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: 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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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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