured around the organisation’s business outcomes. The monitoring strategy framework is achieved through the alignment of the organisation’s critical-business functions, the ICT high-level design, the ICT architecture and the priorities set out in the organisation’s disaster recovery plan (DRP) as the primary influencing factors.
Key to an effective DRP is a clear understanding of the system architecture and design, with sound knowledge of the risks and weaknesses it brings in support of critical business functions. When the ICT monitoring strategy is based on this framework it will deliver a near real-time health status of the organisation’s ICT environment, allow for planning future capacity, and in the investigation of incidents when they occur. An effective monitoring strategy will be business-focused and not monitoring for monitoring’s sake.

Conclusion: Unless software testing practices are rigorous and enforced, system defects will continue and compromise meeting of service delivery objectives. Whilst defect-free code, and clean vendor software patches, are an objective, their realisation may be as elusive as the so-called paperless office.

To significantly reduce defects, and minimise risks, IT management must implement a program that elevates quality ahead of expediency and pragmatism, even if it is at the expense of the project’s schedule.

Conclusion: Technology leaders in organisations brought together through a merger or acquisition (M&A) play an extremely important role and can significantly impact the potential economic benefits and success of the M&A. IT needs to align with the business units to understand how the business units are going to align or change through the M&A. IT must then develop plans and execute on appropriate IT strategies to support the new organisation.

M&As provide organisations with the opportunity to rationalise, deduplicate, and modernise especially in the areas of applications, data, infrastructure and facilities.

Whilst keeping the existing systems operational, IT should set up specific integration teams, to quickly develop the direction and priorities that will be of most importance and value to the new integrated organisation.

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"Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures: What does it mean to your business?" IBRS, 2017-01-01 10:35:33

"Running IT as a Service Part 4: Transforming from Service Level Agreements to Service Value Agreements" IBRS, 2015-01-29 18:59:44

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Conclusion: BYOD strategies need to be updated regularly to keep pace with the evolving nature of not just the devices themselves but also the increasing challenges and complexity to stay secure; all this needs to occur while offering increasingly flexible services to a 24/7 mobile workforce operating on-premises and offline. It is valuable to engage key stakeholders within the organisation’s leadership team, employee champions and also industry peers to ensure the BYOD strategies are as relevant and acceptable as initially reported in an earlier IBRS article in 20081 when personal electronic devices (PED) were being introduced into corporate networks.

IBRS iQ 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.
 

 IBRS iQ 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.
 

Conclusion: Organisations know that they have legal obligations in terms of record retention and privacy. The foundation of good information management governance is an effective record retention schedule (RRS). Organisations need to regularly review and audit their RRS not only in terms of it being current, but also in terms of it being effective and being complied with.

An effective schedule is one that is being complied with, is easy to understand, meets all legal and regulatory requirements and allows for effective record discovery or e-discovery if required.

Effective management of records is an organisational issue, not an IT issue. IT makes a contribution in provisioning solutions to assist in the management of digital records or helping convert non-digital records into digital records as appropriate. IT also needs to determine the best practices for managing data based on its value rather than its volume.1

Conclusion: Technologists consistently under-estimate the growth of data volumes. The result is tactical actions aimed at increasing capacity achieved by adding storage on-premise using traditional bulk storage solutions or moving technical workloads, such as back-up or disaster recovery, to Cloud-based Storage-as-a-Service offerings. This reflects a decades-old mantra of “disk is cheap, buy more disk”.

When the lack of predictability of data volume growth is combined with the need to capture then distribute data from new sources as well as control the hidden cost of data movement across networks, these tactical responses fail to deliver transformational value to end users.

To deliver effective and efficient data storage solutions, IT infrastructure architects must collaborate with their information and data management colleagues to identify the demographics of data being managed1; they must then select storage solutions that optimise data capture, storage, distribution and access based on these characteristics, not simply by volume.

Conclusion: Most organisations do not know the extent of shadow or departmental IT. It is likely to range from using complex SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) solutions for core business systems to use of spreadsheets for simple applications, such as managing grants for local sporting organisations.

Unless there is a filter to assess requests for and identify non-compliant software, e. g. with inadequate security processes or using unapproved technical architecture, management conflicts are inevitable.

IBRS iQ 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.

Conclusion: Contact centres in Australia have been undergoing many strategic changes embracing digital transformation for well over a decade. So what awaits in 2017? As new technologies mature, it is time to seriously ramp up and explore the emerging trends and then embrace the next generation of technology enablers to better serve business aspirations.

Conclusion: The options for processing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) range from on premises to managed services to public Cloud to SaaS (Software as a Service). The attributes of all the solutions, including the risks, costs and benefits, can appear overwhelming and may persuade risk averse senior management to make an expedient decision and keep the status quo.

IT managers must engage their risk averse peers and force them to think through the issues and make a strategic, rather than an expedient, decision as whatever they decide will have long-term ramifications.

IBRS iQ 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. 

Conclusion: Sustained investment in IT Infrastructure is critical for the delivery of services to clients and delivering business efficiencies. Without continued investment service quality will deteriorate, operational incidents occur more frequently and the organisation’s network put at risk from unwanted intrusions.

Conclusion: To ensure desktop investments are aligned to the organisation’s strategy, and the business benefits are clearly understood, IT organisations should create a Benefit Dependency Network. This is a benefits management tool that explicitly shows the linkages between technology investments and the business benefits, uncovers the business changes necessary to deliver these benefits, and clarifies the role of the business in harvesting those benefits.

Through the processes of building a Benefit Dependency Network, the IT organisation can engage the business in a meaningful discussion about business benefits and about the business changes needed to harvest them. Without a benefits analysis a major desktop investment is less likely to be approved and there are risks generating no value for the business, perpetuating the view that IT is a cost that must be reduced.

Conclusion: It has been well established in recent reports that future workplaces will be significantly different from today and the workers of tomorrow will demand to work differently. Technology has enabled organisations to provide greater freedom to their workers with a new, greater understanding of the strength and weaknesses of flexible working. In addition, organisations will gradually casualise their workforce for greater flexibility. Organisations that fully harness the potential of providing highly flexible or flexible and creative workplaces early will be able to attract and retain the best talent for their workforce. Other organisations will be forced to adapt as work roles and practices disappear or change radically.

Conclusion: While the need to design current and future state technology platforms has not diminished, the role of the solutions architect in designing tactical business systems and advising management which systems implementation approach to pursue is taking centre stage.

Conclusion: CIOs continually wrestle with how to replace or modify failing core systems and having to convince management to invest in modernising them. They also know that ignoring a bad situation will probably cost the organisation more to fix the longer they postpone the replacement decision.

Pervasive networking is becoming ubiquitous as fixed and mobile communications’ reach, coverage, reliability, latency and speed improve consistently over time. These critical networking characteristics are unlikely to saturate before 2025. The net outcome of all these factors is that telecommunications and enterprise networking will deliver networked applications that create the foundations for transformational corporate agility and productivity.

In this IBRS Master Advisory Presentation (MAP), IBRS outlines the high-level issues, surrounding communications from both business and technology viewpoints. This MAP is designed to guide and stimulate discussions between business and technology groups and point the way for more detailed activity. It also provides links to further reading to support these follow-up activities.

The MAP is provided as a set of presentation slides, and as a script and executive briefing document.

Conclusion: Today’s Windows centric desktop is based on 20 year old assumptions about devices and applications and is the result of years of sustained innovation. We are now at the point in the desktop innovation cycle where incremental change no longer adds business value and the business is reluctant to fund upgrades. This was clearly demonstrated by the difficulty most IT organisations had funding their Windows XP upgrade.

Forward-thinking CIOs are reassessing the assumptions on which their next end user computing platform will be built and are experimenting with disruptive innovations to build a self-service, web-centric Digital Workspace that will last the next 10-15 years.

Conclusion: the time is right to review whether ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions implemented over 10 years ago are still meeting their original objectives, and if not, assess the options. Failure to review and seriously consider the options when the business value of the ERP is marginal, is unsustainable.

Conclusion: when considering Cloud based email (Microsoft or Google) organisations should critically re-evaluate the need for third party Email Archive add-ons. Since Cloud-based email has virtually unlimited mailbox capacity the archive/storage management features of third party Email Archive add-ons many not be needed.

For many organisations the native compliance and eDiscovery features in Cloud based email are satisfactory and will rapidly mature and improve over time. Organisations that are very large, highly regulated, or at risk of litigation should evaluate the benefit of the more comprehensive, and more polished, third party Email Archive add-ons, whether that be Cloud or On-premises.

Conclusion: When architecting a payroll environment it is best to align to employment types not to departments. The payrolls are simpler to establish and run, cost less, and are in a form that can be outsourced to specialist payroll BPaaS providers.

Conclusion: Before embarking on a virtual desktop project examine the major factors in delivering a virtual desktop rather than immediately focusing on a technical evaluation of Citrix vs. VMware. This should include use cases, service model (i. e., Cloud, Managed Service Provider or Build, Own, Run) and infrastructure model (i. e., Desktop-as-a-service, Engineered System, Do It Yourself).

Conclusion: Financial models provide insights and support better understanding. Using the right model depends on a thorough knowledge of its output and what it means. A powerful and valid model must have currency outside IT.

Conclusion: HP’s split into two companies is more important as a sign of the dramatic changes in the IT infrastructure market than the impact it will have on HP customers. When combined with IBM’s exit from the PC and x86 markets and Dell going private, poor financial results from leaders such as IBM and SAP, it is clear we are in the midst of a major industry transition that is being driven by the forces of Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud and Consumerisation (SMACC).

Conclusion: There are several established models which have been used to evaluate technology investments. Some models are applied to assess the value of technology in use within an organisation.

Organisations can select a model for a particular need; however it is fundamental that the assumptions and the factors that construct the model are realistic and clearly understood. Furthermore, the models should be comprehended by other departments within an organisation, such as finance. A model that is only applied within, and solely has merit for IT is generally not an altogether useful tool. The outputs and the inferences drawn from these outputs may not convince other parties if the tool is not compatible to cross-department interpretation.

Conclusion: VMware’s EVO hyper-converged infrastructure is the tipping point for the move away from SAN based architectures. Over the next 3-5 years VMware EVO will commoditise and simplify compute/storage infrastructures in the same fashion VMware commoditised and simplified servers.

This will disrupt traditional systems vendors (e.g., HP, IBM) and new systems vendors (e.g., Cisco, VCE) and challenge the growth and long term viability of upstart hyper-converged vendors (e.g., Nutanix and SimpliVity). However, the real challenge to EVO will be IaaS, especially VMware Air.

Conclusion: The IBRS technology investment model only assesses costs. It shows costs in net present value terms and can also compare those costs with a typical total cost of ownership calculation. It does not measure so-called benefits or other intangible features of a product. Its principal aim is to reveal what an investment will cost over its duration and to do that as thoroughly as all the data available will allow. In addition the model can be customised and work with different data sets.

Conclusion: Unless the IT and HR management work together to implement information systems to enable them to hire, develop and record the skills of IT professionals, the organisation will probably not have the right people to meet the looming challenges of the digital age.

Conclusion: In government organisations the potential for standardisation and process automation via the use of enterprise resource planning software is largely limited to internal administration. In terms of digital service development government organisations can optimise their IT budgets by understanding themselves as knowledge-transformation organisations rather than as consumers of off-the-shelf technology.

Conclusion: There is no single perfect financial analytical method. There are some models which are in common use but their longevity is due to their lack of rigour, or that they can be used for any occasion.

The best way to avoid the obvious gaps is to combine techniques, not in one model, but for comparison purposes. By bringing together parts of the stronger methodologies users can obtain better insights. How this type of optimised composite model will work is shown in the next paper.

Conclusion: IT Infrastructure has undergone a major transformation in the last five years yet many organisations cling to their old practices and are unsure how to proceed. As Jeff Smith, former CIO of Suncorp recently said, most organisations are not limited by skills, people or money, but by what they think is possible!

To harvest the benefits of these changes IT executives must be willing to stand up and challenge the assumptions that underpin the status quo and as necessary push staff out of their comfort zones.

Conclusion: Unlike other parts of business, IT has wrestled with a few financial analysis methodologies. Although those commonly employed work reasonably well, and have currency, it is clear to IT professionals that they are not as good as they might be. That is to say, that despite the application of a financial analysis to technology investments there is still vagueness and uncertainty about the quality of the analysis.

Eliminating all doubts over the merits of financial analysis is not entirely possible, of course, but it is feasible to apply better techniques as to how financial analysis is conducted.  

Conclusion: Remediating major systems is not a job for the faint-hearted or over-confident IT managers. Poor governance decisions and excessive optimism can easily lead to project failures (and ruin careers). Conversely smart decisions combined with sound project leadership can increase the probability of success and enhance careers.

Conclusion: Enterprise software vendors and enterprise software users are increasingly investing in in functionality that is accessible from mobile devices, and many organisations face the challenge of making key legacy applications accessible on mobile devices. Comprehensive and reliable APIs are the key for the creation of architectures that enable a seamless user experience across a range of mobile devices, and across a backend mix of state of the art Cloud services and legacy systems.

Conclusion: Whilst senior management recognise continued investment in IT is critical for business success there is increasing evidence of dissatisfaction with IT management’s performance. It is critical IT managers identify reasons for the dissatisfaction and take remedial action. If not, credible survey data indicates they will be replaced.

Conclusion: As storage vendors increasingly include active-active storage in their proposals, IT Executives must move beyond a naïve understanding of what it is, to a deeper understanding of the scenarios under which it can deliver a benefit, the risks it mitigates, and where is fits within the overall redundancy and availability architecture.

Since active-active storage typically comes at a significant additional cost it is important that a cost/risk/benefit analysis be undertaken to avoid paying an unnecessary premium that becomes a burden on the business. This cost/risk/benefit analysis can only be done in the context of the organisation’s specific application portfolio.

Conclusion: Australian organisations in both public and private sectors enthusiastically identify and implement best practices from around the world. After considerable time and effort has been allocated to implementing these processes and tools the results are all too often less than satisfactory. There are many best practices, frameworks and tools to assist in the optimisation of IT but there are two key problem areas that if overcome, can make a significant difference in the benefits that organisations will derive from best practice implementation.

Conclusion: Due to recent advances in IT infrastructure, the capital cost of VDI is now comparable to that of a Full Desktop, making it suitable for a wider range of use cases. However, there remain significant project risks due to the large upfront infrastructure costs and the very high technical risks associated with building the VDI infrastructure. IT organisations need to understand these costs and risks and then formally develop mitigation strategies to control these.

Conclusion: Debate over Microsoft’s mixed record of successes and slow innovation during the last decade has incited conjecture as to its long term durability. As many highly successful vendors have disappeared very quickly, the same inference for Microsoft is a reasonable one.

While Microsoft has been ‘disrupted’ in the sense that it has not adjusted smoothly to new conditions, its demise is not imminent. The corporation has to fix several parts of its business, which will not be easy, but it’s financially sound and growing. Microsoft customers need not fret over its longevity. However, they ought to examine how much they depend on Microsoft or other flexible options over the next five years.

Conclusion: It has become common for IT staff to refer to their on-premises virtualised infrastructure as a Cloud. The unchallenged assumption is that their on-premises environment is as good as a Public Cloud (aka IaaS) and provides the same benefits.

IT Executives and Enterprise Architects need to un-collapse these two concepts and recognise that while a virtualised on-premises environment has many benefits it does not have all the benefits of a Public Cloud – i.e., pay-as-you-go, hyper-scale, massive scale-up and scale-down.

Conclusion: CRM technology is capable of being put to several discrete purposes. The added complexity of the tools is necessary in the more complex digital communications environment. Even though CRM systems are more adaptable and extensible than before, there are still four central questions to CRM activities.

The central business questions that drive the sales and marketing effort are about communications channels and the use of data. Organisations should be clear about how they answer those four questions as that will assist in the way they manage CRM and its associated capabilities.

Conclusion: CIOs must avoid being swept up by the hype concerning SaaS (Software as a Service) and approach each business case on its merits. While the immediate net benefits may be appealing, it is important to evaluate whether the long-term benefits are sustainable and the risks manageable before entering into a service contract.

Conclusion: The recent enhancements to CRM suites offer deeper and more useful insights into organisational processes. The second and possibly more profound aspect to CRM suites is that they provide the means to evaluate organisational productivity.

Productivity can be seen in ratio terms across the enterprise and therefore the management of assets which can be handled with greater clarity. If organisations chose to use CRM as a productivity management tool, they would need to organise a management team that oversaw such a designated use. It is not a sales or a marketing role but it is a function that finance and those connected with the executive may choose to accept.

Conclusion: Difficulty in defining performance criteria for an enterprise architecture team typically points to a lack of clearly articulated business priorities, or to a lack of a meaningful baseline against which performance can be assessed. An enterprise architecture team needs to be given clear objectives that relate to the performance of the business, without being prescriptive in terms of the target IT system landscape.

Conclusion: With IT infrastructure having gone through major changes in the last five years, due to virtualisation and cloud technologies, organisations should challenge their assumptions about storage, and evolve their strategy prior to the next major storage acquisition.

Rather than assume the current networked storage centric strategy is the right approach, and simply needs a minor update, organisations should look at how their IT infrastructure has changed in the five years, then evaluate alternative approaches such as Integrated Systems or networked storage free Unified Systems.

Conclusion: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is undergoing major changes. The addition of features, analytics, and high quality data measurement gives users more options than ever to explore how their various customers interact with their organisation.

The substantial enhancements in CRM technologies should encourage organisations to lift their own skills in order to use the power of these tools. To use the CRM tools effectively it may be necessary for people within each department to coordinate their work across different areas of the organisation.

Conclusion: Today, nearly all organisations are delivering digital services to customers and suppliers. Quality of service expectations of external stakeholders create significant challenges for organisations that were used to treating IT and software needs as internal topics that are at least one level removed from customers and suppliers. Digital services have evolved into the key mechanism for embedding an organisation into the external value chain. Articulating a clear conceptual picture of the external value chain in precise terms without using any IT jargon is a prerequisite for innovation and successful business transformation, having an IT strategy is no longer good enough.

There’s a long history of fad terms and acronyms in the information technology field – EDP, VM, CRM, EDI, iPad, iPod, tablet, BPO, ad infinitum, and of course the latest – Cloud.

The advent of all things Cloud introduced new terms such IaaS, PaaS, SaaS to classify layers of technology such as infrastructure, platforms and software that could take advantage of the Cloud – ‘Everything as a Service’.

Conclusion: Reports on the findings from CIO surveysconsistently highlight management’s imperative to transform stored business data into wisdom. What the survey reports do not make clear though is how wisdom, or the Eureka moment, can be recognised. Also missing from the reports is an explanation of how skilled IT and business professionals can achieve the transformation, so management can act on the wisdom.

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.

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.

Conclusion: Much discussion on NBN attempts to demonstrate its value in the future. Instead of trying to prove what NBN can deliver in thirty years it is wiser to assess what organisations can do with the network.

This may seem obvious. All that’s required is to plug into NBN and let the network make it happen. If NBN is really such a significant change in technology, organisations will find they have to discover how they operate and how to fix themselves in order to use the NBN to their advantage.

EMC and VMware are spinning out their non-core technologies to a new company called Pivotal, which is run by the former VMware CEO, Paul Maritz. VMware is divesting the application middleware components (Spring, GemFire, Cloud Foundry, Cetas and Pivotal Labs) acquired after Paul Maritz took over the company in 2008. EMC is letting go of the data warehousing product (Greenplum) acquired in 2009.

Conclusion: NBN and other similar high speed broadband networks are presented as opportunities to expand visions and create new industries. However, given the weak position of government finances in some Australians states, NBN is now a critical cost-cutting services delivery medium.

Any state government examining NBN to reduce expenditure should also be certain that what appears convincing as a business case is deliverable. For example, health is a major focus area because health budgets keep expanding. But achieving service delivery and a reduced operating budget may be challenging and long-term, not a quick remedy.

Conclusion: For most organisations, especially SME, it’s time to let go of your IT infrastructure. Owning and operating your own hardware was once a necessary part of using IT for a competitive advantage, however it is now an unnecessary burden that reduces agility, creates significant risks and impacts long term sustainability.

CIOs should not be asking “if”, but rather “when, how and to whom” we let go of the IT infrastructure.

Conclusion: Today organisations need to adapt swiftly to changes in their external environment. Brittleness and inflexibility are characteristic of complex systems that lack modularity and redundancy. Resilient systems offer an appropriate level of redundancy at all levels of abstraction: from replicated skill sets within organisational structures to physical redundancy of hardware. In other words, a simplistic focus on efficiency may introduce more risks than benefits.

Conclusion: The concept of service virtualisation is fundamental to the development of scalable service oriented architectures (SOA) and to the implementation of a DevOps approach to software change and operations. On the one hand service virtualisation enables the development of resilient high-availability systems, by enabling dynamic switching between different service instances that may be running on completely independent infrastructures. On the other hand, service virtualisation enables realistic integration tests of non-trivial Web service supply chains.

Conclusion: Whilst SaaS (Software as a Service) using Cloud computing has helped commoditise IT, it is not always the ideal replacement for in-house application development. Instead the axiom ‘look before you leap’ applies, and SaaS assessed on a case-by-case basis (including not only potential benefits but also the hidden costs, such as contract breakage should the SaaS solution be unable to meet changing business requirements).

Conclusion: Along with many benefits, mobile devices bring new challenges in securing access to the organisation’s data and applications. The real issue is not with technology, but in striking a balance between security and the mobile user experience.

A common mistake is touse typical desktop management practices and tightly control the mobile device. This often results in a compromised user experience, leading to high levels of user dissatisfaction. As employees, and contractors, increasing expect to use their personal devices (BYOD) for work, Organisations will find this approach is unacceptable.

Conclusion: While there’s surprising level of interest inside some IT departments to build their own data centre within an office complex, the arguments against this strategy are overwhelming. The few organisations that can financially justify building their own data centre are those organisations that prefer spending Capex to Opex, have the Capex to spend and, ideally, can distribute this cost to others. While the idea of an on-premises data centre can be driven by a misplaced belief in control, there are many risks that come with this strategy that most CIOs should not be interested in managing, and there are costs that most CIOs would not want to pay.

Conclusion: Based on their exposure to consumer technology (iPhone/iPad) Business Executives and Managers are demanding mobile solutions for their knowledge workers and field service staff. Rather than rush to a solution for one group’s needs (which may create a siloed solution and a barrier to further projects) define an enterprise mobility strategy that enables current and future mobility project to be quickly and effectively built.

A mobility strategy can be built in less than three months and must start with use cases. This leads to device selection, which must focus on user experience rather than the IT organisation’s concerns.

Conclusion: Increasingly, organisations are recognising that they can benefit from a so-called software product line approach. The transition from an IT organisation that operates entirely in project delivery mode to a product development organisation that introduces a product line governance process is a significant undertaking. The process involves the designers of business information services as well as Enterprise Architects and other domain experts. Achieving the benefits of a product line approach (systematic reuse of shared assets) requires the adoption of a dedicated product line engineering methodology to guide product management, design, development, and operations, and it also requires knowing where to draw the boundary between product development and the delivery of professional services.

Conclusion: One of the functions of a board1 is to minimise business risks to the shareholders. As signing a major contract with a managed services provider involves significant risks such as the failure to deliver critical IT services, boards need to be convinced the risks2 are known and can be minimised by vigilant management.

Conclusion: The cost of Flash Memory, a high-speed alternative to disk storage, has declined to the point that it is now economical to use in a broad set of cases. This has spawned a large number of Flash based products, often from start-ups, that offer an adjunct, or alterative to, Disk. The different approaches, and the conflicting technology claims, make product selection complex. When coupled with a high capital price, technology risks, and the viability of start-ups, purchasing Flash products carries a high risk for the next few years.

IT organisations should only purchase Flash devices tactically when a sufficiently strong benefit justifies the risk. Over the next five years the cost of Flash will decline by a factor of 10, and the technology and vendors will mature, making it suitable for mainstream use.

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.

Conclusion: For the last 20 years an organisation’s applications and data have been largely accessed from a Windows desktop. While the Windows desktop will remain an important access platform, IT organisations will be expected to also enable access via mobile device and to support Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.

The first step is to shift paradigms from “delivering a standardised desktop” to “enabling access from a range of devices and form factors using multiple delivery methods”. The second step is to choose between a best-of-breed or integrated platform strategy for the management platform.

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.

In the last four years the mobile device space has undergone a major transformation as Apple redefined the market, first with the iPhone and then the iPad. In that period Apple created a mobile device business with revenues that exceed the total of all Microsoft’s revenues1!

Microsoft, long the dominant desktop software vendor, has struggled in the mobile device market and has fallen out of favour with the consumer and the enterprise for mobile devices. A recent survey2 of the smartphone installed base in the US shows the iPhone has 34% of the market, Android 51% of the market and Windows mobile 4%.

Conclusion: Direct dependencies between services represent one of the biggest mistakes in the adoption of a service oriented architecture. An event driven approach to service design and service orchestration is essential for increasing agility, for achieving reuse and scalability, and for simplifying application deployment. Complex Event Processing offers a gateway to simplicity in the orchestration of non-trivial service supply chains.

Conclusion: In the last two years VMware’s desktop vision has undergone a profound transformation from a narrowly focused VDI (a centralised, virtualised desktop) strategy to a broader Dynamic Desktop1 strategy that supports Physical and Virtual desktops and Software as a Server and mobile applications. Despite this change, for the next 18 months VMware will continue to trail Citrix, which has greater desktop experience and had all the elements of a Dynamic Desktop since 2009.

Conclusion: Governments across Australia have been engaged in Shared Services initiatives for almost a decade. Decisions taken over the last two years to abandon, de-scope or rethink Shared Services by these same Governments demonstrate that the traditional model has not worked and a different perspective is needed. Perhaps knowledge/wisdom can be drawn, not from other government shared services initiatives, but from a completely different business model such as franchising? In franchising it is about having a great product with repeatable and standardised business process, great customer service and a growth strategy.

Conclusion: IBM’s launch of its PureSystems line of hardware completes the vendor line-up for Integrated Systems. While this does not dramatically change the market it does further solidify our 2009 prediction that IT infrastructure is transitioning to a new procurement and deployment model. However, due to internal barriers adoption rates are modest and this transition will only happen slowly over the next seven years.

On the next major IT infrastructure refresh, especially storage, IT organisations should review their approach to procuring and delivering infrastructure. This may require challenging the established infrastructure dogma in order to accurately evaluate the benefits of Integrated System.

Conclusion: For organisations that use digital content distributors, telecoms suppliers, and social media, the Convergence Review is an important stage in how policy and regulation will evolve. The review sought to update the regulations in the sector which has changed rapidly. Although the review did not focus on digital players, there were elements in the digital arena that indicate where change may lead.

It is probably inevitable that more regulation will enter the digital content and distribution sector. The need to impose controls will be to facilitate market competition and foster new ventures. It will also be used to protect individuals. That means that running an unregulated market is not possible if the goals of increasing local content, commerce and technology innovation are to be achieved. Organisations may have a special interest perspective depending on their role within the content, communications, technology development and social media sectors.

Conclusion: Einstein said that “everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” This is true in enterprise architecture and project management. CIOs know that simple solutions have many benefits over complex ones. Highly complex projects have high failure rates, like highly complex architectures. However, many CIOs unwittingly encourage and reward complexity. Complexity must be viewed as a primary focus for reducing cost and risk associated with large projects. CIOs should understand some of the key steps that can lead to reduced complexity in projects and systems.

The topic of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has resurfaced this year. While this is an important trend that needs to be examined by IT organisations, be careful to separate the facts from the hype. Here are the four most common myths that I keep hearing.

Conclusion: As the market for Board Portals rapidly matures, IT organisations are being asked to assist in selecting and implementing a solution. This is a golden opportunity to raise the IT Organisation’s profile with some of the most influential people in the company.

The CIO must ensure that technical staff do not overcomplicate the project and must find an Executive sponsor who can manage the Board members’ requirements and expectations.

Conclusion: The speed and disruptive effects of consumerisation in the mobile market surprised many organisations that were looking back, not forward. Even mobile providers have not anticipated rates of change and must invest millions to remain competitive.

Over the next three to four years the mobile market will face stark realities in a fully developed and oversupplied market. Providers will have to manage costs, improve service delivery and raise user revenue. That is not an easy set of objectives to achieve. The effect of raising revenues and cost management on users could be disruptive as users seek to maintain price and service levels they have enjoyed for some time. Organisations may have to manage another round of change when it comes.

CIOs, architects and managers responsible for IT systems often wonder – how did we end up with this mess? There’s no decent documentation. No-one seems to be responsible for the apparent lack of any rational architecture. A lot of stuff is “due to historical reasons”. Of course this would never have happened under your watch, but now it’s your responsibility to make some sense out of it. If your system represents a substantial investment, it stands to reason that you’ll want to understand why it was designed the way it is before you take any radical action to change it.