Digital Transformation

Conclusion:Government does not only want to supply information and transactional services, it wants engagement from within and outside its ranks. But that ambition may be already too late.

The reality of online use is that government (including its policies and services) is part of the online knowledge system network that includes a plethora of blogs, forums, videos and mailing lists. As the Web grows in scope and complexity, the idea of developing Government 2.0 as a media policy is already history. It's time to investigate a new approach to government online.

Conclusion: Any potential user of Google Apps should understand how Google operates and distributes software products and services. Google’s economies of scale may offer a compelling basis to utilise its software.

Conclusion: Building valuable software solutions increasingly means building solutions that run on the web, and that are not dependent on any particular operating system. Pervasive web connectivity leads to a new paradigm for building software architectures that is based around the availability of high quality web services and around the conscious use of Open Source software in selected areas to reduce vendor lock-in.

Conclusion: The Commonwealth Government’s drive to cut its operating costs and improve efficiency is a worthy one but last month’s Federal Budget has not matched the rhetoric. The emphasis and even reliance placed on ICT (Information and Communications Technology) to help meet expected client service levels means all agencies have to be able to deliver services at the lowest cost. To do this management must have a thorough understanding of the cost components in the delivery process and focus on reducing them.

IT managers can identify improvements in efficiency, but in all probability technology will be utilised to ensure levels of service across the ‘back office’, and to the wider community are maintained. The immediate task is to identify and evaluate costs and redesign processes to ensure efficiency gains are possible.

Conclusion: Whether anyone takes international surveys such as the United Nation's worldwide e-Government survey seriously or not, they are used and referred to widely. They are important in establishing where a country wants to be in delivering e-government services, and the survey results indicate why our governments are not leading other nations.

Applying some of the lessons learned from the Scandinavians, who always seem to perform well in international exams, is one obvious strategy for Australasian governments to help them do better next time; but the key element of any successful e-government strategy is not technological: it is the connection with citizens. Technology in this instance simply facilitates contact.

Conclusion: For most corporate IT departments, concepts such as Cloud Computing seem light years away from current day-to-day reality. Yet the number of commercial providers of such services is growing fast, and even more far-fetched ideas such as global software service supply chains are emerging on the horizon. The distance between innovators and late adopters of modern techniques and technologies is growing. In this scenario it is essential to know when not to remain amongst the late adopters, to avoid being left behind in the dust and struggling with evaporating profit margins.

This article is the first in a series of three on technologies and techniques that are leading to fundamental changes in the architectures used to construct software applications and software intensive devices. First examples of these changes are already visible today, and over the next five years, many of the current rules for architecting business applications will be re-written.

Conclusion: Open Source software is demonstrably successful in specific business and government areas (think of all those Linux and Apache servers humming away!). However, apart from these, MySQL and a few exceptions from, for example, the Mozilla stable, Open Source systems have not yet had a significant impact in the mainstream world of business IT. The one exception is in Government where there is a world-wide trend to espouse Open Source Software. Government agencies are reporting what they see as compelling arguments for adopting Open Source. Those in the Government arena who have not yet considered this option may wish to re-examine their stand.

Just a week has passed since the election, and the Australian population can switch off their PCs (and Macs too) and Web connections as they have blogged themselves into exhaustion; debating and understanding the policies; been involved at the grass roots level of political and social debate, all in all, thoroughly engaged in the of political process.

Conclusion: Although without a firm launch date, the Google phone offers another interesting facet of Google’s relentless pursuit of digital media domination. While it may add some interesting competition to the mobile market, telephony is the least interesting aspect of the innovation.

The potential – at this stage that’s all there is – of Google’s phone on search and mobile directory services, all of which are related to advertising, looms larger and larger. It may a genuine catalyst in the development of Web 2.0 services, and along the way cause some anxiety to traditional media, Telco and directory service providers.

Conclusion: Fundamental to any consideration of mobile banking will have to be a balance between risk and convenience; and that applies equally to both bank and customer. Even with the choice of secure technology the viability of mobile banking as a service will reside in its adoption, or not, by customers.

Worldwide the expansion of mobile banking is varied and the key factor in its sustainability is not technology but most probably customer acceptance. Any bank considering such real transactional services should conduct research into its likely acceptance with its customers thoroughly and use the responses to decide if mobile banking is likely to be a good deal for both parties.

Conclusion: In the IBRS Trends forecast for 2007, we stated that governments would adopt a new approach to e-government, “moving it from being simply a ‘publishing medium’ to it becoming a true extension of its service arm.”

The purpose of this paper is to examine where the new approaches are taking form as they evolve over 2007. Governments consider their policy options and how they will be delivered well in advance which means that while developments may be emerging, not all will be apparent to users by December 2007.

In the last twelve months Australian and New Zealand governments have been expounding their revised strategies and taking action to fulfil their policy vision. In IBRS’s view governments could adopt a number of basic processes. These processes should be integrated in the implementation of the plans so as to achieve the objectives.

Conclusion: Most organisations are fairly adept at dealing with routine changes that have minimal local impact on processes and systems. The topic of change management becomes an order of magnitude more challenging when the changes in question amount to a fundamental shift in the business model or in the way in which the business model is implemented: Form needs to follow function, new approaches need to be validated in depth before company-wide roll out occurs, lower and upper limits apply to the speed of implementation, and expectations need to be managed judiciously.

Conclusion: Marketing can seem the very opposite of IT: lots of look and feel and rather intangible when compared with systems that must deliver on time. Yet IT can inject ideas and methods into marketing across an organisation, and an organisation that harnesses the expertise of its distinct and specialised divisions can realise positive results.

The product of greater cooperation may be several and various in the role of marketing. IT specialists may offer knowledge and expertise with practical effect for marketing strategies. Many marketing solutions involve technology solutions, and coupled with a thorough understanding of processes and the implementation of technologies, an IT manager can play an influential role to a marketing team.

Conclusion: The emphasis on marketing eGovernment has dropped in priority. There was a Community of Practice on Marketing E-government run by Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) but that government-only group is no longer meeting. In addition there is no specific area in AGIMO responsible for marketing e-government, yet marketing activity is critical to building usage, adoption and education of a product or service.

As the government is committed to delivering services on the Web, it should, as a business would, create the necessary structures for professionals to market the services. To ignore marketing wastes investments in the websites. Currently, the so-called 'operational' areas have some marketing inbuilt into their projects but there is no overall responsibility to oversee standards and market online services.

In addition a complete review of all government website usability should be undertaken to assess weaknesses and client usage. Such a review may entail revising sites. Thirdly the definition and application of “access’’ through the sites ought to be clarified: is it published information; transaction for payment, or email contact with government officers. The fulfilment of any one of these actions should be measured to report if the objective of access has been successful.

Conclusion:Government websites are not reaching the public as effectively as they might. This phenomenon is common around the world and while some sites have functional value to the public, research shows that people are confused, ignorant or unable to find what they need from many government sites.

To improve their usability government should examine practical steps to reach citizens, firstly by marketing the sites in conjunction with improved navigation and, if required, re-designing sites for users to know what they can find on them.

Secondly, refine the execution of the sites, with special reference to improving the quality of sophisticated interaction that is possible between citizens and the administration. This process of should be conducted in the context of the strategic objectives of e-government policy if they are to achieve that particular policy target.

Conclusion:The Federal Government is proud of its achievements in getting community acceptance of e-government. It has connected more citizens and customers over the last 2-3 years and e-government is proving to be an efficient means of processing transactions, and disseminating information.

The Government is on the brink of taking its activities online to a new phase, which will not result in a radical overhaul of current practice, but rather a consolidation of extant systems and delivery.

Yet despite the government’s success there is considerable criticism from SMEs of what it can offer them. The magazine CRN covered this story last year. The SME’s dispute with government was concisely summed up by one ICT executive as hinging on the perceived higher financial risk, or stability, of an SME. In addition the level of liability insurance the supplier must have as required by government – which for many SMEs inhibits their engagement – means the prospect of winning government business, is remote.

In the context of the challenges for SMEs, the imminent reappraisal of e-Government policy should take into account pragmatic methods to permit this sector of the market to compete with larger enterprises. It might do this by setting an objective for SMEs to win a percentage of business by a specified timeframe. This is not a new idea and since 1953 under the Small Business Act it has been legislated in the US. The ICT sector in France has formed the Richelieu Committee to implement a similar agenda.

Alternatively, government might modify some engagement conditions, depending on circumstances, for certain types of services. In developing policy allowance must be made for the large difference between hardware, software and intellectual consulting engagements; that is, between the risks associated with one service versus another. Such practical measures may improve the competitive field for enterprises competing for government business and be a boon for SMEs who can use government contracts to develop their businesses in other markets and overseas.

In early September the Audit Bureau of Verification Services released its online advertising market report which showed that revenue had grown by 62.7% year-on-year to $488m. For the last five years the online advertising industry has been promoting its growing revenues as proof that it has “arrived”, and by implication, companies should use online media as an advertising channel.

VOiP is apparently, “the only sexy thing out there” in technology today. Decoded, this quote means that it’s VoIP is apparently, “the only sexy thing out there” in technology today. Decoded, this quote means that it’s growing quickly. Telephones and sex go back nearly a hundred years so the metaphor is not surprising.

The information and communications technologies market is emerging from its torpor. After the spending excesses of Y2K, then the GST, followed by the bursting of the dotcom bubble and the demise of some major consulting practices, the past four years have been positively somnolent for an industry that has always enjoyed double-digit growth.

Conclusion: Cross-agency initiatives are high-risk endeavours that can deliver significant community and financial benefits. They are extremely challenging because they require a coordinated approach across Agencies as well as high levels of business and technical capability.

Failure to establish high Capability Maturity Level (CMM) processes and to acquire / develop key skills is a major reason why managers involved in many cross-agency initiatives encounter problems.

Before work on an initiative begins program directors should review the capability of each participating Agency in the areas of: project management; risk management; financial management; strategic planning; and, benefits management. If the capability of participating Agencies is not up to the level required, then a capability development program must be undertaken before major work can begin.

Conclusion: Failure of the two main parties to use their websites to reach voters, as indicated by visitor levels just prior to the ballot, suggest important lessons for organisations marketing online.

The first is that content and information cannot retain audience interest, especially if the content is static and unchanged over several months.

The second lesson is that contact between an organisation and interactive communication through a website can be a strong tactic to galvanise a market. Evidence from the US demonstrates that the effective use of the Web, in conjunction with the mainstream media, builds momentum.

Many organisations’ websites do not change over long periods and the value of the site to the organisation, and to the marketplace, drops. Refreshed content and promotions, or other gimmicks may not be right, but techniques to reach and gather individuals, such as an online conference or chat room, can give renewed purpose to an otherwise static website.

Conclusion: SMS has proved more versatile and effective in business-related communications than simply a means of chatting with text. By reducing costs and simplifying the process of communication, SMS is proving to be effective for firms dealing with their suppliers, customers and staff.

Firms of all sizes – and Government departments - can likewise benefit from SMS in two key ways. Firstly, it is a marketing communication channel which can be used for product promotions and secondly, it has proved its worth as an operational communications tool which can be used for channel management within an organisation.

Experience shows firms can cut costs and increase efficiency by using SMS to deliver timely and useful information to stakeholders. Having said this, it is important that the ease with which messages can be delivered should not be equated with permission to flood mobile phones with frequent and irrelevant messages.

Conclusion: Investment attraction is the main business driver of local government Smart City projects and planning, followed by automation and internal productivity improvement.

Trophy Smart City projects based on entirely new cities are rare, but new towns, city centres, technology parks, recreation precincts and showcase suburbs are common and benefit from the same principles.

Every existing municipal service should be reviewed as a candidate for support and improvement using digital techniques.

Current and emerging technologies can routinely deliver Smart City services such as smart waste management, parking, transport, street lighting and facilitating community formation. Imagination is initially the resource in shortest supply.

The Mayor’s support for Smart City projects and programs is essential (because of their novelty and the political courage required) in any region of the world. Always.


Many organisations have implemented frameworks and methodologies, increased internal project management and improved project governance in an effort to improve IT project success. The Standish Group report on project success has shown considerable improvement over the last 18 years. However, projects still do fail, and organisations can improve their preparedness for projects and change programs by spending time undertaking a business readiness assessment (BRA) before they begin any new change initiative.