IT Operational Excellence

When IT departments are tuned to run their best, they achieve more, spend less and drive success back into the organisations they support.

IT operational excellence is an approach that helps to ensure IT departments run efficiently and deliver great service. Without an operational excellence philosophy, IT departments lack vision and strategy, are slow to adapt and are more likely to be bogged down by trivial issues.

Achieving IT operational excellence isn't about implementing one particular framework. It is a mindset geared towards continuous improvement and performance that incorporates multiple principles designed to align team goals around delivering value to the customer.

IBRS can help organisations achieve IT operational excellence by revealing the most effective ways to leverage resources and identify the most valuable activities and differentiators in a given IT team.

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.

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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: A foundation for virtually all IT vendors is to work to position themselves as a ‘leader’. This might be for a specific set of products, solutions or services.

IBRS client inquiries often include the question: “Which vendor is the leader for a specific solution?” This suggests that if a vendor may be perceived to be the leader then they may also be the best solution. Yet it is not unusual that several competing vendors all have statements or references that point to them being a leader.

Being a leader can mean many different things in terms of competing vendors, and can also be fluid as vendors are always working to improve their offerings and grow their businesses. Buyers need to understand exactly what is meant if a vendor is called a leader and recognise that this is only one factor to consider when deciding which solutions or vendors will best serve their specific needs and for their specific environment.

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Conclusion: This month, the launch of plans to develop new data centres have been prominent. The market has experienced a heightened demand for storage and associated services, with adoption driven by increased awareness amongst business users and evolving technologies specifically targeted to perform functions, such as the protection of critical assets and data. New unified technologies to meet a higher demand for the integration of applications, data and management solutions have also prompted growth. It is necessary for vendors to identify market gaps and offer new solutions to customers to stay relevant in an environment that is constantly changing. The development of new solutions to cater to customers who demand new ways to store, manage and use their data is essential, and an ongoing process.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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Conclusion: It is not uncommon for IBRS to see vendors delaying licensing negotiation for renewals until the very last month via a variety of tactics. By delaying negotiation vendors can limit customers’ time for reviewing their options to reduce the overall licensing spend through either better licensing packages and licensing optimisation processes. Clients should put in place practices that reduce vendors’ ability to apply delaying tactics and put vendors on notice that this tactic is no longer tolerated.

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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.

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Conclusion: This month, discussions regarding partnerships and acquisitions with the specific aim of expanding reseller businesses to include managed services have been prominent. Specifically there have been a number of investments, acquisitions and partnerships to transition resellers into service providers. This type of consolidation can be beneficial by enhancing offerings, assisting with collaboration and evolution, as well as providing access to new skills and products vendors have been lacking. Investments have also been made to educate traditional resellers on the benefits of becoming managed service providers with a focus on obtaining new customers and channel distribution of managed services. This flags a shift in customer demand for service-based value models which can be specifically targeted to individual business needs, and will ultimately be positive for both vendors and their clients.

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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.

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Conclusion: Today’s business activities are heavily reliant on constantly commoditising IT functions. Faced with this reality, few organisations would now deny that improving the delivery of critical IT services has a key role in helping to optimise overall business operations. The responsibility for realising the success of this optimisation lies squarely with the CIO and forms the very foundation of the ‘business of IT’ or IT service management – for which the UK Office of Government Commerce’s Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) has been the leading standard for two decades.

And IT service management (ITSM) itself has become a commodity function sourced either in the form of comprehensive Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions through to fully outsourced or automated Business-Process-as-a-Service (BPaaS) offerings.

However, for an IT business to truly prosper, the CIO needs to engage with an ITSM partner who can assist their IT organisation to better understand itself rather than merely understand the needs of the business they serve. This means looking beyond ITIL process knowledge and service desk software certifications when selecting the right partner.

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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: 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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Conclusion: Under its 365 umbrella, Microsoft offers a portfolio of plans with different packages of products and services. These Enterprise plans vary in terms of Features, Analytics, Security Development Options, Device Management and Security. However, some of the packages are suitable only for certain types of needs and employee roles. It is crucial to narrow down which tools the organisation should consider licensing through an in-depth analysis of the interplay between the organisation’s target achievements for a certain period of time and the employees’ performance and expected output. Matching different 365 plans to different employees may not only save money, but can also make for a more effective and efficient workforce.

However, mixing plans also comes with future compliance risks. There are several features of higher-level 365 licences than cannot be easily limited to just those staff licensed to use them. In the future, it is possible that Microsoft and its partners could use these features to argue for an uplift in overall licensing due to difficult-to-prove compliance obligations.

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Conclusion: Microsoft is pushing its enterprise clients from Premier Support to Unified Support. Unified Support bundles many new and existing support services into a single program. As a result, the adoption of Unified Support is, for many clients, significantly increasing their support costs. The problem is that there can be a vast difference between support that the client has been consuming for the last decade or more, compared to what Microsoft gives them with Unified Support.

The challenge for organisations is how to decide if Unified Support is appropriate for them. If Unified Support is appropriate, how will the organisation ensure it draws new value from the program to justify the expense? If not, what are the alternatives for obtaining support services?

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According to a new IBRS study, spend on enterprise solutions is set to increase in 2019-2020. Both IT and line of business buyers need to consider how they manage procurement of these new solutions – and how they can make integration easy for their business.

According to the report, there are three degrees of integration an organisation can opt for: the pre-integrated enterprise, the core services and satellite apps enterprise and the business service mesh.

Understanding the kind of company you want to be is important, says Julie Ember, SaaS transition specialist at TechnologyOne, as that will help inform the decision about what business application environment fits your needs.

“Do you want to be in the business of IT, or focus on delivering your core business?” asks Ember.

“This is important because if an organisation does not, or cannot, build a large, highly skilled IT group, then they need to choose an application environment that can be easily supported – something like Software as a Service where the vendor manages the delivery and upkeep of the applications,” she says.

It is also important to determine if the business needs niche, best-of-breed applications to deliver core business processes, or if it is able to align with off-the-shelf enterprise software, she adds.

“An enterprise software strategy will provide a simplified application architecture with minimal integration, which not only makes implementations quicker, but also ensures the latest enhancements are easy to adopt.”

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Conclusion: This month, discussions regarding technologies used to facilitate highly specialised business functions have been prominent. Tailored solutions which focus on the performance of tasks, such as case outcome predictions, automated insurance claims, water monitoring for farms, sensors in apartment foundations to identify faults early and health risk identification, are amongst those discussed. These new solutions and frameworks can be beneficial for customers by automating tasks to address resource and skills shortages, as well as being cost-effective. However, these can be sensitive markets, performing very delicate functions that do warrant a certain degree of caution for vendors and customers when adopting, and a great deal of diligence afterwards. Investment in infrastructure because of expanding platforms, networks or associated equipment, training and consolidation with existing business operations are amongst the issues that may arise. Wrapping new solutions and service elements around other core services and operations can become a complex task. While customers do demand advanced offerings, vendors must find ways to increase value to clients by ensuring they acquire or have access to resources and skills that can be leveraged to support these new function-based solutions and associated issues.

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Conclusion: The adherence to the recently introduced guidelines under ISO:31000 20181 is key to every ICT manager’s responsibilities and leadership remit as they are key in driving and leading the adoption of risk management guidelines across an organisation due to the overarching responsibilities of creating and protecting value. These new risk management guidelines have been deliberately rewritten to be simplified and based around a new reviewed set of principles, framework and processes. Greater emphasis is now placed on leadership to ensure risk management is more integrated and to ensure more actions and controls are in place at critical stages of projects as well as business operations.

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"Risk management – Tips and techniques" IBRS, 2017-10-02 22:35:45

"Testing your business continuity plan" IBRS, 2019-05-31 13:39:29

Conclusion: Since the advent of the title of chief information officer (CIO), the reporting line for this critical role and those it has since spawned, such as the chief technology officer and chief digital officer, has been the subject of debate. The reality is that there is no right or wrong answer, but rather the reporting relationship of the CIO and his or her IT organisation is a function of the current value of IT to delivery of outcomes at a particular given point in time.

The reality is that the value of IT to delivery of business outcomes, despite the pervasiveness of technology in the modern enterprise, is not static and changes over time. Yet many CIOs and aspiring IT leaders see IT value as a function of organisational or IT maturity, relying on capability maturity models (CMM) to demonstrate value by looking ‘internally’ within the IT function. Instead, contemporary savvy IT leaders must look for alternative models that explain the organisational context external to IT itself and use that to align services that will be valued now such as the “IT Hierarchy of Needs”1.

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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.

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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: This month, there has been increased discussion regarding security services; in particular, the growth of the Australian security service provider industry and benefits associated with procuring locally. Now that customers recognise security as a basic function, a strong local security services sector has evolved. Local vendor expertise within the Australian market, regulations, customer demands and the security environment as it pertains to Australian businesses is invaluable when establishing mechanisms to avoid and respond to security incidents. Security is a necessity, but vendors must be prepared, and more importantly understand the local market, as well as businesses, to ensure customers can avoid, continually educate staff about and respond to security incidents effectively.

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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.

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Conclusion: The aim of IBRS’s CRM modernisation series of advisory papers is to help organisations create a contemporary CRM strategy, not to advocate for specific solutions. Many organisations are considering two powerful players in the CRM space as part of their modernisation efforts: Salesforce and Microsoft. These two vendors are the most encountered local players when talking about CRM systems at the high end of the market.

We have selected these two vendors to illustrate the nuances in the pricing structure for licensing and total costs of services.

Comparing the two vendors’ solutions is complicated by the fact that each packages different aspects of the modern CRM in different modules, and prices them in different ways. This paper strives to provide clarity for organisations attempting to evaluate the two solutions. More importantly, it is an example of how the ‘devil is in the detail’ when it comes to total cost of service of SaaS-based solutions.

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Conclusion: The ICT Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) is, more often than not, focused on technology providing for redundancy of infrastructure and systems, including data back-up and data recovery. Whilst these components are important and necessary, we often oversimplify the need for business resumption of the ICT business, which in turn will impact ICT availability. The need to ensure people are part of the planning is critical to success. Often the disaster, whether it be a technology issue, a business issue, such as a fire or denial of access to key sites, or an environmental issue such as a flood or storm, can equally affect the need for expanded operations centres and larger than normal help desk support functions.

Effective planning and testing of the plan, for all aspects of a probable disaster scenario and the ICT Business Resumption Plan (BRP) to support the business as a whole, is necessary. Effective testing of the DRP and BRP for ICT must be a high priority for any CIO to ensure service levels are maintained. Failure to do so will increase the risk of ICT to the business.

Any test of your DRP and ICT BRP should include business and customer involvement to provide your organisation confidence that all known risks have been successfully mitigated. The oversight of the testing of these plans must be planned and conducted by an independent body (preferably a consultancy that has knowledge in the organisation business world, or your ICT advisory service).

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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: This month, attention has been drawn to vendors and managed service providers requiring customer transformation or migration to new frameworks and associated customer reluctance to do so. For instance, platform enhancements may necessitate migration to new systems or upgrades because of an inability to support ageing systems. Old platforms may simply not be compatible with newer resources, technologies or procurement models. However, these types of enhancements can be disruptive or costly for customers if they are not prepared for changes. Further difficulties can arise with existence of intertwined, hybrid systems within enterprises or systems which perform critical functions if changes interfere with business operations. Simply removing the capacity to access ageing systems and associated support is not sufficient. Businesses must prepare in advance when investing in products and services, in conjunction with vendors. The development of strategies and sharing responsibility for forward planning, education and engagement, as well as support for shifts, are necessary. The provision of other resources or advice from vendors, or obtaining services from third-party specialists dedicated to transformation strategy development and implementations, can also be beneficial. Whilst vendors must evolve, customers must also be prepared to make these changes and understand what kind of impact it can have on their operations.

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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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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.

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Conclusion: ICT disaster recovery plans (DRPs) have been in place for many years. Fortunately, invoking these plans is rare, but just like insurance plans, it is wise to ensure the fine print is valid, up to date and tested on a regular basis to minimise restoration of business services reliant on the complex range of IT enablers in place. Adoption of general Cloud services and the ever-changing ICT asset landscape requires careful alignment with the DRP to be ready when the restoration is required.

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 IBRSiQ 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.

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Shadow IT sounds like a covert — quite possibly dark — force. And to some people it may well be. But the truth is both far simpler and more complex.

According to Cisco, Shadow IT is the use of IT-related hardware or software by a department or individual without the knowledge of the IT or security group within the organisation.

“Shadow IT is a term that originally came from people having little apps they brought into the business themselves. Dropbox is the classic one, but there are plenty of them,” says Dr Joseph Sweeney, advisor at leading Australian IT research firm, IBRS.

“Today, shadow IT extends beyond consumer apps to the as-a-service delivery of enterprise business capability, such as Human Capital Management.”

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Conclusion: This month, the high activity in mergers and acquisitions has continued. However, there has been additional discussion on the impact of these acquisitions on the industry in general, as well as the high volume, and whether this type of activity could have a negative effect on the Australian market – in particular, if the current regulatory frameworks governing mergers and acquisitions are sufficient to protect competition and avert potential misuse of market power. It is critical that regulators are aware of industry trends and how new practices may affect the market, as well as be open to feedback from vendors that have direct experience with circumstances regulators may not be familiar with.

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Conclusion: In times of business disruption, the value of a pragmatic and accessible incident response plan (IRP) will become the main tool in getting the business back to normal operation, and minimising loss of revenue, services and reputation. This holds true during the time of stress when attempting to get back to normal operations. Using the analogy of taking out insurance, insurance is usually highly recommended or great to have, but hopefully rarely required and of little or no use when you need it to find it is out of date and/or incomplete. The same principle applies when you need to activate the IRP to quickly get that critical business function operating to sufficient levels.

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Related Articles:

"Pragmatic business continuity planning" IBRS, 2018-08-01 09:12:08

"Testing your business continuity plan" IBRS, 2019-05-31 13:39:29

"Top 10 considerations when running an incident response drill" IBRS, 2018-09-04 13:29:16

"What are the important elements of a Disaster Recovery Plan?" IBRS, 2016-08-30 01:17:08

Conclusion: The development of a strategic relationship between suppliers and public government agencies needs to be approached differently to that in the private commercial world. Government bodies are bound by procurement rules which require government agencies to regularly market-test provision of services, where value for money is the primary consideration. Government agencies cannot therefore have a strategic partnership with suppliers in the same manner as a commercial strategic partnership. The relationship must therefore be timeboxed to meet procurement policies such as the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and cannot be open-ended1.

Strategic vendors for government agencies are either critical to the delivery of business outcomes or are influential in the development of future business opportunities.

For strategic vendor management to be successful in government, both the government agency and the vendor need to commit to effective governance of the relationship and agree to share knowledge on business strategies and product development.

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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.

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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.

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