Future Workplace

The Latest

28 July 2021: During Inspire, Microsoft unveiled Windows 365, which it positions as a Cloud desktop service. IBRS views Windows 365 as an evolution of existing virtual desktop solutions. 

In addition, Windows Virtual Desktop services have been rebranded as Azure Desktop Services. With this rebranding, Microsoft also introduced a number of enhancements, including closer integration with Azure Active Directory (AAD) and Endpoint-Manager, with the ability to deploy applications across both physical devices and Cloud-based desktops based on roles. 

Windows 365 is built on top of Azure Virtual Desktop service. The difference between Windows 365 and Azure Desktop Services is that Windows 365 has more automated, easier deployment and administration options. It is well suited to organisations with minimal VDI specialisation and more akin to a ‘fully managed virtual desktop environment’.  

In contrast, Azure Desktop Services is better suited to larger organisations that have a need for a high level of customisation. It is more akin to a virtualised Citrix farm.

Why it’s Important.

In 2019, Microsoft quietly changed the licensing conditions for running virtual servers in the Cloud, which hindered VMware’s ability to migrate VDI (among other services) to hyper-scale Cloud services. Since then, IBRS has had reports of efforts to migrate VDI into the Cloud stifled by rights, with Microsoft partners steering organisations to an ‘all-in Azure’ approach.

The introduction of Windows 365 and the rebranding of Azure Virtual Desktop certainly fits a strategy of selecting alternative virtual desktop environments less compelling. 

This is not to say that Microsoft’s VDI capabilities are not solid offerings. Windows 365 certainly addresses a problem in the Australian market, where fully managed VDI has suffered greatly from vendors under-scoping the resources needed to run a client's environment in order to come in at the lowest possible cost. Autoscaling in the Windows 365 environment largely eliminates this issue. The level of automation is also impressive, as is an application cook

Who’s impacted

  • CIO
  • Development team leads
  • Business analysts

What’s Next?

Windows 365 is a viable option for specific use VDI cases, and it may be considered against traditional fully managed desktop vendor solutions. However, it may not be cost-effective at scale. Solutions from AWS, VMWare and Google should also be examined, though it is important to consider the total cost of operation of this type of VDI, not just the licensing / service costs. Be sure to factor in human resources for administration, application compatibility testing and packaging (which are significant hidden costs and often overlooked, as well as help desk and support.

In addition, if staying within the Microsoft stack, Azure Desktop Services can provide a more flexible and scalable solution. Again, be sure to factor in the total cost of operation.

Overlooked by many discussions of Cloud VDI is the rise of Cloud application virtualisation services from the likes of Cameyo. Rather than presenting an entire desktop, these services only stream a configured application, either in a manner that makes it appear as a native application or within a web browser. Such an approach is significantly lower cost than traditional VDI. When considering a new virtual environment for your workers, both VDI and Virtual Application Delivery (VAD) options should be considered.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Should You Outsource Your Virtual Desktop Infrastructure?
  2. When to Consider Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
  3. VDI trends for 2021–2025
  4. End-user computing managed services: 3 initial things to consider for the RFP
  5. SNAPSHOT: Workforce Transformation beyond Mobility and Digital Workspaces
  6. IBRS Compass: Beyond the Desktop: Creating a Digital Workspace Strategy for Business Transformation

Conclusion:

Employee empowerment is the basic principle behind activity-based working (ABW). In order to make ABW work, a company’s culture needs to shift from command and control to trust, responsibility, and empowerment. As organisations plan their return-to-office strategy, an opportunity exists to decide if workplace defaults will continue, or the lessons learned from working through a pandemic will be incorporated to accommodate a more holistic approach to getting work done.

Conclusion:

As detailed in IBRS’s 2021 Trends report, the vaccine shot will not end sporadic lockdowns. Organisations should routinely review workplace safety plans and update them based on current public health guidelines. Protective measures should still be in place.

If not already established, organisations should set up a workplace COVID-19 working group, which should include ICT representation. The working group should ensure the company’s compliance with public health recommendations, plan education, and determine how digital services will support the plan.

The Australian context for workplace vaccination policies are complicated by different privacy, duty of care and other workplace and safety regulations. This paper provides an overview of the policies that may impact management decisions as of June 2021.

The Latest

28 June 2021: After a leak of an early pre-release version of Windows, Microsoft formally announced Windows 11 and have followed up with a series of posts, most aimed at promoting the new user experience of the operating system. A quick look on YouTube will find dozens of reviews and tests of the pre-release version of Windows 11, and from early tests, it appears as if there is little performance impact for the OS. Reviews of Microsoft’s documentation suggest that there is no significant change to how Windows 11 can be deployed. The bulk of the changes appear to be related to how Microsoft’s Office 365 products are put front and centre within the desktop experience. Teams, in particular, takes centre stage. As with the release of Windows 10, Windows 11 will start by building new expectations among consumers, which will in turn drive staff to demand the new environment from their ICT groups. In this sense, the key issues for ICT look to be identical to those faced in 2015.

Why it’s Important

While Microsoft executives famously touted that Windows 10 would be the last Windows, a clear reference to enterprises’ frustrations with continued hardware/software refresh treadmill and the expense of upgrading fleets of desktops en-mass, the statement was never officially enshrined in the product lifecycle. This means that enterprises, at least for the foreseeable future, will need to plan for generational shifts in desktop upgrades, complete with the demands of change management and the potential bulk hardware refreshes.  

The common driver for most organisations looking to refresh their desktop environment (device management, security, application deployment and change management), is to ‘flatten the investment’ needed to keep users up to date. From a device asset management perspective, the goal is to move away from four-to-five year bulk buys and move to a rolling schedule of device refreshes. For software deployment, it's a move to a self-service model. And for the OS, it's a move to a gradually updated, evolving platform.  

All the above have become critical enablers of hybrid working and by extension business continuity. 

Microsoft’s Cloud-based approach to deploying devices and software with Autopilot is highly attractive as it supports the new digital workspace model. How best to migrate to Autopilot from the legacy ‘tiered’ desktop management approach is by far the most common question IBRS is asked in relation to digital workspaces.

Microsoft has noted that Windows 11 can be managed using all current tools and processes that are used to manage Windows 10. This means Windows 11 can be managed using the Cloud-based Autopilot approach and the ‘standardised desktop’ approach via SCCM (System Centre Configuration Manager). Third-party tools such as Ivanti are also expected to work without problem. Therefore, based on available information, there appears to be little additional benefit to Windows 11 over Windows 10 when it comes to deployment and management.

This is not to say that Windows 11 will not have other benefits to enterprises, but the (current) benefits appear to be more related to putting Office 365 services forward.

Who’s impacted

  • CIO
  • Desktop / end user computing teams
  • ICT asset management teams
  • CFO / ICT financial planning teams

What’s Next?

Enterprise desktop teams do not need to rush into Windows 11 planning. Device and software compatibility is expected to be high (despite some initial negative assumptions on YouTube). Instead, organisations should continue to focus their efforts on migrating from the standardised desktop management model to the ‘digital workspaces’ model which focuses on offering self-service capabilities and zero-trust security. In addition, adopting an iterative and ongoing approach to Office 365 change management is needed. Moving to the digital workspaces model will not only reap significant operational benefits over the older standardised desktop approach, but will also ensure a smoother transition to Windows 11 before the 2025 end of support deadline.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Digital Workspaces Master Advisory Presentation
  2. SNAPSHOT: Workforce Transformation beyond Mobility and Digital Workspaces
  3. How will you deal with Microsoft’s Pester Power strategy for Windows 10?
  4. The journey of Office 365: A guiding framework Part 3: Post-implementation

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.

The Latest

28 March 2021: MaxContact, vendor of a Cloud-based call-centre solution, announced it is supporting integration of Teams clients. Similar vendors of call centre solutions have announced or are planning similar integration with Teams and/or Zoom. In effect, the most common video communications clients are becoming alternatives to voice calls, complete with all the management and metrics required by call centres. 

Why it’s Important

The pandemic has forced working from home, which has in turn positioned video calling as a common way to communicate. There is an expectation that video calling, be it on mobile devices, desktop computers or built into televisions, will become increasingly normalised in the coming decade. Clearly call centres will need to cater for clients who wish to place calls into the call centre using video calls.

But there is a difference between voice calls and video that few people are considering (beyond the obvious media).  That is, timing of video calls is generally negotiated via another media: instant messaging, calendaring, or meeting invites. In contrast, the timing for voice calls are far less mediated, especially when engaging with call centres for service, support or sales activities.

For reactive support and services, video calls between a call centre and a client will most likely be a negotiated engagement, either instigated via an email or web-based chat agent. Cold-calling and outward bound video calls is unlikely to be effective.

The above has significant implications for client service and support processes and call centre operations.

Who’s impacted

  • CIO
  • Development team leads
  • Business analysts

What’s Next?

The adoption of video calls by the masses is here to stay. Video calling is not a fad, but it will take time to mature. 

Having video support and services available as part of the call centre mix is likely to be an advantage, but only if its use makes sense in the context of the tasks and clients involved.  

Organisations should begin brainstorming the potential usage of video calls for serving. However, adding video calling to the call centre is less of a priority than consolidating a multi-channel strategy and, over time, an omnichannel strategy.  

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Better Practice Special Report: Microsoft Teams Governance
  2. Evolve your multichannels before you try to omnichannel
  3. VENDORiQ: CommsChoice becomes Australia's first vendor of Contact Centre for Microsoft Teams Direct Routing

Conclusion

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is suitable for addressing a range of business challenges. As VDI has evolved over the past decade, understanding of use-cases for where is best applied has also matured. In this paper, we explore the use-cases where VDI has been most successful.

The Latest

9 March 2021: Dropbox has acquired DocSend for US$165 million. This is a welcome addition to managing the risks associated with information management in a collaborative environment. 

Why it’s Important

Dropbox’s acquisition is not about organic growth, as DocSend’s client base of 17,000 users is dwarfed by Dropbox’s estimated 600 million. The deal is more about positioning Dropbox against the likes of Adobe Document Cloud, by allowing organisations to track what happens to information once it is shared. Being able to manage and track document access is a critical aspect of modern, enterprise-grade file sharing which is needed for secure collaboration. It is a feature missing in most collaborative platforms - at least out of the box. 

Who’s impacted

  • CIO
  • Development team leads
  • Business analysts

What’s Next?

Being able to manage access and track who’s accessed a document is a good start for closing the governance issues of most collaborative platforms (e.g. Teams, Slack, Zoom, Zoho, etc.)  However, organisations should look at adopting a zero trust model for information assets, involving identity management linked to access controls and an ‘encrypt everything by default’ mentality.  

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Did Dropbox just break knowledge management?
  2. IBRS survey exposes Teams risk - The Australian - 21 January 2021
  3. Microsoft Teams governance: Emerging better practices
  4. Data loss by the back door, slipping away unnoticed
  5. Workforce transformation Part 2: The evolving role of folders for controlled collaboration

The Latest

23 February 2021: Creatio has just taken US$68 million in funding, joining the current investment frenzy in low-code platform vendors. 

Why it’s Important

Creatio started life as a BPM vendor in 2011, and introduced its low-code platform in 2013, making it one of the better established of the new generation of low-code vendors. This round of investment is relatively small, compared recent activity in the low-code platform market. Even so, it is yet more evidence that the market for Cloud-based low-code is on the boil. These low-code platform vendors are spending their new-found cash on the following, in order of priority:

  • global market expansion: setting up new offices and hiring channel managers, which means more vendors will be entering the ANZ market more aggressively
  • buying additional elements of the ‘low-code everything’ stack: including business process mapping / management (BPM), robotic process automation (RPA), API management (APIM) and rules engines
  • buying market share with acquisitions: as we saw recently with Nintex procuring K2

The challenge for buyers of low-code platforms is that while the market is beginning to see a great deal of change and competition, their ICT investments need to be considered for the long-term - at least a decade. This is due to the need to invest the skills, processes, governance and change management to get the promised returns on whatever low-code is selected. 

Who’s impacted

  • CIO
  • Development team leads
  • Business analysts

What’s Next?

When considering low-code platforms (and it is likely your organisation will have more than one, in order to meet different needs) look for the investment and development road map of the vendors. In particular, determine if the vendors have a viable strategy to develop skills and support resources locally, either directly or through channel partners. Also, explore their road map for delivering more than just eforms and workflow, but moving to acquire or develop a ‘low-code everything’ platform. 

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Cloud low-code vendor Webflow secures US$140 million
  2. How to succeed with eforms Part 1: Understand the need
  3. Workforce transformation part 4: Non-techies are taking over your developers’ jobs – Dealing with the fallout
  4. Aussie vendor radar: Nintex joins the mainstream business process automation vendor landscape

Conclusion:

For many years Chief Information Officers (CIOs) have faced endless questions about whether Microsoft (MS) and other suppliers meet the requirements for an enterprise-grade solution. The main components of the office suite (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and the Windows operating systems for desktops and servers, has been de facto standards for most organisations for many years.

With Microsoft’s success with Azure (Cloud and infrastructure), Dynamics (enterprise resource planning (ERP)), Office 365 (collaborative workplace platform) and the PowerPlatform (analytics and low-code workflow development), MS is now competitive in almost every aspect of the enterprise solution space. Your organisation’s approach to determining the value proposition for any supplier is the same as it has always been – maximum gain with minimum pain. The MS offering in both terms of capabilities, service support and security has matured significantly and now offers a much-improved value proposition that organisations should consider.

There is more innovation going on behind the scenes in Australian organisations than they are being given credit for. IBRS advisor, Dr Joseph Sweeney, who specialises in the areas of workforce transformation and the future of work stated, Australian organisations have led the world in the uptake of virtualisation which now has Australia leading in terms of Cloud adoption. 'World-leading Australian innovation was emerging in how Cloud-based services could be used to make internal operations more efficient, which was less glamorous than some of the consumer-facing apps being developed by emerging fintech companies, but equally worthwhile." said Dr Sweeney. 

“One area of innovation IBRS has identified over the last year is a rapid update of low-code platforms to allow less-technical staff to be involved in digitising business processes,” he said. Citizen developers aren't just limiting themselves to e-forms but are using a full range of low code tools and vendors are reporting sales growth of over 30%.

Full story.

The Latest

17 February 2021: At the Learning with Google global event, the Cloud giant announced a slew of new education-oriented features for its education productivity suite. Previously called G Suite for Education, the Google Workspace for Education is now being aggressively commercialised.  

What’s included

The free tier service - now called Google Workspaces for Education Fundamentals, had found strong acceptance in Australia by providing educators and students with collaborative learning capabilities. 

This free tier now has three paid tiers, each with increasing levels of security and manageability. 

  • Standard: Adds security and analytics capabilities. The new features are aimed at improving traceability and providing more nuanced access rights to information.
  • Teaching and Learning Upgrade: Adds features to better manage the classroom experience.
  • Education Plus: Combines all the features of the previous tiers, in addition to extra management capabilities. 

In addition, Google increased the baseline storage capacity for educational institutions to a whopping 100 TB, and added online-learning features to Google Meet.

Why it’s Important

Google and Microsoft are locked in a fierce battle for ‘hearts and minds’ in education. Both vendors know that student’s experiences with their productivity platforms today, will set expectations and habits for the workforce of tomorrow. This battle extends beyond the productivity suite to device, operating systems and ultimately, the entire digital workspace.

By introducing features that have been much in demand by education (especially K12) into commercial tiers, Google is fundamentally changing its stance in this war. In most State K12 and private education systems, Principals have the final say on the extent to which Google or Microsoft is used in classrooms. Often the decision is delegated down to the teachers and often both vendor’s offerings sit side by side.

Google’s evolving commercial stance means that this can no longer be the case. Given the total national cost (as ultimate schools are funded through State and Federal funds) educational policy setters now need to consider taking a side in the battle. 

Who’s impacted

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

What’s Next?

Stakeholders within education need to immediately begin the laborious task of evaluating Google’s and Microsoft’s offerings, not just from the perspective of current offerings, but from their likely future directions. While the need to rationalise to one platform today may not be a burning priority, the need will increase over the next decade.

Stakeholders outside of education should monitor the decisions of education networks, as the platforms they select will impact new staff expectations and work habits. 

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Dr Sweeney on the Post-COVID Lessons for Education (Video Interview)
  2. Kids, Education and The Future of Work with Dr Joseph Sweeney - Potential Psychology - 25 July 2018
  3. Higher Education Technology Future State Vision
  4. BYOD in Education: A report for Australia and New Zealand

The Latest

20 January 2021: In its 2020 Q4 quarterly earnings report, Citrix announced it is buying Wrike, a Cloud-based, collaborative project management service, for US$2.25 billion.

Why it’s Important

The market for collaborative workforce management tools has grown sharply in 2020. Prior to the pandemic, products such as Write were generally procured by business stakeholders. The ICT group’s ability to mandate a specific collaborative workforce management tool was limited due to the ease of acquiring such tools, strong user preferences based on past experiences with tools and waves of vendor’s branding activities. As a result, most organisations have a myriad of collaborator workforce management tools, including: Wrike, Monday, Trello, Microsoft Project, Microsoft Planner, Plutio and others. 

However, as outlined in IBRS’s whiteboard session on Disruptive Collaboration, this situation is unsustainable. These Cloud-based tools can not only create pockets of documents and sensitive information, but also act as barriers for different teams to work together when they each have different tools. 

Citrix’s acquisition of Wrike is a sign that the market for such tools may be starting to consolidate.

However, for existing Citrix customers and for Wrike customers, the acquisition will have little direct impact at this time.

Who’s impacted

  • Project managers
  • Business stakeholders involved with workforce management / project delivery

What’s Next?

  • ICT groups should seek out which workforce collaboration tools are in use across the organisation. Longer term, plans should be in place to begin limiting the number of tools in an effort to improve information management and compliance, collaboration between disparate teams and reduce the security footprint.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Disruptive Collaboration (whiteboard session)

The Latest

15 January 2021: Samsung released a set of three Galaxy S series smartphones, aimed at the consumer market. All models support 5G. The high-end model - the Galaxy S21 Ultra - has features that rival its flagship executive-level smartphone, the Galaxy Note. In addition, the announcement stressed Samsung’s workplace features:

  • Wireless DeX for using smartphone as desktop
  • Office 365 integration
  • Knox Suite for device management and end-point security.

Why it’s Important

Despite the market for smartphones declining sharply in 2020 (a drop of 16 percent), Samsung gained around 5% market share. The decline in the market is due to consumers retaining their smartphones for longer periods of time due to the increasing costs of premier devices.  

Samsung’s efforts to sell into enterprises - blending consumer and enterprise features - are proving effective in shoring up its strength against rivals. The vendor has been making inroads into the enterprise space with both consumer-grade devices and semi-ruggedised devices. The S21 series of devices support Samsung’s enterprise security features, DeX and the Knox (as well as third-party) end-point management services. 

The devices also include new cameras that make them attractive for field-based asset management activities. The S21 Ultra is a large format device that supports pen-input (via an add-on pen and case) positioning it against Samsung’s popular Galaxy Note.

Who’s impacted

  • Field support teams
  • Telecoms / comms teams
  • Workforce transformation strategists
  • End-point / security teams

What’s Next?

While Samsung’s DeX feature is interesting, IBRS has seen very few organisations launching DeX desktop experiences from smartphones. For now, this remains an ‘experimental’ idea, limited to tech. However, launching DeX desktop experiences from tablets is growing in popularity.

Samsung is betting heavily on 5G, especially in regard to new services on its devices. The new cameras can produce not only high-resolution images, but high-colour sensitivity (12-bit) RAW images and depth of field information, which open up new applications for asset management, field maintenance, and design. Any files that leverage these camera capabilities will be large. 5G networks will make such files viable in field applications.

From recent client research, IBRS notes that organisations using premium consumer-grade devices (namely Apple and Samsung) for field force tasks overestimate the battery life of these devices, and as a result, the replacement cycle needed. When such devices are used for ‘typical’ consumer use, batteries last for 3-4 years before their capacity diminishes to a point where they are problematic. In contrast, such devices used for field-forces result in batteries decaying within 2 to 2 ½  years. Therefore, buyers of enterprise smartphone devices need to monitor device health, adjust their device procurement lifecycles - and budgets - accordingly.

Samsung’s new S21 range supports enterprise features and cameras that make them attractive for field use. The range of price points for the S21 series make them attractive against their rival in enterprise smartphones.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Redefining what ruggedised means
  2. Keeping your mobile device strategies up to date

The Latest

2 December 2020: DXC Technology is partnering with Microsoft to create modern workplace experience. This effort is aimed at addressing the demand by enterprises to improve workplace agility, which has come into sharp relief during the pandemic.

Why it’s Important

This announcement clearly shows Microsoft’s strategy for securing not just segments of the enterprise architecture of the future but the lion’s share. 

Enterprise companies are driving the business transformation to enhance collaboration, increase mobility, and improve customer engagements. This announcement comes as competition such as Salesforce heats up through several acquisitions, and Microsoft’s long-time rival, Oracle, makes inroads into new models of SaaS.

Who’s Impacted

  • CIO / CTO
  • Enterprise software architecture team

What’s Next?

Microsoft, like all vendors, has a strategy to extract ever more revenue from its clients.  However, Microsoft's unique position in the market gives it huge power. Understanding how Microsoft will evolve its services and licensing models is essential for keeping budgets in control.

As explored in this week’s Salesforce Slack announcement, IBRS sees that one option for the future digital workplace architecture is based on five platforms.

  1. A platform consisting of central systems of record (e.g., CRM, ERP, etc.) in the Cloud or Cloud-like environments
  2. An integration platform that surrounds the mentioned platforms 
  3. A one (or likely two) low-code platform(s) 
  4. A platform that provides the needed collaboration tools  
  5. A federated information management platform.

Indeed, Salesforce is buying the platforms it needs and integrating them then, leveraging its strength in selling it to both technical and non-technical executives. On the other hand, Microsoft is starting from a position of technical strength and deep connection with the systems integrators. 

This is evident with the DXC agreement, which is a classic strategy. Leveraging larger SIs as a strategy to deliver a future digital workplace architecture, with Microsoft 365 and Teams (collaboration), Dynamics 365 (core systems), Power Platform (low code and automation), and Power BI (business intelligence).  

Related IBRS Advisory

Conclusion: Growing use of SaaS-based, low-code application development platforms will accelerate digital process innovation. However, embracing citizen developers (non-IT people who create simple but significant forms-based applications and workflows) creates issues around governance: including security, process standardisation, data quality, financial controls, integration and potentially single points of failure. There is also a need for new app integrations and service features for its stakeholders that need to be addressed before the potential for citizen developers can be fully realised.

If governed properly, low-code platforms and citizen developers can accelerate digital transformation (or at least, digitisation of processes) and in turn alleviate the load on traditional in-house development teams.

Conclusion: The need to see value from an enterprise architecture (EA) framework is essential, if for no other reason than to justify the cost. However, the business benefit of EA is not just the cost. It will also provide reduced risk and improved agility for the business in its use of ICT.

Many organisations struggle with how success or failure of EA should be measured. This paper provides the reader with guidance and advice on what to measure EA against and how that measurement could be presented as a key performance indicator (KPI).

In establishing KPIs for the EA framework your organisation has adopted, both business and ICT will jointly have a better understanding of the value EA brings to the enterprise, and be able to provide governance on the continuous improvement of your EA framework to achieve even better value.

Conclusion: The Digital Ready Workforce Maturity Model serves as a tool to help organisations measure the digital readiness of their workforce. It provides the baseline for organisations. This insight then informs strategic planning, policies and capability development priorities for organisations to guide and subsequently monitor maturity and capability.

Conclusion: When it comes to embracing collaboration, organisations should recognise that it is difficult to manage diverse personalities, perceptions and beliefs. In addition, every individual is going to have their preference on what makes a ‘good collaboration system’.

As a result, it is vital that project leads carefully consider the role staff play in a successful Microsoft Teams deployment and prepare staff for the changes ahead.

Conclusion: Many organisations have implemented collaboration and in particular video-conferencing facilities to support critical business operations in response to managing the COVID-19 pandemic. While remote workers have embraced these platforms with enthusiasm, organisations have had little opportunity to govern the use of these platforms due to the need to roll them out quickly. As end-users push forward with sharing confidential data and video across many teams, issues of data access rights, data confidentiality and employee confusion will emerge. Unless organisations put in place appropriate governance on their collaboration platform, the full benefits of the platform will not be realised.

Conclusion: Many organisations have now contained the COVID-19 crisis and stabilised their operations. The focus is now rapidly shifting towards the recovery phase. While the full implications of the 'new normal' are yet to be fully understood, it clear that industry sectors will be impacted very differently. What are the three mega trends emerging in the post COVID-19 world.

Conclusion: Microsoft Teams is a collaborative hub for teamwork with links to a wide range of information sources and communication capabilities. While a latecomer to the collaboration software solution market, Teams benefits from being included in Microsoft’s 365 platform, which means many organisations have ready access to collaboration capabilities without the licensing costs of dedicated third-party solutions.

Teams is a relatively new and rapidly evolving solution; therefore, deployment challenges are present. Organisations must prioritise a structured approach to planning, governance development and security. Planning is important to empower users so that the organisation can break down information and communication silos. The sooner the organisation prepares concrete plans, the smoother the transition will be. This paper outlines better practices for such planning.

Organisations that rushed the deployment of Teams to support working from home as part of the pandemic response should revisit their Teams deployments against the better practices discussed in this advisory paper, and ‘back-fill’ any missing activities to ensure that Teams maintains long-term benefits for the organisation.

Conclusion: With working from home mandated for a large portion of Australian workers as part of the national pandemic response, ICT groups are tasked with rapidly scaling up existing remote working programs and implementing entirely new ways of working for staff.

On the 16th April 2020, IBRS moderated a virtual roundtable where senior ICT executives discussed their organisation's experience in rapidly migrating to working from home and explored the lessons they had learned along the way. This paper details the insights gained and makes recommendations.

Conclusion: The phrase ‘People, Process and Technology’ describes the three key elements of a successful business. Business is the why, People the who, Process the what, and Technology the how. No single element of the trilogy can be seen as more important than the others. However, in the post-COVID-19 world, successful businesses will see that the focus of People has changed – they no longer go to work, work goes to them.

In technology terms, this effectively means that everyone is now the core of the system; the old concept of a core that is controlled from a central hub is now questionable. Post-COVID-19 technology design must allow for each worker to be able to work from any location, able to access information, services and data when necessary, and for each location to have surge capability.

IBRS analyst Dr. Joseph Sweeney provides best practice-advice on working from home in the current pandemic situation. Dr. Joseph Sweeney discusses current working from home policies which are mandated due to public health reasons, and explains how he has helped many organisations to adopt proper work-from-home practices.

Full Story.

Conclusion: Organisations that are nearing the end of life for their current voice platforms or have a compelling event to hinge the replacement of their voice service, need to review their use of voice before replacing the technology. IBRS recommends organisations look to leverage voice as an application to operationalise the processes within the organisation, and improve customer satisfaction.

Today the newer technology offerings allow your organisation to get a better return from voice. However, the use of these new technologies will impact business processes and offer greater innovation for your customer interaction. It will not be a simple replacement of boxes.

The key is understanding the power of voice. It is now an application driven by smart software. Businesses need to assess their use of voice to determine the cost benefit of the changes in the technology stack now on offer.

Conclusion: Being Cloud-based, Microsoft’s Office 365 includes features that would traditionally be considered backup. According to the Microsoft Office Trust Center, Microsoft establishes itself as a data processor with a primary focus on data privacy and management. It is not responsible for compliance or backup, but reliability and availability. As a result, Microsoft may not be able to provide security and protection to data in a way that meets an organisation’s compliance requirements.

Is your Working From Home Policy causing you grief?

Most organisations’ Working From Home policies are created under the assumption that people would be seeking permission to remote work. As a result, they focus on things that are simply not applicable to, or even blockers for, mandated working from home and self-isolation. 

Worse, many policies have clauses that are impossible to enforce during this pandemic, go against government recommendations and potentially open the organisation up for workplace challenges. At the very least, older WHF policies can confuse and worry staff.

To help, IBRS has created a template for a simple, practical WHF policy, written in staff-friendly language. You can quickly customise and download this policy template as a Microsoft Word file.

Click here to create your Working From Home Policy template

 

Conclusion: To support the changing workforce, businesses should look at adapting transformative workplace designs to maximise productivity and collaborative efforts. Early adopters of modern workplace designs have tried a variety of approaches in an effort to provide tangible improvements to staff productivity. Unfortunately, in many cases, the high hopes for innovative office designs resulted in the opposite – workplaces that confused, frustrated and distracted staff. IBRS conducted an extensive study into transformative workplace designs and interviewed Australian organisations that have been successful when implementing next-generation workplaces. IBRS identified common traits for success. In this paper, we detail the human aspects of designing a next-generation workplace.

Conclusion: Digital strategies often require organisations to complete major transformation projects to deliver the outcomes required of the strategy. A digital strategy is not just about technology, it is a holistic strategy that involves change across people, process and technology. The acceptance of technical debt and inaction around cultural change can have a severe impact on the total cost of ownership of technology for business. The rate of change in technology can make the traditional approach of depreciation against assets an unnecessary negative impact on good strategic thinking.

Organisations need to address the cost of technical debt and cultural change when embarking on strategic transformational programs to improve productivity. Strategies that involve digital transformation must address the business culture (people and process) and ensure change management programs are funded. The strategy must address the true impact of technical debt and ensure that technical assets are not retained just because they have a residual financial value.

Related Articles:

"What does it mean if an IT vendor is a ‘leader’?" IBRS, 2020-01-07 21:32:29

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.

Conclusion: Identity has historically been a thorny problem with concerns over identity theft and the need for verification. Now that biometrics are becoming so accessible to register and verify customers and clients, the business rules used to define the purpose of any identity and access management system should be reassessed in the broader context of business integrity. That is, to assess identity management in three dimensions of first, who the entity claims to be (person, business or thing), second, where the entity exists (geographically and digitally), and third, the entity’s behaviour.

By taking a broader view of identity to address the flow of an entity from a business integrity viewpoint, identity ceases to be just a token and becomes a life cycle. As a result, bona fide customers and clients can access services and products easily and safely, and non-bona fide customers and clients can more easily be isolated and denied access.

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?

Conclusion: The three largest service providers in Australia for mobile phone services, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, have all committed to providing 5G networks. 2019 has seen the introduction of 5G networks and devices; however, the coverage is still limited. Initial coverage by the service providers will focus on areas with the highest population density, providing coverage to a greater number of potential users. In 2019, it is estimated that coverage should be available to about 4 million potential subscribers.

The jump in speed and reduction in network latency will open up opportunities for new services and customer experiences that would not be practical using existing 3G or 4G networks. There is a large potential economic upside and organisations should be planning for future use cases.

Conclusion: On 16 May 2019, IBRS conducted a peer roundtable on issues related to data, analytics and business value. The focus of the roundtable was to allow senior IT executives to explore how different organisations are leveraging data to achieve tangible business benefits.

IBRS conducted the Domo-sponsored event, under the Chatham House rule. Participants included senior IT executives from a broad range of Australian organisations both in the public and private sector.

This paper provides a summary of the key learnings from the event.

Related Articles:

"Data: An Asset and a Liability" IBRS, 2016-12-03 02:41:05

"Machine learning will displace “extract, transform and load” in business intelligence and data integration" IBRS, 2018-02-01 10:03:37

"Prepare to manage the “evolution” of AI-based solutions with “DataOps”" IBRS, 2018-03-31 06:43:42

"Reframing Business Intelligence as Critical Business Imperatives" IBRS, 2015-10-03 00:03:12

Conclusion: The potential, and corresponding increased expectations of, modern CRM is causing many organisations to re-evaluate their existing CRM solution (or multiple solutions) with a CRM migration.

The decision to migrate to a new CRM solution should not be taken lightly. Given that the management of contacts (e. g. customers, stakeholders, citizens, etc.) is central to every organisation, changing how an organisation communicates with and serves these contacts must be viewed as a strategic initiative.

Therefore, it is vital that each organisation create a strategy, and subsequent plan, for its modern CRM journey. In this paper, IBRS outlines the typical journey for an organisation creating a strategy, planning for, and finally selecting a next-generation CRM solution.

 
IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.
 

Conclusion: Current approaches to knowledge management are being disrupted by a wave of new working practices that replace the paper-based metaphor that pre-dates the computer revolution, with a digital-only metaphor. While this change has been brewing for over a decade, it should not be confused with simple “digitisation” of paper processes. It is a fundamental shift in thinking about knowledge as a digital asset, which is detailed in “Workforce Transformation Part 1: Disrupting the very idea of paper is an important first step”.

Workforce Transformation: Complimentary Whiteboard Session
 
One of the key themes at IBRS is the workforce of the future and workforce transformation. Organisations are grappling with how they transform their workforce and what role technologys play in the next iteration of the future workplace.
 
Over the past 24 months, Dr Joe Sweeney has interviewed over 200 C-suite executives from Australian organisations, facilitated peer discussions at over 14 executive roundtables and has presented at many conferences on this topic.
 
As an attendee of Digital Edge, we would like to extend an invitation to run a complimentary 90 minute whiteboard session for your organisation on the workforce transformation, and the future work. This invitation is limited to the first 15 to register below.
 
Who should attend?
  • IT
  • HR
  • Marketing
Why is IBRS offering this?

1. We want to help you and your team gain an understanding of where technology and the workforce is heading, including

  • what are the critical technologies that are driving change?
  • how to develop a digital culture?
  • how will ICT roles change in the next decade?
  • what is the impact on organisational structures of digital workspace and deep collaboration?

2. We are genuinely interested in what Australian organisations are doing in this space

3. We want to give back to those who have participated in our research

4. We want to highlight the capability of IBRS and how we can offer practical advice

We hope that you take up this offer. IBRS would welcome the opportunity to guide and advise you in this complicated and evolving topic.
 

To request a workforce of the future whiteboard session, please provide your details below and we will contact you shortly to arrange a date and time for the session.


Please let us know your name.
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Please provide your company, or if personal, enter "Personal."
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IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

Conclusion: IBRS has observed that many organisations’ eforms initiatives face five common challenges. To help ensure the best long-term outcomes for an eforms initiative, each of the five challenges must be considered, and remediation strategies put in place.

Related Articles:

"How to succeed with eforms Part 1: Understand the need" IBRS, 2018-01-03 05:42:10

The Future of Work: The Role of People

Foreword by Joseph Sweeney, IBRS Advisor
 
For the past 30 years, organisations have applied technology to people to make the workplace more productive. But despite substantial investments in technology, productivity has grown annually on average at just 1.8 percent.  Something was not working.   
 
During the last few years, we’ve seen a shift in power. Instead of organisations dictating technology, increasingly people are choosing the technology they wish to apply in the workplace. Initially seen as a problem, shadow IT, is now accepted and embraced.    
 

Conclusion: Eforms hold the promise of democratising the development of work-related apps. However, eform projects will stagnate, or even fail outright, if they are initiated primarily as a technology-driven initiative. Instead, the selection of an eform involves identifying where on the eform solution spectrum your organisation sits, and this can be accomplished by answering four questions.

Related Articles:

"How to succeed with eforms Part 2: The five most common eforms challenges" IBRS, 2018-02-01 10:06:14

In December 2017, IBRS joined eight globally recognised thought leaders to discuss the Future of Work as part of Adobe's Think Tank series.

IBRS advisor, Dr Joseph Sweeney, not only presented a view of how technology is impacting the workforce during the live panel discussion but also moderated the pre-event brainstorm session and assisted with pre-event briefings.

The discussion examined the long-term ramifications of the changing workplace, including:

  • technology's impact on traditional jobs

  • which jobs are under threat

  • opportunities for new roles

  • changing hiring and work practices

  • the disruption caused by the gig economy

  • the role of governments
    how education must change

    For more, click on the video below.

 

Conclusion: Unless an organisation has made a decision to go “all-in” with Google’s G Suite, Chromebooks (plus Chromeboxes and related Chrome devices) are best viewed as an adjunct to traditional Windows laptops and desktops, rather than a replacement. Chromebooks provide the greatest value when applied to specific work contexts.

Related Articles:

"Considering Chromebooks Part 1: Show me the money!" IBRS, 2017-11-02 04:26:19

 
IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.
 

Conclusion: Both Google G Suite and Office 365 can enable deep collaboration. As discussed in Deciding between Google G Suite and Microsoft Office 3651, while G Suite puts deep collaboration front and centre, Office 365 allows organisations to evolve into this new way of working. Whatever office suite is selected, two aspects of end user computing are impacted when organisations seek to embrace deep collaboration: identity management and information governance.

  • Identity management must change to allow information to be shared with and worked upon by external parties.
  • Records management/compliance must change to enable an asynchronous knowledge management lifecycle.

Both of the above have policy and technology impacts. Prior to selecting either G Suite or Office 365, these impacts need to be carefully considered and the approaches taken by Google and Microsoft weighed against the organisational needs and appetite for change.

Conclusion: The decision to adopt Microsoft Office 365 or Google G Suite rarely comes down to cost. The decision is more often based on the speed at which an organisation wishes to change from “the old way of doing things” to the “new way”. More succinctly, it is a statement about how quickly the organisation wishes to transform its workforce to be mobile and deeply collaborative. The decision is therefore largely based on aspirational goals for the business, and a vision of how work will be accomplished in the future. However, it is important not to let such grand visions override practical considerations and the vendor hype – and almost religious fervour – surrounding both Google and Microsoft’s productivity suites.

IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.
 

Two years ago, mobile device management (MDM) was the buzz. Mobile security was an essential part of a mobility strategy, and every enterprise needed one. Today, not so much.

"About 18 months ago at least, businesses across the whole market realised that the issue wasn't around mobility. Mobility was subsumed by this idea of 'any device, anywhere'," according to Joseph Sweeney, an advisor with IBRS who specialises in end user computing, including mobility, future workplace strategies, and enterprise solutions.

"We're now starting to treat the desktop and the tablets and all these other devices as one and the same thing. Most of the strategies I'm working with do not distinguish between mobile device and desktop," Sweeney told ZDNet.

"What's changed is that instead of trying to say that here's a bunch of untrusted devices, and here's a bunch of trusted devices, people are realising that everything is an untrusted device, including the stuff in the office."

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Conclusion: Learning Management Solutions, Talent Management Solutions and Performance Management Solutions are increasingly offered as Cloud-based SaaS services and are merging into a single product category: Human Capital Management. For Australian organisations, this is both a blessing and a curse. In the long term, it will lessen the need to integrate previously disparate solutions. In the short term, it means that selecting a solution to meet a specific need – say creating and delivering eLearning resources to the workforce – must factor potential future needs of the workforce and the broader issues of Human Capital Management. ICT groups need to proactively provide guidance and governance to HR around the selection of solutions for all areas of Human Capital Management.

The workforce is changing. The rise of digital innovation, disruption of businesses practices, and indeed entire industries, and the influx of digital natives into the workforce has fundamentally shifted expectations about how, where and when work gets done, and the role of the IT group.

Towards the workforce of the future provides you with an understanding of why and how the workforce is changing, provides a methodology for how to go about planning and implementing, and outlines resources needed and the potential impact on the IT group.

For a deeper understanding of how workforce change impacts the IT group download your copy now.  

IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

Conclusion: IBRS’s Business Priorities Atlas presents the highest-level view of Australian business priorities and the likely technological landmarks for 2017. While the Atlas is largely unchanged from 2016, there is a far greater focus on delivering IT “as a service” and security. The move from the desktop-era work environment to a more flexible “digital workspace” is well underway. Use the Atlas to stimulate discussion between senior IT and non-IT executives as to what, where and when to invest in 2017 through to 2018.

IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.
 

Workforce transformation embraces far more than just mobility: it embraces not only where work gets done, but how, when and by whom. Much has been written about the fact that many jobs will cease to exist, while many others will transform beyond all recognition. And the impact these workforce changes will have on hiring practices and the structure of business is significant.

IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

Conclusion: Even though stakeholders may support ‘Digital’ initiatives – due in no small part to the all-encompassing nature of the term ‘Digital’ in today’s market – many of these initiatives will fail to deliver on the original intent. This is because the term ‘Digital’ enables stakeholders to reinterpret the intent of an initiative in a number of different ways. This can cause stakeholders – both within ICT groups and within the organisation more broadly – to take actions that deviate from the original intent, or that resist attempts to change. Even when organisations have put in place governance and processes to reconfirm stakeholders’ understanding of the initiative’s intentions, reinterpretations and misaligned actions can still occur.

By understanding the types of ‘mutation’ that stem from the use of ‘Digital’, and by appreciating the limitations of traditional methods of checking stakeholder alignment, policy and program leads can minimise the risk of projects being implemented in unexpected ways.

All too often mobility solutions are developed or procured in isolation to address narrow business needs, without consideration of how such solutions will scale-up into production or fit within the larger ICT ecosystem. Over time this hinders ICT’s agility in providing mobile solutions and increases the risks of project failures.

A Mobility Solution Delivery Framework can help maintain agility in mobility solution delivery and reduces risks. Moreover, it ensures a close alignment between business needs and investments in mobility.

Conclusion: All too often mobility solutions are developed or procured in isolation to address narrow business needs, without consideration of how such solutions will scale-up into production or fit within the larger ICT ecosystem. Over time this hinders ICT’s agility in providing mobile solutions and increases the risks of project failures.

A Mobility Solution Delivery Framework can help maintain agility in mobility solution delivery and reduces risks. Moreover, it ensures a close alignment between business needs and investments in mobility. This paper outlines the essential components of a Mobility Solution Delivery Framework.

Conclusion: While activity based working can deliver a better ambient environment and cut some fixed costs, it is the less easily measured outcomes that are the objective. These objectives tend to come under the heading of collaboration.

Public sector organisations need to see beyond the initial phase of ABW and look to the longer term in order to achieve the promise of activity based working.

Conclusion: To enable the new work practices, processes, organisational structures and cultures that will be required in the Future Workplace1, IT organisations must transform today’s device-centric desktop into a new end user computing platform that is based on modern usage and technology assumptions.

Simply adding a mobility strategy to the existing device-centric desktop only adds complexity and perpetuates a high cost, inflexible device-centric model. The CIO should examine fresh alternatives such as the Digital Workspace2.

Conclusion: Migrating to Office 365 requires a significantly different set of skills from on-premises office suite upgrades. Traditional skills will need to be reassessed and new skills will be needed internally. Also, some specialist skills are only required during the migration so may best be acquired from experienced external providers. Understanding which skills need to be developed, added or outsourced is essential for a successful and economical Office 365 (O365) migration.

Related Articles:

"The journey of Office 365: A guiding framework Part 3: Post-implementation" IBRS, 2016-05-05 00:21:00

"The Journey to Office 365" IBRS, 2015-05-01 14:58:56

"The journey to Office 365: A guiding framework Part 1" IBRS, 2016-03-01 04:23:10

"The journey to Office 365: A guiding framework Part 2 migration" IBRS, 2016-04-01 04:43:19

By Guy Cranswick

The standard method to assess the future is through the type and function of technologies. The starting point is the way new technologies modify processes and thereby rebalance requirements and outputs. An alternative approach is to examine how executive management will adapt to technological innovation, because management maintains longstanding principles and objectives that are noteworthy in the implementation of technologies.

The rate of change can appear dazzling and complicate accurate perceptions and understanding of long-running forces. The way to solve this common problem is to use fundamental principles, or axioms, in order to forecast a plausible view of the future. This method was done in a 1958 Harvard Business Review article (‘Management in the 1980s’, Harold J. Leavitt & Thomas L. Whisler, https://hbr.org/1958/11/management-in-the-1980s), in what transpired to be a remarkably prescient examination on the state of management in the 1980s. The article is also notable for using the phrase ‘information technology’ for the first time.

We propose, in similar spirit, a generational look into the future using the same principles. It should not be read literally. Twenty-five years is too distant to be confident of any forecast and the 1958 paper more closely modelled the 1990s, which demonstrates that forecasts can miss, although not be entirely useless.

Conclusion: Office 365, like Google Apps, holds the potential to impact workplace practices through new collaboration capabilities such as real-time co-authorship. However, this potential may only be realised if activities for the Office 365 environment go beyond the traditional post-implementation review plan. Instead, organisations wishing to see genuine changes must create a post-implementation review plan which must assess the extent to which business benefits have been delivered over the long-term.

Related Articles:

"The Journey to Office 365" IBRS, 2015-05-01 14:58:56

"The journey to Office 365: A guiding framework Part 1" IBRS, 2016-03-01 04:23:10

"The journey to Office 365: A guiding framework Part 2 migration" IBRS, 2016-04-01 04:43:19

"The journey to Office 365: Part 4 – Skills" IBRS, 2016-06-02 00:26:00

Conclusion: To progress digital transformation strategies there are a number of new competencies (such as problem finding and problem framing) that organisations need to recognise and master or partner with specialists to ensure that investments and efforts are aimed at solving the right problems. CIOs and business executives will need to assess the problem finding capabilities within their organisations or risk implementing a better digital solution to a problem that is no longer relevant.

This Compass expands upon the initial discussion presented in the IBRS Master Advisory Presentation, “Digital Workspaces: Enabling the Future Workplace.”1It outlines IBRS Workspaces Strategy Framework that can guide the development of your end user computing strategy that embraces evolving work practices, such as mobility, activity based working, and self-service.

Conclusion: Microsoft is completing a unified communications and collaboration (UCC) product suite development journey begun more than a decade ago as it finally offers missing critical components with Cloud-delivered telephony. In doing so it risks alienating its current UCC partners (especially those in telephony).

UCC strategy, planning and deployment is incomplete, fragmented, or poorly organised in most enterprises due to a lack of curated planning for collaboration and imperfectly orchestrated adoption (especially in training and no mandated use of core UCC tools).

IBRS finds that SfB and similar UCC solutions are only worth the cost if inter-personal collaboration is properly implemented and realised consistently across a business based on a policy. For most businesses, this is a perfect time to review their communications and collaboration strategy because most have massively under-achieved their productivity potential and complete Cloud solutions are now becoming available.

Conclusion: Deployment of Office 365 as a pure Cloud solution has lagged the sales of Office 365 licences. This is largely due to IT groups’ unfamiliarity with the Office 365 environment: unlike Office Professional, Office 365 can be run across new devices, provides real-time collaboration1 and offers new tools based on analytics. Simply replacing Office Professional with Office 365 will not deliver new value to the organisation: it will simply move the organisation from a CapEx to an OpEx model. Organisations should view Office 365 as a set of services that support the broader digital workspaces strategy. Organisations first identify the business benefits being sought and create a future state vision for end-user computing. Investments in Office 365 may then be used to support the digital workspace strategy, and a deployment plan developed.

To assist in deployment planning, IBRS has developed a framework that will assist organisations in their journey to Office 365.

Related Articles:

"The journey of Office 365: A guiding framework Part 3: Post-implementation" IBRS, 2016-05-05 00:21:00

"The Journey to Office 365" IBRS, 2015-05-01 14:58:56

"The journey to Office 365: A guiding framework Part 2 migration" IBRS, 2016-04-01 04:43:19

"The journey to Office 365: Part 4 – Skills" IBRS, 2016-06-02 00:26:00

Conclusion: The fragmented uptake of real-time co-authoring will disrupt current business practices and impact a number of core information technology solutions as it changes how some types of knowledge are created and how people organise to accomplish some types of work. It is imperative the CIO/CDO engage business strategists, those involved with workplace innovation, and human resources executives to discuss the opportunities and impact of real-time co-authoring, and develop policies and cultural change plans to minimise the risks and disruptions, while also taking advantage of the opportunities.

Related Articles:

"Get ready for Real-Time Co-Authoring: Part 1" IBRS, 2015-11-02 02:59:07

Workspaces: At the next desktop upgrade an organisation has two options: It can incrementally improve the desktop, using 20-year-old assumptions, or create a new end user computing platform based on modern technology trends. In this IBRS master advisory presentation (MAP), IBRS outlines the high-level issues surrounding the future of the Digital Workspace from both a business and technology viewpoint.

This MAP is designed to guide and stimulate discussion between business and technology groups, and point the way for more detailed activity. It also provides links to further reading to support these follow-up activities.

In the search for a competitive edge more organisations are looking to activity-based working (ABW). It is not a quick or low-cost option. Some of the apparent benefits and merits may also lack demonstrable certainty. However, the workplace is changing rapidly for some types of information workers. IT should understand ABW, its potential and pitfalls, and be prepared to engage the rest of the organisation.

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

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

Enterprise Mobility is opening up new approaches to performing business activities. Early adopters of mobility technologies report significant improvements in process quality, as well as dramatically reduced latency for work activities. However, to achieve the expected results of mobility, organisations need to balance tactical mobility projects against longer term architectural approaches. For this reason, it is vital to have an enterprise mobility strategy in place, which can both prioritise mobility initiatives as well as link such initiatives back to business objectives.

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

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

Conclusion: Based on usage patterns and personalisation MCPs (Smartphones and Tablets) offer an opportunity to build a more intimate relationship with customers. While there is great opportunity there are some technology and cultural challenges that need to be addressed.

Conclusion: moving to an activity based working (ABW) environment is a complex multifactor project. Organisations can take stock of their readiness to approach activity based working by using the maturity model. The model will assist in developing the planning criteria required for any ABW strategy.

Conclusion: Enterprise mobility provides opportunities for fundamental shifts in: how organisations interact with stakeholders; how work gets done; where work happens; and how organisations are structured. Mobility itself is not a single product, but the result of the intersection of changes in technology, economics, and culture. Ultimately, enterprise mobility will evolve into a culture that is synonymous with Continuous Quality Improvement1. An enterprise mobility maturity assessment can assist an organisation in identifying which areas it needs to address as it moves towards the new culture.

Conclusion: Organisations that have made a move to Google in an effort to reduce their reliance on the incumbent Microsoft Office Suite have found that migrating from Microsoft involves far more than just human change management. Technological linkages with the Office desktop client(s) hold back organisations’ transfer to the Cloud. Before implementing Cloud-based productivity tools, an organisation should examine just how ‘sticky’ Microsoft Office is within their organisation, and should plan on how to become ‘unstuck’.

Conclusion: Microsoft’s Software Assurance should not be viewed as a monolithic software maintenance and ‘upgrade path’ for existing solutions. Instead, it should be viewed as a collection of additional licences that extend product usage rights, and grant features for enterprise scale deployments. Knowing which Software Assurance licences to procure, and which to reject, can result in significant savings.

Related Articles:

"Understanding and Optimising Software Assurance: Part 2" IBRS, 2014-10-31 17:57:54

Conclusion: Organisations have been slowly and organically embracing virtual team management models over the past few years and there is every indication that this is the model of the future. Managing virtual teams and developing highly functional communities have been largely hit and miss. There are still many instances of dysfunctional teams exacerbated by the tyranny of distance. Systemically assessing the virtual distance within an organisation can provide insights and assist executive managers to develop and implement initiatives to significantly increase the effectiveness of virtual teams.

Conclusion: For many good reasons collaboration is seen as a means to improve productivity and kick-start innovation. Both productivity and innovation are how organisations can raise their effectiveness and competitive edge.

However, simply ‘doing collaboration’, as though it comes as a readymade solution, is a certainty to fail. Collaboration needs governance and management. The expectations have to be established and the tools to achieve an organisation’s goals need clarity and agreement. The biggest factor is people and culture, and how these respond and develop over time.

Conclusion: The challenge for all organisations is to understand the technology options and work practices that will ensure the durability of the organisation. The rise and acceptance of social media tools is one example of this challenge. Those organisations that have adopted activity based working offer one possible path. For others there may be a combination of work designs and solutions that serve them best.

IT executives should play a role in the decisions that are made on how work is conducted in the future and the technologies to enable the new processes.

Conclusion: Deciding to transition the organisation to activity based working (ABW) will be complicated by meeting various stakeholder interests and aligning the organisation’s culture. In this sense it may involve several iterations. Each one refined from lessons of the previous one.To reduce risk it is essential that the ABW checklist be precise about the objectives and the organisation’s capacity to transition to a new working model.

Conclusion: In the search for a competitive edge more organisations are looking to activity-based working (ABW). It is not a quick or low cost option. Some of the apparent benefits and merits may also lack demonstrable certainty. However the workplace is changing rapidly for some types of information workers. IT should understand ABW, its potential and pitfalls, and be prepared to engage the rest of the organisation.

ABW is not a rational method to cut the cost of office rent. Nor is it a recycling of ‘hot-desking’, or any other 30YO buzz phrase. ABW is a broad and substantial change to working practices. Realising an ABW project involves thorough planning and a set of objectives. It also requires a flexible interpretation of the outcomes because not everything can be measured in perfect quantities.

Conclusion: IT managers and purchasing officers need to be aware of recent changes in Microsoft’s licensing and evolving interpretations of licensing terms, or face surprises during true up and licensing negotiations that Microsoft will use to its advantage.

Conclusion: Windows 8 desktops are being largely sidestepped by IT managersresponsible for desktop deployments in the enterprise, with many desktop managers suggesting Windows 7 will reign supreme for at least the next 5-7 years. However, many of these managers do see a role for Windows 8 as a solution for enterprise mobility. Windows 8 tablets address most desktop manager’s concerns: manageable, secure, support for existing software and software deployment methods. But users have a very different set of concerns. Desktop managers need to base future solutions on the users’ concerns first and foremost, which means that Windows 8 tablets, or any device for that matter, will not be a panacea for mobility.

Conclusion: A mobility strategy is not simply a broad set of statements and visions for how mobility can be used in enterprise. While it must be connected to the broad vision statements of the enterprise, a mobility strategy must identify specific aspects of the organisation where it can deliver a multiplying (not just incremental) impact on the business. Furthermore, the strategy needs to contain specific, achievable actions that will lead to the delivery of this value. This research note concludes the “Coping with Mobility” series by bringing all aspects previously discussed into a workable strategy for mobility.

Related Articles:

"Coping with Mobility - Part 3: aligning generic use cases to application development approaches" IBRS, 2012-04-30 00:00:00

"Coping with Mobility - part 1: mobile architecture and the enterprise" IBRS, 2012-02-28 00:00:00

"Coping with Mobility - Part 2: First steps towards a holistic mobility strategy" IBRS, 2012-03-29 00:00:00

"Coping with mobility - part 4: governance" IBRS, 2012-05-31 00:00:00

"Coping with mobility Part 6: Work context" IBRS, 2013-06-26 00:00:00

Frederick Herzberg, a psychologist who was very influential in management theory last century, created a model variously called the Motivation-Hygiene theory, or Two-Factor theory. The theory proposes that there are factors in the workplace which increase satisfaction, and there are other factors that decrease dissatisfaction; and that these factors may not be the same.

For example, when you stop hitting your head against a wall, your dissatisfaction will decrease, but you have not necessarily increased your satisfaction. I think that this model casts an interesting light on the challenge of mobility, and particularly around the ownership issue of BYOD accessing corporate data.

Conclusion: In order to optimise spending on Microsoft’s products, licensing should not be viewed as a short-term, tactical activity, but rather a long-term strategic activity. Failure to do so will almost certainly result in licensing surprises in future, and the turmoil and budget overruns associated with such situations.

As discussed in this month’s research note “Microsoft Licensing + Virtualisation = Licensing Confusion” Microsoft’s Licensing model is based on a physical machine model that is increasingly out of touch with the IT industry.

In the past, when computers did not have the processing power of today’s hardware and operating systems, and software was bound to the physical machine, binding licensing to the physical machine made absolute sense. When organisations wanted to get more computing power, they would buy more machines: which would see Microsoft getting more revenue. Consumption of software (arguably the value of IT in the eyes of users) was closely correlated to the physical machine.

Conclusion: A common mistake when engaging third-parties for ‘Agile software development services’ is to use a contract or procurement approach that is at odds with the tenets of Agile software development. In cases where contract and payment terms follow the more traditional ‘fixed price and scope’ statements of work, organisations do not get true Agile development services, and more likely than not, will be frustrated and dissatisfied with results of the project. Instead, organisations should consider using specific styles of Master Service contracting agreements with Agile developers, or accept that the best than can be achieved will be a hybrid “Watergility” approach by the developers.

Conclusion: With the recent announcement regarding availability of Microsoft Windows 8, desktop managers are once again finding themselves with the challenge of building a business case for a desktop refresh. However, IBRS proposes that operating system upgrades should no longer be the centrepiece of the desktop refresh process. It is time to radically change how desktop refresh decisions are made. Instead, organisations should be creating an applications deployment strategy that looks not at devices and operating systems, but at ways in which to get the right applications in the right hands, no matter the device or OS.

Conclusion: Just as the influx of personally owned mobile devices is reaching a peak in enterprises, there are new options for mobile device management (MDM) which are being driven by three factors. The three factors are: HTML5, Exchange ActiveSync, and carriers moving up the value chain in an IP-centric world. Ultimately, all three options will have appeal to different types of organisations, and different applications. Due to the rate of maturation of these factors, CIOs should expect that an MDM platform deployment will have a shelf life of less than two years.

Conclusion: Investment in meeting room management systems is becoming increasingly important for organisations looking to modernise and optimise their facilities. It is however a complex investment. The investment will fail if appropriate stakeholders’ perspectives are not included in the process and if an objective analysis of user requirements fails to occur. When executed correctly, the definition of a meeting room can be expanded, ensuring efficient use of assets such as car parks, lockers and technology.

Conclusion: The evolution of the social web 2.0 is creating a plethora of technologies for conducting transactions, with eBay, Amazon and PayPal being the most prominent players. The global financial crisis has sped up a trend towards specialised markets for peer-to-peer transactions and towards radically new business models that have the potential to transform entire industries. Consumers and SMEs are driving the change, and traditional banks and established corporations must re-focus part of their competitive edge on those areas that complement peer-to-peer transactions. Peer-to-peer exchange is as old as recorded human history, but traditionally it was limited in scope, leading to the creation of financial institutions that perform the role of a broker of trust between sellers and buyers, a role that is now being challenged by web based alternatives.

Software, and or, middleware solutions to enable collaboration and other activities via the cloud are growing. Fortunately for organisations, the features, benefits and costs of the solutions offered by vendors provide plenty of choice. As this area of cloud applications and tools is growing rapidly, organisations should take a longer view, up to three years for a total cost of ownership evaluation, and assess the requirements for file sharing solutions. Social networking connection tools can be chosen without too much cost or risk attached.

Conclusion: Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform has a long heritage in the enterprise, but in the past five years its market share has decayed as a tsunami of consumer-oriented smartphones hit the market. Microsoft’s latest offering, Windows Phone 7, is a big step up from its previous mobile offering, but it is unlikely that it will be able to bury the iPhone, as Microsoft attempted to imply recently1. However, the platform has a strong story to tell with regards to enterprise mobility.

Conclusion:  For many organisations, the issue is not if, but when and how they will move to Windows 7. IBRS has identified three key phases that must be worked through prior to making the move to Windows 7 (or indeed an alternative desktop environment).

Conclusion: IT managers starting to investigate either WAN optimisation or web application acceleration technologies need to be clear on several factors before making a purchase. The first and most important factor is the technical architecture their organisation currently has. The correct choice of technology will depend on: where the data is, where the users are, what applications the users need, how mobile they are, and whether the organisation is moving towards web applications.

Conclusion: More organisations are establishing explicit rules governing the use of social media. Any guidelines or functional principles for social media use should be comprehensive and practical.

Most importantly, the rules should be drafted for the specific organisation, not taken from a generic template as they will lack specific and pragmatically understood rules within the particular organisation. In so doing, the guidelines will be unambiguous. In addition, one of the objectives of a guide must be to gain complete cooperation from all staff, and consequently make compliance, and therefore sanctions, easier to apply.

Conclusion: Google's Wave has caused both thrill and uproar over its innovation and potentially disruptive effects to the status quo of office productivity. Currently Wave is an indication of what might be possible, once all the programming and security issues and assorted bugs are either organised better or eliminated.

In any case, enterprises and large organisations are not likely to be early adopters of Wave because of their current collaboration platforms and legacy systems. The SME sector, and that comprises thousands of smart businesses in the information industries, are likely to adopt Wave. The underlying reason is due to their use of Google products, chiefly the Apps and search applications.