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: The phrase ‘People, Process and Technology’ describes the three key elements of a successful business. Business is the why, People the who, Process the what, and Technology the how. No single element of the trilogy can be seen as more important than the others. However, in the post-COVID-19 world, successful businesses will see that the focus of People has changed – they no longer go to work, work goes to them.

In technology terms, this effectively means that everyone is now the core of the system; the old concept of a core that is controlled from a central hub is now questionable. Post-COVID-19 technology design must allow for each worker to be able to work from any location, able to access information, services and data when necessary, and for each location to have surge capability.

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IBRS analyst Dr. Joseph Sweeney provides best practice-advice on working from home in the current pandemic situation. Dr. Joseph Sweeney discusses current working from home policies which are mandated due to public health reasons, and explains how he has helped many organisations to adopt proper work-from-home practices.

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Conclusion: The recent use of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions has demonstrated the value of this type of technology to consumers and organisations. It resulted in the recent discovery of new antibiotics, the emergence of self-services (e. g. virtual agents) and the ability to analyse unstructured data to create business value. However, releasing AI solutions without integrating them into the current IT production environment, the corporate network and Cloud will limit the value realisation of artificial intelligence deployments.

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Conclusion: Organisations that are nearing the end of life for their current voice platforms or have a compelling event to hinge the replacement of their voice service, need to review their use of voice before replacing the technology. IBRS recommends organisations look to leverage voice as an application to operationalise the processes within the organisation, and improve customer satisfaction.

Today the newer technology offerings allow your organisation to get a better return from voice. However, the use of these new technologies will impact business processes and offer greater innovation for your customer interaction. It will not be a simple replacement of boxes.

The key is understanding the power of voice. It is now an application driven by smart software. Businesses need to assess their use of voice to determine the cost benefit of the changes in the technology stack now on offer.

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Conclusion: A common pitfall experienced by service-orientated organisations is the disconnect between its digital efforts and its marketing program. In good practice, marketing efforts should underpin your digital strategy. This can be achieved by unifying marketing’s focus on customer and staff engagement, communications and promotion with the leveraging of digital channels to conduct these activities.

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Conclusion: Being Cloud-based, Microsoft’s Office 365 includes features that would traditionally be considered backup. According to the Microsoft Office Trust Center, Microsoft establishes itself as a data processor with a primary focus on data privacy and management. It is not responsible for compliance or backup, but reliability and availability. As a result, Microsoft may not be able to provide security and protection to data in a way that meets an organisation’s compliance requirements.

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Is your Working From Home Policy causing you grief?

Most organisations’ Working From Home policies are created under the assumption that people would be seeking permission to remote work. As a result, they focus on things that are simply not applicable to, or even blockers for, mandated working from home and self-isolation. 

Worse, many policies have clauses that are impossible to enforce during this pandemic, go against government recommendations and potentially open the organisation up for workplace challenges. At the very least, older WHF policies can confuse and worry staff.

To help, IBRS has created a template for a simple, practical WHF policy, written in staff-friendly language. You can quickly customise and download this policy template as a Microsoft Word file.

Click here to create your Working From Home Policy template

 

NewsIBRS advisor Dr Joseph Sweeney has been tracking the three major Cloud vendors capabilities in AI and said Google is right to believe it has an edge over AWS and Microsoft when it comes to corpus (the data that 'feeds' certain AI applications) and also in AI application infrastructure cost and performance. However, he said this advantage was not materialising into significant gains in the Australian market.

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Conclusion: A Cloud strategy can take many forms. Whether you select a private Cloud, hybrid Cloud (on-premise with Cloud elements), native Cloud or a multiCloud implementation will impact the framework of your strategy. The success of your strategy will be driven by the motivation your organisation has to elect the move.

If your only motivation is the perceived cost model where you reduce capital in favour of operational expense, and potentially see savings based on usage, you are unlikely to succeed. The need to have a clear business strategy on why Cloud, what opportunities it may bring the business, and how to transition, manage and exit the Cloud is essential to see the true benefits.

Key to a successful strategy is to use an effective framework that allows your organisation to migrate to, operate and govern the engagement, and exit the engagement. A Cloud strategy is a commercial arrangement. Understanding the business benefits of entering into a Cloud contract engagement and being able to measure success factors is equally as important as the selection of providers for functionality and cost. It is important that you step into Cloud with your eyes wide open.

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Conclusion: Starting as a Melbourne-based SharePoint plug-in for forms creation solution, Nintex1 has grown into a Cloud-based process and workflow automation platform. In the last 18 months, Nintex has leveraged acquisitions of process mapping and robotics automation technologies to expand its offerings. The Nintex platform can now identify, visualise, manage and automate processes, placing it in competition with traditional business process modelling vendors. The firm has reconfigured its sales and marketing to focus on the market for enterprise optimisation – a market traditionally held by the likes of Pegasystems, IBM, Appian and Oracle. IBRS believes that Nintex now has the critical components of a pragmatic, Cloud-based business automation suite. Nintex should no longer be viewed as a niche workflow vendor for Microsoft solutions but should be considered along with other competitive mainstream business process automation solutions such as Red Hat, TIBCO Software, Software AG and K2.

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IBRSiQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

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Conclusion: Many organisations are interested in next-generation office space designs that leverage technology to promote collaboration and workforce transformation. Leaders in this field incorporate a human-centric approach. However, environmental factors in designing next-generation workspaces are also considered. Workplaces are the intersection between people and place, and both must be considered to enhance productivity.

In 2019, IBRS conducted an extensive study into transformative workplace designs and interviewed Australian organisations that have been successful when implementing next-generation workspaces. IBRS identified common traits for success. This paper details the environmental (built space) aspects of designing a next-generation workplace.

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Conclusion: Digital transformation is more than another software development stream to replace legacy systems by mobile applications. Digital transformation includes building a new IT capability that can improve the business bottom line. It requires increasing business performance, reducing the cost of doing business and mitigating business risks in a cost-effective manner. To support digital transformation, IT value management capabilities should be established on the following building blocks:

  • Value creation – Define and create the desired IT value needed by business lines. The IT value is a combination of services and technologies capabilities.
  • Value measurement – Measure the IT value contribution to digital transformation.
  • Value communication – Communicate the IT value contribution to business stakeholders, ensure that their expectations are met and re-adjusted (if needed) to address the business and market emerging imperatives.

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Conclusion: A digital strategy and the need for organisations to undertake numerous projects to achieve digital transformation have become the new norm. Digital strategies often require organisations to complete major transformation projects to deliver the outcomes required of the strategy. However, a digital strategy is not just about technology, it is a holistic strategy that involves change across the business processes, to improve both the organisation’s bottom line and the customer experience.

The considerations you must address in development of your digital strategy are much broader than just technology, or indeed just internal business processes or people skills. A digital strategy is about running the business in a smarter, more efficient and effective way, which allows customers improved and faster access to products and services.

For a digital strategy to deliver the best outcomes for the organisation, the customer experience must be the key consideration. Only from the customer’s perspective can the considerations of people, process and technology be best achieved.

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Conclusion: To support the changing workforce, businesses should look at adapting transformative workplace designs to maximise productivity and collaborative efforts. Early adopters of modern workplace designs have tried a variety of approaches in an effort to provide tangible improvements to staff productivity. Unfortunately, in many cases, the high hopes for innovative office designs resulted in the opposite – workplaces that confused, frustrated and distracted staff. IBRS conducted an extensive study into transformative workplace designs and interviewed Australian organisations that have been successful when implementing next-generation workplaces. IBRS identified common traits for success. In this paper, we detail the human aspects of designing a next-generation workplace.

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Conclusion: Cloud services have now been around for over a decade and since that time many of the services available have evolved in both scope and maturity. Most organisations now have a range of services in the Cloud and many have adopted a ‘Cloud first’ strategy for new solutions to business problems. However, this reactive approach runs the risk of not leveraging the full potential of Cloud services and creating fragmented infrastructure and applications which inhibit the rapid response to business problems and increase costs in the longer term. What is required is a deliberate strategy which maps out the transition to Cloud at infrastructure, platform and application levels and is integrated with enterprise IT. Given the scale, scope and risks of the strategy, executive and board alignment is critical as is the implementation of appropriate governance.

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Conclusion: IT organisations wishing to migrate to Cloud should adopt a pragmatic approach that strikes a balance between migration cost, Cloud risks and benefits. The bottom line is to avoid the hidden cost (e.g. scope changes), mitigate the migration risks (e.g. effective multi-Cloud management) and realise the benefits that contribute to business performance improvement. Effective governance of the overall Cloud migration is a critical success factor.

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Conclusion: Digital strategies often require organisations to complete major transformation projects to deliver the outcomes required of the strategy. A digital strategy is not just about technology, it is a holistic strategy that involves change across people, process and technology. The acceptance of technical debt and inaction around cultural change can have a severe impact on the total cost of ownership of technology for business. The rate of change in technology can make the traditional approach of depreciation against assets an unnecessary negative impact on good strategic thinking.

Organisations need to address the cost of technical debt and cultural change when embarking on strategic transformational programs to improve productivity. Strategies that involve digital transformation must address the business culture (people and process) and ensure change management programs are funded. The strategy must address the true impact of technical debt and ensure that technical assets are not retained just because they have a residual financial value.

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Related Articles:

"What does it mean if an IT vendor is a ‘leader’?" IBRS, 2020-01-07 21:32:29

Conclusion: IT organisations challenged with predicting performance requirements of new digital applications should undertake end-to-end stress tests that can detect systems performance problems prior to production release. Test results should be used to define the final release dates, prepare corporate investment justifications for improving the application architecture and influence the ongoing capacity planning practices. Successful execution of the initial performance engineering exercises will result in sound deployment strategies and avoid media embarrassment. The specification of the stress tests should be clearly described in any request for proposals. The chosen vendors should have the capability to scale the new systems to the desired performance specification.

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Conclusion: Digital transformation is a journey that will require an organisation to undergo metamorphosis. Unlike projects, it does not always have a short-term or long-term timeline. However, organisations can tread with discernment by harnessing clarity of purpose and an adept understanding of its culture and the values of its people.

There are different types of organisations in terms of how they handle digital transformation. These are the ‘visionaries’, the ‘explorers’ and the ‘watchers’. Visionary companies are those which truly utilise digital for transformation and truly believe that they can implement change. Explorer companies utilise digital transformation for experience.
Organisations that are considered as watchers utilise digital transformation for efficiency and have a traditional view with regard to technology. They believe that technology adoption can be used to reduce waste and gain efficiency.

The type in which an organisation falls may also affect the strategy it employs in handling challenges and obstacles. The most common hurdles faced by organisations are insufficient funding and technical skills, lack of organisational agility and entrepreneurial spirit, having a risk-averse culture, lack of collaborative culture, security concerns, competing priorities, lack of strategy and understanding.

Aside from the obstacles and challenges companies encounter, there are also various pitfalls they fail to recognise early on. This leads to mistakes and miscalculations.

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Conclusion: In this day and age, customers expect to be able to complete a transaction across multiple touch points and for each touch point to be aware of where they are in the transaction process, and complete the transaction in real time. That is, not having to wait for batch processing or human interaction to be completed before they see a result. To achieve a great customer experience in the digital world, organisations need to build IT systems that support their business processes, allowing customers choice of channel, including the traditional face-to-face and asymmetric processes, like paper and email.

The value proposition for the customer is for the supplier to provide an automated online service that is, from the customer’s perspective, fast, reliable, inter-connected and secure. The improved omni-channel approach will drive customer adoption and allow reduced costs associated with the continued face-to-face and asymmetric channels.

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"Contact centre trends update in 2019/2020" IBRS, 2019-11-02 01:33:22

Conclusion: Identity has historically been a thorny problem with concerns over identity theft and the need for verification. Now that biometrics are becoming so accessible to register and verify customers and clients, the business rules used to define the purpose of any identity and access management system should be reassessed in the broader context of business integrity. That is, to assess identity management in three dimensions of first, who the entity claims to be (person, business or thing), second, where the entity exists (geographically and digitally), and third, the entity’s behaviour.

By taking a broader view of identity to address the flow of an entity from a business integrity viewpoint, identity ceases to be just a token and becomes a life cycle. As a result, bona fide customers and clients can access services and products easily and safely, and non-bona fide customers and clients can more easily be isolated and denied access.

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Related Articles:

"2FA is a no-brainer" IBRS, 2018-11-02 11:06:25

"Identity management projects need business engagement" IBRS, 2012-04-21 00:00:00

"Sourcing Monthly August 2019 – September 2019" IBRS, 2019-10-02 01:31:47

Conclusion: Delivering mature infrastructure services depends on many factors. For example, the service levels may vary significantly. Some organisations opt for non-stop operations, others seek basic service levels that allow up to one hour unscheduled downtime per month (or more). The key challenge facing IT organisations reviewing their infrastructure is to strike a balance between service level, cost, quality and risks. To address this requirement, IBRS has developed an Infrastructure Maturity Model1 to help organisations understand the service components dependencies before selecting an infrastructure alternative.

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Conclusion: Digital transformation is the number one information communication technology (ICT) challenge for information technology (IT) leaders across Australia and New Zealand. Organisations are faced with various hurdles whenever they try to implement digital transformation initiatives. The major concerns for these organisations are how to get to the other side of disruption efficiently and effectively and how to best deal with the cultural and technological challenges of digital transformation. Challenges are not focused on technology or adoption approaches as these are available and matured. Traditional challenges of organisation change, culture and budget seem to not have been overcome, even after more than three decades.

Based on Infosys Digital Radar 2019, in terms of the digital maturity ranking in the Asia Pacific per country, Australia is within the top 5 out of 10 countries and New Zealand is in the top 7 out of 10 countries. Organisations are encountering obstacles in adapting successfully in the digital era.

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Conclusion: Dropbox’s announcement of a new interface may seem trivial, but its repositioning of ‘folders’ heralds the next disruptive phase of information management. By changing folders from being an approach for hierarchical organisation of information to being a ‘digital workspace’ for collaboration, Dropbox is leading the charge to drop the ‘paper metaphor’ in favour of collaboration. The impact on traditional information management lifecycles and information management will be both significant and challenging.

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Conclusion: While release and change management processes have been contributing to good service availability during the last 20 years, the increased service architecture complexity caused by adopting multiple Cloud and digital services has demonstrated that release and change management methods used to date are inadequate for the new world. As a result, end users have been experiencing unscheduled downtime that has impacted their business operations and led to embarrassment in the media. This research publication provides guidance on how to raise the maturity of release and change management processes to address these critical issues.

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Conclusion: Agile approaches are being applied to a wide range of projects and activities within organisations including infrastructure upgrade projects of known tools and devices and across existing customer bases. Focusing on the technology elements and progressing quickly to build and test can uncover blind spots due to a high degree of familiarity and assumptions. Areas such as stakeholder engagement, vendor management, integration and the need for discovery and design can be glossed over as it is assumed that most of the details are known. The result is a discovery and gaps are discovered at the end of the test phase, just prior to release or even after release to production.

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Conclusion: Despite being first published over 10 years ago, ITIL service design remains a pain point for both project delivery and service operations teams respectively. The former claims the latter requires the creation of additional deliverables at the point of service transition, while the latter expresses frustration at the lack of attention paid to service design during early stages of project delivery.

The reality is responsibility for IT service design extends beyond both these teams with all functions across IT having a role to play, from strategy all the way through to operations. When all aspects of the IT organisation contribute to the design of new, and modification of existing, services the artificial hump of service design can be avoided. The key is identifying who should be capturing and sharing what information to support service design – an outcome that can be achieved by adopting an end-to-end process integration model for the business IT.

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Conclusion: ERP SW licensing or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has many permutations and influences one of the largest IT investments for most organisations. Vendors aim to integrate, at a minimum, shared corporate data from financial data, HR, operations and sales. The benefits of aligned data, reporting and processes helps C-level decision makers track and improve organisation performance.

The most common arguments for implementing an ERP system are the cost savings and productivity improvements1. Effective SW governance is essential to avoid eroding expected cost savings or efficiencies.

Large government departments, local government authorities, public listed corporate entities or privately owned entities are all likely to have significant investment in an ERP and will need continued investment in the ERP if ongoing value is to be extracted. Small to medium organisations tend to be more agile and may be able to migrate to a SaaS solution to take advantage of lower migration costs and more cost-effective licensing arrangements.

Either way, modernisation or migration programs are opportunities to renegotiate SW licensing costs provided the pros and cons have been assessed.

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Conclusion: The increased use of technical point-solutions has created the need for establishing an in-house core team of generalists capable of defining a coherent set of services that can improve the overall business performance. The key obstacle to building these strategic skills is the IT managers’ attitudes towards assigning work to existing staff. For example, IT managers tend to heavily exploit the existing skills of the technical staff to address specific requirements. Managers rarely give staff the chance to build new strategic skills that are beneficial to themselves and to their business.

Managers should strike a balance between strategic skill building and technical skill exploitation. This requires helping staff to acquire a deep understanding of the business operations, gain awareness of industry latest trends and offerings, and becoming capable of defining ICT solutions that can fix critical business problems.

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This document provides a template of specifications and requirements for a modern CRM, categorised by several key areas

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Conclusion: Despite market hype around the role of data scientists and in-house developers for the successful exploitation of artificial intelligence (AI), organisations are increasingly looking to their vendor partners to provide ready-made solutions. Both business and technology leaders are expecting solutions to be based on the vendor’s ability to leverage their customer base across various industries to create AI features such as machine learning models.

Vendors are responding by increasingly incorporating these features into their offerings, along with a new breed of vendors that are producing pre-trained or baseline machine learning models for common use cases for specific industries.

However, organisations must be prepared to contribute to this AI product development or continuous improvement process which in practical terms means giving major vendors access to data. Without access to good data the result will be sub-optimal for both parties.

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Conclusion: The three largest service providers in Australia for mobile phone services, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, have all committed to providing 5G networks. 2019 has seen the introduction of 5G networks and devices; however, the coverage is still limited. Initial coverage by the service providers will focus on areas with the highest population density, providing coverage to a greater number of potential users. In 2019, it is estimated that coverage should be available to about 4 million potential subscribers.

The jump in speed and reduction in network latency will open up opportunities for new services and customer experiences that would not be practical using existing 3G or 4G networks. There is a large potential economic upside and organisations should be planning for future use cases.

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Conclusion: Asset management can be described as ‘the life cycle management of physical assets to achieve the stated outputs of the enterprise’. To achieve the appropriate level of asset management maturity, investment in people, processes and technology all increase the likelihood of developing an effective asset management system. Under-investment could result in asset leakage or increased maintenance costs, thus diminishing the expected returns of the assets.

Where asset management maturity model reaches the level of being ‘integral part of everything we do’, organisations can seek accreditation of the asset management framework using ISO 55000:2014.1

Where the common question is often ‘why waste our time on asset management’ then assets are usually at risk of leakage or poor customer satisfaction ratings. Outages and incidents may occur regularly. The risk of business collapse increases without recognition and change. Here organisations need to consider the steps to commence a review using the asset management model.

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Conclusion: Running IT-as-a-Service requires emulating vendors’ account management function by creating a business relationship manager (BRM) role. The role’s rationale is to provide strategic advice to business stakeholders and act as a single point of coordination between IT groups and business lines. BRM’s focus is to manage the relationship with business strategists and recommend IT solutions relevant to business performance improvement and cost reduction initiatives where applicable.

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Conclusion: The success of digital transformation, hybrid Cloud deployment and multi-service providers’ governance largely depends on IT services being integrated and managed in a unified and standard way. Service integration and management (SIAM) is an approach to address this requirement. However, its full implementation is a massive undertaking covering delivery processes, organisational structure changes, service cost tracking, service skills and an effective deployment of end-to-end management tools. This note recommends a quick win approach that focuses on getting the service essentials fulfilled depending upon the status of external services used by an IT organisation.

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Conclusion: On 16 May 2019, IBRS conducted a peer roundtable on issues related to data, analytics and business value. The focus of the roundtable was to allow senior IT executives to explore how different organisations are leveraging data to achieve tangible business benefits.

IBRS conducted the Domo-sponsored event, under the Chatham House rule. Participants included senior IT executives from a broad range of Australian organisations both in the public and private sector.

This paper provides a summary of the key learnings from the event.

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Related Articles:

"Data: An Asset and a Liability" IBRS, 2016-12-03 02:41:05

"Machine learning will displace “extract, transform and load” in business intelligence and data integration" IBRS, 2018-02-01 10:03:37

"Prepare to manage the “evolution” of AI-based solutions with “DataOps”" IBRS, 2018-03-31 06:43:42

"Reframing Business Intelligence as Critical Business Imperatives" IBRS, 2015-10-03 00:03:12

Organisations that are resisting the shift to Cloud computing are often basing their decisions on common misconceptions around security, price and integration.

That’s a key finding in a recent report conducted by IBRS, The State of Enterprise Software Report 2019.

The Security Myth

Many of the organisations surveyed declared security as the primary reason for not moving to Cloud services.

Concern over the security of systems — and, critically, of the data they hold — was common in the early days of Cloud computing and it seems at least some of that legacy remains. But it’s a myth.

Dr Joe Sweeney, author of the report said cloud service providers exceed most organisations’ budget and capacity to manage complex cyber security risks.

That’s certainly the view of the Commonwealth Government, which is moving to Cloud-delivered enterprise solutions aggressively.

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Conclusion: External Cloud services can realise cost reduction up to 50 % p. a. and promise no set-up or exit fees. While the ongoing cost reduction is realistic, there are significant other costs related to third-party services that should be considered to calculate the overall cost saving of Cloud migration. They are:

  • Transition-in cost due to the use of external consulting services to set up the new environment (up to $2.5 million for 7,000 users), as well as procurement cost to prepare tenders, select vendors and negotiate contracts (up to $300,000)
  • Transition-out fees to migrate the current service to another service provider (similar to transition-in cost)
  • Hardware depreciation related to private Cloud exit
  • Governance fees to ensure Cloud consumption remains within budget and the desired service levels are tracked and met (up to 7 % of the annual cost)
  • Risk mitigation strategies to ensure the Cloud service remains secure.

The purpose of this research note is to provide a step-by-step approach to determine the ongoing cost-saving opportunities needed for Cloud migration business case1 preparation.

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Conclusion: Many strategic planning activities that are meant to set the future direction for the organisation fail to meet that objective. Current success, a high level of incumbent expertise or even passion can prevent an organisation from considering red flags or other indicators that will impact on future success. At worst, it can result in significant failure; at best, it limits the activities of the organisation to do more of the same with a tactical work plan. Overcoming this myopia is critical to ensuring that strategic planning i.e.fective and provides a useful compass for the organisation.

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