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: Organisations that do not upgrade their major assets to reflect new technologies and practices quickly fall by the wayside. Similarly, organisations that do not critically review the effectiveness of their ERP solution, and either replace it or reinvigorate it, are failing their stakeholders.

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The drama surrounding Microsoft's new CEO has been something akin to the reality TV show ‘The Bachelor’. Who would be the perfect match for the rich, handsome, but somewhat socially awkward hunk?

In order to answer this question, it became publicly clear that there was confusion both within Microsoft and in the market in general as to what role the organisation would – indeed should – take in a rapidly changing technology market. The choice of Satya Nadella says as much about the company's final direction as it does about the man.

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Conclusion: IT organisations wishing to maximise Public Cloud return on investment should adopt a Cloud Governance Maturity Model that ensures consistent delivery, builds trust and leverages new technology. This will enable IT organisations to effectively manage their sourcing portfolio by balancing cost and risks, creating value and realising the desired benefits.

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Conclusion: Machines are becoming increasingly proficient at tasks that, in the past, required human intelligence. Virtually all human domain expertise can be encoded in digital data with the right knowledge engineering tools. The bottleneck in understanding between humans and software is shaped by the ambiguities inherent in human communication, not by the challenge of developing machine intelligence. To benefit from big data, organisations need to articulate knowledge in the language of data, i.e. in a format that is not only understandable by humans but also actionable by machines.

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Conclusion: Although small businesses and certain entrepreneurs are using Bitcoin, there is a business case for many other organisations to use the currency in limited conditions. It is one more transaction option that can assist commerce.

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One of the most common and contentious infrastructure discussions that I have with clients today is the Public Cloud. The views of most IT executives have shifted from “if” to “when, what and how”. Like other big IT shifts, whether it be Mainframe to Midrange, the PC or Unix/RISC to virtualised Intel, there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth by the old guard about what will, frankly, become the new normal within the next 5-7 years.

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Conclusion: Innovation is becoming increasingly important in the 21st century organisation, whether it be companies growing or keeping their customers or the public sector, trying to deliver services with ever decreasing budget – innovation will play a key role as established models for business processes become increasingly under strain. A crucial part of innovation is ideas management. Ideas management involves how to generate and capture ideas, how to select and progress ideas and how to diffuse ideas.

Many organisations focus on the tools and technology available to improve idea management within their organisation, but this ignores the other important elements including strategy, people and processes, resulting in a low level of maturity and often a poor performance of implementing ideas. Improving maturity across all the elements of idea management increases the opportunity to find the best ideas and get them implemented. While a high level of maturity across all elements may not be feasible or desirable, organisations should identify those areas that are important and ensure they optimise these.

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Conclusion: In-house IT Service Management (ITSM) initiatives require considerable time and investment (up-to three years, up-to $1.5 million approximately). This has resulted in limited senior management continuous buy-in and reduced ITSM benefits realisation. Therefore, IT organisations wishing to implement ITSM should evaluate a public cloud alternative versus the cost and merits of establishing in-house service management capability.

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Conclusion: Some SaaS service providers can exercise ‘exit for convenience’ contractual terms by giving no more than thirty days termination notice. As a result, SaaS users will be at a high risk to recover services on time and without data loss. Therefore, IT organisations wishing to migrate critical services to public SaaS should develop a Contingency Plan and test it regularly. The Contingency Plan establishment cost should be incorporated into the business case for public SaaS migration.

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Conclusion: Mobile devices have fundamentally different patching and upgrade cycles compared to the desktop models of which IT services staff are familiar. The key differences are: more frequent refresh cycles, cloud-based updates that generally are not manageable by the organisation, Internet-based rather than intranet-based delivery of upgrades. Managing mobile patches and upgrades will more about end-user communication, training, and change management than technology.

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Conclusion: IT organisations wishing to migrate in-house services to public cloud should ensure that service providers understand the complexity of the in-house architecture candidate for cloud migration. This can be achieved by identifying the in-house service failure points within the legacy applications and their associated infrastructure. The service providers’ lack of understanding of the existing operational weaknesses will most likely extend the transition period and delay achieving the expected service levels in a gradual and cost-effective manner.

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In the technology industry Apple, Google, Amazon and others are seen as synonymous with innovation. These companies disrupted prevailing business processes and changed the way people use music, buy products or even write documents. From their design, software tools, and e commerce, what these corporations have done to business around the world is dynamic. Innovation has been at the centre of their success and with it has come development and growth.

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Conclusion: IT organisations managing a multi-sourced environment and wishing to reduce unscheduled service downtime, should establish end-to-end Change Management Frameworks. This will ensure that business operations remain unaffected by service providers’ system changes.

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Conclusion: Given previous uncertainties regarding the future of TRIM, and dissatisfaction with what is perceived to be onerous knowledge management, IBRS has noted that many organisations are considering replacing TRIM with SharePoint. Simply migrating to SharePoint will not alleviate the perceived problems associated with TRIM, nor indeed traditional EDRMS in general. Organisations should recognise that while knowledge management is more important than ever, it will not be met with a single solution. Instead, multiple repositories for different types of knowledge, at different stages of the knowledge lifecycle will be required.

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Conclusion: Driving value from Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) requires more than just a technical evaluation. IT Organisations must get clear understanding of the features and benefits of the billing model and how these are aligned to, and can be used to drive, the business’ objectives (e.g. faster time to solution, rapid scale-up and down, infrastructure costs to usage and revenues).

Achieving this understanding will require IT organisations to elevate the evaluation of the IaaS billing model to the same level of consideration as other key non-functional requirements such as availability, recoverability, and security. Organisations that fail to do this may find themselves locked into costly, inflexible IaaS contracts that are not aligned to the business objective and which fail to deliver the full potential of the Cloud.

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Conclusion: Every business now operates in a context that includes the use of digital services. While the IT strategies of many organisations articulate a business case for technological innovation, they offer little guidance in terms of organisational patterns that enable and facilitate the delivery of useful and reliable digital services. Organisational structures must be adapted to meet the needs of the new world of digital service networks.

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Conclusion: Given that the public cloud value is maximised when end-to-end SaaS is reached, IT organisations’ misunderstanding of SaaS building blocks, business applications architecture integration and lack of mature multi-sourced environment governance will limit SaaS public cloud adoption. CIOs should establish a cloud sourcing strategy to assess the feasibility and cost effectiveness to gradually migrate business applications to public cloud. Failure to do so might minimise public cloud opportunity to improve enterprises’ performance and/or reduce the cost of doing business.

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Conclusion: The challenge for all organisations is to understand the technology options and work practices that will ensure the durability of the organisation. The rise and acceptance of social media tools is one example of this challenge. Those organisations that have adopted activity based working offer one possible path. For others there may be a combination of work designs and solutions that serve them best.

IT executives should play a role in the decisions that are made on how work is conducted in the future and the technologies to enable the new processes.

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Conclusion: A new category of service provider is emerging in the cloud ecosystem: ‘Cloud Integration Services’. Cloud Integration Services will have significant implications for IT planning, investments, and the extent to which IT can maintain control over architecture and standards. Understanding the role of Cloud Integration Services, their strengths, their limitations, and the likely impact on traditional IT groups is essential for any organisation that is engaged with, or considering being engaged with cloud services – which is everyone.

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Conclusion: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is starting to be used in dev/test and production environments by many ANZ organisations. CIOs who get IaaS right will create significant benefits for their organisation, both in cost and agility, and greatly improve the perception of IT with their peers in the organisation.

However, a general lack of experience with Cloud, and the use of outdated infrastructure purchasing approaches, may result in poor IaaS contracts that can cost the organisation hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars per year in excess fees. To combat this, CIOs should adopt a just-in-time approach to IaaS, eliminating vendors that lack the contract terms, or depth of infrastructure resources, to accommodate this approach.

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Conclusion: In a few years from now the Cloud services we use today will look as quaint as the highly static Web of 1997 in the rear view mirror. In the wake of the global financial crisis the hype around big data is still on the increase, and big data is perceived as the new oil of the economic engine. At the same time, many of the data management technologies underlying Cloud services are being consolidated, creating new kinds of risks that can only be addressed by the adoption of a different data architecture.

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Conclusion: Deciding to transition the organisation to activity based working (ABW) will be complicated by meeting various stakeholder interests and aligning the organisation’s culture. In this sense it may involve several iterations. Each one refined from lessons of the previous one.To reduce risk it is essential that the ABW checklist be precise about the objectives and the organisation’s capacity to transition to a new working model.

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Conclusion: ICT Strategic Planning is undertaken by organisations in both the private and public sectors every year. Many organisations limit their strategies to high level objectives and do not take the next step to include metrics to measure the success of their strategies. For CIOs, this means putting a stake in the ground for which their performance and the performance of ICT will be measured. Not including metrics can result in strategic plans that are shelfware, not understood by the business and not providing the opportunity to demonstrate to the organisation how far they have travelled and the benefit that ICT can offer the organisation.

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Data scientists are in hot demand. In December 2012 the Harvard Business Review featured an article titled “Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century”. International online job boards and LinkedIn have many thousands of openings asking for big data skills, and a growing number of openings for data scientists. What is all the hype about?

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Conclusion: Cloud infrastructure and platforms have started to alter the landscape of data storage and data processing. Software as a Service (SaaS) Customer Relationship Management (CRM) functionality such as Salesforce.com is considered best of breed, and even traditional vendors such as SAP are transitioning customers to SaaS solutions. The recent disclosure of global Cloud data mining by the US National Security Agency (NSA) has further fuelled concerns about industrial espionage in Europe and has significantly raised citizen awareness with respect to privacy and data custodianship. Any realistic attempt to address these concerns requires radical changes in data architectures and legislation.

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Conclusion: While on-premises is still the dominant IT delivery model, Cloud is increasingly viewed as a robust complement or alternative. When evaluating new IT system and services ensure IT staff evaluate the use of Cloud as an alternative delivery model. The evaluation should include non-cost benefits, such as time-to-solution, rapid scale-up and scale-down, pay-as-you-go, as well as traditional metrics such as Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and risk.

Rather than ask “Should we move to the cloud”, IT executives should ask “Why, What and When”, and then use these three questions to create a guidelines for comparing Cloud as an alternative delivery model to on-premises.

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Conclusion: The concept of work context provides a framework to examine how staff interact with technology, information and their environment when performing different tasks. Without considering work context, mobility strategies can become overly focused on a single delivery channel for mobility – usually handheld devices such as tablets and smartphones – and miss other opportunities.

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Related Articles:

"Coping with Mobility - Part 3: aligning generic use cases to application development approaches" IBRS, 2012-04-30 00:00:00

"Coping with Mobility - part 1: mobile architecture and the enterprise" IBRS, 2012-02-28 00:00:00

"Coping with Mobility - Part 2: First steps towards a holistic mobility strategy" IBRS, 2012-03-29 00:00:00

"Coping with mobility - part 4: governance" IBRS, 2012-05-31 00:00:00

"Coping with mobility - part 5: developing the strategy" IBRS, 2012-10-28 00:00:00

Conclusion: In the search for a competitive edge more organisations are looking to activity-based working (ABW). It is not a quick or low cost option. Some of the apparent benefits and merits may also lack demonstrable certainty. However the workplace is changing rapidly for some types of information workers. IT should understand ABW, its potential and pitfalls, and be prepared to engage the rest of the organisation.

ABW is not a rational method to cut the cost of office rent. Nor is it a recycling of ‘hot-desking’, or any other 30YO buzz phrase. ABW is a broad and substantial change to working practices. Realising an ABW project involves thorough planning and a set of objectives. It also requires a flexible interpretation of the outcomes because not everything can be measured in perfect quantities.

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Conclusion: Organisations looking at building enterprise mobile applications too often put the device selection and coding tools selection as their primary concerns. Instead, organisations should be focusing on identifying the mobility architectures need to support business strategy. Technological priorities then become identification of broad mobile service platforms, integration infrastructure and abstraction of the client.

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Conclusion: VMware’s new strategy of directly entering the IaaS market will create confusion and ultimately decimate VMware based IaaS vendors. IT organisations should manage the risks this creates with their current (or future) VMware based IaaS partners. In the long run the new strategy will benefit all customers by creating a global scale, VMware based, IaaS that reduces costs, increases service quality and drives greater innovation.

VMware does not lead the IaaS market and faces massive competition from non-VMware based hyperscale IaaS providers, such as Amazon, Rackspace and Microsoft. VMware centric organisations should not blithely assume that a VMware based IaaS is the best option and should evaluate the IaaS alternatives from hyperscale providers, especially Amazon.

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As the market ecosystem changes, so too do the dominant species. The introduction of Internet and – more importantly – wireless Internet, has changed the IT landscape to such a degree that new dominant species are emerging rapidly: IBM is something of a dinosaur now, shrunk to a stroppy old crocodile; Apple kept its DNA of excellence in branding, evolving from a tasty Macintosh, into a Venus flytrap; and Google is a clever and adaptive monkey; and then there is the mammoth in the room, Microsoft.

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Conclusion:There is no other IT project as politically charged as the NBN. Politics and ideology will determine this project, not technology. The 2013 election may be the event that produces a different network to the one that was envisaged in 2008. Every strategy needs a plan B and that is the likely outcome of the NBN.

In early 2013 there is little or no disruption to such a change of outcome because the rollout has not reached a critical mass. However, any visions, or intentions, that hinged on the full fibre rollout may be trimmed in line with the altered network. Organisations will have a lot of time to plot their telecommunications requirements on the modified NBN. But they may also be able to realise the original NBN if they are willing to pay a higher price under a ‘user pays’ principle.

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Conclusion: Rather than building specific solutions for individual, mobile form and workflow applications, organisations should look towards identifying the most appropriate overarching mobile forms architecture from which many different forms-oriented solutions can be realised.

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Conclusion: Government agencies are slow in implementing open public sector information in line with freedom of information requirements. Agencies are challenged in terms of awareness of related government policies, in terms of cross-disciplinary collaboration, and in terms of obtaining funding for open data initiatives. The implications are not limited to government, but also affect the ability of Australian businesses to develop innovative products that derive value from Big Data in the public domain.

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Conclusion: Significant changes in both business organisation and the ICT industry overall will occur as emerging technology trends such as cloud computing become more mainstream over the next two to three years. As part of ICT strategic planning activities, CIOs need to understand not only how they will respond to these changes but also how their traditional partners will respond in terms of products and services, business models and the acquisition, retention and development of appropriate skills to deliver to their customers.

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Conclusion: Search was always the most important utility online. Now it is moving into a new phase with higher functionality and relevance. In the next phase search will unite facts with opinions and personal needs. The umbrella term for this evolution is semantic search. When this search functionality is inside the devices consumers use it may be highly influential.

Organisations will confront search in two ways. Firstly, through the lock-in that users may demonstrate for the devices with the search function they prefer, and secondly, through a better context in which information is presented and through saliency.

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Conclusion: The Mobile Document Library is one of the three most common generalised use cases. It provides an enterprise answer to the growing ‘drop box’ problem where users are utilising unmanaged public cloud services to gain mobile access to corporate documentation. While unchecked distribution of enterprise documents should be addressed, any solution put forward by IT must have a user experience that is at least as good as cloud-based, consumer-oriented solutions. In addition, the cost savings of automating mobile document distribution can often pay for a fleet of mobile devices: and therefore mobile document libraries can be used to introduce the foundations for a larger mobility initiative.

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Conclusion: Based on recent survey data and interviews conducted by IBRS, the position of Windows 8 in Australian enterprises is likely to be limited to specific use-cases and tablets / hybrid devices, or those with security policies that mandate N-2 versions of the desktop OS. As predicted, Windows 7 will dominate the enterprise and it is our prediction that Windows 7 is set to be the next Windows XP.

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ConclusionNow that Android smartphone have taken the market share lead from Apple, with no signs this will be reversed, IT organisations should create a strategy to deal with this change. It is often claimed that Android is not suitable for enterprise, due to poor security or fragmentation. However our analysis finds this to be more myth that fact, and some simple strategies can be used to deal with both issues.

IT organisations that selectively support Android devices will have access to a larger pool of devices with a more diverse set of capabilities(form factors, price points, features and manufactures). This gives a broader range of capabilities, which benefits the business by ensuring the selected device is fit for purpose rather than forcing one device to all use cases.

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Related Articles:

"Preparing for Android: Part 1" IBRS, 2012-12-31 00:00:00

Conclusion: While organisations and personal customers anticipate NBN reaching their premises soon, the fact is it will take some time. The roll out timetable has been well known since the NBN design was outlined. The apparent delays in the roll out are the result of implementation and resourcing which NBN Co. has solved. NBN Co. expects to be able to ‘catch up’ on the roll out by the middle of 2013 and exceed its targets.

Organisations that want, or have a high demand, for the NBN should refer to the roll-out timetable and geographical detail. It may be a catalyst for planning, or allow them to develop strategies for services within their own organisational network which can be deployed in a timely manner.

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