Strategy & Transformation

Flourishing in the modern marketplace relies on an organisation’s ability to make the right choices.

To avoid being left behind in an evolving world it is critical for organisations to jump at opportunities for transformational growth. However, acting without sufficient planning is fraught with risk. 

Transformation can only happen when an organisation is aligned on its strategic intent, and IT leaders need the resources to drive great choice-making across their organisation.

From planning to delivery, IBRS can cut through the confusion and guide your organisation all the way through its transformational journey. Our advisors have first-hand experience delivering digital transformation projects and can develop a tailored roadmap to deliver the outcomes you want. 

TechnologyOne released a significant study into the economics of Cloud computing and SaaS, which has significant insights - and implications - for Australian organisations. Deemed ‘too big to ignore’, the study details the costs and benefits of IaaS and SaaS adoption by industry sectors and provides IT strategists, with realistic benchmarks. After the success of this report, IBRS advisor Dr Joseph Sweeney was invited to join InnovationAus.com on The Pause Breakfast to discuss Software-as-a-Service and the next phase of economic transformation.

For anyone interested in the role of technology and information management in shaping the full potential of organisations across all sectors, look no further.

 

 

 

The Latest

31 May 2022: The South Australian (SA) government is launching a bug bounty program through the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) to drive cyber security researchers in the discovery of weaknesses in the organisation’s technology. The DPC revealed that 234 of the SA government’s environments have not undergone pentesting in the past three years. The SA government allotted a AU$20 million budget for its cyber defence program in 2021 to establish  cyber security operations centres (CSOC). No exact amount was mentioned for the financial compensation for researchers who can successfully discover vulnerabilities.

In 2019, New South Wales created the state’s first bug bounty program through the Service NSW digital driver’s licence. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), on the other hand, launched a similar program last year, which rewards participants with the highest bounties based on the severity of the bugs.

Why it’s Important

Crowdsourcing ethical hackers to discover cyber vulnerabilities that organisations should be aware of is necessary to validate the existence of weaknesses within their applications. For both public and private organisations, they benefit from improved remediation time as a result of increased detection of vulnerabilities to better prevent data breaches. In addition, with such a program, access to top talent is more cost-effective than maintaining an in-house team who are under contract whether they find any issues or not.

While websites often undergo vulnerability testing for maintenance and security practices, putting out a bug bounty program weeds out amateur hackers who leverage websites that offer free tools to identify security flaws or misconfigurations. Some of these include SSL Labs by Qualys, Security Headers by Probely, and CookieServe by CookieYes. The reports from these tools produce little to no value, which only adds to the workload of the organisations that have to review and verify the findings.

A well-managed bug bounty program, on the other hand, can provide excellent feedback on the security of a site. It harnesses the expertise of many researchers and encourages responsible disclosure. For example, a bug bounty vendor, BugCrowd, is now offering a posse of testers as an option for pentesting a website. 

In addition, with a bug bounty program set in place, it can also be used to test the ability of an in-house security team and existing tools being used to detect flaws on websites. 

However, IBRS also underscores the limitations of such a program. For instance, when an organisation doesn’t have a transparent and clear scope for testing, participants may go beyond ethical frameworks, or breach regulatory compliance standards.

In addition, when too many vulnerabilities are discovered, it can drive up the cost of financial incentives. This can include security issues that were not immediately remediated.

Finally, not even a bug bounty program will stop malicious hackers from researching, testing and taking advantage of flaws to attack a site. However, encouraging ethical hackers to discover vulnerabilities first is more than necessary, so organisations can get ahead of outsiders who can exploit such weaknesses.

Who’s impacted 

  • CEO
  • Cyber security teams
  • CIO

What’s Next? 

  • Ensure that the website is hosting a security.txt file. This provides information on who to contact for security issues, links to any vulnerability disclosure programs, or bug bounty programs in place. It is now an official RFC 9116 issued by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to guide vulnerability disclosures.
  • Establish a closed bug bounty that is only open to named researchers. This puts a cap on the financial incentives that will be given out for successful discoveries. Then the organisation can eventually open to a wider audience for participation. Simultaneously, the organisation should tightly define what’s in and out of scope. This should be managed progressively since researchers can quickly get frustrated if the coverage of the program is less transparent. 
  • Do not fully depend on bug bounty programs that detect single vulnerabilities as a long-term security strategy. Instead, examining the attack surface must cover the full spectrum to avoid relying only on incremental improvements.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Advancing cyber security capabilities requires continual maturation
  2. The difference between fraud and cybercrime

The Latest

24 May 2022: ActiveCampaign has acquired email delivery service Postmark and email authentication DMARC Digests 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

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.

Read more ...

Conclusion:

Hyperscale Cloud migrations involve complexities such as separate domains, multiple operating systems, support security, and enterprise agility, among others. Organisations, therefore, need to conduct an enterprise readiness assessment prior to initiating any project. Two of the best practices in Cloud readiness include hyperscale Cloud migration evaluation and hyperscale Cloud migration planning. These two practices combine to deliver a Cloud migration practical project management framework.

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Conclusion:

Biases in artificial intelligence (AI) often lead to discrimination at the expense of particular segments of society. When organisations leverage new technologies that demonstrate inequality and inaccuracy from AI and machine learning, the impact of under-representation and human prejudice – once detected or uncovered when a faulty decision is realised – can result in financial losses and reputational damage. Furthermore, bias in algorithms can result in less effective automation by further reinforcing flawed assumptions and processes.

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The Latest

10 May 2022: Microsoft Research has introduced an advanced prototype of PeopleLens for young learners with visual impairment at the University of Bristol. 

The solution uses augmented reality eyeglasses tethered to a mobile device to identify people and track their direction and distance from the user. Using artificial intelligence (AI), the solution registers people in the system through facial recognition and alerts the wearer in real-time by identifying the person and their distance and direction through spatialised audio. To protect privacy, facial images in the system are not stored as photographs but as vector numbers to represent identities. The technology is not yet commercially available, but does provide hints at what the near future will

Why it’s Important

Education is something of a laggard in the application of AI, especially in Western economies. 

However, innovations such as PeopleLens provide a glimpse (pun intended) of what is possible. Using AI in education is expected to grow quickly, but where and how it will be applied is as much a matter of economics as it is technology. 

The cost of AI at scale can be a prominent issue in this case. AI computation may be inexpensive in cases where requests are relatively small, but costs can quickly add up for applications that require millions or even billions of transactions. In addition, releasing new AI algorithms is still relatively expensive, due to the high cost of investment in research and design, as well as expenditures for the development of prototypes, complementary equipment and software. Hyperscale Cloud computing helps reduce these initial expenditures, but training is still required. 

Therefore, the business cases for an AI initiative must be carefully weighed against the potential future scale versus the value to individuals. In short, does it scale economically?

In a recent IBRS interview with an Australian Microsoft Azure specialist who developed an AI model to detect improper Microsoft Teams usage among students - such as cyberbullying, aberrant behaviour and inappropriate content sharing platforms - the transactional cost was not feasible, even with the aggregate value of securing children from harassment online. Since the Teams environment hosted hundreds-of-thousands of users, each producing scores if not hundreds of messages daily, the total cost of running the solution was not a viable commercial option.

In the case of PeopleLens, on the other hand, the number of transactions per individual may be relatively high, but the number of transactions as an aggregate is relatively low. As such, it is potentially an example of where the value returned is acceptable when compared against the cost. 

Who’s impacted

  • CEO
  • Innovation managers
  • Education policy strategists
  • AI solution development teams
  • Product research teams

What’s Next?

Industries that are planning to leverage AI effectively and at scale should ask for examples of how different AI-powered solutions are being justified.  

For most organisations, AI will be leveraged as features from within SaaS solutions, such as SalesForce's Einstein and Microsoft's use of GPT3 inside the PowerPlatform. 

However, for those looking to create new applications that leverage Cloud and ML capabilities, transactional volume should be carefully considered early in the planning stage to accrue the most value from the investments in research, design, development and production in the long run.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. All Together Now! Hybrid Work, Technology, Diversity & Inclusion
  2. Innovation: Taking action in 2018

The Latest

10 May 2022: Microsoft has integrated the Z-code Mixture of Experts (MoE) models to Translator and other Azure AI services to improve the quality and accuracy of its translation capabilities. Through the Z-code MoE, the models can speed up language translations on Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and PDF files. 107 languages are currently supported. 

Why it’s Important

Pretrained ML models now produce faster translations with consistency and help human translators reduce their workload, especially for repetitive writing and translation tasks. IBRS has observed that hyperscale machine translation has already progressed in terms of computational efficiency. Capabilities such as Z-code save runtime costs by using parameters that are only relevant for specific translation tasks.

However, to match (or sometimes surpass) the quality of human translators, genre-specific translation engines trained specifically on different types of content must be employed. The generic models offered by the hyperscale Cloud vendors are often insufficient. 

Genre-specific machine translation engines involve training highly nuanced models. Solutions such as those from Omniscien Technologies, for instance, provide far more accurate models that can be curated. In addition, these specialised models also allow for the translations to run on an organisation's own infrastructure, which is a consideration for organisations that need to translate sensitive or private content without digressing from the context of the original text.

Who’s impacted

  • CEO
  • Corporate communications teams

What’s Next?

Machine translation services will eventually make their way into the daily life of most people, much like how global positioning systems (GPS) have been integrated into mobile devices. 

Currently, free machine translation tools such as Google Translate and Bing Translator are not nuanced and far less accurate when compared to the output of human translators. Translation apps such as SayHi, allow speech-to-text translation in real-time while Papago and Waygo feature image recognition that automatically translates text on pages, signs and screen. However, these still cannot produce highly accurate translations based on context and language registers.

As such, translation at a basic level (word-for-word, literal) is not good enough for all use cases. For example, translating medical information, patents, user manuals or outputs for e-discovery requests requires a much higher fidelity of translation that must include referential, cohesive and natural-sounding output. For these cases, consider specialised machine translation solutions alongside (and possibly complementing) the more general offerings from the hyperscale Cloud vendors.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Can IBRS provide information on the establishment and maintenance of multi-lingual Web sites?
  2. Software Agents Maturity Model
  3. Managing cultural diversity

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

Is your organisation losing focus on getting project management right? With so much discussion around Agile and Waterfall - how does agile impact the project management framework for your organisation? And what is the difference between project program and portfolio maturity anyway?

We wrap up the advisory series on Programme and Project Maturity with a webinar and ebook. IBRS advisor Michael Mitchelmore takes us through how to establish a successful project culture. View the full webinar, access the ebook, and download the webinar slide deck.

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Conclusion:

As organisations strive to digitise more of their processes and services, several new roles are emerging alongside the traditional CIO role. A number of organisations are now considering implementing new CXO roles such as Chief Digital Officer, Chief Innovation Officer or Chief Technology Officer in order to accelerate the move to digital. Implementation of a CXO role alongside a CIO role presents multiple challenges, including role clarity and scope as the roles require strong collaboration, and can often overlap in a number of areas of responsibility. The CXO roles depend in many ways on the size and type of organisation as well as the strategic intent of the organisation with respect to digital. Careful consideration and design of the CXO roles are required to avoid confusion and conflict and to ensure that organisations deliver on their digital programs. This presentation will focus on the role of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO). It is intended to prepare CIOs to lead the discussion which may take place in their organisation.

Read more ...

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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Conclusion:

Australia was one of the fastest markets in the world to transition from Microsoft’s persistence licensing of Office and related services, to the subscription-based Office 365 (launched in 2017). More recently, Microsoft introduced Microsoft 365, which bundles Windows OS and related services into the subscription licensing. In most cases, organisations selected to migrate into the Office 365 enterprise plan 3 (E3) licensing, as this offered the closest like-for-like offering for the Office suite.

However, organisations are now looking at their 365 licensing and realising they have not realised all the benefits of Microsoft’s 365 offerings. In addition, Microsoft is evolving its licensing bundles to entice clients to adopt higher levels – currently this is largely via the additional security features that are bundled into higher-end 365 enterprise plan 5 (E5) licensing.

With licensing costs disproportionately impacting small to medium-sized businesses, concerns on the platform’s value remain crucial as these pain points impact their investment in this suite of services.

IBRS recently hosted a roundtable discussion with members of the Australian IT community to uncover some pressing challenges users have encountered with Microsoft 365. The key findings and recommendations from this peer event are detailed in this paper.

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Conclusion:

Low-code platforms have the potential to fast-track process digitisation. In addition to making coding faster and easier, low-code can also bolster collaboration between developers, business analysts, and general staff on digital transformation. Yet many organisations still find it challenging to democratise digital processes and automation.

A low-code culture does not just happen with the introduction of low-code tools.

To create a low-code culture, organisations must follow a strategic approach to reduce legacy dependencies, adopt iterative problem-solving, institute robust data governance, and sustain a centre of excellence (CoE) that includes IT teams, business analysts, and general staff (citizen developers).

Read more ...

Conclusion:

Consumers are increasingly sceptical of how organisations – both in the public and private sector – use and secure their personal information. At the same time, organisations are realising that data has the potential to drive significant gains in customer service efficiency and new business opportunities. Balancing consumers’ expectations and emerging legislative requirements against actionable opportunities is essential.

Unfortunately, such a balance is not possible where there is insufficient leadership to develop clarity, alignment, and urgency in data culture initiatives.

Without a robust data culture initiative that can provide focus, leadership, clarity, and commitment, organisations may not achieve a suitable balance, and therefore face consumer backlash.

Read more ...

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

The Latest

5 April 2022: Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched AWS Billing Conductor for customisation of Cloud cost reporting and more accurate monthly billing data. Organisations can now organise accounts into billing groups, apply specific pricing packages, assess and edit pro forma expenses and reports, and compare rates between those applied to groups and current AWS rates.

Why it’s Important

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted 92 per cent of organisations to exceed their Cloud spend forecasts in the last 12 months, according to a recent report. As a result, many ICT groups are being asked to justify their increasing spend on Cloud services to optimise the enterprise’s purchase decisions.

Although Cloud can reduce overall costs in some areas of ICT's business as usual (BAU) expenditure (operational costs that are part of standard daily work), the increase in demand for computing and storage generally makes it appear that promised costs of savings from Cloud are not materialising. By allocating costs to specific business units’ consumption, deployment projects, use cases and new digital transformation initiatives, enterprises can identify which efforts drive the most Cloud spend. This goes a long way to clarifying why Cloud investments are worthwhile (or not, as the case may be).

Therefore, it is no longer sufficient to consider Cloud budgets as simply part of BAU, nor treated in the same way software costs have been treated in the past. These old approaches will mean that justifying Cloud spend will only ever be short-lived.

Cloud cost management tools that enable not just Cloud cost identification, but also allocation back to business benefits will be vital for identifying profitable technologies and projects within the Cloud. While there are other third party solutions in this space (such as VMWare’s CloudHealth, Cloudability and Densify), the AWS Billing Conductor will assist mid-sized organisations who cannot afford such services, or lack the skills needed to implement Cloud spend budgeting with better accuracy.

Who’s impacted

  • CMO
  • Development team leads
  • Business analysts

What’s Next?

IBRS has observed that many less mature organisations have a ‘sprawl’ of Cloud services that need to first be identified and then reined in, before cost optimisation products can be fully effective. Therefore, consider how Cloud business cases and ongoing budgets need to be communicated, and to whom, within your organisation. In addition, look into how you can set up a billing responsibility model and cost dashboard, designed for cost efficiency. Ideally, decisions around this should be made by the Cloud centre of excellence.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. VENDORiQ: Aussie Cloud-cost Specialist GorillaStack Expands What it Watches
  2. Cloud Financial Management is Optimised with Cloud Certified Partners
  3. How to get on top of Cloud billing

The Latest

22 March 2022: Knowledge management application software developer Objective Corporation (Objective) has acquired US Cloud-based content management system firm Simflofy. With the acquisition, Objective’s governance extends beyond a focus on regulated and public sectors to accommodate organisations struggling to govern Microsoft365 suite. Through a combined enterprise federated governance and single source of truth (SSOT), users can expect the features of the integration to be introduced in its newest tool, Objective 3Sixty.

Why it’s Important

The Australian public sector’s content management solution vendors are dominated by Micro Focus Content Manager (formerly known as TRIM) and Objective. However, both solutions providers lack the technology to fully address the demand for federated knowledge management due to the effect of disruptive collaboration, and the adoption of Microsoft Office 365 by many enterprises. 

However, the acquisition of Simflofy will be a game changer for Objective.” to avoid it seeming like Simflofy has acquired Objective. The integration of Simpflofy’s federated information management capabilities to Objective’s strength in knowledge management in compliance rich environments, has the potential to balance a unified view of organisation wide content from disparate sources of information, with rigorous information lifecycle management.

At the very least, the acquisition signals that Objective is now committed to federated knowledge management, instead of the traditional record-keeping system that it is known for.

Who’s impacted

  • CMO
  • Sales/marketing teams

What’s Next?

Objective customers should monitor the vendor’s progress with Objective 3Sixty’s features such as SSOT through consolidating various sources across multiple information repositories and managing it all in one place.

In addition, public sector organisations that use Objective as well as SharePoint without appropriate governance and compliance add-on solutions (such as RecordPoint’s Records365), should start exploring how the new Objective plans and acquisition may impact discussions on where and how knowledge is stored in a compliant manner.

Likewise, Micro Focus Content Manager’s customers must raise inquiries to the vendor on the progress of the service provider’s plans for filling in the gaps of federated content management capabilities for Content Manager, in particular Control Point. 

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. The Challenge of Disruptive Collaboration and the Future of Enterprise Knowledge Management Solutions
  2. Does IBRS have a framework which describes the capabilities of Knowledge Management?

The Latest

22 March 2022: Virtual application delivery (VAD) service provider Cameyo joins Citrix and VMWare as certified Google Chrome Enterprise Recommended solutions for virtualisation. Cameyo’s features, combined with the Chrome operating system (OS), provides Cloud-based desktops’ with Windows apps. This extends Google’s virtualisation features by running fewer servers at higher capacity with centralised infrastructure, security and data management. 

Why it’s Important

Application virtualisation services expand users’ access through a secure ecosystem that supports legacy systems on Chrome (and other devices). This approach may reduce operating costs relative to traditional desktop virtualisation infrastructure.

In addition, Cloud VDI does not limit users into a single device when accessing data and applications and does not compromise security or reduce the capacity of endpoint management. Enterprises likewise can save on the costs of acquisition and maintenance of devices, resorting to lower-code (and lower-cost to support) Chromebooks. 

Cameyo’s recognition by Google marks a turning point in the move towards wider acceptance of application virtualisation, as opposed to full VDI.

Who’s impacted

  • Desktop / digital workspace teams
  • Development team leads
  • Business analysts 

What’s Next?

Organisations re-evaluating their VDI investments - especially in light of Citrix’s request acquisition,  should consider the potential of application virtualisation, and perform a detailed RIO that includes not just the licensing and hardware, but also the operational costs over an extended period - say five years. 

It should also be noted that, with Citrix being acquired, many organisations have started to be less optimistic about new innovation coming from the platform. IBRS reiterates that users should not expect any revolutionary new Citrix features to be released in the near future. Instead, IBRS expects a gradual acceleration of the shift towards application virtualisation services, regardless of a vendor’s existing popularity in the industry.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. VENDORiQ: Citrix to be Acquired by Vista Equity Partners and Evergreen Coast Capital
  2. VENDORiQ: Windows 365 - The New Hotness, or Same Stuff in a New Can?

The Latest

15 March 2022: Snowflake announced its planned acquisition of data applications builder Streamlit. Snowflake’s goal is to integrate app building into its Warehouse-as-a-Service platform with simplified data access and governance features. 

Why it’s Important

There has been a growing trend in the acquisitions of analytics platform developers to boost product features and improve capabilities of data science tools.

IBRS expects more mergers and acquisitions among leading Cloud analytics vendors that will commence the initial stages of consolidating the hyperscale, elastic analytics market. It projects more integration of key components of the data analytics system in the next three years. In particular, data catalogues or data sharing solutions will become increasingly integrated with Cloud data lakes and data warehouses.

However, it is the use of centralised data repositories - data lakes and warehouses - to simplify the development of low-code apps that has been overlooked. One of the biggest challenges and costs for low-code apps development is integration. However, data analytics platforms have already integrated and normalised data from multiple systems. As a result, using these centralised data resources for low-code application development could be very attractive. 

Microsoft’s Dataverse is essentially this concept - albeit within the Microsoft world. Snowflake’s investments in Streamlit are an indication that there is a growing market for this use case.

Who’s impacted

  • COO, CIO, CTO
  • Business analysts

What’s Next?

Organisations should look at how their low-code initiatives tie into data analytics initiatives. Low-code platforms generate not only data captured from forms, but also metrics on how processes are performing - data which will likely end up being reported upon via analytics platforms. But there are also opportunities to leverage the analytics platforms to act as engines for low-code and rapid application development environments. Bringing the people involved in each of these areas together can reveal new opportunities to ‘streamline the process of streamlining processes’.

Related IBRS Advisory

1. VENDORiQ: AWS Accelerates Cloud Analytics with Custom Hardware

The Latest

15 March 2022: Google announced general availability of Dataplex, a ‘dash fabric’ (aka, data mesh) solution that allows enterprises to centrally manage and control data across data lakes, databases and data warehouses. Google claims that the product can mesh Google Cloud with open source technology for analytics professionals to better govern data. Dataplex was launched together with Datastream and Analytics Hub that make up Google Cloud’s database services in its analytics portfolio.

Why it’s Important

Since it was introduced in 2019 by its creator Zhamak Dehghani, the concept of data mesh is becoming hyped. Similar to service oriented architecture (SOA), it is misunderstood by vendors and buyers alike who believe that it is all about technology. Instead, data mesh is as much a philosophical shift, from viewing data being centralised in data lakes or warehouses, to managing data close to where it is created, through a domain-oriented design with a self-serve data infrastructure.

Google, on the other hand, identifies Dataplex as a data fabric, which provides a technology layer over disparate data sources for better access, discovery, integration, governance and security. Data fabric focuses on existing multiple centralised technologies that consolidate data. Data mesh, on the other hand, promises a fully domain-oriented, decentralised approach, since it considers all enterprise data as a set of different repositories, preventing any loss in domain expertise during translation, unlike with a data lake. Thus, in a pure data mesh platform, different groups can manage data as they see fit, sharing some common governance measures while maintaining their domain knowledge on the data.

IBRS has observed that data catalogue vendors are leveraging data mesh rhetoric to market their products. However, most of these do not truly align with the philosophy of data mesh, which is fine for the near term, as few organisations are prepared for the changes involved when adopting such a democratised approach to data management.

Who’s impacted

  • CTO
  • Analytics teams

What’s Next?

Organisations that want to explore data mesh concepts must carefully consider shifts in data team structures, roles, responsibilities and skills before looking at technical solutions.Some changes brought by such a data architecture approach will impact domain-specific variations in data across departments, domain ownership, data product self-containment, and governance architecture to preserve global controls.

Related IBRS Advisory
1. Business First Data Analytics - Webinar and Q&A

Conclusion:Salesforce’s Einstein Automate uses a number of AI algorithms to automate high-volume, manual, and repetitive tasks. The Flow Orchestrator tool applies AI to the building of workflows, recommending steps to improve workflows and spot process bottlenecks. The application of AI to the development of workflows will become increasingly common, with vendors such as Appian and Nintex having such capabilities. The result will be the acceleration of process digitisation by citizen developers.

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Conclusion: Power Apps (along with Power Automate and the broader Power Platform) is Microsoft’s low-code application creation and application lifecycle management tool. It aims to enable application development to all levels of the stakeholder: from citizen developers (non-technical staff) to business analysts up to technical teams. Microsoft Power Apps supports a variety of business use cases that address development backlogs. However, similar to most Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tools, its limitations need to be carefully considered before an organisation decides to adopt the enterprise-ready platform in its digital transformation initiative.

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Conclusion: Microsoft Azure Arc allows customers to run Azure in multiple, hybrid Cloud environments, with a focus on servers and Kubernetes. One core concept is to allow Kubernetes clusters with containerised applications to be managed across both public Cloud (Azure and others) and private data centres. This approach allows organisations to “modernise data centres” so that they support Cloud-native app building. Key to leveraging Arc for data centre modernisation is the re-emergence of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI).

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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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The Latest

1 March 2022. Microsoft recently launched Carbon Call with ClimateWorks Foundation and more than 20 other leading organisations in the private, philanthropic, scientific and non-governmental sectors to develop more reliable and interoperable carbon emissions accounting practices. The collaboration is expected to address and solve gaps in current global carbon accounting systems, with a focus on carbon removal and land sector, methane, and indirect emissions. 

Why it’s Important

There has been a noticeable growth in the number of hyperscale Cloud vendors publicising their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and energy consumption levels. Such growth outnumbers the total of on-premise data centre services that are following the same move towards carbon-free energy sources and more sustainable ICT operations.

This reflects the industry’s answer to the immediate call for action on climate change and the economic advantages of hyperscale. However, global standards for sustainability reporting still vary widely, according to a study published by the International Federation of Accountants and the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. The lack of a robust set of sustainability-related reporting standards presupposes that any vendor may overstate its claims of adhering to a climate-first approach, further relegating corporate reporting across a range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) areas into suspicion.

But progress has been made since. In November, during the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation proposed the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) to bring the much needed transparency in reporting across different industries, enterprises and regions.

Microsoft's adoption of an emerging global standard for reporting reflects the next stage of the trend towards ICT sustainability issues. By 2025, IBRS expects that not only all the hyperscale Cloud vendors will have adopted a standardised carbon report, but most of the top Fortune 500 companies will be following suit. Around this time, it is expected that public sector shared services will be put under greater scrutiny to do the same move towards carbon-free energy sources with a globally agreed set of standards.

Who’s impacted

  • COO, CIO, CTO
  • Data centre managers
  • Corporate risk and policy directors
  • Sustainability managers

What’s Next?

Organisations must learn to start monitoring trends in sustainable computing, especially among the hyperscale Cloud vendors. As all organisations will soon be obliged to adhere to a consistent, harmonised and global set of sustainability reporting standards that will help define collective enterprise reporting and accountability, be prepared for boards to request standardised ICT sustainability reporting. This will enhance their commitment to actively participating in collecting and reporting sustainability information and the credibility of their report. 

Finally, organisations must consider what solutions may be needed to integrate ESG in creating value for the organisation over the long term, rather than attempting to build such capabilities in-house with existing analytics platforms. 

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. VENDORiQ: Cloud Vendors will Push New Wave of Sustainable ICT Strategies
  2. VENDORiQ: Oracle Announces Innovation Lab During COP26 Summit

The Latest

22 February 2022: Process intelligence and automation company Nintex announced its acquisition of robotic process automation (RPA) developer Kryon. Australian low-code vendor Nintex, plans to improve its intelligent process automation (IPA) features through Kryon’s process discovery technology capabilities and full cycle RPA with artificial intelligence (AI).

As a process management and automation software builder, Nintex offers low-code design platforms for IT teams, operations experts and business analysts. Some of its largest clients in Australia include Naylor Love, Toyota Australia, Arab Bank Australia, RICOH, Auswide Bank, Port Stephens Council in New South Wales, Auto & General Holdings, and Allegis Group who have benefitted from its low-code development tools to help employees, regardless of their programming expertise, create applications that solve unique enterprise challenges.

Why it’s Important

Nintex’s move to acquire Kryon is yet another example of the merging of all low-code tools (i.e., process singularity) and how mid-tier low-code vendors are pushing up the low-code spectrum. This broad ecosystem of solutions, each with unique traits and features that fit specific organisational structures, should have specific modern low-code platforms that match an organisation’s ecosystem to help better streamline operational processes. In addition, constantly ensuring governance features to avoid the chaos that can ensue from unfettered development when acquiring low-code platforms is crucial in the long-term for better return on investment (ROI) whatever low-code solution is selected.

Nintex is also one of the many Australian companies that have exhibited fast-growing performances in the international market recently through acquisitions and mergers. However, as previously noted by IBRS, most local enterprises and the national government have lower regard for smaller Australian vendors making a name abroad. In many cases, smaller local vendors offer better value and generally have positive project outcomes as a result of their vested interest in meeting their clients’ expectations.

Who’s impacted

  • COO, CIO, CTO
  • Business analysts

What’s Next?

IBRS recently conducted a market scan on low-code vendor trends and found out that large vendors will continue acquiring today’s most successful low-code platform companies until 2025. This will help expand their product portfolios to secure a majority of market share. In this regard, when looking at low-code platforms, organisations must consider the greater ecosystem of low-code tools that will meet their long-term needs. For instance, vendors that can offer a more robust platform that caters to internet of things (IoT) solutions can help organisations focus on IoT devices and controllers instead of hardware and software development integrations.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Low-Code Mythbusting
  2. Hammering Low-Code into Place Takes Time
  3. Low-Code Platform Feature Checklist
  4. VENDORiQ: What Marketplacer Shows Us About Buying Aussie Tech

The Latest

22 February 2022: MetricStream has launched software solutions for governance, risk and compliance (GRC) that generate quantified, AI-powered risk insights for business growth, cybersecurity, and environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting compliance. The SaaS company’s line of GRC software products address enterprises’ manual processes for GRC reporting with automation and improved visibility. The solutions consolidate fragmented and siloed data sources required to report on GRC.The solutions are available as three pre-configured packages, with the end goal being to enhance enterprise ESG scores.

Why it’s Important

Organisations with a lack of GRC capabilities can surfer from weaker strategic and operational processes. Without clear accountability and ownership, they run the risk of operating outside compliance boundaries, potentially with penalties and regulatory sanctions.

The purpose of GRC is to provide a centralised risk repository and reporting, in theory, leading to better transparency through enterprise regulation measures.

While it is possible to implement GRC within existing business intelligence and data management tools, not all Australian organisations can deploy GRC this way due to limited expertise and capacity constraints within the analytics teams. Furthermore, unlike in large enterprises where robust BI tools are integrated into their core information repositories and external data sources, small and medium enterprises have yet to achieve a more mature data management capability, and lack the budget for analytics and information management teams. In the end, compliance reporting costs them a lot of their financial resources to be at par with the quality of reporting that regulatory offices demand from them. Pre-configured GRC and ESG reporting tools may be a more viable option for these enterprises.

IBRS believes that GRC is becoming increasingly important among Australian organisations and will impact them across industries in terms of transparency through systemic workflows where real-time insights can be used to guide decision-making that meets minimum requirements from regulatory changes.

Who’s impacted

  • COO, CIO, CTO
  • Business analysts
  • Risk managers

What’s Next?

Organisations need to be familiar with GRC and how they can best create a culture of compliance that ensures active oversight and adherence to applicable laws and regulations. Senior executives can drive a culture of transparency and efficient risk management by engaging in programs that meet GRC expectations, through compliance participation and implementation of preventive measures. This will improve risk control and promote good governance and organisational ethics.

To overcome the complexity of ‘build-it-yourself’ GRC and ESG reporting, consider if GRC software tools may complement the organisation's existing analytics platform through add-on solutions or dedicated products that make it easier to produce audit, accreditation and governance risk management reports.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. IBM Acquires Data Analytics Firm Envizi
  2. More Evidence for Cloud Leading Sustainable ICT Charge

The Latest

Australian ecommerce platform Marketplacer announced in December 2021 that it had successfully raised US$38 million to begin its U.S. expansion, product development and partner program.  

The company has already secured US$85 million of funding and has over 100 marketplace clients. It has also partnered with ecommerce giants such as Salesforce (who has invested in them), Adobe, Publicis Sapient, and Fenom Digital.  

To date, Marketplacer’s 100 clients have added more than 13,000 businesses, agencies and enterprises for shopping cart services, payment processing, promotions management, and drop-shipping in one platform.

IBRS interviewed Marketplacer’s executive team about their business and the opportunities that meshed marketplaces have for local merchants and service providers.

What is Marketplacer?

Marketplacer’s SaaS-based platform allows organisations with existing ecommerce platforms or large online communities to quickly integrate third party sellers into their environments. Amazon revolutionised retailing by allowing other retailers to sell on its shopping platform, and gained not only additional revenue streams but also expanded the value of the Amazon site to shoppers. Marketplacer’s platform effectively allows organisations to create a similar business model.

Marketplacer simplifies connecting an enterprise’s current ecommerce system (such as Salesforce Connected Cloud or Magento 2) with affiliated merchants. It allows an organisation with an existing base of customers to rapidly present new products and services to them from affiliates. 

The operator portal provided by Marketplacer covers day-to-day onboarding, marketplace management, product and return maintenance, central database management, process payments and payouts, tax and accounting, orders and logistics, communications and marketing, ratings and reviews, and data and insights. 

The seller portal allows sellers to access their own marke​​tplace and manage orders, refunds, logistics, marketing and promotion, as well as insights and reporting.

Why it’s Important

A new ecommerce segment emerges

Major players in the ecommerce platform industry such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Bigcommerce, and Magento have dominated much of the market. 

However, Marketplacer differentiates itself by allowing sellers to take advantage of pre-built connectors to fully maximise the platform that complements their existing tools and offering to support a wide range of products and services for sale. In addition, its front end is decoupled from back end logic and channel programming language, aside from being framework-agnostic. 

While Marketplacer is not the only platform attempting to define this new ecommerce segment, it has an edge in terms of out of the box integrations and features. The recent capital injection will position the vendor well in the US market, but also strengthens its long term stability in the Australian market.

IBRS predicts that Marketplacer’s biggest competitors will come from large enterprises that have acquired tech startups to expand their services and offer similar capabilities through their SaaS products, such as Oracle’s purchase of NetSuite in 2016, to expand Cloud solutions in more regions and industries. 

Aussie vendors punching above their weight

Many Australian tech and software companies have earned success overseas such as Canva, Atlassian, Afterpay, Xero and NEXTDC, all with market caps above US$5 billion.  

However, most local enterprises - including government - fail to recognise that smaller Australian vendors just starting to do well overseas are worth putting on their shortlists. This is not just a concern regarding national pride. IBRS notes that in many cases, smaller local vendors offer good value and generally have positive project outcomes, due in no small measure to having development resources close to their clients and having a vested interest in keeping such founding clients content.

In addition, local ISV (independent software vendors) often have solutions that are designed specifically to meet domestic compliance requirements and business processes: especially those that support public sector functions.

Another issue worth noting is that there has been a ramp up in the number of acquisitions of Australian tech post-startups in the past years. In 2021, Queensland based Clipchamp was bought by Microsoft, SaaS company CitrusAd was purchased by the Publicis Group, and Quantium was acquired by Woolworths. Channel partners and specialist IT service providers are also being snapped up.

Who’s impacted

  • CIO
  • Development team leads
  • Business analysts

What’s Next?

Australian enterprises should look beyond the traditional mainstream players to emerging vendors and local providers. Pay attention to the benefits of local support channels and the costs associated with gaining experienced, local implementation partners that have expertise in the local market.

Finally, when working with internal teams to determine how new platforms will demand changes to operations and even the business model, look more closely at the implications of selecting such tools or platforms, including security and reputational risks, from local vendors as well as the international brands.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Aussie vendor radar: Nintex joins the mainstream business process automation vendor landscape
  2. Positive customer experiences must lead digital transformation

The Latest

31 January 2022: Private equity firms Vista Equity Partners and Evergreen Coast Capital, announced their acquisition of virtualisation tech firm Citrix Systems. Citrix’s secure digital workspace and hybrid work environments will be merged with the market data management and business intelligence features of Vista’s TIBCO. The all-cash $16.5 billion acquisition, which is expected to be formally closed mid-2022, will impact Citrix customers, amounting to approximately 100 million end-users.

The buyout will make Citrix a private venture and address its debt after reporting a 1 percent decrease in annual revenue at the end of 2021. Reports of the deal have been in the news for quite some time, despite Citrix acquiring Wrike last year to further support hybrid work models for its clients.

Why it’s Important

At the start of the pandemic, demand for Citrix’s digital workspace solutions increased to allow secure access to corporate information systems through web traffic isolation, as well as remote access to devices in physical offices for employees on a work-from-home setup. However, there have been concerns that Citrix has not been at the forefront of innovation in the last few years.

The acquisition has the potential to provide Citrix with an opportunity to invest in new features now that its Desktop-as-a-Service tool competitors (Azure Virtual Desktop, Amazon Workspaces and VMWare Horizon DaaS Platform) have outperformed the Florida-based virtualisation tech company.  

However, history of previous acquisitions suggests that that potential will only be partially realised, if at all. IBRS has observed that among venture capital firms that have bought tech companies, users should not expect any new features to be released any time soon since private equity managers often prioritise profitability on existing customers using the same range of products. 

Conversely, with Citrix being consolidated with TIBCO, there is an opportunity to repackage the brand, add sophisticated integration and workflow capabilities to an existing market that’s maturing. 

In the near term (2-3 years), IBRS does not expect much direct impact on current clients.

Who’s impacted

  • CIO
  • Desktop / EUC teams
  • Business stakeholders dealing with workforce management and project delivery

What’s Next?

Since many organisations have adopted digital workspace architectures (as opposed to end user computing architectures), they should review their current service contracts that may be impacted by mergers and acquisitions in relation to workspace technologies. One strategy is to centralise vendor management activities and develop a set of governance policies. 

IBRS also recommends organisations running Citrix review the papers below, and then schedule a consultation session with IBRS to identify the next best courses of action for their enterprise.

Related IBRS Advisory

1. Mergers & acquisitions require federated service providers governance

2.Running IT-as-a-Service Part 46: Mergers and acquisitions impact on service contracts

Conclusion:

A common claim is that Agile methodologies and DevOps assist organisations in their digital transformation efforts. While there is merit to this claim, many organisations’ ICT groups treat Agile and DevOps as projects in their own right – implementing them as an end unto itself. Understanding that Agile and DevOps are a continuous process, aided by metrics that are aligned to continually evolving business goals, brings efficient leadership management in Agile and cross-team sharing to scale DevOps to prevent teams from returning to functioning in silos.

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Conclusion:

During the lockdowns imposed around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and organisations had no choice but to find a way to pivot and continue operations. This pushed numerous businesses to work away from the workplace. Working from home became the new normal.

With the challenge of not being able to work in the office and not being able to work together in a physical setting, came a new set of hurdles and expectations. Businesses who were able to invest in technology and infrastructure prior to the pandemic were able to adapt immediately. However, this setup does not only require up-to-date technology, it also requires that the organisational culture be one of trust and accountability, especially with the change in employee expectations.

Now, with the easing of restrictions, normal is again being rewritten with the concept of a hybrid workplace where employees can work from home on some days, and come to the office on some days.

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The Latest

25 January 2022: IBM has announced its acquisition of Sydney-based data analytics software company Envizi. In an official press release, the move was finalised to boost IBM’s capabilities to provide environmental, social and governance (ESG) analytics, which is an emerging specialised field.  

Envizi will be integrated with IBM’s existing package of manufacturing and supply chain solutions such as IBM Maximo, IBM Sterling, IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite (EIS) and IBM Turbonomic to support feedback automation in their operations and corporate environmental initiatives. 

Why it’s Important.

IBRS has observed increased activity by large vendors acquiring small, local Australian enterprises that specialise in data analytics. Some of these include the following:

  • Fujitsu’s acquisition of Melbourne-based data and analytics firm Versor in 2021
  • Cognizant’s 2021 purchase of Sydney-based Servian, a data analytics and AI vendor
  • Healthcare tech firm Beamtree’s acquisition of New South Wales-based comparative analytics enterprise Potential(x) in 2021
  • Accenture’s 2019 purchase of Australian big data and analytics consultancy Analytics8 then its series of acquisitions involving advanced analytics firms overseas such as Bridgei2i and Byte Prophecy in India, Novetta Solutions and End-to-End Analytics in the United States, as well as PRAGSIS BIDOOP in Spain.

Aside from these, acquisitions of data analytics startups by other firms outside of Australia have become prominent in the industry with the likes of Capgemini on Sweden-based Advectas, Genpact on Enquero, and Infogain on Absolutdata, which were all formalised in 2020.

IBRS believes that while it is beneficial for the industry to have vendors expand their analytics capabilities, customers or enterprise partners need to constantly assess the likely impact on their existing service contracts with analytics partner vendors. Some of the areas that are critical include terms and conditions, possible pricing changes, future services, contracted support and personnel changes, among others.

Who’s impacted

  • CIO
  • Development team leads
  • Business analysts

What’s Next?

Organisations need to be prepared for their analytics partners to be the next targets for acquisitions. As part of its strategy, organisations must remain vigilant and engaged with their analytics vendor partners regarding any acquisitions and the potential impact on services and costs. This includes assessing the implications of the potential scenarios that are most likely to occur, as well as the risks or opportunities that may be present with regard to adjusting to ramifications to the existing service, if there are any. Some potential risks or challenges that must be reviewed by the organisation’s legal and procurement teams can be found on this checklist.

Finally, organisations need to be cautious on assurances that are critical to their operations if these have not yet been put into written agreement. Becoming more pragmatic about the new vendor will minimise service disruptions in the future.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Mergers & acquisitions require federated service providers governance
  2. Mergers and Acquisitions - Devising the Right Strategy for IT

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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Conclusion:

IBRS recently conducted a Cloud migration case study to determine how organisations can find a balance between cost, risks and benefits. Since Cloud migration is becoming an important business process, it is necessary to develop a Cloud migration roadmap framework when considering a program through a compelling business case.

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Conclusion:

If you lack confidence in the direction of your Cloud migration team (CMT), you are not alone. Chances are the Cloud migration was led by one or two enthusiastic champions from enterprise architecture, infrastructure or apps development who were comfortable being high-risk takers to advance their careers. Too often, these efforts result in partial results and sporadic application, which leaves many senior executives questioning the value of these untamed Cloud engagements.

What is needed now is a structured approach to Cloud skills development and team selection, that culminates in a CMT that effectively manages business needs and the underlying IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) to deliver those business needs. Holding complimentary skills across the team will ensure a more robust analysis of the business needs, and a selection and rightsizing of solutions that continues to flex to meet changes in business and customer requirements. A post-migration Cloud framework should also apply, and contain a continuous improvement register which is examined and updated as the Cloud evolves, and governance programs that identify opportunities to maximise any hybrid or multi-Cloud solution.

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Conclusion:

Disruptive collaboration is the term IBRS uses to describe the impact collaboration tools have on processes, knowledge management, and organisational structures. Over the last two years, most staff members have become familiar with collaborative solutions, such as Microsoft Teams. There is no going back.

As a result, many organisations are beginning to discover how outmoded their enterprise knowledge and records management solutions are. We are in the midst of a tectonic shift away from the traditional paper metaphor of business, to a digitally native, collaborative business model. Organisations must be prepared for the coming generation of knowledge management solutions that address this new collaborative business model.

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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.

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The Latest

18 November 2021: AWS recently announced the launch of AWS Skill Builder, a digital learning platform which provides free Cloud computing skills training globally. It currently has over 500 free, on-demand courses - including nearly 60 new Cloud computing classes added this year. 

This expands AWS’s free access Cloud skills training programs in the region, in addition to last year’s launch of the AWS re/Start program - a free, 12-week full-time skills training program that prepares the unemployed, and underemployed, for careers in Cloud computing. Training is done in partnership with Indigenous training companies Goanna Solutions, Academy IT, and FDM in Australia and Te Pūkenga, the largest tertiary education provider in New Zealand. 

In addition, AWS is collaborating with local institutions such as The University of NSW’s (UNSW) CyberSECurity Education Network (SECedu) to teach both professional and practical cyber security skills in response to the growing demand for Cloud-oriented security skills.

Why it’s Important

Cloud skills are in hot demand, with competition for talent driving up salaries. 

Furthermore, IBRS has noted a growing dissatisfaction in paid programs for Cloud training and certification, though this is more a matter of perceived quality of delivery than concerns over the material in the training programs. Tech training is a booming industry right now, and the quality of independent training suppliers is mixed.

Therefore, it is no surprise that there is some scepticism about the quality and effectiveness of free Cloud professional training. If the paid programs are struggling to get it right, how will free programs deliver?

IBRS believes that scepticism is healthy. However, after a review of the AWS strategy and offerings, IBRS has concluded the program is robust and addresses some of the most critical skills gaps organisations are facing with Cloud migrations. Rather than treating these programs as ‘free’ organisations should be evaluating the available programs and building them into their internal skills development initiatives.  

AWS’s Skill Builder initiative is based on the concept of micro-credentials (small, granular certifications) which make it relatively easy to insert into organisations' existing skills development programs.

Reviewing and inserting Cloud training programs (from any of the major hyperscale Cloud vendors) into an organisation's internal skills development program is where the tight training budget can be spent effectively.

Who’s Impacted

  • Educational policymakers
  • CIOs
  • Educational ICT strategy leads 
  • Principals and senior leadership of higher education institutions
  • Digital workspace teams

What’s Next?

Adoption of Cloud computing across multiple industries is predicted to spawn a huge number of new roles over the next decade. Organisations should consider supporting a workforce education program. Their investment in digital skills training will not only help organisations achieve their digital transformation goals but also improve employee retention.

Related IBRS Advisory

The Latest

17 November 2021: Google announced that it has launched a second zone in Sydney for Bare Metal Solution (BMS). Google BMS now has a global presence in 13 regions.

Why it’s Important

With Oracle pushing hard for organisations to move their legacy applications and workloads into its next-generation Oracle Cloud, Google is attempting to swoop in with BMS as a less costly alternative that promises to run Oracle workloads with less than 2ms to Google Cloud. 

Google BMS leverages Google Cloud Platform (GCP) services, including BigQuery and CloudSQL for database operations. This may be a draw for organisations looking to reduce their dependency on Oracle, or exit Oracle altogether and switch to a managed database service. It is a potential stepping stone to open-standards-based databases. 

Oracle’s user based licensing approach is oftentimes seen as complicated and treacherous. Google BMS uses a simpler subscription pricing model without upfront costs. Most importantly, Google BMS also offers license portability. You can bring your own license (BYOL) from Oracle and run it on Google BMS. It has been reported to IBRS that this can avoid Oracle’s early contract cancellation costs that run between 30-50% of its original contract value.

On the surface, Google BMS appears to be an economical alternative to Oracle Cloud. However, there are certain considerations such as server sizing and configuration, OS and chipset upgrades, and possible database upgrades that could make the move to Google BMS turn out to be more complex.

It is also possible that Oracle, like Microsoft, will alter its licensing terms to block migrating on-prem licensing to hyper-scale Cloud. 

Who’s Impacted

  • CIO
  • CFO
  • ICT strategy leads
  • Infrastructure architects

What’s Next?

Before moving to Google BMS, consider the additional complexity involved. Specialised skills are needed in order to deploy Oracle on Google BMS. Migration to Oracle Cloud, in contrast, is reported as being a relatively smooth process. Oracle Cloud also includes automated database tuning administration. In short, you need to consider the costs associated with having trained staff to monitor your Oracle database on Google BMS, which could result in higher overheads.  It is not just about the cost of the Cloud. But if the goal is to migrate from Oracle over time, Google BMS is attractive from a cost perspective.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. AWS Babelfish Brings PostgreSQL to its Hyperscale Database
  2. Google Next: Data - PostgreSQL Spanning the Globe
  3. Google introduces Database Migration Service