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. 

Last year, economic growth expert Robert Gordon stirred up the debate about the prospects for growth through technology. Notwithstanding the dismal global economic conditions affecting the US and elsewhere, Gordon said1 the most recent phase of technological growth was smaller than the previous one, and, in fact, his reams of statistical analysis point to indoor plumbing improving productivity and economic growth more than technology.

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The topic of Big Data has been propelled from the engine room of theWeb 2.0 giants into the mainstream press. Over the last decade, the volume of data that governments and financial institutions collect from citizens has been eclipsed by the data produced by individuals in terms of photos, videos, messages, as well as geolocation data on online social platforms and mobile phones, and also the data produced by large scale networks of sensors that monitor traffic,weather, and industrial systems.

IBRS has always recognised data as the key to value creation, and has built up an extensive body of research on the latest trends and the shift from enterprise data to “big data” that is currently unfolding. This white paper addresses the scale and the businessimplications of this shift.

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The Cloud is a significant long-term trend that should not be ignored.Like the introduction of the PC and Open Systems in the ‘80s/‘90s,an IT organisation can either selectively embrace the Cloud, orfind itself bypassed by the business units who will introduce Cloudbased solutions to suit their needs.

Organisations that do not embrace the cloud risk losing control ofthe IT Architecture, which leads to an overly complex, cost andineffective environment. Even worse, while individual business unitsmay gain some temporary benefits, the overall organisational agilitywill decrease and the alignment of IT to strategy breaks down,creating longer-term problems for the organisation as a whole.

On the other hand, if the Cloud is selectively embraced as yetanother IT sourcing strategy, and if best practice IT managementfunctions are retained and expanded to provide appropriate governance,the Cloud can be a positive agent for change that increasesagility and creates greater transparency in cost.

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Many organisations are seeing growing demandand discussion around mobility and mobile ap-plications, in particular in the Networks Group.In theory, mobility can enable significant businessinnovation and optimisation of business process-es. However, few organisations have been able toclarify the benefits of mobility in terms that arealigned to their organisational goals and visionsstatements. This challenge is exacerbated by therapid innovation and changes underway in themobility market.

What is needed to address these problems is aconsistent, repeatable process that embeds mo-bility into the organisation’s overall IT Strategy.At the same time, mobility needs to be treatedslightly differently to many traditional projectsof work, as most mobility initiatives are smaller,with shorter deliver times, than large system de-ployments, but of often intimately interconnectedwith, and enabled by, the traditional larger backend systems.

To meet this challenge, IBRS developed its Mobil-ity Strategy Methodology, which provides a formalframework and process.

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Conclusion: IT organisations are under significant pressure to allow employees to use their own smartphones and tablets at work. Many organisations support Bring Your Own (BYO) iPhone but are reluctant to support Android due to perceived security and/or management weaknesses.Now that Android has decisively taken the market share lead from Apple this position will become difficult to maintain. IT organisations, especially those in Transport or Health, should re-examine the support issues and develop a management and security model to accommodate Android.

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Related Articles:

"Preparing for Android: Part 2" IBRS, 2013-01-28 00:00:00

Conclusion: Windows 8 desktops are being largely sidestepped by IT managersresponsible for desktop deployments in the enterprise, with many desktop managers suggesting Windows 7 will reign supreme for at least the next 5-7 years. However, many of these managers do see a role for Windows 8 as a solution for enterprise mobility. Windows 8 tablets address most desktop manager’s concerns: manageable, secure, support for existing software and software deployment methods. But users have a very different set of concerns. Desktop managers need to base future solutions on the users’ concerns first and foremost, which means that Windows 8 tablets, or any device for that matter, will not be a panacea for mobility.

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Conclusion: DevOps is a grassroots movement that is only a few years old but has quickly spread across the globe, and its influence is present in virtually all organisations that operate popular Cloud services. DevOps is a portmanteau of software system Development and Operations, referring to the desire to bridge the gap between development and operations that is inspired by agile techniques, and that is driven by the need to continuously operate and upgrade Cloud services. The DevOps movement is having a profound impact in terms of the tools and techniques that are used in the engine rooms of Clouds, leading to order of magnitude changes in the ability to perform hot system upgrades.

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Conclusion: Bernard Shaw is attributed with the saying that “Common sense is instinct and enough of it is genius”. The most “genius” statements of ICT Strategy are often those that seem like common sense to the reader.

The ABCD model described in this research note is a helpful model that IBRS has observed in use by a small number of government agencies. The model can be applied in a wide range of situations including agency-wide ICT Strategy development, and problem definition and planning in the context of a specific project of any size. The ABCD method provides a helpful framework for developing a strategy and equally importantly it provides a clear and helpful basis for communicating that strategy to a wider audience. The method can be used by an individual or by a group of any size, and has been used very successful in workshop situations many times by some government organisations.

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Sometimes IT managers feel like Santa: lots of kiddies storming their armchair, sitting on their laps, demanding the latest must-have toys. But unlike Santa, IT managers don’t have a secret ice bunker full of unpaid yet highly-skilled elves, nor can they deploy their gifts faster than the speed of light via magic flying reindeer. No. Instead, they’re lumbered with the financial constraints of The Grinch.

The only hope for them is to figure out the most popular gift and give it to all the kids. This year’s must have gift is mobility. No question about it, it’s the hands-down favourite toy of screaming kiddies and frustrated executives the world over.

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Conclusion: The maturity of information management practices in an organisation has a direct effect on the ability to achieve business goals related to supply chain optimisation, the quality of financial decisions, productivity, and quality of service. The exponential growth of unstructured information is no replacement for structured information. Quite the opposite: a stream of unstructured Big Data can only be turned into tangible value once it is channelled through a distillery that extracts highly structured information accessible to human decision makers, and that can be used to provide a service to the public or to drive a commercial business model. The transformation of unstructured data into knowledge and actionable insights involves several stages of distillation, the quality of which determine the overall performance of the organisation.

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Conclusion: Although more attention is given to mobile payments, the delivery of services will probably gain wider traction and help promote all trust-based types of transaction. Under this umbrella of services should be added loyalty programs. For brand vendors, loyalty is two-way as they understand the appeal of mobile devices is not simply transactional. It has a subliminal emotional quality which can be used as a platform for commercial gain.

Organisations ought to have business strategies incorporating technical scope and feasibility for mobile services. Critical market mass is important. While smartphone penetration grows quickly planning for programs and services should be put in place. Over the next year is when concepts may be organised into well-developed strategies.

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Conclusion:" Fail to plan and you plan to fail". This statement has been attributed to a number of people including Winston Churchill and Ben Franklin.

Most CIOs know that strategic planning is a key part of their remit1 and the most successful leaders maintain a clear strategic outlook. Effective CIOs make a high priority of articulating a strategic plan for ICT within their organisation, rather than getting involved in the management of each and every project and business unit. Conversely, a lack of clearly defined and widely understood strategy indicates a deficiency in leadership.

A rigorous ICT Strategy must be based on a solid foundation – there are several ways to gather the evidence that will provide that foundation.

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Conclusion: A well-written ICT strategy can be a powerful tool for the CIO to showcase the vision and potential of ICT within any organisation. An effective ICT strategy demonstrates to the organisation that the CIO has a plan and is able to provide suitable leadership.

In some jurisdictions, such as NSW1, agencies are required to develop ICT Strategic Plans that demonstrate support and alignment with government priorities and which form a key part of the business case approval process.

Government agencies that do not have a documented ICT strategy have at times come under public or political scrutiny. For example lack of ICT strategy has attracted media attention and has caused questions and criticism in parliamentary forums and “estimates hearings” in various jurisdictions2.

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Conclusion: A mobility strategy is not simply a broad set of statements and visions for how mobility can be used in enterprise. While it must be connected to the broad vision statements of the enterprise, a mobility strategy must identify specific aspects of the organisation where it can deliver a multiplying (not just incremental) impact on the business. Furthermore, the strategy needs to contain specific, achievable actions that will lead to the delivery of this value. This research note concludes the “Coping with Mobility” series by bringing all aspects previously discussed into a workable strategy for mobility.

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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 6: Work context" IBRS, 2013-06-26 00:00:00

Conclusion: Ticketing and other forms of transactions are essential elements to make other forms of non-cash and mobile financial transaction become habitual to customer behaviour. The familiarity of using the mobile device in such a way, with guaranteed security and convenience, is fundamental to user acceptance. It will help encourage all trust-based mobile interactions on a wider scale.

While smartcards have been seen as the transport ticketing solution there are risks and costs. Ticketing solutions built on smartphone platform is the obvious choice for transit authorities and other organisations that offer services to large groups of users and must manage their use of the service.

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Frederick Herzberg, a psychologist who was very influential in management theory last century, created a model variously called the Motivation-Hygiene theory, or Two-Factor theory. The theory proposes that there are factors in the workplace which increase satisfaction, and there are other factors that decrease dissatisfaction; and that these factors may not be the same.

For example, when you stop hitting your head against a wall, your dissatisfaction will decrease, but you have not necessarily increased your satisfaction. I think that this model casts an interesting light on the challenge of mobility, and particularly around the ownership issue of BYOD accessing corporate data.

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Conclusion: Effective data science requires a cross-disciplinary team of highly skilled experts, as well as data in sufficient quantity and quality. These requirements imply a level of maturity in information management that is beyond the capability of most organisations today. An information management maturity assessment can help determine whether an organisation is ready to embark on a big data initiative, and to identify any concrete deficits that need to be addressed.

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Conclusion: Many organisations approach Unified Communications as a singular initiative: a generic solution that will solve myriad business issues. One key tenet behind this thinking is that the unified communications will "unify" all aspects of communications, from voice and text chat to presence and video. In practice, however unified communications is best deployed to meet specific business cases, and does not actually need to be deeply integrated in order to achieve the benefits sought in many real business cases put forward. In summary, some of the best implementations of unified communications have not been unified at all.

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Conclusion: A major pillar for mobile transactions to gain widespread use is consumer acceptance. The various parties in the payments industry are working to convince the public of the efficacy of the technology and thereby change behaviour.

Payment vendors know that customer behaviour and usage must change for them to succeed. Altering behaviour can be difficult and costly. The adoption of cashless payments is not a done deal.

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Conclusion: There are many links between the story of data warehousing and the story of SAP adoption, going all the way back to 1997, when SAP started developing a “Reporting Server”. Over the following decade SAP firmed up its dominant position as a provider of Enterprise Resource Planning functionality, creating countless business intelligence initiatives in the wake of SAP ERP implementation projects. Up to 80% of data warehouses have become white elephants, some completely abandoned, and others have been subjected to one or more resuscitation attempts. Big data can either be the last nail in the coffin, or it can be the vaccine that turns the colour of the data warehousing elephant into a healthy grey.

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Conclusion: For desktop fleets, Windows 8 offers few benefits to enterprises over Windows 7 and presents a number of additional challenges. However, its arrival will place more pressure on organisations still using XP to migrate. IBRS recommends organisation standardise on Windows 7 rather than Windows 8 for enterprise desktops.

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Conclusion: Cloud services are not similar to a highly virtualised internal environment. Nor are they similar to the tightly controlled experience of time-sharing on a mainframe back in the 1970s. The supposed elasticity of the cloud has become a point of vulnerability because the elasticity is only partial, and only at certain points. The outcome is a service which is believed to be highly resilient, but which can actually prove to be surprisingly brittle.

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Conclusion: Early adopters of cloud services often swept aside security and risk concerns, as these adopters were more interested in the end – a better IT service – rather than the means. But now organisations with mature risk and governance processes are looking at cloud services and risks are being identified and assessed for their potential impact. Cloud services can dramatically improve the IT service experience of an organisation, but organisations must be completely clear on what services they are, and are not getting as part of the engagement. As with all commercial engagements, the devil is in the detail.

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Related Articles:

"How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? Part 1" IBRS, 2012-05-28 00:00:00

Conclusion: The time when IT could triage new technology and take a long view on its adoption is over. The technology/business cycle is now faster, just as business demands and expectations are higher. In addition, the influence of business executives is strong and is partly based on direct experience with certain technologies.

IT departments should re-examine their processes of evaluating technology. Making the process transparent and inclusive is a big step to communicating decisions and sharing in the collective aims of the organisation.

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Conclusion: Big data not only refers to the growing amounts of netizen-generated online data, it also refers to customer expectations related to the data services provided by corporations and government departments. Increasingly corporate and individual service users expect not only a basic service, but also access to advanced tooling for data transformation, representation, and integration into other systems. In the future, the level of maturity and professionalism of an organisation will increasingly be determined by data-related quality of service characteristics. It is time for organisations to grow-up, and to treat information services as a core product line.

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Conclusion: Creating a lightweight governance framework for mobility is essential in ensuring that mobility applications are developed quickly and effectively, and are aligned to organisational objectives. The ideal mobility governance framework provides an agile environment to enable solutions to be developed using shared architectures, and focuses on "what can be done" rather than "what can't be done.” The key is to ensure that the governance framework remains focused on decision-making, as opposed to restricting mobility “run-away mobility deployments”.

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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 5: developing the strategy" IBRS, 2012-10-28 00:00:00

"Coping with mobility Part 6: Work context" IBRS, 2013-06-26 00:00:00

Conclusion: Unless you have a definition of the key data items for your enterprise, you will not be able to manage your data effectively. Astute CIOs have an understanding of the key data items that their organisation relies on for effective decision-making.

An enterprise data model documents the data in your organisation. It is a key enterprise architecture asset that enables more effective data management as well as offering the CIO the ability to reduce duplication and provide a higher level of service to the organisation.

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Conclusion: Cloud offerings, particularly Software as a Service, have many technical risks to iron out before they are palatable for any organisation that has a mature governance requirement. The vendors know this, and because they don’t want to raise these issues in the minds of less mature organisations, their master subscription agreements are typically thin on details or accountability, and heavy on indemnity. Given these unaddressed risks, CIOs should ensure that business executives are informed of the potential for service failure, as well as the implications and potential business impact.

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Related Articles:

"How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? Part 2" IBRS, 2012-07-27 00:00:00

Conclusion: IBRS has found that many organisations’ mobility needs can be covered by just one or two “generic use case” categories, thus many user demands for mobility can be met with just one or two development approaches.

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Related Articles:

"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

"Coping with mobility Part 6: Work context" IBRS, 2013-06-26 00:00:00

Conclusion: Increasingly, organisations are looking beyond classical agile methodologies, towards lean techniques pioneered in industrial production. The transposition of lean techniques into the context of corporate IT is a challenge that requires a high level of process maturity and organisational discipline. The desired benefits only materialise if the lean approach is applied to processes that can be put under statistical control, and if the approach feeds into a domain engineering process that addresses the root causes of operational inefficiencies.

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Conclusion:  The goals of enterprise architecture include prioritisation and strategic alignment of investments, savings through reduction in unnecessary duplication, and improved agility through reduced complexity.  When these goals are achieved the positive impacts can be enormous.

These goals are achieved when the enterprise architecture function has input to investment decision making and the way that solutions chosen and implemented.  Astute CEOs will involve enterprise architects in assessment of business cases, procurement decisions and project reviews.

The UK Government reported a direct saving of AU$6.3 billion[1] from project reviews that cost less than $100 million[2].  Many of these were ICT-based projects, which are known to be higher risk than other project types and are placed under greater scrutiny.  Astute CIOs have a clearly defined strategy and process for review of projects under their purview.

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Conclusion: Although net neutrality is neither credible nor a legitimate concept in the Australian telecommunications market, it carries commercial leverage. The new network architecture of NBN and the associated changes to the telecoms market regulation make it irrelevant. The ‘user pays’ principle of Quality of Service (QoS) should finally eliminate net neutrality.

Despite all the impending changes, the commercial and political leverage of net neutrality is too powerful to lose and will continue to stalk the telecoms market. For telecommunications providers and regulators the struggle will move to another plane. For end-users, individuals and organisations, it will require vigilance to ensure that the network is really open to everything and not armed with gatekeepers blocking access.

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Conclusion: Without governance, investment in enterprise architecture is usually wasted. Organisations that have implemented effective architecture boards typically realise benefits that include cost savings, better-controlled and structured systems, and better alignment to strategic architectures.

CIOs should draw on the lessons learned from organisations that have implemented effective architecture governance through an architecture board.

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Conclusion: IBRS has observed that many organisations struggle with mobility, implementing fragmented mobility solutions that service narrow areas of the business. This leads to higher complexity and costs, and lower levels of user satisfaction. Instead, organisations should take time to build a holistic mobility strategy, driven and grounded by use-cases, and shaped by a concise set of use-case categories.

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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 4: governance" IBRS, 2012-05-31 00:00:00

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

"Coping with mobility Part 6: Work context" IBRS, 2013-06-26 00:00:00

Conclusion: Location, or geospatial information, is a central but significantly under-utilised element of the volume of data created and leveraged by organisations. Location information is simply presented and leveraged as text, e.g. an address. But location information is not just about where an asset or activity is located, but rather, where it is located in relation to other assets or activity. That relationship is best presented visually.

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Conclusion: Organisations looking to develop and deploy mobile applications must realise that the mobile device market will undergo significant change over the next five years. This creates serious challenges for developers within enterprises, who must either create applications for specific devices and different form factors, or attempt to develop cross-platform applications that will still meet end-user expectations. IBRS has identified four high-level architectures for developing mobile applications, each of which has specific strengths and weaknesses. This research provides an overview of these architectures.

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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 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

"Coping with mobility Part 6: Work context" IBRS, 2013-06-26 00:00:00

Conclusion: Productivity is going to be a real and growing concern for organisations. A widely held view is productivity can be raised through social technologies because these technologies necessarily enhance levels of collaboration. If only it was that simple.

Social technologies can offer better means of performing some processes but improving productivity is not achievable nor a direct result of using social technologies. Productivity is too complex a financial and business issue to be solved by a single IT deployment. Organisations ought to apply social technologies after due diligence and examining their requirements very well.

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Conclusion: Pattern-based and repeatable processes, such as gathering operational data, validating data, and assessing data quality, offer potential for automation. The Web and software-as-a-service technologies offer powerful tools that facilitate automation beyond the simple mechanical pumping of data from one system to the next. Operational management tasks that focus on administration and control can and should be automated, so that managers have time to think about the organisation as a system, and can focus on continuous improvement.

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Conclusion: Business Capability Modelling is a simple, structured approach that offers a strategic view of an enterprise. A Business Capability Model remains stable even as business processes change, and as your organisation is restructured. A Business Capability Model offers a higher return on investment than Business Process Modelling, and has several advantages as a tool to help bring the ICT organisation closer to becoming a partner with the business.

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Conclusion: Within the working environment, complexity is often introduced unwittingly. At times, expediency is to blame, when intended short term fixes (such as code or business process changes) get baked into the organisational DNA. Unchecked, layer upon layer of complexity can builds up, undermining efficiency and causing ambiguity that troubles staff and confuses clients. With economic gloom casting a shadow over IT budgets, a systematic approach to re-instituting simplicity is warranted. Though more time-consuming to implement than conventional IT savings measures (such as cutting back contractor numbers or reducing training costs) the cost saving and efficiency benefits should be longer lasting.

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