ICT and Digital Strategic Decision

Conclusion: IBRS has identified five areas of governance overlooked in the rush to deploy Teams. Organisations now need to ‘back-fill’ these areas to ensure the organisation meets its compliance obligations and reaps the full benefits of the digital collaboration environment.

Conclusion: A simple Google search can provide access to thousands of change management frameworks, methodologies and theories. Many relate specifically to digital transformation; however, methods such as the Knoster model cover organisational change more broadly across culture, vision, resources and action planning.

The frequency of unsuccessful organisational change or transformation is on the rise1. While there are many organisational change theories, this paper demonstrates the connection between a particular theoretical framework (Knoster model) and how an organisation can translate these theories into successful organisational activities and practice.

This advisory paper will step through the six dimensions of change within the Knoster model for managing complex change and how you can use this to easily investigate and diagnose the overall health of your organisation’s change or transformation agenda, and to identify practical steps to stay on track.

Conclusion: For many years, shadow IT or business-managed computing has flown under management’s radar screen with mixed results. For some organisations it has been a panacea as it has helped them automate business processes quickly and gain valuable business insights from accessing complex data structures.

In some organisations, business managers resort to developing a shadow IT solution because skilled IT resources are not available due to budget constraints. When this occurs, business or engineering professionals (also known as digital natives) are then reassigned to provide a stop-gap solution, which is often uncontrolled. For these managers, shadow IT is an irritant as it diverts them and their direct reports from their everyday tasks.

Conclusion: More than one-third of businesses globally claim to have an omnichannel strategy, which is often predicated on the use of digital channels and platforms1. However, in this quest to leverage digital channels, many organisations are rushing to create omni-enablement plans that look good on paper, but in fact, fail in practice.

This paper covers the three measures that organisations can take to successfully evolve their multichannel foundational investment (walking) for sustainable future omnichannel enablement (running).

Conclusion: A common pitfall experienced by service-orientated organisations is the disconnect between its digital efforts and its marketing program. In good practice, marketing efforts should underpin your digital strategy. This can be achieved by unifying marketing’s focus on customer and staff engagement, communications and promotion with the leveraging of digital channels to conduct these activities.

Conclusion: Digital transformation is more than another software development stream to replace legacy systems by mobile applications. Digital transformation includes building a new IT capability that can improve the business bottom line. It requires increasing business performance, reducing the cost of doing business and mitigating business risks in a cost-effective manner. To support digital transformation, IT value management capabilities should be established on the following building blocks:

  • Value creation – Define and create the desired IT value needed by business lines. The IT value is a combination of services and technologies capabilities.
  • Value measurement – Measure the IT value contribution to digital transformation.
  • Value communication – Communicate the IT value contribution to business stakeholders, ensure that their expectations are met and re-adjusted (if needed) to address the business and market emerging imperatives.

Conclusion: A digital strategy and the need for organisations to undertake numerous projects to achieve digital transformation have become the new norm. Digital strategies often require organisations to complete major transformation projects to deliver the outcomes required of the strategy. However, a digital strategy is not just about technology, it is a holistic strategy that involves change across the business processes, to improve both the organisation’s bottom line and the customer experience.

The considerations you must address in development of your digital strategy are much broader than just technology, or indeed just internal business processes or people skills. A digital strategy is about running the business in a smarter, more efficient and effective way, which allows customers improved and faster access to products and services.

For a digital strategy to deliver the best outcomes for the organisation, the customer experience must be the key consideration. Only from the customer’s perspective can the considerations of people, process and technology be best achieved.

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

Conclusion: Digital transformation is a journey that will require an organisation to undergo metamorphosis. Unlike projects, it does not always have a short-term or long-term timeline. However, organisations can tread with discernment by harnessing clarity of purpose and an adept understanding of its culture and the values of its people.

There are different types of organisations in terms of how they handle digital transformation. These are the ‘visionaries’, the ‘explorers’ and the ‘watchers’. Visionary companies are those which truly utilise digital for transformation and truly believe that they can implement change. Explorer companies utilise digital transformation for experience.
Organisations that are considered as watchers utilise digital transformation for efficiency and have a traditional view with regard to technology. They believe that technology adoption can be used to reduce waste and gain efficiency.

The type in which an organisation falls may also affect the strategy it employs in handling challenges and obstacles. The most common hurdles faced by organisations are insufficient funding and technical skills, lack of organisational agility and entrepreneurial spirit, having a risk-averse culture, lack of collaborative culture, security concerns, competing priorities, lack of strategy and understanding.

Aside from the obstacles and challenges companies encounter, there are also various pitfalls they fail to recognise early on. This leads to mistakes and miscalculations.

Conclusion: Digital transformation is the number one information communication technology (ICT) challenge for information technology (IT) leaders across Australia and New Zealand. Organisations are faced with various hurdles whenever they try to implement digital transformation initiatives. The major concerns for these organisations are how to get to the other side of disruption efficiently and effectively and how to best deal with the cultural and technological challenges of digital transformation. Challenges are not focused on technology or adoption approaches as these are available and matured. Traditional challenges of organisation change, culture and budget seem to not have been overcome, even after more than three decades.

Based on Infosys Digital Radar 2019, in terms of the digital maturity ranking in the Asia Pacific per country, Australia is within the top 5 out of 10 countries and New Zealand is in the top 7 out of 10 countries. Organisations are encountering obstacles in adapting successfully in the digital era.

Conclusion: Agile approaches are being applied to a wide range of projects and activities within organisations including infrastructure upgrade projects of known tools and devices and across existing customer bases. Focusing on the technology elements and progressing quickly to build and test can uncover blind spots due to a high degree of familiarity and assumptions. Areas such as stakeholder engagement, vendor management, integration and the need for discovery and design can be glossed over as it is assumed that most of the details are known. The result is a discovery and gaps are discovered at the end of the test phase, just prior to release or even after release to production.

Conclusion: ERP SW licensing or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has many permutations and influences one of the largest IT investments for most organisations. Vendors aim to integrate, at a minimum, shared corporate data from financial data, HR, operations and sales. The benefits of aligned data, reporting and processes helps C-level decision makers track and improve organisation performance.

The most common arguments for implementing an ERP system are the cost savings and productivity improvements1. Effective SW governance is essential to avoid eroding expected cost savings or efficiencies.

Large government departments, local government authorities, public listed corporate entities or privately owned entities are all likely to have significant investment in an ERP and will need continued investment in the ERP if ongoing value is to be extracted. Small to medium organisations tend to be more agile and may be able to migrate to a SaaS solution to take advantage of lower migration costs and more cost-effective licensing arrangements.

Either way, modernisation or migration programs are opportunities to renegotiate SW licensing costs provided the pros and cons have been assessed.

Conclusion: Asset management can be described as ‘the life cycle management of physical assets to achieve the stated outputs of the enterprise’. To achieve the appropriate level of asset management maturity, investment in people, processes and technology all increase the likelihood of developing an effective asset management system. Under-investment could result in asset leakage or increased maintenance costs, thus diminishing the expected returns of the assets.

Where asset management maturity model reaches the level of being ‘integral part of everything we do’, organisations can seek accreditation of the asset management framework using ISO 55000:2014.1

Where the common question is often ‘why waste our time on asset management’ then assets are usually at risk of leakage or poor customer satisfaction ratings. Outages and incidents may occur regularly. The risk of business collapse increases without recognition and change. Here organisations need to consider the steps to commence a review using the asset management model.

Conclusion: Many strategic planning activities that are meant to set the future direction for the organisation fail to meet that objective. Current success, a high level of incumbent expertise or even passion can prevent an organisation from considering red flags or other indicators that will impact on future success. At worst, it can result in significant failure; at best, it limits the activities of the organisation to do more of the same with a tactical work plan. Overcoming this myopia is critical to ensuring that strategic planning i.e.fective and provides a useful compass for the organisation.

Conclusion: The ubiquitous availability of smartphone and wearable technology has opened up opportunities for a wide range of new applications that take advantage of knowing the location and proximity of these devices.

One of the newer underlying technologies that enable these new apps are low-cost small beacons that provide regular transmissions, usually to Bluetooth-enabled devices. When working on digital transformation projects or opportunities to innovate, these technologies should be included in the developer’s tool bag.

Conclusion: Globally, organisations are dealing with the challenges of “digital transformations” and the need to “innovate”. Chief information officers (CIOs) need to support their organisations in these initiatives, but the ownership in defining what is required rests with the business managers, and the key executives such as the chief marketing officers, chief supply chain officers, chief human resources officers and chief executive officers. If the organisation has one, chief technology officers would be a contributor in terms of how technology can be included in innovation initiatives.

CIOs need to be valued as trusted advisors to the business leaders in terms of what technology solutions will support their businesses’ initiatives.

Conclusion: There are two broad groups of digital strategies – bold and defensive. Companies that choose bolder strategies tend to be more successful. However, there are good reasons why certain enterprises should consider choosing more conservative defensive digital strategies as there are still benefits to be gained from this approach. Strategy selection depends on a variety of factors, including industry forces and other factors which make each enterprise unique. It is important not to be half-hearted about digital ambition – defensive strategies are not sufficient in the long run. Strong and committed leadership at the top and throughout the organisation is still crucial to the successful implementation of digital initiatives.

Conclusion: Digital transformation is top of the agenda for most companies in 2019. Many organisations have initiated digital transformation programs and are seeing success with small-scale pilots. However, these activities do not easily scale across the enterprise or ecosystem, limiting an organisation’s capacity to fully realise the benefits of their digital transformation investment.

The biggest barrier to scaling is not technology. It is culture. The established culture in a stable and successful organisation is likely to resist disruption. Existing remuneration and recognition frameworks tend to reward existing behaviours. Individuals and groups will resist change if they do not believe the “digital vision”. A clear, compelling narrative is needed.

Effective scaling of digital initiatives must be led with a commitment from the top, intense communication at all levels and a clearly articulated vision of the future. Organisations that recognise this and can source the right capabilities to deliver large-scale digital transformations will have higher success rates than those which do not.

Conclusion: Agility has been introduced into organisations as part of their approach to increase the cadence, or velocity, of design, development and implementation cycles for project delivery. Increased levels of activity and visibility are also integral to many social media solutions and their approach to online presence. However, strategic planning processes evolve slowly and for many organisations this critical business and technology planning activity is lagging behind and no longer supports the business objectives in the digital era. 

Conclusion: Developing a digital strategy or embarking on a digital transformation program is now a common business narrative. For some organisations it is a process of recasting existing IT strategy and continuing in more or less the same manner. For others it involves initiating a technology project as a way to learn new processes and update platforms and skills. Understanding the business readiness of the organisation is a critical element for any change but is key to digital transformation.

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Conclusion: Digital transformation is happening everywhere. It is being included in organisational strategic plans for government service improvements and in commercial organisations to address market challenges and industry disruptors. Digital transformation efforts include a core group of domains including strategy, innovation, experience, automation and trust and these must be addressed in any digital transformation approach. However, a core element of digital transformation is people and the hardest part of digital transformation is the cultural piece.1 Understanding the people elements of digital transformation and appropriately addressing them can mean the difference between success and failure for organisations.

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"Who should lead digital transformation?" IBRS, 2018-11-02 11:39:29

Conclusion: There are many strategies to consider as well as challenges to be aware of when migrating from a traditional waterfall development methodology to an agile methodology. Plan and prepare carefully and be patient during this transition and anticipated benefits will be realised.

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"When the Stars are Aligned use Agile" IBRS, 2016-04-22 23:15:40

"When to use Agile project management" IBRS, 2018-07-05 03:29:21

Conclusion: In IBRS’s 2018 Top Business Technology Trends Priorities Report, we noted that despite significant media attention on blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) in 2017, the primary concerns of Australia’s Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in 2018 remains focused on the more pressing issues of migration to the Cloud, and its impact on IT operations and staffing.

However, ignoring DLT in the long term is no longer an option. After 10 years since the advent of blockchain, real world and production examples are now emerging from market-influencing players in Australia such as the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and Commonwealth Bank (CBA). This, combined with significant investment from credible vendors (both old and new), requires that CIOs and their Enterprise Architects review the implications of DLT becoming a mainstream means for secure, immutable data exchange to enable fully automated multi-party workflows.

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Conclusion: The CIO’s role has changed considerably over the past couple of decades, from “keeping the lights on” and working on cost-saving initiatives (automation) to expanding into embracing new technologies and enablers to transform the organisation. The importance of this has created additional roles like the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) to lead this critical activity.

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Conclusion: Organisations either recognised early that digital transformation was essential to meet the competitive demands of their respective markets or accepted that general community expectations had increased where digital transformation of traditional business operations, processes and services was no longer expected and demanded. Digital transformation became the next big thing in organisations and initiatives were launched in earnest everywhere. While there are always success stories, many more have been less than successful and their stories have some very common themes. To make digital transformation work for the long term it is critical to avoid these mistakes.

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Conclusion: Since CRM modernisation will impact many major functional areas of the organisation, developing a communication plan to ensure the strategy is developed and executed in a consistent and well-supported manner will involve many different roles and responsibilities. Gone are the days when the CRM was primarily the domain of sales and the IT departments.

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"CRM modernisation Part 1: Strategy, planning & selection" IBRS, 2018-09-04 05:20:15

"CRM modernisation Part 2A: Creating a public sector stakeholder experience strategy" IBRS, 2018-09-04 06:46:34

"CRM modernisation Part 2B: Creating a customer experience strategy" IBRS, 2018-09-04 06:47:58

Conclusion: Organisations undertake strategic planning activities on a regular basis, whether it be every three years or a rolling review every 12 months, to establish goals for the following three years. However, a review of many strategic plans and more specifically the resulting programs of work are often developed from the perspective of the project rather than the business benefits being sought. Understanding each investment and plotting that investment within an investment matrix will provide executives with a perspective about the balance of their ICT investment portfolio. Strategic investment goals such as planning an allocation for innovation will support execution of plans and achieving strategic goals.

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Conclusion: On 3rd April 2018, Microsoft announced the availability of its Azure Cloud running within Canberra Data Centres (CDC) facilities, and officially rated for protected workloads.

Superficially, this appears to boost Microsoft’s ability to “check off” security concerns for government and other clients that have specific compliance demands.

While removing compliance barriers to Cloud adoption is certainly welcome, there are more compelling factors for considering the new Azure facilities. These include: closing the gap between legacy solutions, hyper-scale, (selected) SaaS environments, and legacy solutions; reducing the distinction between public and private Cloud services; blending customer ecosystems for critical national infrastructure.

The timing of this new infrastructure coincides with The Security of Critical Infrastructure Bill introduced to the Lower House in December last year, and passed by the Senate late last week.

Conclusion: Achieving the ability to comply with the new European General Data Protection Regulation is seen as a costly and burdensome overhead adding a new layer of complexity to how organisations will need to manage and secure Personally Identifiable Information (PII) records kept by them.

However, organisations should view the potential benefits of being able to use obtaining and maintaining the ability to comply with GDPR as an opportunity to justify investments in technologies, process improvements and people to deliver better overall outcomes for the organisation.

Rather than simply focusing on doing what is required to be able to comply, focus should be on using the opportunity to update tools and processes to improve organisational efficiencies, reduce costs, increase customer and employee loyalty, and improve productivity.

Conclusion: Managing large IT environments and provisioning IT services within an organisation is complex and complexity will always exist. However, not all complexity is “bad”. “Good” complexity is the complexity required to simplify, to reduce costs, create value, improve security and improve overall operations and results.

Focus needs to always be maintained on reducing “bad” complexity. “Bad” complexity is the complexity that makes it difficult to do things, difficult to secure, difficult to manage, difficult to innovate, or difficult to adapt to changes in the organisation. “Bad” complexity comes with high costs, including hidden costs in lost employee productivity and morale, potentially loss of new business opportunities, or higher staffing costs due to the limited availability of the skills needed.

Organisations need to maintain a mindset of constantly managing initiatives to drive towards simplification in their IT portfolio, understanding that achieving this will involve sophisticated and often complex planning and the successful execution of those plans.

Conclusion: Chromebooks continue to be viewed mostly as a low-cost alternative to Windows devices. While it is true a Google G Suite/Chromebook only workspace is a considerably lower cost compared to a Microsoft workspace, a careful examination of Chromebooks in a mixed device workplace – which is the norm – reveals that some of the purported savings are overstated.

More significantly, the over-focus on the cost of devices hides the more nuanced reasons for considering Chromebooks and the role they can play in an organisation’s move towards workforce transformation.

In the first of two management advisory papers, IBRS examines the extent to which Chromebooks deliver cost savings.

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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: Australian Government digital transformation programs tend to adopt the model implemented by the UK Government and use this to develop priorities and implement programs. This will provide line-of-sight improvements and may help to identify some breakthrough options. Additional priorities will ensure that there is appropriate leadership to lead cultural and behavioural changes. In the future, citizen-centric should not mean a better way for each tier of government to deliver their traditional services but that services are designed to meet the needs of the citizens regardless of the jurisdiction or level of government service delivery.

Conclusion: All organisations have technology partners. Some will have long standing partners and some technology partners will play the role of innovation lead or be responsible for introducing new technologies to their customers. However, relying on these traditional technology partners may prevent organisations from achieving digital transformation goals and may even be detrimental to innovation objectives. Organisations that are successful in the digital era will use innovation as a strategic, systemic and technological lever for establishing and supporting agile innovation cultures, new accountable business management practices and processes, and establish or participate in global industry eco-systems. This means being a capable and proactive organisation and knowing how to utilise technology partners without being led by them.

Conclusion: Executives trying to put ambitious and commendable goals in place may not appreciate the clarification that they may see as downgrading their original goal. When IT is asked to provide systems to support ambitious goals, the executive team needs to make sure the costs are understood and any ramifications that may result in significant changes or investment in IT solutions to support the goals are clearly identified and costed.

Having corporate goals or strategies as a focus to help employees know what is to be achieved is commendable and a proven approach to getting individuals and teams to focus on specific targets or outcomes. But setting the targets too high can come at a cost that is not justified or that may result in a continual investment in trying to achieve something that is beyond the organisation. It can also be unnecessary when the goal only requires the organisation to be delivering better than the nearest competitor, or be providing a unique offering or service that defines the organisation and sets it apart from others in the market.

Conclusion: The traditional Waterfall method of development delivery is now being increasingly challenged by Agile. The original decision to use Agile primarily based on speed of delivery of the coding and design functions was and still is just one factor. Other factors and characteristics still mean an informed decision must be made to maximise the chances of the project being implemented successfully.

Conclusion: Automation will overturn the old model of technology in some industries and workplaces. How automation could modify work practice is being explored but it is the ramifications which are obscure. If automation becomes widespread, as credible forecasts claim, it will have multiple consequences which require understanding and response.

Conclusion: Data overload and the ease of accessing various types of data has created a problem of what to use and where. This is manifested in the choices of analysis which tend to the facile, such as Return on Investment, which can be applied universally even when it is not strictly applicable. Furthermore, the relative priority of some types of measurement, and in which cases, is vague. It is not always feasible to strive for the absolute solution, such as the comprehensive view, and therefore a graded and qualified response is more pragmatic.

There is expected to be moderate growth between 2017 and 2025 which will have an impact on business operations.

Conclusion: The business climate over 2017-2025 will present new conditions that are more challenging. Based on various forecasts, the eight-year period will see moderate growth and that will have a direct impact on business operations.

While the objectives of improved profit and productivity are straightforward, innovation is more complex than just the implementation of technology. Innovation touches people, processes and how organisations maintain their purpose in future

Conclusion: The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ annual innovation survey quantifies the efforts of businesses in all industries. The status of innovation is quite mixed, between small businesses which tinker at the edges and larger enterprises which are more thorough.

Innovation is not one thing – it is a variety of actions which can be implemented. Improving technological capability is not a high priority and that could be a concern for CIOs, CTOs, CDOs and vendors because the purpose and value of technology, and related investments, appear less directly important to business.

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: Industry discussion regarding Cloud based IT business models, have found it easy to claim a level of expertise simply by publishing high level observations and unsubstantiated predictions. Unfortunately, while interesting, these observations and predictions have offered little assistance to IT executives looking to design a future IT service based on Cloud. Should an IT executive choose to change their business model, there has been little or no advice on how to proceed.

Several CIOs have expressed concern that research advocating downsizing is negatively impacting their credibility. Faced with a plethora of information and recommendations, many will struggle to maintain ongoing financial and cultural support from within their own organisations.

Conclusion: Business investment has all but disappeared in the last five years1. Therefore it is understandable that the appeal for more investment in the drive to digital transformation will unlock innovation and a new route to productivity. However, it is not that simple, as a review of the data illustrates.

Planning the future with rear-vision perspectives is sure to disappoint, if not fail. Organisations would be better to examine their own situation and discard received wisdom, especially from vendors.

Conclusion: User-centricity, positive customer experiences (CX) and active customer engagement are the necessary central drivers of any business’ digital transformation.

Customer experience trends and issues need to be addressed methodically using a checklist to produce the necessary reviews of current approaches and plans to transform them into best practices.

Systematic use of the tools contained in contact centres, customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, algorithms in apps and communications-enabled business process will be the only responsible path for enterprises committed to improving their customer experience.

Conclusion: Traditional on-premises approaches to infrastructure can create unnecessary costs, risks and bottlenecks. This is particularly a problem for projects delivering new systems that have a high-risk (i. e., uncertain benefits, functionality, capacity) which are often associated with innovation and digital strategies.

IT organisations should look at alternative methods for delivering IT infrastructure to ensure it is not a barrier to business innovation.

Conclusion: Although virtualisation is widespread in computing and storage, software-defined everything (SDE) is 3–5 years away from broad adoption by enterprises. Early adopters are major ICT Service Providers and enterprises with specific opportunities.

Enterprise architects need to understand the implications of SDE now as Cloud and managed services projects using software-defined technologies ramp up, or risk becoming irrelevant and wedded to displaced traditional sourcing and delivery concepts.

Failure to appreciate the impacts of software-defined ICT will mean that businesses will be making planning and budget decisions today for ICT futures based only on current practices that are becoming superceded. 

Conclusion: Many organisations looking to transform or innovate their existing business find it difficult to think about it in a completely new way as the past is always present. One way to approach the common strategic planning activity is take the perspective used by start-ups and build a business model for the future which re-evaluates current paradigms. Existing business models can be dissected into key elements and each element can be critically examined and evaluated in terms of its contribution to the desired value proposition.

Conclusion: The term ‘digital disruption’ exerts a powerful cocktail of possibilities. While the term has limited application in specific cases, its general use has diluted its meaning. Whether this is significant may be judged individually but the general use of digital disruption to any and all events coinciding with the introduction of new technologies is misleading.

For the most part executives and strategists can understand technologies and their implementation as progressive evolution. This is especially true for buyers of technology. For some technology vendors and industries the effect of digital technologies may be disruptive, even destructive, insofar as markets, capital and stock value are lost.

Conclusion: Australian Organisations are actively developing and refining digital transformation strategies in recognition of the changing business and government operational environment. Innovation is generously mentioned in most strategies and there has been an increase in the number of Chief Digital Officer roles being offered and filled to assist organisations to achieve the transformation they are striving for. However, organisations need to actively develop innovation and entrepreneurial skills and capabilities across their organisations to ensure that they have broad skills to contribute to transformation and innovation programs and an entrepreneurial culture to support ongoing experimentation and change.

Conclusion: There are almost no examples of traditional organisations metamorphosing their physical products (and related business models) into digital products (supported by new business models). On the other hand the list of organisations that have gone out of business as a result of the digital revolution continues to grow. Three characteristics are common to non-digital organisations that have lost out to digital competitors.

Conclusion: Nearly all organisations recognise that the world, their industry, and their customers are changing. Evidence of that realisation can be seen in company restructures, strategy and vision documents, and the discourse used by executive management. Change vocabulary such as transformation, innovation, anything Cloud, as-a-service or mobile is widely used. However, history shows that even highly successful companies find change and transformation difficult, with icons such as Novell and Netscape either failing completely or being relegated to market followers.

Review of these and similar organisations shows that being overly committed to a previously winning formula, misreading the market and competition dynamics or responding to market changes too slowly were common missteps.

Conclusion: the Department of Finance has produced a Cloud Policy that is linked to a paper about Cloud implementation that does not mention modern Cloud architecture, which in turn is linked to an architecture paper that does not mention Cloud.

Agencies looking to adopt Cloud services are advised to look for advice beyond the Australian Government’s Cloud Policy and its supporting documents.

Conclusion: softening business conditions in Australia demand that IT operations executives find current cost (cash) savings, optimise the cost of existing operations and/or make valuable new contributions to the enterprise by leveraging networking technologies and practices throughout IT.

IBRS has identified ten practical ways to cut enterprise networking costs while preparing to execute a business’s digital strategy.

Expect to obtain a mix of cost savings, cost optimisation and revenue contributions from networking. Aim to create business insights into making savings from using communications creatively rather than just connecting data, processes, devices and people.

Software Asset Management tools vendors have been spreading the FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) as thick and as fast as they can. It’s not that they’re wrong in their claims of the risks. It’s just that mitigating these risks is not a matter of technology. SAM is a matter of process. It’s a matter of maturity. And here lies a problem with how software asset management is currently being positioned in Australia.

Conclusion: Governments across Australia have been engaged in shared services initiatives for almost a decade. Unfortunately, while the benefits are clear in theory, in practice all large scale shared services initiatives in the Australian public sector have been problematic. While a number of state shared service programs have been significantly scaled back or completely abandoned, the promise of shared services benefits remains to be realised. Recently, the Australian government has commenced progression towards shared services. Most of the shared services projects were implemented as a ‘spin off’ and failed, while a ‘start up’ strategy may overcome many of the challenges of the previous implementations.

Conclusion: The digitisation of services that used to be delivered manually puts the spotlight on user experience as human interactions are replaced with human to software interactions. Organisations that are intending to transition to digital service delivery must consider all the implications from a customer’s perspective. The larger the number of customers, the more preparation is required, and the higher the demands in terms of resilience and scalability of service delivery. Organisations that do not think beyond the business-as-usual scenario of service delivery may find that customer satisfaction ratings can plummet rapidly.

Conclusion: IT groups often seek to manage mobile device fleets using practices honed for desktops and laptops. These groups will find themselves facing eight significant challenges. Furthermore, as the mobile management field evolves, desktops and laptops will take on some mobile device management practices, rather than mobile devices being shoehorned into traditional desktop management practices.

Conclusion: Technology increasingly is a commodity that can be sourced externally. In contrast, trustworthy data has become a highly prized asset. Data storage can be outsourced, and even SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) technology can be sourced from the Cloud, but the patterns of data flow in a service-oriented architecture represent the unique digital DNA of an organisation – these patterns and the associated data structures represent the platform for the development of innovative digital services.

Conclusion: Although small businesses and certain entrepreneurs are using Bitcoin, there is a business case for many other organisations to use the currency in limited conditions. It is one more transaction option that can assist commerce.

Conclusion: Software Asset Management (SAM) is now a pressing issue for many organisations, due to growing complexities in vendor licensing as a result of the mix of: traditional per device, virtualisation, consumerisation, mobility, cloud services licensing models. SAM is no longer just a tracking service, but an essential part of financial and risk management. However, implementing SAM solutions must accompanied by the alignment of key business units. Processes – both for governance and automation – must be clearly defined between the key business units if SAM is to be of any lasting value.

Conclusion: Every business now operates in a context that includes the use of digital services. While the IT strategies of many organisations articulate a business case for technological innovation, they offer little guidance in terms of organisational patterns that enable and facilitate the delivery of useful and reliable digital services. Organisational structures must be adapted to meet the needs of the new world of digital service networks.

Conclusion: A new category of service provider is emerging in the cloud ecosystem: ‘Cloud Integration Services’. Cloud Integration Services will have significant implications for IT planning, investments, and the extent to which IT can maintain control over architecture and standards. Understanding the role of Cloud Integration Services, their strengths, their limitations, and the likely impact on traditional IT groups is essential for any organisation that is engaged with, or considering being engaged with cloud services – which is everyone.

Conclusion: In a few years from now the Cloud services we use today will look as quaint as the highly static Web of 1997 in the rear view mirror. In the wake of the global financial crisis the hype around big data is still on the increase, and big data is perceived as the new oil of the economic engine. At the same time, many of the data management technologies underlying Cloud services are being consolidated, creating new kinds of risks that can only be addressed by the adoption of a different data architecture.

Conclusion: ICT Strategic Planning is undertaken by organisations in both the private and public sectors every year. Many organisations limit their strategies to high level objectives and do not take the next step to include metrics to measure the success of their strategies. For CIOs, this means putting a stake in the ground for which their performance and the performance of ICT will be measured. Not including metrics can result in strategic plans that are shelfware, not understood by the business and not providing the opportunity to demonstrate to the organisation how far they have travelled and the benefit that ICT can offer the organisation.

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:There is no other IT project as politically charged as the NBN. Politics and ideology will determine this project, not technology. The 2013 election may be the event that produces a different network to the one that was envisaged in 2008. Every strategy needs a plan B and that is the likely outcome of the NBN.

In early 2013 there is little or no disruption to such a change of outcome because the rollout has not reached a critical mass. However, any visions, or intentions, that hinged on the full fibre rollout may be trimmed in line with the altered network. Organisations will have a lot of time to plot their telecommunications requirements on the modified NBN. But they may also be able to realise the original NBN if they are willing to pay a higher price under a ‘user pays’ principle.

Last year, economic growth expert Robert Gordon stirred up the debate about the prospects for growth through technology. Notwithstanding the dismal global economic conditions affecting the US and elsewhere, Gordon said1 the most recent phase of technological growth was smaller than the previous one, and, in fact, his reams of statistical analysis point to indoor plumbing improving productivity and economic growth more than technology.

The topic of Big Data has been propelled from the engine room of theWeb 2.0 giants into the mainstream press. Over the last decade, the volume of data that governments and financial institutions collect from citizens has been eclipsed by the data produced by individuals in terms of photos, videos, messages, as well as geolocation data on online social platforms and mobile phones, and also the data produced by large scale networks of sensors that monitor traffic,weather, and industrial systems.

IBRS has always recognised data as the key to value creation, and has built up an extensive body of research on the latest trends and the shift from enterprise data to “big data” that is currently unfolding. This white paper addresses the scale and the businessimplications of this shift.

Conclusion: Bernard Shaw is attributed with the saying that “Common sense is instinct and enough of it is genius”. The most “genius” statements of ICT Strategy are often those that seem like common sense to the reader.

The ABCD model described in this research note is a helpful model that IBRS has observed in use by a small number of government agencies. The model can be applied in a wide range of situations including agency-wide ICT Strategy development, and problem definition and planning in the context of a specific project of any size. The ABCD method provides a helpful framework for developing a strategy and equally importantly it provides a clear and helpful basis for communicating that strategy to a wider audience. The method can be used by an individual or by a group of any size, and has been used very successful in workshop situations many times by some government organisations.

Conclusion: Although more attention is given to mobile payments, the delivery of services will probably gain wider traction and help promote all trust-based types of transaction. Under this umbrella of services should be added loyalty programs. For brand vendors, loyalty is two-way as they understand the appeal of mobile devices is not simply transactional. It has a subliminal emotional quality which can be used as a platform for commercial gain.

Organisations ought to have business strategies incorporating technical scope and feasibility for mobile services. Critical market mass is important. While smartphone penetration grows quickly planning for programs and services should be put in place. Over the next year is when concepts may be organised into well-developed strategies.

Conclusion:" Fail to plan and you plan to fail". This statement has been attributed to a number of people including Winston Churchill and Ben Franklin.

Most CIOs know that strategic planning is a key part of their remit1 and the most successful leaders maintain a clear strategic outlook. Effective CIOs make a high priority of articulating a strategic plan for ICT within their organisation, rather than getting involved in the management of each and every project and business unit. Conversely, a lack of clearly defined and widely understood strategy indicates a deficiency in leadership.

A rigorous ICT Strategy must be based on a solid foundation – there are several ways to gather the evidence that will provide that foundation.

Conclusion: A well-written ICT strategy can be a powerful tool for the CIO to showcase the vision and potential of ICT within any organisation. An effective ICT strategy demonstrates to the organisation that the CIO has a plan and is able to provide suitable leadership.

In some jurisdictions, such as NSW1, agencies are required to develop ICT Strategic Plans that demonstrate support and alignment with government priorities and which form a key part of the business case approval process.

Government agencies that do not have a documented ICT strategy have at times come under public or political scrutiny. For example lack of ICT strategy has attracted media attention and has caused questions and criticism in parliamentary forums and “estimates hearings” in various jurisdictions2.

Conclusion: A major pillar for mobile transactions to gain widespread use is consumer acceptance. The various parties in the payments industry are working to convince the public of the efficacy of the technology and thereby change behaviour.

Payment vendors know that customer behaviour and usage must change for them to succeed. Altering behaviour can be difficult and costly. The adoption of cashless payments is not a done deal.

Conclusion: Increasingly, organisations are looking beyond classical agile methodologies, towards lean techniques pioneered in industrial production. The transposition of lean techniques into the context of corporate IT is a challenge that requires a high level of process maturity and organisational discipline. The desired benefits only materialise if the lean approach is applied to processes that can be put under statistical control, and if the approach feeds into a domain engineering process that addresses the root causes of operational inefficiencies.

Conclusion: Although net neutrality is neither credible nor a legitimate concept in the Australian telecommunications market, it carries commercial leverage. The new network architecture of NBN and the associated changes to the telecoms market regulation make it irrelevant. The ‘user pays’ principle of Quality of Service (QoS) should finally eliminate net neutrality.

Despite all the impending changes, the commercial and political leverage of net neutrality is too powerful to lose and will continue to stalk the telecoms market. For telecommunications providers and regulators the struggle will move to another plane. For end-users, individuals and organisations, it will require vigilance to ensure that the network is really open to everything and not armed with gatekeepers blocking access.

Conclusion: A competency centre for Business Intelligence (BI) must have an active mandate and involvement from the senior executive to sustain optimised delivery of the organisational BI strategy. This leadership is a key factor in the ability to successfully deliver the initial benefits of the competency centre within a three month development period, establishing long term benefits.

Conclusion: The ICT organisation within any enterprise can benefit from a structured approach to understanding business capability of the enterprise. Business Capability Modelling is an Enterprise Architecture technique that IBRS sees playing a key role in transforming the relationship in many enterprises between ICT and the business.

In organisations where ICT deeply understands the business we see a close relationship between respected partners, and often this is reflected by a direct reporting link between CIO and CEO.

Failure to appreciate the business capability consigns the ICT organisation to be a subservient commodity supplier (rather than a business partner). Where the relationship between business and ICT is fragile, the potential of outsourcing to another provider means that the ICT organisation is not seen as a valued strategic partner.

Conclusion: The implementation of Business Intelligence is critical to the optimised operation of even the most basic business functions. When executed well it provides quantifiable competitive advantage for private sector organisations, and improved service delivery outcomes for the public sector.

IT has a significant opportunity to enhance its business relevance by ensuring that Business Intelligence best practice is active and transparent across the organisation. Organisations without a comprehensive investment and capability in Business Intelligence will struggle to complete and will operate below their potential.

Conclusion: Despite recent IT Shared Services (ITSS) failures in government, the global appetite for ITSS seems to continue unabated. Given evolving developments in the cloud, ITSS seems assured of longevity. It is thus important to understand its nuances, especially from a delivery perspective. Whilst tempting to think of ITSS initiatives merely as ambitious programs of work capable of delivering attractive savings, it seems that a scaled-backed, incremental delivery approach, though perhaps more costly and time-consuming than other methods, may result in more lasting and beneficial outcomes.

Conclusion: NBN’s price model combines two different views of telecommunications market pricing: how the markets actually operate and; what the policy designers of NBN perceive it to be.

Without complete agreement to resolve the price model, there are many problems being stored for the future.

Inevitably these will affect NBN adoption, profitability and also the layout of the telco landscape. In addition they present challenges to organisations and entrepreneurs with plans to utilise the NBN. The current NBN price model also appears to stop the industry trend of falling prices for telecommunications services.

Conclusion: An effective Enterprise Architecture should enable the strategy of an organisation to be clearly linked to the underlying business processes and information technology assets. Established enterprise architecture frameworks such as Zachman, TOGAF et al. include limited support for modelling the strategy of an organisation. An emerging framework, the Business Motivation Model, provides a much richer structure for capturing an organisation’s objective. Focusing on the strategy of an organisation represents an opportunity for Enterprise Architects to engage with the highest level of organisational planning and reflect true business intent, rather than reverting to a limited techno-centric perspective.

Observations: The Open Management Group defines “business architecture” as:

"A blueprint of the enterprise that provides a common understanding of the organization and is used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands."

Enterprise Architects have long been comfortable managing the raw technology assets (applications, infrastructure, information etc.) that support the “tactical demands” of system design required to support enterprise change. IBRS’ experience has also shown that many organisations in Australia are making great progress in mapping business processes and services into an integrated architecture picture. The challenge is now connecting the knowledge of business processes and business rules to the higher-level strategic objectives that govern organisational evolution.

The first prerequisite in linking architecture to strategy is that an organisation has agreed and defined a strategy that clearly articulates its mission and purpose. There are many challenges in doing so. Sometimes organisations struggle to agree on their core purpose; neglect strategic planning activities; or maintain the strategy in tacit form without ever formally documenting it. An organisation may have a valid strategy defined, but the Enterprise Architecture team may not be appreciative of it.

In the absence of a defined strategy, Enterprise Architecture development can be a compelling voice calling for the establishment of a defined strategy, or indeed even leading the charge in its creation. However, beware the political risks attached to launching into this debate. Questioning or challenging an organisation’s strategy (or absence thereof) can be a confronting experience and risks adverse reactions from important stakeholders who have not bought into the concept.

Assuming a strategy has been identified and agreed there needs to be a way for it to be expressed architecturally. Popular Enterprise Architecture frameworks usually have some capability to capture important strategy elements. For example:

  • The Zachman framework includes what it calls the “motivation description” as one of the core six dimensions of its taxonomy

  • The TOGAF 9.0 framework optionally includes business drivers, goals and objectives in the “Motivation Extensions” of the core meta-model

  • The Australian Government Architecture 2.0 defines the “Mission and Business Results” area of the Performance Reference Model which maps to the strategic outcomes and outputs defined by the government for public service agencies

For organisations which have not yet embraced an Enterprise Architecture framework there is support available in frameworks such as the Open Management Group’s Business Motivation Model1 (BMM). In essence the BMM is a formal model for depicting business plans. However the BMM is not currently well known within the enterprise architecture field so it is worth examining in more detail.

The BMM is a structure that supports understanding the ‘doing’ of an organisation (mission, strategy, tactics) alongside the ‘being’ (vision, goals, objectives). The BMM situates the means (“doing”) and end (“being”) in the context of the forces or “influencers” that could impact on to either the means or the ends. Related to the “influencers” are the “assessments” of the potential impacts of the influencers and the mitigation approaches to deal with them.

These “means”, “ends” and “influencers” are then linked to the responsible organisational units and business processes. These responsible elements should already be defined in an Enterprise Architecture model, or business architecture view and are not directly part of the BMM itself. The operation of the organisational units and business processes are governed by “directives” that specify the business policies and rules that apply to the “means” in pursuit of the “ends”.

The BMM provides a much richer level of detail than the established mainstream Enterprise Architecture frameworks for documenting a strategy – delving into business policies, impact assessments, assets, liabilities and so on. This richer level of detail facilitates the modelling of a high-fidelity business plan (or strategy) if so desired. For large organisations the BMM model can reflect a nested approach where each organisation unit can generate a BMM model that can link to the superior or subordinate BMM models as appropriate.

The linkage between BMM elements and underlying technology architecture is through the associated business processes and rules. The linkages to business processes and rules once defined in the BMM can be mapped back to the supporting systems and applications. This establishes the linkages from business aspirations through to technology implementation.

It is worth noting that the BMM is methodology neutral. It describes the information to be managed, but not how the information should be gathered. In practice maintenance of a BMM or any Enterprise Architecture framework strategy model should be done in lock-step with the strategic planning decision-making cycle of an organisation.

Ultimately the value of maintaining an organisation strategy as an architectural model (EA framework, BMM or otherwise) provides a number of key benefits:

  • an organisation’s strategy can be made explicit and the rationale behind changes to it become visible and shareable

  • the outcomes of strategic decisions can be traced to the operational impacts across systems and services

 

Next steps:

  1. Understand the how the organisations strategy is defined – is it well formed and formally documented?

    • If a written strategy exists have the Enterprise Architecture team document the strategy within either established EA frameworks or adopt an offering like the BMM for that purpose.

    • If not, advocate for better clarity and rigour around organisational strategy.

  2. Make the incorporation of the strategy into the enterprise architecture pass the executive “so what?” test.

    • Apply it to real life examples to increase understanding or clarify decision making for a particular important issue.

  3. Embed the maintenance of the architecture view into the strategic planning lifecycle for the organisation.

 

1 http://www.omg.org/spec/BMM/1.1/

 

Conclusion: What the apps will be for NBN is unclear: even NBN Co. is not sure. It need not be so difficult as NBN can be seen simply as a national grid, and therefore conquer distance, regardless of its bandwidth capacity and other correlated benefits of such a network. It could run all the apps that are common amongst the metropolitan areas and for specific industries in remote areas.

Of course, that is not what NBN is intended to do, but rather enable the apps of a new generation that human creativity will forge one day in the future.

Conclusion: Many industries: finance, media, agribusiness, and education, to name a few, are talking up their growth prospects via NBN. The logic seems to be that the faster and extensive network will leverage their opportunities and improve their terms of business.

To understand which industries are more likely to prosper with NBN it is necessary to analyse three factors: timing, and with it market scalability; industry segment; and finally, productivity.

Unless and until these factors are brought to analyse the economic potential it is impossible to sift the possible from the wishful hopes.

Conclusion: While it appears that every known test to evaluate cloud computing has been done, there are two which determine the accuracy of any savings claimed. Indeed, they could be applied to any evaluation of IT savings and not the cloud alone.

To a large degree the tests discussed here challenge some processes of cost assessment, but IT executives ought to look for better ideas and arguments. It should be possible to ask questions of consultants and vendors in order to obtain better answers.

Conclusion: The calculated process by which the Facebook message is intended to corral investors, marketers, users and others into the world of ‘social’ is breathtaking. The reality is more complex, less easily believable, and should make any organisation involved with social media ask questions.

Because Facebook (and social media generally) is still developing, it is necessary for organisations using the media to set their own metrics and build knowledge.

Conclusion: Many enterprise applications remain in existence for 10 or 15 years, or even longer. The magnitude of their total lifetime costs usually mark enterprise applications as being in the top decile of all IT investments. Despite these factors, many of those involved in selecting candidate products choose the wrong products for the wrong reasons. A more structured approach is necessitated in which the traditional focus on detailed functional requirements is de-emphasised and balanced against other factors essential to making a sound, long term IT investment.

Conclusion: The increasing reliance of software solutions on third party web services creates new kinds of risks that must be considered when designing software systems. The main difference between in-house software components and external web services is the level of control available in the event of unforeseen issues. Consequently it is prudent to invest in improving the level of fault-tolerance and usability of applications. In order to determine where improvements are needed, organisations need to understand the end-to-end web service supply chains that are encoded in their software solutions.

Search used to be easy. Not in the future. The momentum in online trends last year was all about ‘social’ and that included social search. If an organisation does not have a view of what the impact of social search might be to its online activities, it may present challenges that could have been avoidable.

Conclusion: IBRS will be delivering research series covering the ramifications of new mobility and "consumerisation" of technology. In this first note, we provide an overview of current trends and make predictions on the shape of things to come.

While the introduction of the iPhone represented a milestone in consumer devices impacting IT decision-making within organisations, many strategic planners have been struggling to predict where trends in consumer technology will take us. Recent market shifts in Europe, the USA and even in Australia now provide a clear path as to how, where and why consumer devices will drive change in organisational IT. The ramifications for how enterprise solutions are developed and deployed are profound and should be top of mind for any CIO… and the COO, CFO and CEO.

Conclusion: Effective IT Strategic Plans (ITSPs) are blueprints. They path future directions, provide rationale, explain benefits and can offer a rallying-point for staff. Yet many ITSPs become shelf-ware. Some become disused as initiatives enacted diverge from those in the plan, thereby undermining their credibility. Other ITSPs simply lack sparkle – the ‘Ah Hah’ factor that signals to stakeholders that the strategies will propel IT and the organisation into exciting, yet well-considered, new directions.

Conclusion: As the post-GFC economic thaw continues, organisations are seeking to become more resourceful and adventurous. They are rediscovering their innovatory DNA whilst remaining focused on staff productivity and cost control.

Conclusion: The perceived relevance of information technology varies greatly, depending on who is being asked. In software intensive industries, the overall IT budget consumes between 10–20% of the overall operating expenses. In software product development organisations the number is close to 100%. When defining the business strategy, it is easy to focus on costs and to underestimate lost opportunity costs and business risks. The biggest impact of IT budget cuts is on the resulting increase in operational risks, and conversely, the biggest potential for gaining value out of IT investments lies in the area of operational risk reduction.

Web 2.0 tools are often seen as beneficial and effective for so-called celebrities and online activists. Yet a recent business survey suggests tangible benefits to organisations, together with subtle but real changes in the way business is done.

Conclusion: Defining the Cloud is proving to be elusive. This is because vendors are trying to neatly define Cloud around their products and services. This creates competing, product based definitions for what is actually an aspiration to create a “better IT environment”.

Viewed as an aspiration, the Cloud becomes a journey to create an IT environment with specific characteristics, such as cost transparency, utility pricing, capacity on demand, commodity pricing, self-service, location and device independence. Like all journeys there are many different paths which depend on where you start and where you want to go.

Conclusion: Large-scale Enterprise Data Warehouse implementations and operations often lead to multi-million dollar items in annual IT budgets. It is paramount that investments of this magnitude are put to good use, and are translated into tangible value for the organisation. Complexity of the underlying information structures can become a major issue, especially once complexity impacts the ability to formulate data warehouse queries in a timely manner. With a bit of foresight, or even retrospectively, it is possible to equip data warehouse designs with simple orientation and navigation aids that significantly reduce the time that users need to locate relevant information.

Conclusion: Organisations that still have Windows XP as their Standard Operating Environments (SOE), and those that have plans to stay with XP for near term, need to tread carefully with regards to Microsoft’s licensing. While remaining compliant with Microsoft’s licensing will not necessarily incur significant costs, falling out of compliance will be costly. Organisations without Software Assurance and those without an active Microsoft Volume Licensing Agreement at risk with regards to falling out of compliance, especially if purchasing desktops with Windows 7 pre-installed.

Conclusion: Oracle Exadata is an innovative approach to system design that makes Oracle a leading vendor in our Integrated Systems model and it is an example of how IT infrastructure will evolve over the next 3-7 years.

Oracle’s reinvention of storage as a cluster of commodity servers (x64), using commodity storage (SAS/SATA), and a volume storage operating system, is particularly noteworthy. This is a fundamental departure from the last 20 years of storage design, and heralds a major shakeup in the storage industry over the next five years.

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: ‘Adventure is just bad planning’ observed Roald Amundsen, renowned Norwegian explorer. Good strategic planning processes aim to avoid unintended consequences. They have a firm focus on seeking appropriate destinations then getting there with surety.