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24 May 2022: ActiveCampaign has acquired email delivery service Postmark and email authentication DMARC Digest to improve its sales and marketing communications features. With the integration of Postmark, ActiveCampaign users can send transactional emails through a drag-and-drop tool to engage more non-technical users. On the other hand, with the DMARC Digests feature, users can easily identify sources that are sending unauthenticated emails that result in DMARC failures. 

Why it’s Important

Email marketing tools are evolving rapidly, with platform features that support greater usability. In addition, allowing recipients to reply to transactional emails, such as Postmark’s feature, can help improve recipients’ engagement with the organisation.  

Similar to other Cloud analytics vendors, IBRS expects more mergers and acquisitions among customer experience automation firms. It projects more features using no-code technology to be integrated for a streamlined email building process. This will help marketers and non-developer teams to create, maintain and analyse their marketing campaigns while simplifying their workflows.

However, these drivers also mean that more email automation is on the way. In turn, this means more scrutiny of email quality, trust and delivery.

Who’s impacted

  • CMO
  • Sales and marketing teams

What’s Next?

Organisations should look at how their digital marketing can improve customer engagement. No-code/low-code platforms help cut down the time to build campaigns and also create better analysis of marketing initiatives. However, they must not only leverage new technologies and integrations that optimise each customer’s touchpoint, but also consider compliance regulations, customer analytics and engagement to accelerate return on investment (ROI) in lead conversion.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Reduce Email Overload to See a New World Order
  2. Measuring Marketing return on investment

The Latest

24 May 2022: Oracle has recently been recognised by the Digital Transformation Agency as a certified strategic hosting provider, the highest level of assurance which permits the Australian government to specify strict ownership and control conditions. The company now joins other accredited Cloud providers in Australia such as Microsoft, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Sliced Tech, AUCloud, and Vault Cloud. The Australian government has mandated that its agencies will only host accredited partners starting July 2022, to better manage supply chain issues.

Oracle partnered with Australian Data Centre (ADC) in 2021 to offer public Cloud services to government agencies. 

Why it’s Important

For organisations with existing investments in Oracle platforms, the company’s Cloud offering is considered a low-risk, quick and easy way to obtain the benefits of hyperscale Cloud. Through the accreditation, government agencies can now use Oracle as a government-ready Cloud services provider (CSP).

For Oracle’s other clients, the company’s regulatory compliance means that the services its users receive follow critical best practices in the areas of procedures, policies and designs. It also offers assurance that their security requirements are met by Oracle since it is more difficult to obtain government accreditation owing to practices that need to be demonstrated to conform to stringent standards.

While Oracle's Cloud platform does not have the breadth of a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) compared to its hyperscale Cloud rivals, it may have all the services its existing clients need. Organisations looking to retain Oracle's products should evaluate the Oracle Cloud platform from a financial perspective, as part of their multi-Cloud strategy. For instance, Oracle Cloud includes automated database tuning administration, so enterprises need to consider the costs associated with having trained staff to monitor the database, which could result in higher overheads.

Who’s impacted

  • CISO
  • Security teams
  • ICT strategy leads
  • Infrastructure architects

What’s Next?

Over the last three years, IBRS has noticed a significant mind shift in how organisations think about database infrastructure and, in particular, the Cloud. Many IBRS clients have reported that they are actively looking to embrace Cloud-native data platforms. The Oracle Cloud provides not only a 'stepping stone' for Oracle database customers, and those with Oracle's enterprise solutions, but a potential platform for running containers.

Conclusion:

This month, discussions regarding the continued growth of the managed service provider sector have been prominent. There has also been an emphasis on innovative business and service delivery models to slot in with customer needs and internal processes. While providers continue to establish a more stable presence in the industry, allowing for necessary change and consolidation, the service and customer landscape constantly evolves. Customers demand targeted solutions with ongoing vendor support that can integrate with a business’ strategic priorities, adapt to change in a company, or allow for responses when difficulties arise.

Conclusion:

The challenges of delivering good IT in the modern marketplace1 has resulted in a shortage of key skills in the market, greater mobility in the workforce between employers, and an environment where the cost of sufficient IT servicing is unaffordable for many. Permanent employees are hard to retain, and investment in skills uplift of staff can be seen as a risk. Organisations are finding it harder to recruit and retain the right skills, not only for resourcing of projects, but also for resources needed to support business as usual.

The 2022 workforce market has resulted in many organisations reassessing how they recruit, manage, and remunerate their workforce. The concept of an organisation developing a workforce plan based on a permanent workforce for business as usual, with contract resources for surge capability to run projects, seems to no longer work. Do organisations need to pay above the market to attract skills, or is there an option to change how skills are acquired such that productivity, not the hourly rate, is key.

Conclusion:

For IT departments who see no difference in the way they operate now under IT infrastructure library (ITIL) 3 vs ITIL 4, there should be an immediate scrutiny of the documented process and methodology of addressing customer requirements. ITIL 4 practices need to become part of the fabric when engaging the business on digital solutions as best practice can easily come from, or be influenced by, vendors outside the business. The outcome for IT is routinely playing catchup when it comes to selecting the best value IT solutions for the business and customer application.

ITIL 4 moves the conversation from simply an IT solution to a holistic framework that aligns service to business requirements. The framework incorporates the guiding principles, four dimensions of service management practices that can evolve and adapt to the increasingly digital landscape now expected by customers in a mobile, 24/7 world. Business requirements, when analysed through the ITIL 4 lens, can create responses with a supportable and reliable business case for change.

The Latest

12 April 2022: IT consulting firm, Atos, has partnered with low-code enterprise software developer Mendix to expand the former’s low-code application service offerings. According to the press release, the collaboration will also enable Atos to promote its commitment to lowering enterprises' carbon footprints through digital modernisation tools.

Why it’s Important

Atos’s partnership with Mendix is one of the many collaborations between tech consulting firms and vendors that were forged to respond to the surge in demand for low-code solutions. IBRS has observed that major service partners are increasingly using low-code tools to deliver results more quickly, while simultaneously opening up new opportunities for other more sophisticated and profitable IT projects. 

This is a result of the growing market for low-code being a fundamental component of Fourth Wave ICT (or the low-code everything era), and the benefits of adopting such a culture for many organisations as discussed in our Special Report

In addition, many vendors are touting their sustainability credentials: all the hyperscale Cloud vendors and many of the major SaaS vendors all now report their progress towards zero or negative carbon footprints.

However, IBRS has previously pointed out that technology vendors with no credible approach to transparency are highly likely to leverage energy and carbon efficiencies to promote themselves, but diverge towards greenwashing – claiming benefits for the climate but without actually changing anything. 

Unfortunately, the agreement between Atos and Mendix appears to be no exception. By claiming that organisations can build applications to assist with decarbonisation, it does not necessarily translate for Mendix or Atos (or for any low-code for that matter) to produce viable carbon emissions reductions. This is because emission reductions are attributed solely to organisations that are actively involved in energy consumption or those that have a carbon footprint. For a software developer to overstate such claims, it is at best double-counting, and at worst blatantly committing cynical greenwashing.

Vendors will stretch their claims regarding sustainability, especially how products can impact carbon footprints. Without clear accountability and metrics, this is often little more than posturing. 

As more consumers are becoming aware of corporate disinformation, enterprise compliance on emission reduction claims in procurement policies for technologies needs to conform to proper sustainability reporting such as the Global Reporting Initiative Standards while incorporating the Oxford Offsetting Principles. Greenwashing will backfire. Proper reporting must include demonstrating a real and measurable commitment to contributing to environmental campaigns.

Who’s impacted

  • CEO
  • Procurement teams
  • IT teams

What’s Next?

  • Familiarise the concepts of allocating and reporting on carbon emissions within your industry. Include what standards exist, and which are likely to be mandated by regulatory institutions in the coming four to five years. 
  • Apply reporting standards to hold vendors accountable when claiming decarbonisation and emissions reductions. 
  • Prevent greenwashing from detracting from the very real business benefits of reducing carbon emissions, such as reduced costs, adoption of elastic ICT provisioning where needed, and meeting staff and public expectations. 
  • Ensure there is transparency in every claim by demonstrating how such green declarations were achieved through reliable accounting methods that gauge emission reductions more accurately.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Considerations for Selecting Modern Low-Code Platforms

  2. Think green IT: Think saving money

  3. Greening your ICT purchases

The Latest

12 April 2022: Research by risk consulting firm Kroll revealed a 356 per cent surge in common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) or zero-day vulnerabilities (also known as freshly announced threats) in the last three months of 2021 compared to the previous quarter. By December, an increase in new ransomware variants was detected in ManageEngine, ProxyShell, VMWare, and SonicWal pushed CVE logs to an all-time high.

Kroll’s industry survey revealed that while phishing remained the most popular initial access infection vector, at 39 per cent in the fourth quarter, CVE increased from 6 per cent to 27 per cent in the same period.

 

Source: Q4 2021 Threat Landscape: Software Exploits Abound

 

Why it’s Important

Many incidents of ransomware continue to impact Australian organisations who are considered prime targets due to (a) their capacity to pay and (b) their relatively immature (from a global perspective) cyber-defence and cyber-response capabilities of a larger number of mid-sized enterprises. Many of these organisations struggle to close common vulnerabilities, let alone zero-day exploits, quickly enough to avoid intrusions due to their weak defence postures.

Organisations need to address their ability to defend against such attacks and respond appropriately to limit any impact caused by breaches. More effort is required across industries to contain the likelihood of attacks impacting productivity, reputation and financial resources, rather than just within individual businesses. This will support sharing of intelligence and the growth of cyber-defence nationally.

Who’s impacted

  • CMO
  • Development team leads
  • Business analysts

What’s Next?

  • Cyber-defence can no longer be left to a 'best effort' basis by ICT groups. Organisations that lack a dedicated cyber security specialist, must seek out specialist services, peer groups and forums, and actively leverage better practices from these groups.
  • Evaluate the status of your enterprise’s ransomware defence and look into the strengths and weaknesses of your current security posture.
  • Create a dedicated team that will develop a roadmap to improve the organisation’s stance against ransomware.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. The Security Impact of Remote Working: Find the Gaps in (Zero) Trust
  2. Use Security Principles to Guide Security Strategy
  3. Reducing the Risk of a Successful Ransomware Attack

The Latest

12 April 2022: Low-code enterprise software developer OutSystems announced Integration Builder’s (IB) support for Generic PostgreSQL version 13, Aurora PostgreSQL version 12, as well as non-relational database MongoDB. Prior to the announcement, OutSystems only supported a limited number of platforms including MySQL, Oracle, Azure SQL and SQL Server. With more connection options for infrastructure servers, users can now better develop applications where data resides in Cloud-based, high-capacity, elastic databases.

Why it’s Important
As low-code plays an increasing role in application delivery, the adoption of open-source databases will become increasingly common for several reasons. First, it opens up low-code applications to existing solutions as well as allowing existing applications built upon these databases to be extended by low-code developers. Second, it has the potential to reduce the overall cost of low-code architecture. Finally, the inclusion of elastic databases allows low-code to be used for massive scale data applications.

Therefore, for organisations that are considering purchasing a new low-code platform with connected services from different sources, look into how the vendor caters to the evolving hyperscale Cloud computing market to support the scalability and high-performance needs of clients. As previously noted by IBRS, the most successful ones will require minimal changes in enterprises' existing SQL Server application code, speed of migration, and ease of switching to other tools post-migration.

Who’s impacted

  • CTO
  • Development team leads
  • Business analysts
  • Low-code centre of excellence

What’s Next?

Review the low-code spectrum to determine which types of low-code capabilities your organisation needs in the near and midterm, and which are most likely to be needed in the longer-term.
In addition, it is imperative to assess risks associated with adopting a new operating model and platform before investing in any low-code platform.

 

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Considerations for Selecting Modern Low-Code Platforms
  2. VENDORiQ: AWS Babelfish Brings PostgreSQL to its Hyperscale Database

For many organisations, Cloud adoption has become an imperative to deliver on the ever-increasing business appetite for digital solutions. Yet despite the fact that Cloud services are now mainstream, some organisations are still stuck on the mantra of Cloud first as a strategy.