The Latest

2 Dec 2020: Salesforce Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Slack. The forthcoming merger of Salesforce and Slack provides an avenue for a new operating system of how e-commerce organisations and companies grow and succeed in the digital space. The merger is anticipated to close in the second quarter of Salesforce’s fiscal year 2022. 

Why it’s Important

Salesforce has struggled to shore up offerings in the collaborative side of the business, which will evolve to be an important part of modern CRMs and ERPs, along with low code dev and integration for process automation and business intelligence tools for analytics. The planning acquisition of Slack rounds out Salesforce’s ‘magic four’ components of a modern digital workplace. 

The Slack acquisition aims at heading off increasingly strong competition from Microsoft’s Dynamics, the Power Platform, PowerBI, and Teams.

Who’s Impacted

  • CIOs
  • CFOs
  • COOs

What’s Next?

Consider your future digital workplace architecture based on these five high-level platforms: 

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

Though these five platforms need not all come from the same vendor, nor even be made up of a single vendor’s solutions, Microsoft, Salesforce, and little-known Zoho are all vying for the entire set. The competition for the overall ‘Enterprise Digital DNA’ will heat up significantly through to 2025.  

IBRS expects Salesforce and possibly Microsoft to make new investments in information management platforms from 2021 to 2022. There will be rapid expansion, followed by feverish consolidation of the low code platform market.

Related IBRS Advisory

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.

Conducted by Australia’s Intelligent Business Research Services (IBRS) and commissioned by TechnologyOne, the survey of 261 business leaders in ANZ has shown that business functions are having more sway about technology decisions and are increasingly opting for Cloud-based applications.

But it is not always a case of “shadow IT” in the traditional sense where a business unit goes behind the technology department’s back to buy a product or service.

Instead, it is “enterprise shadow IT” selected with the blessings of IT, said Joe Sweeney, principal analyst at IBRS, adding that in some organisations, CIOs have transformed and are more supportive and consultative.

Conclusion: Chatbots have become a hot topic among senior executives, especially in HR, customer services, citizen service, marketing and sales groups. Chatbots, powered by the increasingly accurate natural language processing capabilities, hold the potential to radically change the way people interact with an organisation without human intervention.

Separating chatbots into two aspects – clients and engines – provides a basis for very low-cost proof of concepts, while also protecting investments in the most valuable asset of the bot: the training data.

Conclusion: Media played up the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digital Transformation in 2018. However, the potential AI remains underestimated and its limitations misunderstood. In short, AI is reaching peak hype with investments sporadic and confused. In contrast, Digital Transformation remains a primary driver for investment, though it means very different things to different organisations and even different stakeholders within organisations.

Australia’s CIOs remain focused on tactical issues: upgrades of core systems, adoption of hybrid Cloud (as opposed to simply Cloud migration, which was a dominant theme in early 2018) and changing the culture and structure of the ICT group to support “as-a-Service” operational models entity

It is important to note that these tactical priorities of CIOs all have one thing in common: they are aimed at providing a technological infrastructure for the organisation to adopt “Digital Transformation”. In this sense, Digital Transformation is being used as a way to secure agreement and investment in more fluid, responsive and modern tech infrastructure and operations, rather than a specific, measurable business outcome.

In 2019, Digital Transformation is a rallying call, more than a discrete program of work with measurable outcomes. This rallying call will be heard by all stakeholders, but interpreted differently. The challenge for senior ICT executives will be to leverage the short opportunity the Digital Transformation call has to deliver genuine long-term benefits and update infrastructure and operating models to be more flexible and responsive to changing business needs.

 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.

You have probably already started some mobility initiatives for your organisation, and that is a good thing, because mobility has the potential to be truly transformative to many, many industries.

Not only does it change where work gets done, but in many cases it can change how work gets done, and even who does the work. It can actually alter the structure of your workplace. So mobility clearly is something that you want to look for, if you're striving for innovation.

But one of the things that we've noticed with many, many organisations that we have dealt with and many, many case studies we have been involved with, is that over about two or three years tops, many mobility initiatives start to bog down. It starts getting harder and harder and harder for organisations to really keep up that speed of development, to maintain that rate of innovation.

This is so common that we have a term for it: we call it the Burning Rabbit syndrome,

Conclusion: The use of the term ‘Digital’ as an adjective plays a particular role in both public and private sector initiatives. Like similar terms of the past, it creates a space for agreement among multiple stakeholders, even when there is a lack of universal understanding. This is useful when an initiative includes an interplay of technology and culture. It allows advocates to collapse a multitude of complex issues into a simple catch-all phrase to which everyone already agrees. However, understanding the benefit of using ‘Digital’ to gain agreement for an initiative needs to be weighed up against the potential of seeing well-intentioned initiatives implemented in unexpected ways.

Conclusion: Team collaboration solutions can be categorised by the types of work they focus upon. These are: project (time), people (social) and product (document). When choosing a team collaboration tool consider what the organisation’s teams most commonly collaborate on –projects, personal interactions, documents and ensure this work focus is a primary selection criterion.

Conclusion: The days of viewing BI as a single solution are over. Organisations should view Business Intelligence as four distinct, but interlocking services that each addresses a different critical business imperative: reporting; self-direct data exploration; operational decision support; and data science. Each of these imperatives addresses different stakeholders and will have its own architect.

Four technology forces will shape the business strategy in 2016, writes IBRS' Dr Joe Sweeney

In the view of IBRS, four technology forces will shape business strategy in 2016:

  • Mobility, the Post PC Era, and Future Workplace Innovation
  • As-a-Service
  • Security Leadership
  • Data Driven Business


Conclusion: Google’s recent announcement that it was depreciating its Translation APIs (application program interfaces) with minimal notice sent shock waves through the world of translation services and developers of mobile, consumer and even enterprise software. After the initial announcement, Google changed its position and stated API services would be offered on a pay-per-use basis. Google’s moves highlights risks associated with public APIs that are provided under ‘terms of use’ rather than firm contractual agreements. As cloud services evolve, the use of free API services allow vendors to effectively hold enterprises and developers to ransom. Organisations must consider carefully the risks of free APIs, and create risk mitigation strategies while still reaping the considerable benefits these services deliver.

Conclusion:  Moving from Office 2003 or earlier, to Office 2007/2010 should not be viewed as a software upgrade. It should be viewed as a migration to a new solution architecture entirely, and planned accordingly. If an organisation treats the move to Office 2007/2010 as a simple software upgrade, not only will there be no tangible return on investment for the upgrade initiative, but it is possible that productivity may be negatively affected.

Conclusion: Creation of an enterprise strategy for printing services and printing often revolves around the issue of shared (or centralised) printing resources versus local (desktop) printers. The common approach is to use a TCO model to identify which approach is most suitable. However, simplistic TCO models miss important secondary financial and workplace benefits. When creating an enterprise printing strategy, one must look deeper into the TCO model.