Strategy & Transformation

Flourishing in the modern marketplace relies on an organisation’s ability to make the right choices.

To avoid being left behind in an evolving world it is critical for organisations to jump at opportunities for transformational growth. However, acting without sufficient planning is fraught with risk. 

Transformation can only happen when an organisation is aligned on its strategic intent, and IT leaders need the resources to drive great choice-making across their organisation.

From planning to delivery, IBRS can cut through the confusion and guide your organisation all the way through its transformational journey. Our advisors have first-hand experience delivering digital transformation projects and can develop a tailored roadmap to deliver the outcomes you want. 

 
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.
 

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Conclusion: Preparing the modern business for Cloud requires a common computing and networking infrastructure with new Cloud architectures converging with data centres over a hybrid of both direct Cloud connections and traditional wide area networking.

Organisations must begin by conducting a “triage” of their applications into three networking categories: those in pure public Cloud deployment; a hybrid of public and private (“on-premises”) computing; and those that will never go to Cloud (such as legacy apps, or for regulatory or security requirements).

At Cloud-scale the network becomes a fabric that facilitates software-defined technologies1 (compute virtualisation, SD Storage, SD Networking and SD Security). Software-defined networking (SDN) abstracts network functions so that existing switches, routers and appliances can be made programmable to enhance their functions and reduce costs.

Eventually business IT processing will be delivered by SD Everything as all fundamental IT functions coalesce.

From today, businesses should be placing new emphasis on the “management” of their networking as both “virtual” and physical networks and plan to drastically reduce manual configuration and operation of networked IT as indicated below.

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Conclusion: One strategy to implement IT-as-a-Service models is to build an in-house capability whereby the IT organisation is accountable for the full service delivery according to commercial practices. This requires the IT organisation to play the role of an internal service broker, expected to acquire external services and coordinate internal and external services delivery to meet the business needs. The service broker should at least be flexible, reliable and cost effective.

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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.

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

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

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Conclusion: Employ a bottom-up technology-based approach and a top-down business approach when developing the business and IT transformation program. Additionally, the program must take a pragmatic approach to reflect workplace changes that are feasible to meet the expectations of clients, staff, suppliers and the community.

Unless the program is continually revised to reflect the changing business and technology environment, it runs the risk of addressing yesterday’s problems. When benefits expected are not being realised, as indicated immediately below, it is important to implement turnaround strategies.

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

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Conclusion: IBRS’ finding is that prominent Cloud marketplaces (CMPs) such as AWS Marketplace1, Microsoft Azure2, Google Cloud Platform3 and IBM Bluemix4 are gaining traction as alternatives to conventional enterprise ICT infrastructure and services sourcing.

Given the state of maturity of these marketplaces, they are currently only useful for quickly and conveniently locating and obtaining ICT infrastructure and microservices for use in low-risk small scale pilots or trials.

As wider take-up is underway with larger applications being adopted through AWS and Azure organisations should begin to prepare for a shift in the viability of enterprise-level solutions.

Our caution is that CMPs will not have profound impacts on enterprise ICT provision until both the IT and Procurement organisations within a business become satisfied that this approach has validity, value and is auditable5 and manageable.

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

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

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

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Conclusion: When undertaking business-oriented transformation programs, such as the current wave of digital transformation, it is important for Enterprise Architects to develop an EA for IT in parallel – not as a separate or independent IT transformation effort.

Establishing the EA for IT requires that the IT organisation itself becomes the “enterprise” in context, ensuring that IT has a true business blueprint that reflects the needs of its wider organisational context. This will require that Enterprise Architects identify an effective set of contemporary reference models for what it means to deliver IT in an As-a-Service world.

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

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Conclusion: Although automation is actively being introduced through digital transformation projects, it may still be a minor part of the technological mix for a few years. The main reason for the potentially slower progress with automation is the relatively mixed economic background. In some specific instances, it is an obvious option but otherwise its benefits will be ambiguous for some time.

In these foreseeable circumstances it may be that business as usual (BAU) is the overriding strategic principle.

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Conclusion: Unless management develops work-place change management strategies and staff are trained to implement the transformation program, employees are likely to become disengaged and could fail to adapt to the changes envisaged. To minimise the risk of failure, the strategy to implement the program must be well planned and stakeholders consulted.

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

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

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

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Conclusion: Transitioning to hybrid Cloud might include migration from the current outsourcing contracts and some in-sourced activities to IT-as-a-Service models. The rationale is to accelerate efficiency gains realisation in a timely manner. One of the Procurement Manager’s options is to seek a service broker (e. g. prime contractor) to efficiently undertake the migration without disrupting the current business operations.

IT Procurement Managers should:

  • Establish governance arrangements underpinned by an effective organisational structure, tools and processes to select the service broker
  • Request the acceptance of the transition plan to become a prerequisite to contract signature
  • Manage the new contract until the business objectives are met

One of the migration critical success factors is a detailed transition plan covering the service provider selection and setting the foundation of a healthy relationship between both parties throughout the contract duration.

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

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Limited resources and a lack of skilled staff are holding back councils' IT plans. Australia's local councils are under increasing pressure to modernise their operations and improve on-line service delivery for residents, but many are starved of the funds and skills to achieve those goals. These are the key findings of a report from IBRS into local government IT management. The report - Winds of Change also Sweeping Local Government - found that local government IT leaders are grappling with demands to simultaneously improve online customer-centric service delivery while reducing operating expenses.

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

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

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Conclusion: IT organisations initiating efficiency improvement programs should automate inter-process interaction, focus on measurement and refine inter-group communication. This will enhance service availability, reduce delivery cost and enrich end user experience.

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Conclusion: IT organisations wishing to maximise the ROI of as-a-Service contracts must transform the relationship management role from contract focus (i. e. whereby the mindset is to create a win/lose scenario) to a value focus whereby business benefits are realised. This demands building advanced skills in negotiation, communication and consulting. It is also necessary to extend the Relationship Manager’s role to one which ensures as-a-Service policies are developed, security policies are adhered to and external providers’ deliverables are synchronised with those of internal service providers.

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Conclusion: Paying for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) which is kept on-premises, but paid for on an Opex model rather than as a Capex outlay, is often positioned as ‘Cloud-like’. There can be use cases and specific workloads where this model makes sense and does give some advantages to the organisation.

However, on-premises management of an organisation’s own Cloud can be lacking in the degree of flexibility and pace of innovation that can be achieved when compared to some of the larger and more successful public Cloud offerings such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.

Organisations need to weigh up specific use cases and workloads and determine the optimal balance of when to use ‘on-premises’ Cloud versus public Cloud.

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Conclusion: With the migration to complex hybrid sourcing strategies, traditional IT organisations based on ‘plan/build/run’ models will not be suitable for acquiring Cloud services in an increasingly changing market. This is due to a vague understanding of service total cost of ownership and limited contract negotiation and management skills. IT organisations wishing to rely on external services must evolve to ‘plan/procure/govern’ structure to emphasise strategic service planning and hire specialised service providers’ governance skills. This shift should ensure mutual trust and respect between parties, well-defined service levels and clear roles and responsibilities. IBRS estimates the cost of the governance structure and services to be 3 %-7 % of the annual contract value. This must be considered during the business case preparation.

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

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

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

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Conclusion: Abbreviated trialling of RPA platforms is shaping up as a relatively low risk, low cost approach to exploring the use of robotics to aid business process rather than lengthy technical evaluations.

However, business process re-engineering experience shows that just automating existing business processes without addressing inherent inefficiencies and adding a robotic overlay is a total waste of resources.

Basic RPA applications do not need IT coding and can reduce repetitive tasks and improve accuracy.

In more complex situations, use of RPA platforms and tools relies on leveraging IT systems integration in providing robotic aid to assist human intuitive decision-making.

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Conclusion: The enterprise architect (EA) role is one of the most intellectually challenging in an organisation. This is because it involves developing a systems roadmap to migrate from the current to a desired future state that is compatible with the business strategy.

Assign the wrong person to the EA role and the future systems will probably be unattainable and realising the business strategy problematic.

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Conclusion: IT-as-a-Service is an initiative launched by IT organisations to fix an IT problem, whilst digital transformation is another initiative launched by business lines to fix a business problem. However, fixing both problems remains an enterprise’s critical issue. Hence, organisations wishing to remove the duplication between the two programs should unify both programs and ensure sufficient funds are available to implement the unified program in a timely and cost effective manner.

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Conclusion: For the first time, Google has articulated a comprehensive go-to-market strategy for enterprise Cloud services. While the company has the technology and scale needed, it is only now outlining why organisations may wish to consider the Google Cloud Platform. Google will create a direct data centre presence in Australia in 2017 and is rapidly building a global services partner ecosystem. Google’s strengths (and weaknesses) compared to its two competitors, AWS and Azure, are well-reflected in its enterprise strategy. Google’s most significant announcements were not related to products, but rather its plans to address enterprise clients and develop a robust partner ecosystem. Australian organisations planning new Cloud initiatives for late 2017 or early 2018 may consider Google a viable option for enterprise Cloud infrastructure, though it will take another 12 months for Google’s local partner network to mature.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Conclusion: Automation is understood to facilitate repetitive but essentially simple tasks. In conjunction with general purpose machine intelligence, virtual personal assistants and technologies leveraging artificial intelligence, automation will expand into more operational roles.

As the technologies improve, the potential applications will expand and play a larger marketing role.

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Conclusion: Personas are a popular tool for organisations developing end-user computing strategies. Unfortunately, when used inappropriately, they can severely limit workplace innovation. However, the process of developing personas can be a very powerful tool for engaging with end users and uncovering opportunities to identify different work contexts within the organisation. Personas may also be used to simplify and communicate the business case for changes in how staff will leverage new end-user computing technologies in new ways.

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Conclusion: IT organisations wishing to select quality services at competitive prices should rate themselves against an IT procurement maturity model to leverage economies of scale. This will enable IT organisations to reduce cost while meeting business needs in a timely and cost-effective manner.

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The following are examples of Persona Templates.

 

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In this interview, Dr Wissam Raffoul outlines a practical and effective approach to migrating to an As-a-Service model. 

Sydney-based IT analysis firm IBRS has launched maturity assessment and methodology tools to assist organisations with the task of SaaS migration.

In order to improve business performance, or reduce the cost of doing business, forward-thinking IT organisations are trying to run IT as a service (ITaaS), said Dr Wissam Raffoul from IBRS.

“There are many challenges; for example, long software implementation time lines, fragmented delivery processes, as well as insufficient skilled resources to meet business demands,” said Dr Raffoul.

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

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Conclusion: Opposition to workplace change stemming from the organisation’s digital strategy agenda1 is inevitable. Astute IT managers expect it and identify initiatives to minimise opposition.

Digital strategy (or transformation) initiatives typically generate both overt and covert workplace resistance. Its sources may vary from situations such as:

  • Senior managers who fear that failure could adversely impact their career
  • Overworked middle managers claiming they cannot cope with more workplace change
  • IT professionals maintaining legacy systems not prepared to learn new skills.

Managers responsible for driving digital strategy agenda must identify where resistance is likely and determine how to minimise it. Assuming no resistance to it is unwise. Alternately, continually questioning the agenda may not reflect opposition but an indication staff are determining how to best implement it.

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