ICT Modernisation


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The Latest

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

Why it’s Important

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

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

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

Who’s impacted

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

What’s Next?

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

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

Related IBRS Advisory

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

The Latest

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

Why it’s Important

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

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

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

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

Who’s impacted

  • Business analysts

What’s Next?

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

Related IBRS Advisory

1. VENDORiQ: AWS Accelerates Cloud Analytics with Custom Hardware


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

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

The Latest

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

Why it’s Important

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

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

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

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

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

Who’s Impacted

  • CIO
  • CFO
  • ICT strategy leads
  • Infrastructure architects

What’s Next?

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

Related IBRS Advisory

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

Cloud migration is increasingly becoming one of the most important parts of business processes. When migrating to the Cloud, organisations must find a balance between cost, risks and benefits. It is also vital to create an effective roadmap. IBRS lead a webinar with our advisor Mark Unwin, where we discussed a recent Cloud migration case study, Mark further gives an overview of IBRS's Cloud migration roadmap framework and addresses the next steps you need to consider to successfully migrate to the Cloud.

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.

Conclusion: Don’t leave Cloud skills benchmarking to chance. Determine where the skills’ gaps exist and create a skills’ development program that is not limited to in-house IT resources, but extends to any outsourced Cloud specialists. Vendors with specialised Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) products find themselves having to maintain a rigorous training regime to keep up with the investment demand of Cloud communities they have created and support.

Organisations should take advantage of the investment by Cloud providers to increase skills through the variety of online resources now available. The difference now is that organisations no longer need to invest directly in their own learning management systems (LMS) as Cloud providers see their LMS investments providing traction and portability for users entering or existing within Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), SaaS and PaaS product suites.


Dual SIM mobile phones can deliver value to employers and employees alike in an increasing transient and gig economy workforce. Mobile phone policies need to be modified and adapted to ensure BYO devices are enabled with a corporate SIMs business number, and a suite of corporate apps. It should be as effective as providing a new starter with a laptop.

The market is responding with increasing product sophistication to address these overlapping demands of business and personal use. A business number and applications can reside effectively on one handset alongside a private number and personal applications provided both are addressed by technology and policies. The business policy must be designed to promote business benefits first principles.

Porting of business numbers has become clumsy with businesses bearing the cost of number porting. Users are also left with the dilemma of managing one or more handsets to retain their personal information, or worse still, having to sacrifice a long-held number to accept a business phone. Reducing these legacy policies and supporting dual SIM phones will contribute to greater employee choice and satisfaction rather than addressing business benefits alone.

As self-service data analytics and visualisation becomes mainstream – due in no small part to Microsoft’s Power BI strategy – traditional data teams within IT groups need to reconsider traditional business intelligence architectures and plan a migration to a new environment. Underpinning the new architecture must be a sharper focus on tools and practices to support data governance, which is not a strength of Microsoft’s portfolio.

Download the 'Power BI is Driving Data Democratisation: Prepare Now' presentation kit and discover:

  • The key areas of business intelligence to inform your Power BI strategy
  • Next steps for your organisation


Low-code is not a novel technology. Rather, it is an evolutionary technology that started as rapid application design (RAD) in the late ’80s, transitioned into business process modelling (BPM) in the 2000s, which then evolved into e-forms in 2010, before finally becoming low-code in 2020.

This evolution has been a meandering path and has spawned a broad ecosystem of solutions, each with unique traits and features that fit specific organisational structures. IBRS has listed key traits of modern low-code platforms to match your organisation’s ecosystem and help streamline the process of shortlisting a platform.

The most important trait of the new low-code platform will be how well it supports the transition from the existing ICT-centric governance model to a new model that must be defined by potential benefits and risks.


The choices when selecting and designing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution are immense and typically require industry-specific considerations. Executives rightly desire fully-integrated IT services across all departments within an organisation. The end result is a reliable, fully-integrated, and secure solution whether it is deployed in a public or hybrid Cloud solution.

What should not be up for negotiation are the essential, machine critical controls (CCs) that maintain the effectiveness and security of this critical asset during normal business operations. In all, IBRS previously addressed the 10 human-facing CCs1. In this research article, the focus is the remaining 10 machine CCs.

The Latest

12 August 2021: TechnologyOne released a significant report based on a six-month long study into the economics of Cloud computing and SaaS among Australian organisations.  

The study, which was independently conducted by IBRS and Insight Economics, explored the tangible costs associated with migrating to the Cloud, with both IaaS and SaaS journeys investigated. An economic analysis of the data collected through 67 in-depth case studies with CIOs and C-suite executives, additional interviews, and over 400 respondents, revealed a $224bn economic dividend for the Australian economy, prompting TechnologyOne to term the report "too big to ignore".

Why it’s Important.

While the report is aimed at policymakers and strategies looking at the macro-economic impact of technology, it also details the costs and benefits of Cloud adoption by industry sectors, providing IT strategists with realistic benchmarks. 

When developing the methodology for the report, IBRS and Insight Economics took a ‘no free lunches’ approach to data collection. Unlike other reports on the benefits of Cloud migration, the study took into account the costs of, and time needed for transition, including training, change management, skills (and skill shortages) and the fact that many organisations will need to retain on-premise environments to support legacy and home-grown applications for years to come. In addition, only productivity benefits that had been measured were included in the analysis. 

As a result of the evidence-only approach to the study, the ‘direct returns’ on Cloud migration detailed in the report are both far lower and far more realistic than those found in studies conducted in the USA and Europe.

The report may be accessed here: https://toobigtoignore.com.au/

Who’s impacted

  • Cloud migration teams

What’s Next?

The conservative approach to the study, the rich data collected, means that organisations still struggling to make a business case for SaaS have practical benchmarks and economic modelling to call upon.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. The economic impact of software as a service in Australia
  2. Get board agreement to the Cloud strategy

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

The Latest

3 August 2021: Salesforce has announced an agreement to acquire Servicetrace, a robotics process automation vendor. This marks another milestone in Salesforce’s strategy to deliver enterprise SaaS solutions surrounded by a mesh of low-code process automation and integration. It is also evidence of how the previously disparate markets for low-code application development tools, RPA, process mapping, and integration tools are consolidating into a service mesh that goes beyond process digitisation. In this case, when coupled with enterprise SaaS, the sum is greater than the parts.

Why it’s Important.

In the IBRS trends report for 2021-2026, a fourth-wave of ICT was detailed. The crest of this wave is the rapid consolidation of low-code, process mapping, RPA and (soon) rules engines, and AI.  

However, IBRS case studies with scores of executives involved in Cloud migration strategies, suggest that many organisations ICT groups are resistant to the coming wave. This is mainly due to sunk costs in on-premises software and infrastructure, the difficulty in justifying costs of integrating disparate systems and, at least to some degree, concerns over losing control or lacking skills to manage core infrastructure.

The cost of integration coupled with the need for digitising manual processes is currently a real economic barrier. Financial modelling suggests that the labour and costs of integrating disparate (on-premises and Cloud) solutions can destroy the return on investments for Cloud migration in the near to mid-term (1-5 years). This is especially problematic for industries with a complex mix of specialist enterprise solutions, such as healthcare and utilities. 

Who’s impacted

  • CIO
  • Development team leads
  • Business analysts

What’s Next?

Organisations that have previously rejected Cloud migrations due to not being able to make the financials stack up should consider re-evaluating the decision in 2022, taking into account the potential of buying into a mesh ecosystem that unifies low-code, workflow, process mapping, RPA rules engines and possibly AI services and that supports SaaS enterprise solutions ‘out of the box’.

Enterprise architects should also consider a shift towards a fourth-wave of ICT will impact their organisation’s ICT architecture and, if needed, begin planning to evolve to a new environment.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Hammering Low-Code into Place Takes Time
  2. Mulesoft Believes it Can Accelerate Digital Customer Experiences on SAP
  3. Salesforce introduces Hyperforce
  4. Salesforce Einstein automate

Regardless of its digital strategy, many organisations have not been positioned to properly leverage the digital and data assets that are available to them. A Chief Data Officer (CDO) role can improve this situation by advancing an organisation’s data portfolio, curating and making appropriate data visible and actionable.

Log in and click the PDF link above to download 'The New CDO Agenda' presentation kit and discover:

  • 4 pivotal points of the CDO agenda
  • A sample framework on how to understand the ownership of a data domain
  • Next steps for your organisation


Organisations must evolve practical and sustainable governance when incorporating low-code platforms into their enterprise architecture (EA). The majority of organisations will use more than one low code platform on their digital transformation journey. As a result, governance will need to encompass tenets that determine which tools (and thus skills and teams) are most appropriate for which types of applications and workflows.


There are many low-code myths in the market, some promoted by vendors and others touted by development teams that are resisting the trend. IBRS explores and debunks these myths.

Too often, information communications technology (ICT) and business analytics groups focus on business intelligence and analytics architectures and do not explore the organisational behaviours that are required to take full advantage of such solutions. There is a growing recognition that data literacy (a subset of digital workforce maturity) is just as important, if not more important, than the solutions being deployed. This is especially true for organisations embracing self-service analytics.

The trend is to give self-service analytics platforms to management that are making critical business decisions. However, this trend also requires managers to be trained in not just the tools and platforms, but in understanding how to ask meaningful questions, select appropriate data (avoiding bias and cherry-picking), and how to apply the principles of scientific thinking to analysis.

Download the pdf now.




Delivering value faster and better with quality code has been the holy grail of software development and support for many years. Navigating a post-COVID-19 world, organisations will find themselves faced with new challenges and the expectation of delivering value and quality results in a shorter time frame.

DevOps is a set of practices that works to automate and integrate the processes between software development and support, so project teams can build, test, and release software faster and more reliably. As such, DevOps and Agile methodologies have become key tools in responding to an increasingly diversified and dynamic business landscape where most, if not all businesses are using technology to reshape their respective organisations.

Yet despite its potential to deliver, many organisations are struggling with DevOps implementations. Developing a clear roadmap based on best practices and a pragmatic approach will accelerate this journey and minimise the risk of failure.


The choices when selecting and designing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution are immense and typically require industry specific considerations. Executives rightly desire fully-integrated IT services across all departments within an organisation. The end result is a reliable, fully-integrated, and secure solution whether it is deployed in a public or hybrid Cloud solution.

What should not be up for negotiation are the essential, human-facing critical controls (CCs) that maintain the effectiveness and security of this critical asset during business operations. In all, IBRS sees organisations needing to address 10 human-facing CCs from a group of 20 CCs. The remaining 10 CCs will cover the technical controls later in this research series.

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

The Latest

26 May 2021: Google has introduced Datasteam, which the vendor defines as a “change data capture and replication service”. In short, the service allows changes in one data source to be replicated to other data sources in near real time. The service currently connects with Oracle and MySQL databases and a slew of Google Cloud services, including BigQuery, Cloud SQL, Cloud Storage, Spanner, and so forth.

Uses for such a service include: updating a data lake or similar repository with data being added to a production database, keeping disparate databases of different types in sync, consolidating global organisation information back to a central repository.

Datastream is based on Cloud functions - or serverless - architecture. This is significant, as it allows for scale-independent integration.

Why it’s Important

Ingesting data scale into Cloud-based data lakes is a challenge and can be costly. Even simple ingestion where data requires little in the way of transformation can be costly when run through a full ETL service. By leveraging serverless functions, Datastream has the potential to significantly lower the cost and improve performance of bringing large volumes of rapidly changing data into a data lake (or an SQL database which is being used as a pseudo data lake). 

Using serverless to improve the performance and economics of large scale data ingestion is not a new approach. IBRS interviewed the architecture of a major global streaming service in 2017 regarding how they moved from an integration platform to leveraging AWS Kinesis data pipelines and hand-coded serverless functions, and to achieve more or less the same thing that Google Datastream is providing. 

As organisations migrate to Cloud analytics, the ability to rapidly replicate large data sets will grow. Serverless architecture will emerge as an important pattern.

Who’s impacted

  • Analytics architecture leads
  • Integration teams
  • Enterprise architecture teams

What’s Next?

Become familiar with the potential to use serverless / cloud function as a ‘glue’ within your organisation’s Cloud architecture. 

Look for opportunities to leverage serverless when designing your organisations next analytics platform. 

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Serverless Programming: Should your software development teams be exploring it?
  2. VENDORiQ: Google introduces Database Migration Service

The Latest

10 May 2021: ServiceNow is acquiring Lightstep, a specialist vendor for monitoring digital workflows. While ServiceNow already has capabilities for monitoring its low-code applications and workflows, Lightstep will provide deep analytics and performance metrics. 

Why it’s Important

The rise of low-code will necessitate the use of application monitoring tools.  

From a technical perspective, being able to monitor performance of applications that may themselves be comprised of dozens of integrations and span multiple SaaS environments, is an important precursor to meeting user expectations. In low-code environments, gone are the days of being able to monitor server and network performance. Vendors such as ThousandEyes and Lightstep have emerged to provide a more comprehensive (and simplified) view of the complex application infrastructure that is emerging. Buying Lightstep is a smart move for ServiceNow, as it increasingly moves into enabling low-code departmental and public-facing applications. 

Another reason for monitoring low-code is to report back to the business tangible business benefits. While digitising a process can clearly save money, being able to quantify the savings with evidence after a solution has been deployed helps build the case for an expansion of low-code and (in the case of high-value products, such as ServiceNow) justify any increased licensing.

However, an often overlooked benefit of observability is application lifecycle. Observability allows organisations to identify and consolidate duplicate processes across an organisation. Observability also allows organisations to identify digital processes that are not being utilised and determine why, and give clues as to what to do about them.

Who’s impacted

  • Development team leads
  • Business analysts

What’s Next?

Expect low-code vendors to continue investing in workflow monitoring/observability tools, as well as low-code integration capabilities. 

When selecting a low-code application development platform, consider the degree to which being able to monitor workflows and processes will be useful. If using ServiceNow, will the existing capabilities be sufficient, or will investments in products such as Lightstep be needed. If using products such as Nintex, will leveraging their business process modelling tools provide the desired observability.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. VENDORiQ: ServiceNow to Acquire Vendor Intellibot
  2. VENDORiQ: Creatio - More Low-Code Investments
  3. Aussie vendor radar: Nintex joins the mainstream business process automation vendor landscape

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


The COVID-19 pandemic has, in many cases, forced the workforce environment to shrink to the walls of worker’s houses for at least nine months. While some services such as shopping, online learning and telemedicine proved to be useful when made available remotely, many other services were not suitable to run effectively outside the traditional work environment (e. g. those with inadequate network capacity). Organisations should study the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of deploying additional remote services that are critical to improve business performance, increase service efficiency and reduce the cost of doing business.

The Latest

18 March 2021: Zoho is a privately held, Indian, Cloud-based CRM vendor that has grown rapidly internationally. It has just turned 25 years old. While it’s CRM suite is not as sophisticated as that of SalesForce, it is supported by a suite of low-code development tools and marketing-oriented modules for small to mid-sized business.

zoho timeline

Why it’s Important

IBRS has noted that many Australian organisations - in particular the public sector - are only short-listing Salesforce and Dynamics for modern CRM. This is often due to the research into available CRMs being exclusively limited to vendors in leading positions on US-focused market research papers, or advice from consultancies that only refer to such public materials.

To ensure the best suite at the best cost-point is selected, IBRS strongly recommends that the following be considered during the shortlisting process: 

  1.  Be sure to explore niche CRM products, as some of these may have a better fit or specific industry sector focus that can deliver benefits more quickly and at significantly lower costs than the leading products. Just because a solution as complex as a CRM is leading the market, does not mean it is necessarily the best for your organisation.
  2. When reading international reports, keep in mind that North America and Europe have different technology market ecosystems to Australia. In particular, skills availability (and therefore costs) differ. Be sure to factor in local issues.
  3. Carefully consider your starting point. How complex is your software environment? Factor your organisation’s networking infrastructure and the integration requirements both immediate and longer term.
  4. Leverage the channel capabilities and skills of local implementation partners. Implementation partners play a significantly greater role in a CRM’s successful implementation than the product itself. It is therefore vital that buyers not only consider the product in question, but also the available partners. 

The ultimate impact of limiting modern CRM (and related digital services) to the major vendors is that organisations may find themselves paying for far more than they need in a system, while also introducing more complexity into business operations than is necessary. 

IBRS is not suggesting that Zoho (or any of the other niche CRMs from the myriad available) is right for your organisation. Salesforce and Dynamics are exceptional products. However, many organisations do not need exceptional: they simply need more than good enough for their current and future needs, and they need it quickly and at the right cost point.

Who’s Impacted

  • CIO
  • Digital platform leads
  • Procurement teams
  • Business units executives

What’s Next?

Shortlists are critical for keeping procurement agile and within scope. However, do not short-change the shortlisting process by relying on generic reports that do not factor in:

  • specific industry needs
  • the Australian context
  • local channels and skills 

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Trends for 2021-2026: No New Normal and Preparing For the Fourth-wave of ICT
  2. VENDORiQ: Salesforce Introduces Hyperforce
  3. Salesforce vs Dynamics
  4. CRM Modernisation Part 5: Microsoft Dynamics vs Salesforce Total Cost of Service
  5. IBRSiQ: Can IBRS Review Our Dynamics365 (D365) Licensing Calculations?


The Latest

23 March 2021: ServiceNow has signed an agreement to purchase robotic process automation vendor, Intellibot. The deal will see Indian-based Intellibot, which was founded in 2015, embedded into the ServiceNow platform. 

Why it’s Important

RPA is rapidly becoming merged within the low-code everything ecosystem. ServiceNow’s planned investment in buying into RPA is not surprising: other low-code vendors, such as Nintex, have already secured their RPA solutions through acquisition. Buyers of standard-alone RPA solutions can expect more acquisitions, followed by rapid market consolidation in 3-5 years time. 

Who’s Impacted

  • CIO
  • Development team leads
  • Business analysts

What’s Next?

Expect RPA to play an increasing role in areas such as customer account creation and management, customer verification, employee on-boarding and off-boarding, data extraction and migration, and claims and invoice processing, among others.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. Exploring Robotic Process Automation
  2. How Can AI Reimagine Your Business Processes?
  3. Cloud Low-code Vendor Webflow Secures US$140 Million
  4. Aussie Vendor Radar: Nintex Joins the Mainstream Business Process Automation Vendor Landscape
  5. SNAPSHOT: A Robotic Process Automation Infographic


Too often, information communications technology (ICT) and business analytics groups focus on business intelligence and analytics architectures and do not explore the organisational behaviours that are required to take full advantage of such solutions. There is a growing recognition that data literacy (a subset of digital workforce maturity1) is just as important, if not more important, than the solutions being deployed. This is especially true for organisations embracing self-service analytics2.

The trend is to give self-service analytics platforms to management that are making critical business decisions. However, this trend also requires managers to be trained in not just the tools and platforms, but in understanding how to ask meaningful questions, select appropriate data (avoiding bias and cherry-picking), and how to apply the principles of scientific thinking to analysis.


For enterprises and small to medium businesses (SMBs), Artificial Intelligence (AI) opportunities are widespread and industry-specific. Each industry will grapple with conversations to understand how AI can:

  1. Create competitive advantage.
  2. Complement existing business.
  3. Disrupt, or even destroy the business model that exists today.

What businesses need to plan for is that AI engineering and AI ops are destined to be the essential umbrella to govern AI in the coming decade. Hyper-automation (HA) of business processes will see some business models fail whilst others thrive into the 2030s.

The Latest

11 January 2021: IBRS interviewed low-code vendor Kintone, exploring its unique capabilities. The Japanese company is looking to expand its presence in the Australian market through traditional channels and some unexpected partners.

Why it’s Important

As detailed in the ‘VENDORiQ: Cloud low-code vendor Webflow secures US$140 million’, the low-code market is growing rapidly.  Kintone Australia is a subsidiary of Cybozu, one of Japan’s largest software companies, which was founded in 1997. The firm’s platform focuses as much on collaboration around digitised processes as it does on the development of applications - with every process having ‘conversational threads’. The firm’s clients in Australia are predominantly Japanese firms with local operations.

Who’s impacted?

  • Development team leads
  • Workforce transformation leads

What’s Next?

Kintone addresses the low to mid-range of the IBRS spectrum of services for eforms and low-code environments. It is suited for less-technical staff (including business analysts) to create structured processes that include collaboration. 

Kintone’s approach is worth noting, since many of the processes digitised by low-code platforms are replacing ad-hoc, messy processes that are often managed with manual activities and collaboration. There is an active evolution from manual, collaborative processes to digitised processes.

Kintone has a stable financial base via its strength in the Japanese market. Skills, training and support for Kintone are comparatively weak in the domestic market. However, Kintone is looking to partner with IT services organisations and partners with strengths in providing printing and digitisation technologies. 

Related IBRS Advisory

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

The Latest

14 January 2021: IBRS interviewed Appian, a low-code vendor that specialises in providing business analysts and developers with a platform to deliver custom enterprise applications. The vendor has seen strong growth in the later half of 2020 due to organisations needing to quickly develop new applications to address lockdowns and new digital service delivery demands. The vendor also detailed how it is leveraging machine learning to guide users through the development of applications. The use of machine learning to recommend low-code application designs and workflows is a key differentiator for Appian.

Why it’s Important

As detailed in the 'VENDORiQ: Cloud low-code vendor Webflow secures $140 million', the low-code market is growing rapidly. Appian is a major global vendor in the low-code market. It positions itself above the non-technical / citizen-developer tools such as Forms.IO, but below the specialised development team platforms such as OutSystems. Appian’s ‘sweet spot’ is teams of business stakeholders working with business analysts and developers to jointly prototype and then put into production applications. 

Appian has been expanding the use of machine learning algorithms to application design. During application development, the algorithms will make recommendations on fields that are needed on forms, workflow steps, approval processes, etc.

Who’s impacted

  • CIO
  • Development team leads
  • Business analysts

What’s Next?

When selecting a low-code platform, organisations should be very clear about who the stakeholders are, who will use the platform, the project management model for application development and the applications to be developed.  

In the case of Appian, there is clearly a close alignment with Agile business methodologies, which extend beyond the ICT group as outlined in the 'IBRS Snapshot: Agile Service Spectrum'.

The use of AI during the development applications is a feature more than a gimmick. This ‘guided’ approach to design not only speeds up application development, but by analysing a large body of existing applications and drawing inferences based on usage and effectiveness, it helps ensure that ‘best practices’ in workflows are not overlooked.

Related IBRS Advisory

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

The Latest

12 January 2021: Webflow, a Cloud-based low-code vendor, has secured US$140 in investment. The new round of investment values the vendor at US$2.1 billion. 

Why it’s Important

The low-code market exploded over the last year. Newer entrants, such as Webflow (founded in 2012), are attracting significant venture capital. Just 17 months ago, Webflow took $72 million investments which valued the company at $400 million. The new investments thrust the vendor into unicorn status. At the same time, well-established low-code vendors such as Nintex and Microsoft are consolidating and expanding their portfolios to include robotic process automation, process modelling and integration tools.

The market for low-code is not yet at the peak of its feverish growth, but IBRS cautions that current rates of investment and hype are unsustainable. There will be turmoil as the mark begins to consolidate, likely in 2023 to 2026.

Who’s impacted

  • CIO
  • Development team leads
  • Workforce transformation leads

What’s Next?

Low-code development is not a new concept. However, the uptake of Cloud platforms, common data models, robot process automation and business modelling are extending the notion of low-code development from simple ‘e-forms’ tools to services that enable enterprise-grade process digitisation.  

The pandemic and working from home has supercharged the need for process digitisation, and low-code vendors are all seeing strong sales growth. 

Unfortunately, the term ‘low-code’ is starting to become meaningless, as vendors that provide very different application development tools and platforms attach the term to their products.  IBRS recommends organisations view ‘low code’ as a broad term that covers a spectrum of capabilities, as detailed in 'How to succeed with eforms Part 1: Understand the need'. It is likely that most organisations will need to acquire two low-code products to cover different parts of this spectrum: one product aimed at non-technical staff for simple e-forms, and another product to increase the agility of pro-developers in the ICT group.

Consider the financial backing and stability of a vendor when selecting low-code tools, as market consolidation is on the horizon. You do not wish to be developing business processes on a platform they will outlive.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. How to succeed with eforms Part 1: Understand the need.
  2. Workforce transformation part 4: Non-techies are taking over your developers’ jobs – Dealing with the fallout
  3. Aussie vendor radar: Nintex joins the mainstream business process automation vendor landscape
  4. IBRSiQ: Can IBRS assist in identifying a mobility platform other than Xalt?

Conclusion: Regardless of its digital strategy, many organisations have not been positioned to properly leverage the digital and data assets that are available to them. A Chief Data Officer (CDO) role can improve this situation by advancing an organisation’s data portfolio, curating and making appropriate data visible and actionable.

The CDO position is appropriate for all larger organisations, and small-to-large organisations focused on data-driven decision-making and innovation. These organisations benefit from a point person overseeing data management, data quality, and data strategy. CDOs are also responsible for developing a culture that supports data analytics and business intelligence, and the process of drawing valuable insights from data. In summary, they are responsible for improving data literacy within the organisation.

Conclusion: Agility to respond to change has become essential. Compared with previous years, CIOs are expected to produce results over longer periods of time, now expectations have become much higher. Stakeholders are expecting results as soon as possible. With the trend geared towards an increase in technology dependence, the pressure of delivering results has therefore increased for CIOs and IT leaders.

Part of this new set of expectations is improved efficiency and productivity, which in most cases requires a thorough evaluation of business processes to garner potential inefficiencies. One of the primary tools organisations have at their disposal is the enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Eventually, it all boils down to whether or not the migration to S/4 HANA can be justified in terms of value-add-services. Implementation effort and run costs are only a part of the business case, not the whole.

The Latest

13 Nov 2020: Google Cloud announced preview availability of a serverless Database Migration Service (DMS), which enables clients to migrate MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server databases to Cloud SQL from on-premises environments or other clouds. 

Why it's Important 

Refactoring applications to take advantage of Cloud-native databases is one of the fastest cost-optimisation opportunities for organisations migrating to Cloud services. Cloud-native databases offer cost-efficiencies in both technical terms (e.g. storage costs) and operational savings (e.g. auto-tuning and scaling). However, the cost of migrating can be a sticking point in the development of business cases, especially where specialised outside help is required. 

Google DMS addresses the above by simplifying and reducing the cost of database migration. It eliminates the need to provision migration-specific compute resources.

Azure and AWS have their own database migration approaches, and even though Google’s solution is in its infancy, it has a solid road map.

Who’s Impacted

Organisations with Adobe Marketing Cloud and related investments, and Workfront customers.

  • Enterprise Architects
  • Cloud Migration / Strategic leads

What’s Next

Organisations with Cloud migration strategies should be comparing how to not only optimise the cost of running Cloud databases, but also the cost and agility of migration. This consideration should not rest upon one use case, but assume that an increasing number of databases will be migrated over time, both from on-premise and from other Cloud providers.  

Close ‘like-for-like’ calculations suggest that Google’s MySQL database services are lower than that of both Azure and AWS, though direction comparisons are difficult given the number of possible configurations. Therefore, while Google is not a major Cloud player in the ANZ region (compared to AWS and Azure) it can be considered as an option for cost-optimisation in a multi-Cloud setting.

Related IBRS Advisory

Conclusion: Organisations using Microsoft Server licences should consider leveraging the full potential of recent developments in the AWS licence suite. For more than a decade, AWS Cloud services have provided different organisations reliable data servicing and fewer downtime hours. AWS suggests that it offers clients more instances and twice the performance rate on SQL servers compared to other Cloud providers. Clients will need to have a performance rating in mind to validate these services for their own use.

Over the past decade, AWS has sought to innovate its processes and features following customer feedback. For example, the AWS License Manager was developed after customer feedback as a one-stop solution that manages usage limits and enables IT licensing optimisation across a variety of software vendors and across hybrid environments. It is important for customers to compare this licence management solution with other Cloud providers to validate the additional benefits.

Conclusion: SAP ECC on-premise versions required ownership of ERP infrastructure and multi-year licensing. The business cases for such investments considered ERP systems essential to remain competitive in IT service industries, logistics and resource-intensive sectors.

The next stage of the SAP journey recognises that Cloud infrastructure associated with S/4HANA can remove the large capital investment and reduce operating costs. Even with this infrastructure saving, the data migration risk remained with CIOs looking to identify a reliable data migration method. Any data migration considered to be high risk should be avoided in the current environment. Many are unfamiliar with the best method to migrate from on-premise SAP solutions to SAP S/4HANA in the Cloud.

SAP and its partners are now making this data migration journey not only more transparent but achievable in a timeframe that is measured in months not years. This is being achieved through Cloud platforms that can interrogate and integrate legacy data, then present migration paths in real time whilst retaining the data integrity before, during and after the migration.

Conclusion: At the start of 2020, businesses had carefully-devised strategies in place which had been put together the year before. The onslaught of the global pandemic has either put these strategies to the test or caused them to be scrapped completely. The coronavirus has imposed changes everywhere we look and across different industries. Some businesses were forced to close shop. Others have been on a path of fast-tracked innovation and transformation. Before the pandemic, organisational behaviour had been structured to usher in growth and expansion. Although these are still valid goals, another factor has been added and that is survival.

With an economic crisis looming, consumer behaviour will inevitably change. Building and rebuilding the business requires its executives to be resilient and agile. A change in mindset is key. Alternative perspectives are relevant in pivoting in this new normal. After the period of adjustment has set in, managing IT may look different from how things were previously done.

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: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in prolonged lockdowns and quarantines, limiting economic activity and resulting in closure of businesses and many people losing their jobs. Various institutions around the world are unanimous in predicting that a recession is on its way, if not already here. Unless a vaccine is developed in the immediate future, the uncertainty will continue to rise in the days and months to come. However, businesses can turn this situation into an opportunity to examine their current operations.

A review of the events of the recent global recession – the global financial crisis of 2007–2008 – reveals that six recession-seeded trends, when acted upon promptly, provided business advantage. Although the trends for the anticipated COVID-19-led recession are still to be established, CIOs can benefit from re-examining the lessons of the past recessions and exploring a recession’s potential to deliver organisational efficiencies and savings. The outcome may be selective adoption of technology or deferral of projects, but the potency of these trends cannot be ignored.

Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the whole world by storm, shutting down establishments and pushing businesses and public sector agencies towards high levels of uncertainty. It seems it will be a while before this storm lets up.

Regardless of how bleak the effects of the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns are to the economy and the business sector, it can be a platform where leaders and innovators come forth.

Most companies are struggling to determine the next steps and are barely surviving through their business continuity plans. This paper aims to help you pivot towards a different perspective.

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).

IBRS was asked to present on the AI market for 2018 - 2019. This advisory presents an AI market overview for this time with an outlook towards 2025. How has your organisation's AI journey progressed?

Conclusion: The recent use of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions has demonstrated the value of this type of technology to consumers and organisations. It resulted in the recent discovery of new antibiotics, the emergence of self-services (e. g. virtual agents) and the ability to analyse unstructured data to create business value. However, releasing AI solutions without integrating them into the current IT production environment, the corporate network and Cloud will limit the value realisation of artificial intelligence deployments.

NewsIBRS advisor Dr Joseph Sweeney has been tracking the three major Cloud vendors capabilities in AI and said Google is right to believe it has an edge over AWS and Microsoft when it comes to corpus (the data that 'feeds' certain AI applications) and also in AI application infrastructure cost and performance. However, he said this advantage was not materialising into significant gains in the Australian market.

Full Story.

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: IT organisations wishing to migrate to Cloud should adopt a pragmatic approach that strikes a balance between migration cost, Cloud risks and benefits. The bottom line is to avoid the hidden cost (e.g. scope changes), mitigate the migration risks (e.g. effective multi-Cloud management) and realise the benefits that contribute to business performance improvement. Effective governance of the overall Cloud migration is a critical success factor.

Conclusion: In this day and age, customers expect to be able to complete a transaction across multiple touch points and for each touch point to be aware of where they are in the transaction process, and complete the transaction in real time. That is, not having to wait for batch processing or human interaction to be completed before they see a result. To achieve a great customer experience in the digital world, organisations need to build IT systems that support their business processes, allowing customers choice of channel, including the traditional face-to-face and asymmetric processes, like paper and email.

The value proposition for the customer is for the supplier to provide an automated online service that is, from the customer’s perspective, fast, reliable, inter-connected and secure. The improved omni-channel approach will drive customer adoption and allow reduced costs associated with the continued face-to-face and asymmetric channels.

Conclusion: IT organisations challenged with predicting performance requirements of new digital applications should undertake end-to-end stress tests that can detect systems performance problems prior to production release. Test results should be used to define the final release dates, prepare corporate investment justifications for improving the application architecture and influence the ongoing capacity planning practices. Successful execution of the initial performance engineering exercises will result in sound deployment strategies and avoid media embarrassment. The specification of the stress tests should be clearly described in any request for proposals. The chosen vendors should have the capability to scale the new systems to the desired performance specification.

Conclusion: Delivering mature infrastructure services depends on many factors. For example, the service levels may vary significantly. Some organisations opt for non-stop operations, others seek basic service levels that allow up to one hour unscheduled downtime per month (or more). The key challenge facing IT organisations reviewing their infrastructure is to strike a balance between service level, cost, quality and risks. To address this requirement, IBRS has developed an Infrastructure Maturity Model1 to help organisations understand the service components dependencies before selecting an infrastructure alternative.

Conclusion: While release and change management processes have been contributing to good service availability during the last 20 years, the increased service architecture complexity caused by adopting multiple Cloud and digital services has demonstrated that release and change management methods used to date are inadequate for the new world. As a result, end users have been experiencing unscheduled downtime that has impacted their business operations and led to embarrassment in the media. This research publication provides guidance on how to raise the maturity of release and change management processes to address these critical issues.

Conclusion: Despite being first published over 10 years ago, ITIL service design remains a pain point for both project delivery and service operations teams respectively. The former claims the latter requires the creation of additional deliverables at the point of service transition, while the latter expresses frustration at the lack of attention paid to service design during early stages of project delivery.

The reality is responsibility for IT service design extends beyond both these teams with all functions across IT having a role to play, from strategy all the way through to operations. When all aspects of the IT organisation contribute to the design of new, and modification of existing, services the artificial hump of service design can be avoided. The key is identifying who should be capturing and sharing what information to support service design – an outcome that can be achieved by adopting an end-to-end process integration model for the business IT.

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

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

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

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: The increased use of technical point-solutions has created the need for establishing an in-house core team of generalists capable of defining a coherent set of services that can improve the overall business performance. The key obstacle to building these strategic skills is the IT managers’ attitudes towards assigning work to existing staff. For example, IT managers tend to heavily exploit the existing skills of the technical staff to address specific requirements. Managers rarely give staff the chance to build new strategic skills that are beneficial to themselves and to their business.

Managers should strike a balance between strategic skill building and technical skill exploitation. This requires helping staff to acquire a deep understanding of the business operations, gain awareness of industry latest trends and offerings, and becoming capable of defining ICT solutions that can fix critical business problems.

Conclusion: Running IT-as-a-Service requires emulating vendors’ account management function by creating a business relationship manager (BRM) role. The role’s rationale is to provide strategic advice to business stakeholders and act as a single point of coordination between IT groups and business lines. BRM’s focus is to manage the relationship with business strategists and recommend IT solutions relevant to business performance improvement and cost reduction initiatives where applicable.

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.

This document provides a template of specifications and requirements for a modern CRM, categorised by several key areas

Conclusion: The success of digital transformation, hybrid Cloud deployment and multi-service providers’ governance largely depends on IT services being integrated and managed in a unified and standard way. Service integration and management (SIAM) is an approach to address this requirement. However, its full implementation is a massive undertaking covering delivery processes, organisational structure changes, service cost tracking, service skills and an effective deployment of end-to-end management tools. This note recommends a quick win approach that focuses on getting the service essentials fulfilled depending upon the status of external services used by an IT organisation.

Conclusion: Business executives in different business units are bypassing ICT with enterprise Software-as-a-Service. Two early leaders in this trend – marketing and human resources departments – are now rediscovering age-old challenges of uncoordinated software selection. CIOs must transform the ICT group to run IT-as-a-Service to help the organisation avoid information and process fragmentation, as well as reposition their teams as consultative partners. There is no time to wait.

Conclusion: External Cloud services can realise cost reduction up to 50 % p. a. and promise no set-up or exit fees. While the ongoing cost reduction is realistic, there are significant other costs related to third-party services that should be considered to calculate the overall cost saving of Cloud migration. They are:

  • Transition-in cost due to the use of external consulting services to set up the new environment (up to $2.5 million for 7,000 users), as well as procurement cost to prepare tenders, select vendors and negotiate contracts (up to $300,000)
  • Transition-out fees to migrate the current service to another service provider (similar to transition-in cost)
  • Hardware depreciation related to private Cloud exit
  • Governance fees to ensure Cloud consumption remains within budget and the desired service levels are tracked and met (up to 7 % of the annual cost)
  • Risk mitigation strategies to ensure the Cloud service remains secure.

The purpose of this research note is to provide a step-by-step approach to determine the ongoing cost-saving opportunities needed for Cloud migration business case1 preparation.

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: Some ICT strategies are technology-centric while others are business-centric. The technology-centric strategies are usually developed without business stakeholders’ involvement resulting in limited business buy-in. Business-centric strategies are based on business strategies but have a short life-span. This is because market forces require business strategies to change frequently. IBRS recommends that ICT strategies be derived from business and IT guiding principles.
The rationale is that guiding principles have a longer life-span than business strategies and can deliver the desired outcome such as:

  • leveraging new technology
  • involving business stakeholders in the development process
  • realising business value in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Conclusion: Public Cloud is not the solution to all IT organisations’ technology and services problems. This is because most IT organisations use a portfolio of environments such as legacy systems, in-house and outsourced services, customised IT service management tools and standard applications (e. g. email) that cannot be all retrofitted in a public Cloud architecture without major rework. As a result, hybrid Cloud has become the preferred direction because it allows the multiple environments to co-exist in a cost-effective manner. However, a convincing business case is needed to gain business and IT senior executives’ sponsorship to adopt hybrid Cloud. While Cloud migration benefits and risk mitigation are critical success factors, the deployment-hidden cost is a major contributor to failure. The objectives of this research note are to provide a framework1 to develop the business case and to ensure its cost includes the following:

  • Hybrid Cloud strategy development,
  • Risks identification and mitigation,
  • Go-to-market strategy, providers’ selection and contract negotiation, and
  • Ongoing governance to realise the desired business benefits. This can reach up to 7 % of the yearly cost.

Conclusion: As self-service data analytics and visualisation becomes mainstream – due in no small part to Microsoft’s Power BI strategy – traditional data teams within IT groups need to reconsider traditional business intelligence architectures and plan a migration to a new environment. Underpinning the new architecture must be a sharper focus on tools and practices to support data governance, which is not a strength of Microsoft’s portfolio.

Conclusion: IT organisations wishing to create value should initiate selling processes to define business needs, establish SLAs for mission-critical systems and provide IT solutions to key business issues. This will result in boosting IT staff confidence and managing business lines’ expectations more effectively.

Conclusion: Microsoft’s portfolio of business intelligence (BI) products now places the vendor in a market-leading position. Over the next three to five years, IBRS expects Microsoft to continue to strengthen its market position in BI, largely through its ability to expose a large number of users to self-service data visualisation and storytelling via some of Power BI’s features being included in Office 365.

Exploring Microsoft’s strategy for Power BI provides several important issues for consideration.

Conclusion: IT organisations wishing to create value are challenged by long implementation time-scales and inability to change the business perception of IT capability. To address these challenges, IT organisations should adopt an accelerated approach by deploying key processes within a six-month period, to demonstrate service quality and commitment to meet business needs in a rational fashion. Failure to do so will brand IT as a support function, and will make IT desire to earn strategic partner status virtually unachievable.

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: The availability of modern, Cloud-based, omnichannel-focused stakeholder and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions is disrupting expectations of how public sector organisations should interact with their stakeholders, be it citizens and constituents, the business community, research or other agencies.

It is not just that new CRM solutions have additional features and modules when compared to more traditional CRM solution with histories that predate social media. Rather, the emerging modern CRM paradigm is focused on automation and mass personalisation of stakeholder communication rather than sales management.

A public sector’s CRM modernisation effort must, therefore, be based upon a firm understanding of the organisation’s most valuable stakeholder experiences. One way to achieve this understanding is to develop a stakeholder experience strategy.

Note: A sister note on this topic for private sector organisations is available.

Conclusion: The availability of modern, Cloud-based, omnichannel-focused stakeholder and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions is disrupting customer expectations. It is not just that new CRM solutions have additional features and modules when compared to more traditional CRM solutions with a history predating social media. The modern CRM paradigm is focused on automation and mass personalisation of customer experiences rather than stakeholder and sales management.

A CRM modernisation effort must, therefore, be based upon a firm understanding of the organisation’s most valuable customer experiences. One way to achieve this understanding is to develop a customer experience strategy.

Note: sister note on this topic for public sector organisations is available.

Conclusion: IT organisations revisiting their service contracts as a result of mergers and acquisitions should establish a federated vendor management arrangement. The rationale is to ensure central consistency while retaining local autonomy to address tactical matters. For example, the central consistency demands leveraging the economy of scale to reduce cost, whilst the local autonomy allows the extension of services scope to cover local requirements without the need to change the local vendor management arrangements. However, the local autonomy should be governed by verifiable policies.

Conclusion: Given that multi-Cloud is a combination of public/private Cloud and customised systems governed by in-house and/or outsourced arrangements, end-to-end service level management becomes a critical success factor. IT organisations should implement a complete set of service level practices covering people, processes and systems that allow IT organisations to efficiently deliver services in accordance with service level agreements (SLAs).

The SLAs should span across the full service lifecycle. Service level foundation requires defining the:

  • services provided
  • metrics associated with these services
  • acceptable and unacceptable service levels
  • liabilities on the part of the service providers and the buyer, and
  • actions to be taken in specific circumstances.

Conclusion: During the last two decades, service desks delivery had the following shortcomings:

  • The service desk voice communication channel was characterised by a long waiting time to connect with service desk staff.
  • Service desk staff with limited skills minimised the number of issues resolved at the first point of contact.
  • There was a lack of online channels and limited self-service offerings, e.g. password reset.
  • The service charges were based on the number of incidents that discouraged providers to reduce the number of incidents.

To address these shortcomings, IT organisations should transform to Service Desk-as-a-Service. It should be powered by self-service virtual agents that can identify most of the solutions without the need to connect with service desk officers. The charges should be based on the number of users instead of outages to encourage providers to address outages’ root causes. Online services covering reporting on issues and following up progress should be favoured over voice communication.

  • What is the future of work and how do we prepare our kids for it?
  • Are schools and universities setting kids up for future success?
  • Does technology in the classroom improve outcomes for kids?
  • Should every school student be learning to code?
  • And what are the skills that kids will need in tomorrow's world?

These are just some of the questions I ask Dr Joe Sweeney, technologist, researcher, writer and expert in workforce transformation in this episode of the Potential Psychology podcast.

Joe and I discuss schools, education, technology, tools, parenting and the future of work. We talk about why LEGO is important for the digital world, the role of books in future happiness and success and why the most important thing we can do for our kids is teaching them to think.

Join me as we explore the future - and the past - with Dr Joe Sweeney.

Full Story

Conclusion: Penalties and incentives are designed to ensure agreed critical service levels are achieved. Penalties are enforced whenever service levels are not met. Incentives are rewarded whenever agreed service levels are exceeded. However, there are cases whereby providers prefer to pay the penalty instead of improving the service level. For example, it is easier to pay a penalty of $10,000 instead of fixing a service issue that might cost $50,000. The purpose of this note is to prevent such situations from occurring and maintain the focus on meeting the service level in all circumstances.

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: Traditional outsourcing and managed service contracts primarily focus on incident management service levels and give little attention to problem management. For example, incident management service level might be 95 per cent of Severity 2 outages resolved within four hours. In general, a temporary fix is sufficient to meet the incident management service levels. However, this might not prevent the outage from reoccurring because the outage root cause was not addressed. To address this issue, problem management root cause analysis must be used. This necessitates the integration of incident and problem management to govern multi-providers’ activities managing hybrid Cloud1.

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: Private Cloud1 managed by an as-a-Service contract has become the inevitable replacement of managed services arrangements. The main difference is that an as-a-Service contract is charged on consumption instead of on a fixed price basis and the service levels are tightly linked to end user experience and delivered at a lower price. However, unlike the common perception that Cloud migration is relatively easy, transitioning to private Cloud still requires thorough planning especially whenever the scope covers the full IT functions.

Conclusion: Business continuity and disaster recovery plans are largely developed in isolation. The result is ineffective recovery arrangements that do not meet the fundamental business needs. With the variety of Cloud service continuity solutions, IT organisations should initiate a unified business and IT continuity project to intimately involve business units in defining and deploying complete service recovery facilities, including mitigating the risks such as ransomware attacks and the lack of SaaS escrow1 services. This will tightly couple recovery services to business imperatives. The use of Cloud for service continuity (which was not available eight years ago) will reduce the overall cost of recovery.

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: While there was significant media attention on artificial intelligence and blockchain in 2017, the primary concerns of Australia’s CIOs remain focused on the more pressing issues of migration to the Cloud, and its impact on IT operations and staffing. Where discussions of artificial intelligence play a role is in automation processes and workforce transformation.

Conclusion: Many IT organisations have adopted business transformation1 strategies to help their businesses increase revenue. However, while digital transformation has succeeded in making the communication with the enterprise more convenient (e. g. mobile applications), it has been difficult to substantiate digital transformation contribution to the financial performance improvement. As a result, justifying new software projects has become more difficult. It is recommended to shift the digital transformation focus from technology point solutions to building quality products and services that increase profit and elevate customer satisfaction. The success should be measured by increased sales instead of only technology charms.

Conclusion: Many Cloud service providers manage their own systems but do not take any responsibility for working with other providers in a multi-sourced environment. As a result, IT organisations wishing to maximise the benefits of hybrid Cloud should develop a governance framework to address technology integration issues, optimise the interaction among service providers managing the multiple Clouds and define policies to operate in a multi-sourced environment. This will ensure business operations remain unaffected by service providers’ potential disputes.

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.

 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: One strategy to implement IT-as-a-Service models is to focus on business efficiency improvement. This requires shifting focus from addressing IT internal issues (e. g. operating system upgrade) to improving business operations. It requires building IT skills and capabilities to leverage the emerging IT trends, technologies and services in the areas of artificial intelligence, analytics, Internet of Things, cognitive learning and multi-Cloud management.

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: One strategy to implement IT-as-a-Service models is to focus on efficiency improvement. This requires shifting focus from control to service improvement. The outcome will be end-user experience enrichment, cost reduction and business/IT operations synchronisation. Failure to do so will force IT to remain a utility provider offering insignificant innovation and playing a negligible role in business transformation.

Conclusion: One strategy to implement IT-as-a-Service models is to outsource the IT delivery capability to multiple service providers. However, the IT organisation remains accountable for the success of the outsourced arrangements. This requires the IT organisation to have a mature procurement and service provider governance function. The rationale is to acquire services and negotiate contracts that go beyond meeting the traditional IT needs to provide business innovation, performance improvement, cost reduction and risks mitigation covering IT and business vulnerabilities.

IT consists of information and communications technologies (ICT) typically used in business, corporate or enterprise management (e.g. computer processing, data management, business processes and applications, customer service, enterprise networking).

OT consists of specific operational technologies used to run a business operation (e.g. capital assets, manufacturing process control, machinery, vehicles, equipment, avionics, telemetry).

This MAP and its companion Compass research note provide guidance on evaluating the forms of organisation necessary to deliver reliable and effective interworking of IT and OT. The proximity of IT and OT varies substantially by industry.

Whatever the industry, organisations must seek out and evaluate existing and emerging opportunities in converging IT and OT. If these opportunities are missed, the business will lag in real-time management and suffer loss of their productivity and competitive edge.


 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.

Collaboration services must align with business objctives to be effective but what does the buzzword "collaboration" really mean?

While the hype surrounding collaboration technologies and Web 2.0 services reaches fever pitch within the media, vendors and business managers alike, it will serve organisations well to stop and think carefully about what the buzzword collaboration really means for organisational processes, structures and efficiencies. When collaboration services are misaligned with business objectives, they will hinder, not aid, productivity. Having a model to categorise different forms – or modes – of collaboration is an important first-step in accurately matching technologies to different collaborative applications.

A decade ago, IBRS made the case that there were many different “modes” of collaboration and stressed the importance of choosing the appropriate mode for specific work activities. A framework provided clarity in matching the different collaborative modes to work. The framework included five aspects: power, process complexity, reach, community breadth and goals. While collaborative productivity tool suites have become the de facto working environment over the last decade, the uptake of deep collaborative work practices within and between organisations has been hindered by cultural resistance, as outlined in “Get Ready for Co-Authoring: Parts 1 & 2”. The shift to deep collaboration working practices will be resisted, but it is inevitable.