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. 

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

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Related Articles:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Conclusion: To facilitate business and IT transformation PMOs must be given a role that puts them at the forefront of advising management where best to invest scarce resources in business and IT-related projects whilst ensuring business systems are successfully implemented.

To be successful PMO staff need:

  • People management skills to help project managers reach their potential
  • Business acumen to assess competing claims for funds for business systems projects
  • To be able to shape management’s expectations of what IT can and cannot deliver.

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By Guy Cranswick

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

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

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

Intelligent Business Research Services (IBRS) adviser Joseph Sweeney discussed digital disruption and investment. He said Australia had a “cultural problem” with reinvesting savings from technology back into businesses.

“When you look at Australia’s history of reinvesting in the business — taking profits and ploughing them into technology, by western standards we have very low reinvestment in business. And that’s a cultural issue,” Dr Sweeney said.

Conclusion: Forward thinking IT organisations wishing to create a service differentiation should analyse their value activities to construct a “uniqueness capability”. The outcome should convince business lines that IT services can generate business value at a competitive price. The value chain firstly requires to address service delivery processes by constructing the IT value chain1 , secondly to realise cost advantage2 and thirdly to create service differentiation (this note).

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

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Related Articles:

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

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

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

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

Conclusion: Advisor reviews of recent business cases evaluating Cloud contact centres (CC) show that any upgrade needs to be driven by a customer service business strategy (not just a technology refresh).

Cloud delivery has become the dominant technology for any new contact Centres for two main reasons:

  1. Simplified contact centre acquisition and operation, and

  2. The new paradigm supports a wide range of current and emerging business strategies by providing relatively direct and complete integration into related enterprise systems such as CRM, ERP and eCommerce platforms which are critical for service fulfilment and creating positive customer experiences (CX).

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Conclusion: Deployment of Office 365 as a pure Cloud solution has lagged the sales of Office 365 licences. This is partly due to lack of formal migration strategies, confusion over the licensing and user options1, although non-technical issues play a bigger role. To assist in the move to Office 365, IBRS has identified a framework that will assist organisations in their journey.

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Related Articles:

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

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

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

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

Conclusion: Cost advantage can be achieved by firstly, estimating the existing services costs. Secondly, use cost effective external services. Thirdly, integrate services. Fourthly, retain cost advantage. This can be achieved by removing duplicated activities and influencing cost drivers.

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Conclusion: Since the inception of Bitcoin, the blockchain is now viewed as a potential technology improvement to many ordinary transaction and data storage functions. The financial sector has led the way, from investment banks to stock exchanges, but deployment of the blockchain has application in other industries. Its clear advantages may yield much efficiency leading to reduced costs. Organisations should examine how and when they might adopt the technology.

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

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

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

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When the leadership of IT and business management work well as a team there are few limits to what they can achieve in delivering services to clients. However for the teamwork to become a reality line management and IT professionals must put aside special interests and focus on implementing initiatives that deliver outcomes that meet the objectives of the organisation.

Agility is achieved when the team is able to quickly identify the source of a problem or business opportunity, corral their resources and expertise and respond with alacrity.

One area where teams struggle is identifying and putting into practice the guiding principles under which they will pool their resources.

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

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

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

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Related Articles:

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

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

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

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

Conclusion: Many IT organisations are perceived by their business units as high cost/low quality service providers. Much of this perception is due to the IT group’s inability to successfully articulate service value, demonstrate cost competitiveness, and create internal service differentiation. IT organisations should construct service value chain models to diagnose the IT organisation’s deficiencies, improve image, and link to vendors’ value chains. This can be achieved by disaggregating the business of IT into its strategic activities (e. g. service definition and communication, customer service). This will result in understanding the cost behaviour and identifying existing and potential differentiation sources such as accelerating the release of business products to market and improving IT and business lines interaction.

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

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Conclusion: While technology is becoming increasingly critical to business transformation, IT organisations are becoming less important to business stakeholders. This is because enterprise architecture practice’s main focus remains on back-office systems and on initiatives that do not necessarily contribute to business performance improvement and business cost reduction initiatives. IT organisations should revive the enterprise architecture practice by delivering IT-as-a-Service with an outward focus targeting business, information, applications, and infrastructure domains. This will increase IT organisations’ credibility to become key players in business transformation projects.

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Conclusion: As the concept of digital disruption and digital transformation takes hold, it is vital that IT is not only aligned with, but synonymous with business. Both business executives and IT groups find themselves in a constant race against competitors who have embraced new technologies and new business models. Unfortunately, this situation results in a mad dash between one hot new technology and another in an effort to meet evolving business priorities. In any race, having a skilled navigator and an accurate map is vital. IBRS’s Business Priorities Atlas (see Figure 1) presents the highest-level view of Australian business priorities and the likely technological landmarks along the way towards meeting the organisation’s desired destinations. The Atlas may be used to stimulate discussion between senior IT and non-IT executives as to what, where, and when to invest.

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Conclusion:Within the ICT industry new technology is deferred to as the catalyst of innovation. While this is partially true at the current time and over the next 3-5 years, the shifting structure of the wider economy is the more likely agent of transformation, and even perhaps of disruption, which will be seen through the adoption of various technologies.

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

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

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

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

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

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Conclusion: IT organisations should not be treating software releases to support the digital transformation as “business as usual”, because they may overlook the demand for extra-company IT management process integration, rapid application deployment, and speedy problem resolution. IT organisations should recreate their “release to production” processes to address the new applications’ unique requirements for appropriate security, resilient architecture, and elevated service level standards.

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

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In June 2015, the then Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, introduced a report based on CEDA research titled ‘Australia’s future workforce’. The report examined the impact of the next wave of digital disruption on business activity, how automation will eliminate many of today’s current work roles and the impact of digital disruption on existing business practices.

Based on the previous industrial revolution, workers moved to metropolitan areas to gain employment. This model meant that physical proximity to a workplace was the key defining factor to both the worker seeking employment and the organisation seeking skilled and unskilled workers.

However, the CEDA report highlights that many of the current roles undertaken today — up to five million of them — will either disappear or be changed significantly by 2020. Significant automation will replace many manual and predictable activities, including accounting and even roles in the health sector. To date there has been action to adapt to the coming change in technology organisations and private companies; however, there is still significant lag in the public sector

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

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Related Articles:

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

Conclusion: IT organisations establishing business relationship management to excel at coordinating business and IT strategic matters should assess the current maturity of this role. The rationale is to allow IT to deliver solutions that improve business performance, reduce the cost of doing business and mitigate business risks.

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

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

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

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This Compass is a companion document to IBRS’ Master Advisory Presentation (MAP) “Delivering Digital Business Transformation” which outlines business and management issues and provides guidance on delivering an effective digital business transformation.

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

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

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Conclusion: The new digital business model for IT is based on selecting, composing, and leveraging a dynamic range of Cloud based external services. Under the new IT paradigm people will work the way they want, when and where they want and with all the tools with which they are familiar; collaborate using a wide range of low-cost commodity services; and use their own devices (and in some cases their own applications) while those responsible for information governance seamlessly maintain control over the organisation’s enterprise information, privacy and security.

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Conclusion: In this note, IBRS defines real-time co-authoring, and outlines the factors hindering its adoption. Real-time co-authoring has been available for almost a decade via products such as Google Apps, and in the past few years, web-based Microsoft Office 365. However, the uptake of this capability has been lacklustre due to immature collaboration environments and, more significantly, deeply held preconceptions about the nature of documents and work.

The introduction of real-time co-authoring in the Microsoft Office 2016 (Word) desktop client removes some barriers to the end user adoption of real-time co-authoring. However, it does not directly address the cultural aspects that hinder adoption. Even so, organisations should expect the use of real-time co-authoring to rise, but in a fragmented, infectious manner.

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Related Articles:

"Real-Time Co-Authoring Part 2" IBRS, 2015-12-02 20:08:00

Conclusion: The Service Catalogue required by the ITIL framework has undergone several variations during the last 20 years. The rationale was to address the emerging service trends in in-house and outsourced modes of operations. However, while the original service catalogues’ objectives were achieved, they are inadequate in acquiring hybrid Cloud core services (e. g. storage) that should be delivered under outcome-based service contracts.

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

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

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

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Conclusion: Many business leaders around the world have concluded that although information and communications technologies (ICT) are mature, their own business has yet to systematically address digital transformation as an opportunity and a Digital Officer is required to provide that focus. ‘Business-as-Usual’ is an increasingly rejected approach.

A Chief Digital Officer (CDO) or similar appointment with broad responsibilities is clearly needed to deliver radical digital transformation in large or complex enterprises.

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Conclusion: The return on investment in big data and associated analytics projects has been generally positive. It is more likely that returns over the longer term will grow too, provided strategic aims are established. The promise of big data hinges on information analysis, and therefore organisations must be clear as to use and application of the insight.

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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.

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Many IT organisations are trying to change their perceived image from high-cost / low quality to value-added service providers. However, many of the adopted approaches revolve around improving just few processes (e.g. problem management). While these processes are important, they are insufficient to produce the desired effect for IT groups to deliver value-added services. 

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

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

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