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: 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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"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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"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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Conclusion: Despite the prominence of Business Process Management (BPM) in most organisations, Enterprise Architects are routinely oblivious to the scope for using Communications-Enabled Business Process (CEBP) within their BPM.

The very large global Microsoft and Google developer communities have run with the most popular collaboration suites as a foundation for their CEBP apps.

The most common CEBP solutions are based on customised messaging allowing alerts, alarms and notifications to be used to support business process. Widespread use of customised ‘Presence’ has become particularly helpful in giving the status of people or resources to inform transactions. Human delay and business latency is being minimised by using notifications to handle routine processes as well as exceptions to business rules.

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Conclusion: There is debate within the IT industry whether or not DevOps can replace ITIL1. From ITIL perspective, many IT organisations, especially in Australia, have been implementing ITIL processes since 1994 with significant investment in technology and professional services. Hence, it is impractical to just drop ITIL and adopt DevOps. This is because firstly, DevOps covers only Release Management which is only one process of the 26 processes of ITIL v3 and secondly, DevOps in not different from mature2 ITIL Release Management. In this light, existing ITIL organisations embarking on digital transformation should plan to mature Release Management to match DevOps principles. DevOps3 sites need to leverage the lessons learnt from ITIL implementation to enjoy a smooth business transformation as fixing only the software release process without integrating this with the remaining 25 ITIL processes is insufficient to raise the overall IT performance to the level needed by the digital world. This research outlines that ITIL and DevOps can co-exist in the same organisation once brought to the right maturity level.

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Conclusion: Organisations typically discuss the selection of enterprise mobility development in terms of web-based applications versus native applications, which quickly leads to debates regarding cross-platform tools versus standardising on one platform, such as iOS or Windows10. This is entirely the wrong way to think about enterprise mobile application development, resulting in unsustainable portfolios of fragmented and increasingly difficult to maintain applications. Instead, organisations should first identify the generalised use cases (i.e. common patterns of work) and seek to select mobile solution architectures (as opposed development tools) that meet each use case.

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Conclusion: To enable the new work practices, processes, organisational structures and cultures that will be required in the Future Workplace1, IT organisations must transform today’s device-centric desktop into a new end user computing platform that is based on modern usage and technology assumptions.

Simply adding a mobility strategy to the existing device-centric desktop only adds complexity and perpetuates a high cost, inflexible device-centric model. The CIO should examine fresh alternatives such as the Digital Workspace2.

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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.

In this IBRS Master Advisory Presentation (MAP), IBRS outlines the high-level issues, surrounding ABW 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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Enterprise Mobility is opening up new approaches to performing business activities. Early adopters of mobility technologies report significant improvements in process quality, as well as dramatically reduced latency for work activities. However, to achieve the expected results of mobility, organisations need to balance tactical mobility projects against longer term architectural approaches. For this reason, it is vital to have an enterprise mobility strategy in place, which can both prioritise mobility initiatives as well as link such initiatives back to business objectives.

In this IBRS Master Advisory Presentation (MAP), IBRS outlines the high-level issues, surrounding enterprise mobility 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 also as a script and executive briefing document.

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Conclusion: Since 1994 many Australian IT organisations have been implementing Configuration Management practices. However, it has been done with limited success when assessed against the key objectives of Configuration Management process and its associated database (CMDB) in terms of service availability and configuration items interdependencies. IT organisations should review their Configuration Management plans in view of the latest public Cloud offerings and adopt a phased implementation approach.

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Conclusion: Telstra’s new shared access WiFi service Telstra Air solves the problems of users’ limited access to WiFi away from their own home, office or WiFi Hotspots by sharing some of other users’ WiFi capacity (2Mbps on a land line).

It uses globally deployed Fon services which also have massive capital expenditure reduction benefits for fixed and mobile telecommunications carriers and global roaming benefits for Internet service providers and users.

Enterprises should evaluate this type of architecture and service for use in novel ways to brand, differentiate and transform their customer engagement. Shared WiFi access to the Internet is another example of recent trends in the ‘sharing’ economy such as airbnb, Uber, GoGet carshare and others that create practical value.

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Conclusion: Microsoft’s consumer-led strategy for Windows 10 will create ‘pester power’ for the new OS within the enterprise. However, simply upgrading to Windows 10 will re-entrench old assumptions, and continue an out-dated SOE model, yet with no additional business value. An alternative approach is to delay the introduction of Window 10 while a new digital workspaces strategy is developed to transform the business environment. A digital workspace strategy will take time to define and execute, so the CIO must prepare activities to avoid the negative impact of pester-power, while engaging the business in a re-envisioning of the work environment.

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Conclusion: One IT-as-a-Service strategy remains to migrate legacy systems to SaaS to reduce cost, improve service level and achieve excellence in end user experience. However, large-scale ERP SaaS migrations are still not imminent, primarily due to the significant ERP customisation made by Australian organisations during the last twenty years, which prevent the use of standard SaaS architecture without re-engineering the business processes. However, it is worth noting that there are third party ERP maintenance and support services, which used in the short term may result in up-to 50 % reduction in the current yearly maintenance and support cost.

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Conclusion: In order to develop an IT transformation program it is important to understand today’s operational and workplace context and use the insights gained to shape the way change can be achieved with a minimum of risk.

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Conclusion: There are almost no examples of traditional organisations metamorphosing their physical products (and related business models) into digital products (supported by new business models). On the other hand the list of organisations that have gone out of business as a result of the digital revolution continues to grow. Three characteristics are common to non-digital organisations that have lost out to digital competitors.

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Conclusion: Based on usage patterns and personalisation MCPs (Smartphones and Tablets) offer an opportunity to build a more intimate relationship with customers. While there is great opportunity there are some technology and cultural challenges that need to be addressed.

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Conclusion: The Workspace of the Future is a vision statement on how staff and stakeholders will perform tasks related to their work in the next decade. It includes technological innovation (e. g. mobility, Cloud, data analytics), organisation transformation (e. g. activity-based working) and cultural change (e. g. social, collaboration). To realise this vision, especially given its all-encompassing and potentially transformational impact, requires a strategy that is specifically crafted to fit with an organisation’s long-term objectives. Part of this strategy is a complete rethink of end user computing, by challenging desktop era assumptions.

However, challenging assumptions is difficult. To gain clarity, IBRS recommends mapping assumptions to principles and business impacts. By conducting an assumption mapping exercise, organisations may begin to not only communicate the need for change within both IT and business groups but, also, uncover potential for fundamental business transformation.

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