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

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

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

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Conclusion: with the increased adoption of SaaS for business systems (e. g. ERP), new SaaS providers continue to appear in the market. While those providers are offering easy-to-use products and low start-up costs compared to running in-house business systems services, there is a risk that some service providers might cease to do business. As a result, SaaS clients will be at risk recovering services on time and without data loss. To address this issue, several escrow services have been evolving. IT organisations wishing to migrate critical services to public SaaS should explore escrow1 services. Unfortunately, escrow service costs have to-date been fully absorbed by the buyer. In this light, IT organisations should incorporate the escrow services cost into the SaaS migration business case.

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Conclusion: To meet the demand for more online services, IT and business management must identify and filter the opportunities and vigorously pursue those with high client visibility, ensure adherence to legislation and reduce the cost of doing business.

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Conclusion: Enterprise mobility provides opportunities for fundamental shifts in: how organisations interact with stakeholders; how work gets done; where work happens; and how organisations are structured. Mobility itself is not a single product, but the result of the intersection of changes in technology, economics, and culture. Ultimately, enterprise mobility will evolve into a culture that is synonymous with Continuous Quality Improvement1. An enterprise mobility maturity assessment can assist an organisation in identifying which areas it needs to address as it moves towards the new culture.

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Conclusion: When moving from traditional on-premises IT to Cloud it is important to update the Business Leaders and Executive on the risks. Rather than try to quantify the absolute risks, as the first step in gaining acceptance, explain how the risks of Cloud compare with the current on-premises, or MSP, solution. Offer ideas on risk mitigation that might be necessary and liberally apply simple examples and analogies to aid comprehension.

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Conclusion: Running IT-as-a-Service requires offering broad IT services tied to external-value that goes beyond meeting or exceeding SLA targets. This is because the majority of existing SLAs are IT centric and vaguely relate to business value. Much of this issue is related to IT Groups’ lack of business analysis skills and IT ad hoc methods to comprehend business strategic requirements. As a result, business lines perceive IT as a support function instead of being a strategic business partner.

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Conclusion: The first generation of the Internet of Things (IoT) is now reliably internetworking uniquely identifiable embedded computer devices.

However, the emerging Internet of Everything (IoE) will go beyond the IoT and its machine-to-machine (M2M) communications between devices, systems and services. The demands from popular consumer IT will lead to a broad adoption of IoE in enterprises although corporations will focus on the IoE for its business process improvement.

Use of common collaboration tools will become the most prevalent and valuable way to extend isolated low level IoT interactions into sophisticated orchestrated IoE apps that deliver valuable experiences and tangible benefits to both consumers and corporate users.

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Many Australian IT organisations have been implementing Configuration Management practices since 1994. However, with limited success when assessed against the key objectives of Configuration Management process and its associated database (CMDB).

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Conclusion: Once an organisation decides its on-premises IT infrastructure model must be transformed into a Hybrid Cloud model the important question becomes “how is this best achieved?” While Cloud Native applications and Dev/Test infrastructure are the typical first steps they do not address the Enterprise applications that are central to most enterprises.

An emerging transformational strategy is one based on Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). This is a low cost, low risk, incremental approach to transforming on-premises IT infrastructure into a Hybrid Cloud infrastructure. The DRaaS leaders in Australia will be VMware, Microsoft and AWS in that order.

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Conclusion: Cloud migration should not be a quick and dirty job just to upload the current business systems with their inefficiencies, only to get rid of the in-house hardware ownership. It should be considered as an opportunity to clean IT and business inefficiencies at the same time. IT organisations wishing to migrate to public Cloud require a new methodology to avoid incurring unforeseen consumption cost and to address business processes overheads. Strategies are needed to measure code inefficiencies and develop a remedy roadmap whilst building the case for public Cloud. Only efficient code should be released to public Cloud unless there are other benefits which make the overall migration cost-effective. This will ensure IaaS usage remains within IT budget.

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Conclusion: Organisations that have made a move to Google in an effort to reduce their reliance on the incumbent Microsoft Office Suite have found that migrating from Microsoft involves far more than just human change management. Technological linkages with the Office desktop client(s) hold back organisations’ transfer to the Cloud. Before implementing Cloud-based productivity tools, an organisation should examine just how ‘sticky’ Microsoft Office is within their organisation, and should plan on how to become ‘unstuck’.

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Conclusion: To reduce Service Desk costs and improve resources scheduling, some IT organisations are exploring the potential of Virtual Service Desk Agents to either improve self-service and/or reach to the right subject matter expert at the right time. However self-service success depends on the quality of information available to the virtual agents. It is critical for the virtual agent tool to be enabled by a mature service management engine that describes the service’s known errors and their resolution alternatives. Failure to do so will leave the virtual agent with no alternative but to call the live agents, thereby making the investment in virtual agent technology questionable.

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Conclusion: The popularity and growth of online social media platforms has pushed social data into the spotlight. Humans using the Web mainly interact with human-produced data. Yet the floods of machine-generated data that flow through the Internet remain invisible to humans. For a number of reasons attempts by organisations to mine big social data to improve marketing and to increase sales will fall significantly short of expectations. Data from digital devices and sensor networks that are part of the Internet of Things is eclipsing human produced data. Machines have replaced humans as the most social species on the planet, and this must inform the approach to data science and the development of healthy economic ecosystems.

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While hyper-scale vendors have been a little slow in opening data centres in the Australian market, the anecdotal evidence is the take-up is very strong:

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Conclusion: When implementing enterprise Cloud services, a disciplined and locally distributed approach to user acceptance testing in combination with real-time dashboards for test management and defect management can be used as the centrepiece of a highly scalable quality assurance framework. An effective quality assurance process can go a long way to minimise risks, and to ensure a timely and successful rollout.

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Conclusion: IT organisations developing IT policies in isolation from business units1 will face challenges to tie policies to business drivers and limit policies acceptance rate. IT organisations should formulate policies by involving business units at an early stage in policy scope discussion. IT best practices2 should be leveraged to develop reliable and practical policies. The resources needed to develop the new policies should come from both sides and a business benefits realisation plan should jointly be developed and tracked.

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Conclusion: The development of new digital services often entails not only changes to workflows but also changes to the business rules that must be enforced by software. Whilst vendors of business rule engine technology often market their products as powerful and highly generic tools, the best results are achieved when restricting the use of the different approaches to specific use cases.

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Conclusion: Business-centric IT strategies are critical to run IT-as-a-Service1 because they attempt to integrate IT with business strategies. The rationale is to support business operations by implementing new technologies that reduce business risks, create business opportunities and achieve high levels of customer satisfaction.

Business-centric IT strategies focus on addressing the business critical issues by implementing new IT solutions in a timely and cost-effective manner. The proposed IT solutions should provide capabilities that address the current and emerging market forces such as consumerisation, mobility, social media and Cloud. This will signal to business lines that IT is being modernised to meet consumers’ exigent needs.

It is critical for business-centric IT strategies to be developed within two months to accelerate IT-as-a-Service transitioning.

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Conclusion: Vendor offerings for end-to-end solutions for ‘self-service desktops’ are both limited and immature. Furthermore, organisations are likely to have many of the individual components that comprise a self-service desktop solution. For the next 4-6 years end-user computing cycle, organisations should look to construct self-service portals from existing point solutions, rather than looking for a pre-integrated stack.

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Conclusion: To improve business performance and/or reduce the cost of doing business, forward-thinking IT organisations are trying to run IT as a Service. However, they are challenged by long software implementation timescales, fragmented delivery processes and insufficient skilled resources to meet business demands.

To address these challenges, IT organisations should emulate the commercial practices related to delivering quality IT solutions at reasonable costs.

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Conclusion: There are many different Hybrid Cloud approaches, each with different costs, risks and benefits. Organisations should evaluate the alternatives to find which is best aligned to their business requirements, then update IT governance processes to guide the organisation towards the chosen Hybrid Cloud strategy. Failure to align to the right Hybrid Cloud strategy will either result in the creation of new IT silos, which becomes a barrier to the business strategy, or will adopt an approach that stifles business innovation and agility.

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Conclusion: Failure to embrace the SMACC stack (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud and Consumerisation) will result in the wider organisation working around the internal ICT provider. Job losses in the ICT team and a reduction in wider corporate capability will result.

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Conclusion: Organisations have been slowly and organically embracing virtual team management models over the past few years and there is every indication that this is the model of the future. Managing virtual teams and developing highly functional communities have been largely hit and miss. There are still many instances of dysfunctional teams exacerbated by the tyranny of distance. Systemically assessing the virtual distance within an organisation can provide insights and assist executive managers to develop and implement initiatives to significantly increase the effectiveness of virtual teams.

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

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Conclusion: While many IT organisations believe that using public IaaS (e.g. AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google) to host business applications is a cost-effective strategy, the lack of IaaS usage planning will most likely increase consumption cost. IBRS recommends that IT organisations undertake a self-assessment of their usage management practices prior to migration to public IaaS1.

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Conclusion: The Standard Operating Environment (SOE) desktop has long been considered a best practice and is widely used. However, in recent years consumer IT has dramatically changed users’ expectations resulting in frequent complaints that the SOE desktop is inflexible and a hindrance to doing business.

With corporate supplied desktop continuing to be a key application access platform for the foreseeable future, IT organisations need to find an approach that meet the user’s expectations while controlling complexity, manageability, security and cost. One solution is a Dynamic Desktop1 extended with a self-service portal that emulates an ‘app store’ experience.

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Conclusion: IT organisations' lack of IaaS usage planning will most likely increase consumption cost. As a result, IT organisations should work closely with business units to understand usage patterns and track monthly usage against forecasts. This will more likely ensure that IaaS usage levels remain within budget. This note provides the usage management framework. Part 2 planned for release in August 2014 will provide User Management maturity self-assessment approach.

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Conclusion: A majority of organisations around the world and across Australia are implementing or trialling some form of Cloud service whether it be IaaS, PaaS or SaaS. While Cloud services offer many potential benefits to organisations they can increase complexity in a number of areas of IT service management. Organisations may implement a hybrid Cloud model and deliver some services using public or private Cloud.

Business areas may subscribe to Cloud services for the provision of application services with or without the participation of IT. Identifying and managing the schedule of change with a wide variety of providers can be complex but will provide the CIO and the organisation with a clear view of who, what, when, and how changes will be made, the risks involved and the mitigation actions required.

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Conclusion: Amazon Web Services (AWS) dominates the IaaS market, witha commanding market share lead over all other vendors. Since there are no clear market forces that will change this in the next few years the question is who will become second and third?

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Conclusion: Moving services to the Cloud is a part of nearly all organisational strategic plans. Organisations today are either starting to trial services with one provider, moving from the trial phase to include additional services or heavily focussed on Cloud as part of their service delivery model.

Based on the learnings from organisations that are heavily focussed on the Cloud, CIOs will only be successful if they can successfully develop their maturity to be a competent customer of Cloud services. Developing an objective view of your organisation maturity level and actively seeking learnings from organisations that have already undertaken the journey will assist CIOs in developing an appropriate, actionable plan for their organisation.

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Conclusion: WhileI SaaS and PaaS adoption has been increasing during the last two years, most IT organisations are hesitant to migrate their legacy systems to public SaaS. This is primarily due to the applications being highly customised to support the current business mode of operations. As a result, migration to cloud requires significant effort to retrofit the existing systems in public SaaS architecture. One of the options to address the customisation obstacle is to adopt a rapid business process redesign approach.

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Conclusions: Based on cost modelling, organisations looking to provide a ‘Windows virtual desktop’ experience should consider centralised, Windows Server OS based computing as opposed to Windows Desktop OS based computing. In addition to lower costs for hardware and simpler management and deployment, Windows Server OS based computing has a licensing model that can be just 25% of the cost of Windows Desktop OS based computing. Furthermore, Windows Server OS based computing licensing provides for greater freedom of where and on what devices the end-user desktop experience may be deployed.

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Conclusion: The proliferation of mobile devices and increasingly mobile staff in the enterprise is driving demand for file sharing and synchronisation services. In the absence of a usable offering from the organisation, users are turning to the ad-hoc use of consumer grade services. This is often referred to as ‘The Dropbox Problem’.

Failure to provide a workable enterprise alternative will increase organization’s risk of data loss or leakage.

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While IBM is planning to invest A$1.4 million to grow its global datacentre facilities, its focus remains on private cloud with no serious public cloud offerings, As a result, IT organisations under traditional outsourcing contracts with IBM should examine the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of third party public cloud alternatives prior to renewing the existing outsourcing contracts.1

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

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Conclusion: For many good reasons collaboration is seen as a means to improve productivity and kick-start innovation. Both productivity and innovation are how organisations can raise their effectiveness and competitive edge.

However, simply ‘doing collaboration’, as though it comes as a readymade solution, is a certainty to fail. Collaboration needs governance and management. The expectations have to be established and the tools to achieve an organisation’s goals need clarity and agreement. The biggest factor is people and culture, and how these respond and develop over time.

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

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

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Conclusion: With the migration to complex hybrid sourcing strategies, traditional IT organisations based on ‘plan/build/run’ models won’t be suitable for acquiring public cloud services in an increasingly changing market. This is due to vague understanding of service total cost of ownership and limited contract negotiation 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 procurement skills. This paradigm shift requires CIOs to restructure IT procurement with a view to run it as-a-service to other IT groups and business lines.

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Conclusion: The rapid adoption of SaaS by HR departments is a herald of the way IT departments will need to reinvent themselves. SaaS means that IT will not control everything, but there is an important role for influencing how the organisation adopts. IT needs to proactively develop relationships with business units in order to establish itself as a partner to business and create an environment which will ensure that advice is sought early, and not only when integration issues arise. This mind shift, from utility to partner, is critical but may not come naturally to the mindsets that have been so good at running traditional IT departments.

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